Oh, man. Oh, MAN! Last night, I would not have predicted that I'd wake up this morning to learn that Nintendo kicked off their latest Nintendo Direct with the announcement of a Zelda/Warriors collaboration with Tecmo Koei. Suffice it to say, the news left a lot of people rather stunned. And I have to say, I love it!
Regardless of what this game ends up being called in the west (I'm betting it'll turn out to be something similar to The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors), I am psyched. Perhaps even enthused! Earlier this year, I wrote about why I love the Dynasty Warriors series, and you're free to read up on that if you want; this is not going to be another post along those lines despite the almost comical level of bile coming from certain corners of the internet. Seriously, I haven't read bile this vitriolic regarding a Zelda game since the Wind Waker reveal.
Anyway, here's what I hope and half-expect (I'm not going to guarantee myself anything) to see in Hyrule Warriors based on my past experience with the larger Warriors franchise.
Will there be multiple playable characters?
My guess: Yes. One of the staples of Warriors titles are large, diverse casts of playable characters. And while The Legend of Zelda is historically light on the number of playable characters (Link, Kafei for like ten seconds of Majora's Mask, Zelda in one of those shit CDi games), that doesn't mean that we'll be seeing the pointy-eared guy in the green tunic exclusively. Looking at the franchise as a whole, there's a pretty large cast of characters that would make for intriguing combatants.
That's just off the top of my head, and we're not getting anywhere near the true oddballs. How would such a cast mix together? Well, that's a good question and I'll tackle that in a second. My main point here is that it's fairly easy to cook up a roster of player characters for a Zelda-based Warriors title that doesn't devolve into seven different flavors of Link and Zelda. And other Warriors games have had their share of odd choices for combatants.
So a related question that comes to mind is, will there be only Zelda characters in this game? Will there be any character crossover from Dynasty or Samurai Warriors? Well, probably not. The Legend of Zelda is far from the first third-party property that Koei has adapted in this manner. Gundam, One Piece, and Fist of the North Star have all been given the Warriors treatment, and none of them feature any figures from Dynasty or Samurai Warriors running around. So I would guess that this will be a fairly straight-forward cast of Zelda characters, with one potential exception.
Several years ago, Tecmo Koei partnered with Nintendo on Samurai Warriors 3 to produce a whole side mode based on an old Famicom game called Nazo no Murasamejou (The Mysterious Murasame Castle). Along with this mode, they included the old game's protagonist Takamaru as a playable character, given a modern, Warriors-influenced makeover.
Could Takamaru reappear in Hyrule Warriors? Well, I wouldn't bet on it, but stranger things have happened.
What will the story be like?
Good question. This is something that could be approached in numerous ways. For example:
- The story mode is simply a retelling of various events from the Zelda timeline in episodic fashion and features Link exclusively as the player character.
- The story mode is divided by character, like the older Warriors titles with smaller casts, giving each playable character their own narrative set somewhere in the timeline.
- Similar to number one, the story is an overarching retelling of events from the Zelda timeline, but with different characters playable at different points, similar in nature to the story modes found in the most recent Dynasty Warriors titles and Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2.
- Crazy hijinks involving time travel, because well, why not? The mash-up approach worked for Warriors Orochi, which mixed figures from ancient China and sixteenth century Japan without any trouble. This approach may also involve a new original character to serve as an antagonist and dare I say require Link and Zelda to work together with Ganon in order to save the day?
- It could be set in a self-contained dream world not unlike Link's Awakening.
- Something else entirely!
Really, there are a lot of ways that they could take the game's story mode, and it's hard to say which guess is likely to be the most accurate. It could be focused on a very specific Zelda title or a span of the timeline. Or it could just do its own thing.
But speaking of the story, Warriors titles are very heavy on voiced dialogue. Zelda is not. Will this be the game to break the trend and give everyone voice acting? Man, it would be really interesting if it is. It would also be strange to play a Warriors game without constant dialogue, but more in tune with the Zelda franchise's history with voice acting.
What about side modes/other content?
There's, again, a lot of ways that this could go. Warriors titles have had a pretty diverse range of side content outside the main story mode, and it tends to vary heavily based on the specific sub-branch of the franchise in question. Many games have featured character encyclopedias and timelines, and it would be interesting, to say the least, if Hyrule Warriors contained an interactive archive of the timeline and of numerous characters found within it.
There's the possibility of a survival mode similar to what has commonly appeared in Samurai Warriors. Fighting through floors of a castle until either reaching the top or finally getting stomped. Or the game could offer more than one type of story mode. The licensed franchises like Gundam and Fist of the North Star have featured games with both a story mode that reflects official canon, and an original or dream mode that takes the characters and puts them in an original scenario. It's possible that if the game's primary story mode were to feature Link almost entirely if not exclusively as the main character that the otherwise secondary characters could be unlocked for use in this second story mode.
There's also the question of multiplayer and online play. This is practically a given; if not in the main story mode, there will be at least one mode, be it the standard Free Mode that allows replaying stages with any character or what have you, that will at minimum allow two-player simultaneous play. It will also likely be the case that online play of some sort, cooperative and/or competitive, will be present.
So while there's no definitive way to state what will be present, history has shown that there are a vast number of possibilities. Certainly, some are more likely than others. Whatever is the case, it will certainly be heavily Zelda themed.
What's with that rock guitar Zelda music?
Pretty cool, huh?
Well, there's a little that we do know, and a whole lot more that we don't. I'm intrigued in finding out what the details truly are, but in the meantime, there's plenty of options on what it could be. It's very likely that the concept of Hyrule Warriors I currently have in my head is way off-base, but then again, who honestly saw this game coming?
What would you guys like to see?