How do we fix the Zelda series?

#1 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

Much like my last post where I asked folks here on their suggestions for improving the MMO genre, it seems like this could be a good time to ask how we fix the Legend of Zelda series. Over the years ever since Ocarina of Time the series has fallen into a number of tropes and cliches that critics of just about every publication and players alike have become aware of. For example the dungeon format of finding a new weapon and using that weapon on the boss and a few other things that some folks feel make each game feel like the same scenario with a new coat of paint. Of course there are those that would argue that if you took away these elements then it wouldn't be a Zelda game anymore. So what do we do about this? What possible solutions can there be to make the series fun and exciting and maybe not as predictable?

My personal suggestion would be to make things like a tutorial optional. Ever since OoT there's been a lot more of the game simply holding your hand for the first 30 minutes or longer which to me just makes it feel like their kinda beating the notion into your skull about Z targeting. Now granted the first time we played a 3D Zelda we weren't sure what to expect out of the controls. However in the following games for those of us who could figure things out, we shouldn't have put up with an hour long sequence of being told what to do and how to play. Just I remember a time when you could simply experiment with a game and figure out things on your own. You could get to playing the game right away without having to worry about a village of inane characters who pretty much act like a manual! If someone wants to be told how things work, then they can have the option of going through a tutorial on how to play. For the rest of us, let us figure it out and stop insulting our intelligence.

That's my two cents folks. What are your suggestions?

#2 Posted by FreakAche (2950 posts) -

Make everything a Wind Waker sequel.

#3 Posted by Emilio (3380 posts) -

What do you mean "we"? Last I remember, "We" were not on the development team.

#4 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -

AO rating.

#5 Posted by neoepoch (1293 posts) -

How do we stop making the same thread over and over again?
Here is one for you.
How do we fix the Call of Duty Series?

#6 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3745 posts) -

I would like more in-depth stories (which seems to be something they're doing) but I'd like a return to the exploration and discovery and quirky little side games that were found in Wind Waker and OoT and the original games. I don't like how direct and guided Skyward Sword was. They held my hand too much, I felt.

I think the combat needed to be shaken up, and the motion controls did that. I think they needed better secrets, and upgrades, and rewards for side quests. I think the game needs more side-quests, and I want some of them to be long and involved, like a real RPG's side-quests. I want side stories, and mini-events that I can progress when I don't feel like going to another temple, and I want the changes I make in those side-quests to show up in the characters and locations that I effect. I want more reasons to hunt bugs than "you can sell them for rupees, or they'll make the pointless potions slightly more effective". I don't want to do every simple pointless Gratitude quest at the end of the game and then be rewarded with a giant wallet when I've already bought everything I possibly could buy. I want more options in gameplay, and mini-games, and sidequests, and customization. And I want voice acting, and something besides "save the princess".

That said, they've yet to make a "bad" Zelda game. The DS games were the closest they got.

#7 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

What actually surprises me is that more developers haven't taken the Zelda formula and run with it. Darksiders and 3D Dot Game Heroes are the only games I can think of in recent memory.

I wouldn't "fix" Zelda. Nintendo has their own take on their own franchise. But I'd love to see developers make games like it, but with their own changes to the formula.

#8 Edited by SoldierG654342 (1735 posts) -

Stop buying them.

If Zelda, or any series, has fallen into a rut it's because the consumers don't demand change. If people stopped buying Zelda games, then they would either be forced to overhaul the series or retire it. If you think they all suffering from a systemic problem, then don'y buy them.

#9 Posted by GunstarRed (5037 posts) -

Surely it would have to be broken before it needed to be fixed.

#10 Edited by C0V3RT (1360 posts) -

I don't think the formula's broken, so no need to fix it. Say what you will, I believe those games still sell really well using the old tried and true formula.

If you were going to do anything, like Vinny and Patrick suggested and like you've said, have a "I've played a Zelda game before" option at the start to eliminate the slow start that the tutorial areas cause which would let your fans of the series jump in and get what they came for quicker.

#11 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10501 posts) -

Fix what? I loved Skyward Sword. The only thing I would change would be to add voice acting, and frankly, that's a minor complaint.

