How Zelda Wii will revolutionize action-adventures once again

October 29, 2008

Hey there, everyone. Maybe you already read that new Miyamoto-interview on MTV.com. What´s important for now is that he mentions how Mario and Zelda didnt feel totally fresh in their last iterations. Basically, that´s all he said about Zelda, but if you´re a fan of the franchise like i am you cannot not start thinking about what Miyamoto might want to do to make the next Zelda game on wii “feel fresh“. More importantly, he explicitely stated how action-adventures and rpgs are genres that stopped feeling fresh, unlike other kinds of games (that are mentioned in the interview). The way he takes a whole genre into account implicizes that Miyamoto has some plans, not only for the Zelda-series, but for its whole genre. That´d then be something on par with Ocarina of Time´s lock-on system, that was adopted by kind of EVERY modern game. So, what could it be?

Actually, i though of what i´m going to explain now a long time ago. But because of the above mentioned interview, i felt like i had to make my idea public now, or Miyamoto will announce it before me, and then i cannot say “haha, i told you!“. So, um, yeah, that´s this blog entry´s reason of existence, haha. But enough chitchat, here´s my concept:

A problem in action-adventures clearly are the limited controls. You just don´t have enough buttons to do all you want, or it becomes too complex to enjoy the game. Also, modern games too often rely on “passive” gameplay, meaning that they use some kind of qte (quick-time-event), where the player pushes abstract button-configurations while watching a 100% non-interactive sence. So i thought of how you could actually incorporate those “awsome” scenes into active, interactive gameplay, without making the game overly complex or taking away even a bit from the active action. I made a little, crappy graphic that will help my explanation:

Basically, my concept involves two new kinds of action-arrows. We know that red arrow since The Wind Waker. The red arrow shows your target, your victim. It´s all 100% active. Supposing the next Zelda will support MotionPlus, this is the part of a fight where you can move your sword however you want to. The blue arrow, now, shows that an attack is coming after Link. Now, you have, thanks to that concept, three choices how you can react to this situation (ok, four choices, if you choose to do nothing :-/):

  1. Run away from the incoming attack by using the analog-stick, that´d be the classic way
  2. Waggle” the wiimote to the right (into the direction the on-screen arrow is coming from), to deflect long-range attacks or counter-attack approaching enemies
  3. Waggle” the nunchuck to the right, to do an escape move. You could call it “tactical retreat“, as it moves you into a more advantagous position.

Two important notes on that system: There are NO random actions happening. No accidantially being hit by an attack that you didn´t see. You always have the possibility to do at least “something”. Of course the time frames for reacting to these on-screen arrows varies. So at one point only the most skillsful player will be able to deflect, defend, escape and attack enemies. Second note is…this would only be possible on the Wii. Of course, the two more traditional competitors could try mimicing all this by using buttons, but it´d really feel completely different, not speaking of how it´s so much more simple and directly involving to just shake the controller into the shown direction.

There remain the white arrows. White arrows show you special environmental points. For example, if you shake the nunchuck to the left, Link instantly shoots the grappling hook towards the wanted target. For a better imagination, think of Link using the double clawshot from Twilight Princess in between two house rows in a town. Instead of slowly targeting your next aim, you shake the nunchuck left, right, left, right and so on, and Link just seems to fly through the streets, making for action-heavy, direct gameplay. Of course you could also waggle the Wiimote towards the white arrow. Depending on how close you are to your target, Link then uses his Sword for environmental usage, like hitting it into the side of a tree and then holding onto it to not fall down. Depending on the situation or simply because of the fun you want to get out of the game, you could always choose to use the wiimote or the nunchuck to react to those on-screen arrows.

There is to say, though, that this concept would only work for singleplayer-games. It´s kind of fusing quick-time-events with actual gameplay. You always have your old active gameplay, where you move with the analog-stick and directly use your sword or other items to fight enemies. BUT you´ll encounter many situations where  you COULD make use those on-screen-arrows. Key word is “optional“. The moment this concept becomes a “have to do“, it turns into crappy, real qte. And qtes suck, you know it (or dont want to know it). So, this is it. I have to add that i always come up with ideas when i think about the next Zelda game, because it´s the videogame-defining franchise to me. But if i could choose, i´d love to see a Zone of the Enders for Wii, using the above concept. I can so imagine all the crazy action that would happen if you´re flying around, shooting at enemies, using this concept to react to enemy-attacks and so on. Oh, i have to stop it, im getting carried away :-/ Just write what you think of my little idea and what you think Miyamoto could do with the next Zelda game to revolutionize the whole action-adventure-genre.

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3 hours and 40 minutes until Nintendo´s fall conference

October 2, 2008

So here i am, waiting for the most promising Nintendo event of the year to take place.

That in itself guarantees me some overdone hype. But what can you do after the disappointment this year´s E³ was? Though, let me be honest with you: I cannot be disappointed. Not anymore, that is. Why, you ask? Well, i guess i turned into a “Hype-Fail-Junkie”. I really did.

Some of you may remember the evening/night-conference (it was late night for me), that wasn´t that known. But after some time of eating up the suckage of the official conference, people started to wake up again. “Wait, there´s another conference? YEAH! HYPE!”. Officially, the conference was about WiiSports Ressort, Animal Crossing Wii and WiiMusic, again, but many hoped there´d be new stuff, like Super Smash Brothers Brawl was announced years before. Reality shows, that we didn´t even get new stuff on the already shown titles. And even the audience-question, if Pikmin 3 is under development, didn´t satisfy much. Could have as well asked, if there was a Starfox-game on the way, and the answer would have been yes, too.

Nonetheless, since waiting hours late in the night, i´m attached to such anticipated disappointment. It´s like…when you don´t have to lose anything anymore, you can get entertainment from like anything. That night, i was entertained by collective disappointment.

Let´s look forward though.

In less than four hours the Japanese fall conference starts. Unlike E³, which is always a gamble, previous fall conferences actually gave the fans something great. Last year, we got the Wiiware-unveiling and Monster Hunter 3. Also Fire Emblem DS, if i remember correctly.

For this year, it seems to be bound that we´ll see the new version of the Nintendo DS (see my previous blog-entry) and a new first-party game (Nintendo hinted at the revival of an old franchise). I guess these alone will make this conference quite interesting. Personally, i hope the mysterious game is not going to Punch-Out. I hate boxing, it´s so stupid, and it´s also no fun as a video game. That´s only me, though. And i would take Punch-Out over a Factor 5-developed Kid Icarus any day. For a wild guess, i´ll say that Starfox Adventures 2, developed by part of the Zelda-team, would be great.

Anyway, i actually wanted to sleep (it´s close to 3 a.m. here), but a damn mosquito keeps flying towards my ears, so i cannot sleep…sigh. Let´s wait, let´s hype, let´s get entertained…in one or another way.

Is that what´s going to happen to us tonight?

Is that what´s going to happen to us tonight?