The following can hardly be called news, but it is something I personally wished for the Zelda-series to feature since forever. That is, a Link that can fly in the sky. Now, we´re far from being able to confirm anything, and as I said, it´s much more speculation than factual news, but it is a glimmer of hope. Here is what Eiji Aonuma, producer at Nintendo of Japan, told the British magazine The Guardian:
“I have an eight-year-old son myself at home, and quite recently he started playing The Phantom Hourglass for DS, because when the software first hit the market he was too young. When he started playing with the boat, I told him: ‘In the next Zelda, you are going to be able to ride on the train.’ He answered: ‘OK, Dad, first boat, and then train? Surely next time, Link is going to fly in the sky … ‘”Aonuma pauses, grinning. “I just don’t know. If many people make many speculations … some of them might be correct. Right now, I have to refrain from commenting on anything.”
There we have it, Aonuma mentioning a flying Link and making all of it even more mystic by adding a pause, followed by a grin. How likely is it, though, to have a flying Link in Legend of Zelda Wii? Something supporting that is the fact that Zelda Wii seems to take a serious look at WiiSports Resort. Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma both talked about how gamers should think of WiiSports Resort if they´d like to get an impression of how sword fighting and bow-shooting is going to be like. There´s one discipline in said title that has you flying. Coincidence? Most likely, but it is not as if Nintendo doesn´t have any experience with air-gameplay. And to be more specific, WiiSports Resort is the game that made flying through the air to feel the most believable of all games I´ve ever played.
Aonuma also confirms that there´d be sword fighting in the next Zelda-games, which wasn´t that clear after the artwork was released, showing Link without a sword. There have been people thinking that there´d be a problem due to MotionPlus, which needs to be recalibrated all the time, which is why Link would only have s word at certain times. With Aonuma´s words backing up sword fighting, it´s likely that Link can use the sword at all times the player wants to. Giving it some more thought, the “Point at screen and press the A-button” that has to be done in WiiSports Resort, could be solved by the “master sword girl“, the girl on the artwork that looks like a humanized master sword. Instead of having your sword instantly ready in all past Zelda-games, in this new Wii-Zelda you´d simply have to point to the girl, which then transforms into the sword. It´s basically a form of unsheathing the sword manually, instead of it being done automatically. That way you´d have your sword all the time, but the possible problems due to MotionPlus would be solved.
What question remains is: How would Link fly?
There are many different approaches, but one can try to evaluate each´s probability. There´s the most direct option, a Link that can fly by himself. Maybe growing angel-like wings by using an item. I find this to be less likely, as that would be a very powerful ability and as much as I´d like it, it doesn´t fit past Zelda-games. Link was never “cool”, so giving him shiny angel-wings…rather not. Then there´s the possibility of him having some kind of mechanical device. A glider would fit into the medieval theme of the Zelda-series. A balloon could also work, but doesn´t sound like fun. Again, on the “cool” side of ideas he could have some kind of rocket boots that are run by steam. If anything, a glider sounds most likely. What is most likely at all, though, is some kind of animal that lets Link ride on itself. First thing that comes to mind is Epona, with wings. Basically, Epona turns into a Pegasus. What makes me doubt that option are the controls of Epona in former Zelda-titles. Nintendo wants to give the player as much control as possible, which in return made some people complain about Epona being to stiff, to unnatural. On ground that is no problem. But now try to imagine flying around at the sky with Epona, and then landing on the ground. In my mind, once you touch the ground there will be clipping errors, a framerate hickup and what not else, due to the horse controls being to stiff. And I wouldn´t want to have an automatic landing sequence, either. Which brings us to another animal that many Zelda-fans wouldn´t hate to see: A dragon. Ever since I read the Ocarina of Time-manga I long for Link to have a cute dragon by his side that, once grown up, lets him ride on itself. Imagine a smaller version of Volvagia. In terms of gameplay that could be perfect. The way Volvagia moves with its snake-like body negates all possible stiff movements, and thanks to the fact that Volvagia doesn´t have such an emphasis on its legs, once you approach the ground in order to land, it would simply slow down until your deep enough to get off its back. What I´m trying to say: Yeah, a dragon, please, Nintendo!
After all is said, there is no guarantee for anything of the above to happen. Some fans might remember an old interview Aonuma had with German GamePro prior to Twilight Princess´ release. The way he talked about the character´s options of movement made it seem as if he´d get to fly in that game. We all know that didn´t turn out to be exactly that way, except you consider being shot around by cannons “flying“. Nonetheless, with so few information and so much demand of discussion, a little speculation about a flying Link can´t be wrong. I´d like to see that happen. What about you?