#12 Posted by swfcfan (264 posts) -

Make it in 2D and call it A Link to the past 2.

#13 Posted by Icemael (6312 posts) -
  • Cut out the hand-holding, or make it completely optional. A Link to the Past didn't need a stupid fairy/sword-spirit/whatever popping up every five seconds to explain obvious shit, and neither do these newer Zelda games.
  • Make the combat and the puzzles more challenging. I'm at the sixth dungeon in Skyward Sword. I don't think I've died a single time, and literally every single puzzle that has been put in my way has been laughable.
  • Make a world that's fun to explore, and give the player more freedom. It doesn't have to be Skyrim (hell, I don't want it to be), but at least give me something like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, where I am free to discover and tackle many of the dungeons in any order I like.
  • Improve basic shit like camera control. I have no idea why Skyward Sword doesn't let you rotate the camera by pressing left or right on the D-pad.
#14 Posted by ProfessorEss (7281 posts) -

You become a child again and remember who the franchise is predominantly targeted towards? 
 
I mean when someone says "I haven't liked a Zelda game in, like, 10 years" you really have to ask yourself whether it's the student or the teacher y'know?

#15 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan said:

Fix what? I loved Skyward Sword. The only thing I would change would be to add voice acting, and frankly, that's a minor complaint.

I bet you wouldn't mind if they took out the extreme hand holding and made the talky bits a bit more elegant (as in don't make you push the A button repeatedly in the hope of moving the conversation about the thing you figured out 5mins ago drag on even longer)

@Atary77 said:

My personal suggestion would be to make things like a tutorial optional. Ever since OoT there's been a lot more of the game simply holding your hand for the first 30 minutes or longer which to me just makes it feel like their kinda beating the notion into your skull about Z targeting.

This! (btw, 30mins? you mean 3 hours^^)

They really need to fix how they present the story elements. Their stories in themselves aren't bad, they're just badly presented with those text boxes that won't end. Also, NPCs should be voiced from now on (this would fix that problem with the text, btw).

They have to STOP overexplaining EVERYTHING. This seriously has to happen!

I'd also like it if they tried to integrate puzzles and items more "realistically" into the world. As in, instead of finding a map or "boss keys" that are inherently game-y, maybe do something that would make sense in the world (e.g. instead of using a key, have the way blocked by a huge tree which you have to burn with a big fire -> you have to create a big fire by using stuff from the environment.

No more collect-a-thons for the sake of collecting. Make me WANT to go out and find something. Maybe have me track down specific characters which I'd have to fight and making those fights hard (swordfights or something like that).

Go deeper with the basic upgrade system from Skyward Sword. Allow for optical tweaks of Link's gear maybe.

Include a quest log for sidequests! (Skyward Sword kinda has that in the form of the hint system when you check out that helper stone thing next to the training area, it lists your current and completed sidequests ... but it's far from convenient)

Ever since Ocarina of Time was first announced, I've been dreaming of having to fight through deep, foggy woods (like a 3D version of A Link to the Past's "Lost Woods"). Hide behind trees, pick off enemies with the bow, hide in a bush and do a stealthy takedown on an enemy.

Do a completely unconventional setting like a futuristic Hyrule with machines (fight a Metal Gear at the end! :D)

Implement a few (really just a few like 2-3) branching story paths. Link has to make a choice that drastically affects the game world and where the story is going. No full on conversation system but just certain key events that go either this way or that way (like: the King of Hyrule has been poisoned but going out to find ingredients for the antidote means there is no time to stop a group rebellion from happening in a nearby kingdom which results in a war or something; alternative: letting the King die, prevent the war situation but now there is no ruler, the moral of the people is down and the knights who are supposed to defend the town crave for revenge and go after the random evil dark force on their own volition, leaving the town defenseless and Link has to deal with that or the place gets run over by evil dudes.

Bring back the overworld (but not empty). Always have there be interesting enemies to fight, change weather. Make your story progress visible (help save the kingdom or whatever, have the town expand (á la Terranigma), move people from a small village into town and have village taken over by thieves (that abandoned village in Twilight Princess comes to mind)

Don't have the player start at 0 with just a sword and usually no shield. Let's start with sword, shield and maybe a bow for varieties sake

On a visual level, maybe take the artstyle even further. Make the impressionistic style more extreme, like the concept art shown at E3 09.

