Few videogame franchises are cherished in quite the same way as The Legend of Zelda. Since the launch of the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time back in 1998 Nintendo have been incredibly careful to maintain a high standard of quality. The company has publicly rejected attempts to court vapid expansions and neglectful financial gain from outside sources. When the reckoning comes, The Legend of Zelda will stand as 3D videogaming’s thoroughbred testament to quality design. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker will be instrumental in exactly that.
That’s not to say everyone loves it, of course. With a franchise this big there will always be detractors. And The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is undoubtedly the cheapest shot in these arguments against it. The ridiculously high quality of the core gameplay is undermined by a few key flaws that many hang upon; cel-shaded graphics, monotonous sailing and the missing dungeon are cited as weaknesses far too often. In reality, the former is a strength and the latter two are a concession to one another.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was a different kind of adventure to that which fans would have experienced before. In order to differentiate it the pacing of the videogame had to change. Though this is far from the whole story it was key to The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker’s success two decades ago, but Nintendo are nothing if not a developer that listens to their audience. Even if they often chose to ignore them.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Along with a dozen new features the The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD remake for Wii U addressed many of the complaints that had been levelled at the original in the years since it’s launch. Most notably the aforementioned sailing. A brand new sail is featured in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. A red sail, that offers a 150% speed boost. Arriving reasonably late in the videogame, prior to the point at which many suggested sailing became a chore, players will erect the normal sail and then simply press the A button for a second time to erect the red sail.
Another brand new addition is the ability to send and receive messages to and from other players via the Miiverse. Essentially an evolution of the idea that debuted in Demon’s Souls and was evolved with Dark Souls, players are able to write messages and place them in a bottle. Other players will then receive these messages, which can offer clues or tips on how to progress past the point at which they were collected. Exactly how Nintendo continue to keep their content guidelines adhered to here is not known, but would could assume an enduring strategy to keep the penis sketches and swearing to a minimum.
Wii U, We Barely Knew You
Of course there are other areas in which The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD capitalises on the unique features of the Wii U. The high-definition visuals look gorgeous. New tilt controls for the bow. Telescope and camera designed with far more elegance than most motion control inputs, and the entire videogame can be played on the GamePad. It’s hard to suggest that the Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker isn’t a thoroughly modern rendition of a classic, and with that what’s not to love?
So given that all of these additional features are wholly compatible with the Nintendo Switch, why haven’t we seen a port? Many of the Wii U’s best titles have made their way over to the Nintendo Switch. And even some mediocre ones. Nintendo has a tradition of regularly updating classic titles for newer hardware stretching way back to Super Mario Allstars. So why no love for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD?
The truth of the matter is that despite Nintendo’s passion for remakes, they do pace them well. You may have bought Super Mario Bros. 30 times by now, but that’s simply a case of making classic titles readily available. The game, in all truth, has only been ‘remade’ once. The same is true of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, with only the Nintendo 3DS release being a true remake.
Bringing The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker into the Future
So, will we see The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD ported to the Nintendo Switch in due course? It’s possible. However, I believe Nintendo have other plans. With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom finally due for release later this year, and no new hardware in sight, Nintendo will surely want to bolster the Nintendo Switch’s late lifecycle. I believe The Legend of Zelda will see more life on the console. But I don’t think it will be The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. The re-release of a remake will be saved for a future point in time. Nintendo surely have had a plan all along, and double-dipping a remake never seems to have been a part of it.