Yesterday, Nintendo released a bombshell of information in their latest Nintendo Direct. In my mind, the best news that we heard was the announcement of a new Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker remastered for HD. Wind Waker was my first Zelda game, and the one closest to my heart. I called my brother to tell him the news, and he claimed that it was too good to be true before jumping for joy at my insisting that it was true. Now, there are a number of things that can go either really well or quite terribly for the remake. Below are my thoughts for a good remake and a perfect update.
A Good Wind Waker:
A good Wind Waker is going to have the updated visuals that we’ve already seen. It’s going to have a triumphant return of the same great tunes. The ocean will have a bit more wildlife. We’re going to be able to play the game on just the GamePad. It’s going to give us a full map on the GamePad when playing on the TV. It’s going to let us take pictures in-game and post them on Miiverse. Everyone will love it, and everyone will buy it.
How to make a fantastic Wind Waker:
Most importantly, orchestrate the soundtrack. Update the tunes tastefully. They’re all wonderful, but put some more oomph behind them. We already have a perfectly great Wind Waker soundtrack available on the original, so feel free to add a little bit more to the game musically. Give voices to everyone but Link. Given that the entire game pertains to islands and sea travel, include a modified version of Twilight Princess’ fishing (and then make it funner, like the option to fish for rupees). Add Skyward Sword’s fantastic stamina system (I don’t see how the series managed to work so well without it).
There are also a number of things that they can do to enhance the art style. Firstly: make the ocean a little bit clearer; let us see to the ocean floor (depending on the depths). Let’s see coral reefs and wildlife and fish—but in the spirit of Wind Waker’s art style. (One example of this is sailing in the Sand Sea in Wind waker: cartoony and cell shaded, yet gorgeous and adding depth and beauty to the game). Regarding the visual direction: enhance it, but don’t over do it. Make the rocks on Windfall rocky, don’t just add color and detail to the flat surface. And looking at the characters, let’s see some fabric and depth and layer to their clothes, not the painted on look that the GameCube used. Skyward Sword did a great job of this. Looking at the photo above, it looks a bit “painted on”.
Additionally, Wind Waker was never truly finished—there were two dungeons that should have been included that weren’t due to time constraints. Give us those dungeons, and allow the “Triforce Hunt” to become the opportunity to look for new items, like the aforementioned fishing rod or rupees. This rewards those who have already played through the game and know where those Triforce pieces are, while allowing the main quest to stay true to its original vision. At the very least, reverse the two: give us the dungeons, but make them optional. This would be a disappointment though.
One thing that would make my day: make the bombs work as they do in Skyward Sword: don’t let them light until after they’ve left Link’s hands! Oh, and let us refill our bomb bag from bomb flowers. Seriously, that was the best thing in the entire game.
Nintendo has really done Zelda fans a huge favor by remaking Wind Waker. They have the opportunity to make it good or to make it great. Hopefully they’ll put the work in and make it spectacular.