Be open to inspiration (and evolutions) from other games! Dashing and mildly-Assassin's Creed style wall climbing are a good first step in that direction.

Put Zelda in a more action oriented role and have her fight alongside you for a significant part of the game (not just boss battles or specific puzzle sequences)

--

These are some of the things I'd really love to see. I realize most of these things will probably never happen or at least not all at the same time but I'm always excited what they cook up with a new Zelda game!

#16 Posted by Seroth (711 posts) -

Make a game that doesn't feel like it's made for kids with short attention spans. I don't need to know what a small key does after the first time. I don't need to know how much a red rupee is worth after the second time time. I don't need to know what kind of bug I picked up EVERY FREAKIN' TIME I RESET THE GAME.

#17 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

@ProfessorEss: I can totally get behind what you're saying. For a kid who's never played anything like this before YES the tutorials and having to learn the game and be told what every item does and it's purpose makes perfect sense. After all each game itself is basically made to be enjoyed like it's your first so you don't have to go back and learn stuff.

However all I'm saying is that those of us who have played at least one or two games before this one, make tutorials and explanations optional. That's all.

#18 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

@Atary77 said:

@ProfessorEss: I can totally get behind what you're saying. For a kid who's never played anything like this before YES the tutorials and having to learn the game and be told what every item does and it's purpose makes perfect sense. After all each game itself is basically made to be enjoyed like it's your first so you don't have to go back and learn stuff.

However all I'm saying is that those of us who have played at least one or two games before this one, make tutorials and explanations optional. That's all.

I really don't get why they refuse to do something as simple as "turn on/off hint system" ...

Some of those design decision I just don't understand. Like almost never including the option for audio volume control (in games like Mario Kart, I would love to turn off the annoying music and just have the SFX ... in other games in general, i'd love to adjust the levels in-game because of my weird/broken audio set up)

Their idea of making games for "everyone" or "accessible" sadly comes down to treating their players like they're 4 year olds who've never touched a video game before. Something like that can easily sour you on a game.

#19 Posted by Herocide (440 posts) -

@swfcfan said:

Make it in 2D and call it A Link to the past 2.

Oh God yes.

#20 Posted by lusence (345 posts) -

well this is something that Zelda does WRONG in my opinion. They stick sooo close to the traditional puzzles that it just got old. They add new stuff but all they are doing is adding more fluff. The puzzles does not make a zelda game IMO. I think if they toned down on the puzzles and added more RPing elements more like Okami did, a perfect balance.... So more RPing quest type gameplay and less puzzle game play... Or hell leave the puzzle play in just add more RPing options... But honestly I dont think they did a bad job at all, its a wonderful game.

#21 Posted by Jack268 (3387 posts) -

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

#22 Posted by lusence (345 posts) -

bewbs and drugs, maybe a shotgun.

#23 Posted by Hizang (8533 posts) -

Don't fix what isn't broke.

#24 Posted by Enns (357 posts) -

What could be cool is if they do some spinoffs and try different genres. Like a Shiek action stealth game or whatever.

#25 Posted by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

I don't think its broken. It could use some updating and perhaps a little innovation but as is it's still a great series.

#26 Posted by Vexxan (4615 posts) -

Skyward Sword seems like a great game and we've had some fantastic Zelda game since Ocarina of Time. It's not that bad in need of a "fix", is it?

#27 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@Wrighteous86 said:

I would like more in-depth stories (which seems to be something they're doing) but I'd like a return to the exploration and discovery and quirky little side games that were found in Wind Waker and OoT and the original games. I don't like how direct and guided Skyward Sword was. They held my hand too much, I felt.

So, I had a bit of an epiphany on this topic the other day. When I think of Zelda, I see it as this grand, sweeping adventure. You've got your basic central design decisions with the three main characters and the theme based dungeons, but there is this grand tale about an endless battle between good versus evil going on. There is a story that I want to know more about, to see how someone may or may not break the cycle, and to see these basic archetypes grow from game to game.

BUT, Nintendo sees Zelda as a Mario game. Stay with me for a moment. Mario is not about story. It's about adding new elements that all build on the the basic ideas of platforming puzzles. There isn't any growth in character or story. Just more levels. THAT is what Zelda is to Nintendo. There is no story beyond, "Here is your world, now go solve puzzles." Skyward Sword proved to me that despite numerous moments that could have been used to write a real storyline with real characters, the will to make that game, the Zelda game that I truly want, does not exist.

I've played all the Zelda games, but now I want fiction. I want something deeper, but I don't think Nintendo will be giving it to us.

#28 Posted by MikkaQ (10268 posts) -

A jump button would be a nice start.

#29 Posted by Lokno (385 posts) -

While we're all jaded and tired of the experience, new players have none of that baggage, My wife loves Skyward Sword, and I find it very frustrating and redundant. I checked out of motion controls some time ago, and I'm tired of chest fanfare. But there was a time when those things were new to me, and they're new to someone today. So Nintendo doesn't need to change their formula, but there's definitely an audience for a game that does.

#30 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

More Water Temple, less fairies explaining obvious bullshit constantly.

#31 Edited by lusence (345 posts) -

@Lokno: well i think it has some cool new elements for us old jaded fans too. The flying thing is pretty cool giving us a new experiance exploring with the WII controller. And you gotta admit that the story of you being this like tribe of people that lives above the clouds in your own diff. world compared to the ground dwellers feels pretty cool RP wise. So it gives the chars a few other worldy experiances... And if you find that special guy that collects 'grattitude' crystals or whatever you do find quite a bit of story with the chars around your 'home town'. Some of them quite funny, like house cleaning, the haunted bathroom, the demon, just to name a few. And the interplay between Link and the big bully (forgot his name) is pretty intresting. Also the pumpkin bar is pretty cool as you can play your harp, do odd missions etc. Also lots of weird little secrets like the rainbow islands, fun island, the little fairy thingies that you can skydive through. But I must agree i was like SHIT when i knew i needed to get a grapling hook, i was like been there done that... So soe of the ole puzzles are stale as hell but all and all i think they balanced it... Whew lot to rant about in this game. Just thought of something, the Trials are pretty new and intresting too, its more stratagy based and not really like a puzzle, pretty exciting when those titan thingies start chasing you down.

#32 Posted by Black_Rose (7785 posts) -

You can't fix what ain't broken.

#33 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

A jump button would be a nice start.

why would you need a jump button? the auto jump is totally fine with me.

#34 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

Let Retro Studios make it.

#35 Posted by amir90 (2154 posts) -

keep the formula as it is, but give me a darker zelda.

#36 Edited by Gold_Yoshi (10 posts) -

I agree with many others here, don't fix what ain't broke.

Yes, there are nitpicks with the franchise that we can pull out 'till our keyboards set on fire, but most of them mean morphing it into other games (ie, Skyrim and Assassin's Creed) which are completely different games, save for a similar timeframe. It's like saying Star Wars is like Star Trek, yeah they have one or two obvious things in common, but scratch away the surface and you'll find they are radically different, targetted towards two types of people.

So while it would be nice to see some of the things on here, like a darker, more in-depth story where your actions affect the outcome, it's clear now that Nintendo do not want to do this with Zelda (save for Majora's Mask and, arguably, Twilight Princess). They wish to keep it light-hearted and, first and foremost, fun. Whether this is a good direction overall, I can't say, but what I do know is that I have fond memories of every Zelda game released (so far), thus do not believe that the franchise needs "fixing".

Oh, but voice acting? No. And giving Hyrule a futuristic look? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

#37 Posted by G24S (281 posts) -

@Jack268 said:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Word.

#38 Posted by circle_of_iron (37 posts) -

Really? I'm always surprised at the constant criticism directed towards the Zelda franchise. It largely began a couple years ago with Dan Hsu (former EGMer / current Bit Mobber) and has slowly picked up steam until now it's officially 'a thing'. Lets take an objective look at as much of this as we can. Since 1998 there have been 6 games released on home consoles. 6 games. For the sake of discussing how samey the series is we can throw two of those out right now because Majora's Mask and Four Swords Adventures are both clearly radical departures for the series. That leaves us with 4 core Zelda games remaining. Ocarina of Time, Windwaker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. We don't even have to go back 15 years to have been treated to 8 Call of Duty Games (since it's debut in 2004), 4 Halo games (since 2001), 3 Gears of War games (since 2006), and 3 Uncharted games (since 2007). No one seems to be clamoring for overhauls of those games? Why does Zelda get picked on? I can understand some old timers (like myself) who grew up playing Zelda feeling some franchise fatigue but I honestly don't think that's a problem that most gamers are honestly experiencing. I think this concern is something that people have picked up in podcasts and sortof accepted as true.

OoT the granddaddy of 3D adventure games is excellent. Windwaker is amazing, until the Tri-Force map quest. Twilight Princess looks like ass but other than that masters the "formula" set forth in OoT. Skyward Sword is a major overhaul of the "formula" featuring an innovative (although understandably divisive) motion control combat system, a lack of a unified overworld (something that originally debuted in the now loved Windwaker), and bringing a variety of new elements to the series (some of which are better than others (I like the addition of the energy bar but I could live without some of the RPG light upgrading things).

Outside of the traditionally slow start to the 3D Zelda games I don't think the series really needs much "improvement". If there was something that I would like to see come back in the series, I would like to have Nintendo try a true open world game in the vein of the original Legend of Zelda where the dungeons could be beaten in any order.

#39 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I'm looking forward to all the HD remakes for the Wii U.

#40 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

@Gold_Yoshi said:

. And giving Hyrule a futuristic look? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Just to be clear, I didn't mean spaceships and mass effect-y bland hallways ... I meant something mechanical (like that desert area in Skyward Sword)

To me, Zelda is not tied to a medieval setting that always seems to be at the same kind of technological development stage.

#41 Posted by Contrarian (1143 posts) -

I presume it has been said before me, but there is only one question ........

Why presume it needs fixing?

Seems they are getting a lot of things right over and over. The trouble with gamers is they complain when something doesn't change and then complain when they change.

#42 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

Just stop making them.

#43 Posted by solidlife (877 posts) -

hardcore mode.

#44 Edited by SuperfluousMoniker (2907 posts) -

Except for the excessive amount of forced tutorials and hand holding, Zelda doesn't need to be fixed. They should just stick a fat prompt when you start your game saying "Yo, have you played one of these before?" and saying 'yes' just turns all that shit off.

#45 Posted by BBQBram (2202 posts) -

@FreakAche said:

Make everything a Wind Waker sequel.

A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

#46 Posted by Hailinel (23927 posts) -

I wasn't aware it was broken.

@BBQBram said:

@FreakAche said:

Make everything a Wind Waker sequel.

A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

Be careful what you wish for.

Online
#47 Posted by JCGamer (659 posts) -

I'd be happy if the didn't explain EVERYTHING in the game a MILLION times. Yes-thanks, I won't spend the red (20) rupies all in once place. Also, less random collecting.

#48 Posted by Gold_Yoshi (10 posts) -

@DeF said:

Just to be clear, I didn't mean spaceships and mass effect-y bland hallways ... I meant something mechanical (like that desert area in Skyward Sword)

To me, Zelda is not tied to a medieval setting that always seems to be at the same kind of technological development stage.

Ah fair enough then, your point kinda threw me when it said "fight a Metal Gear at the end".

I haven't got to that bit yet, but if it's anything like the Great Bay Temple in Majora's Mask or the Goron Mines in Twilight Princess then I understand your point.

And I know what you mean about the series not being "tied to a medieval setting", but I think that's the best way to make the story believable (ie, with the magic, weapons, monsters, importance of royalty, etc). Plus the games are supposed to be telling a "legend", a story that occurred a long time ago.

But as you say, it's all personal preference.

#49 Posted by LauryLove (1 posts) -

Zelda doesn't need fixing.

Sure they could lighten up on the hand-holding but everything else is fine.

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