A recent job listing from Nintendo indicated that the company is looking for someone to help with design development for The Legend of Zelda series.
Most significantly, Nintendo were searching for people who could create dungeons. This seems to indicate that the next Zelda game on the Nintendo Switch could include dungeons – something that would be a great addition to the new style that Breath of the Wild offers.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that Skyward Sword, a game with great dungeons (and even dungeon areas outside of the main dungeons) may be the next Zelda title to get the HD treatment. First released in 2011 for the Wii, Skyward Sword split fans’ opinions like the split in the Zelda timeline.
However a recent social media post quoted Eiji Aonuma, the producer of the Legend of Zelda series, as stating “I know what you are thinking, Skyward Sword for Switch, right?” So it seems inevitable that a Skyward Sword HD is coming to the Switch, and that could help support the Switch’s 2019 lineup – one that could potentially be in need for big selling games.
But Skyward Sword can not simply be ported to the Switch; some big changes need to be made to the game for it to succeed on Switch. And in celebration of the seventh birthday for Skyward Sword we’ve come up with a list of seven changes that need to be made.
1. Make motion control a choice
Perhaps the biggest issue surrounding Skyward Sword was the use of motion controls. Even from the 2010 E3 Nintendo conference (with Miyamoto himself!) the motion controls looked shaky. And if the god of Zelda can’t work it – what chance did fans have? Not much, it turned out. The Wii’s motion controls proved to be quite glitchy, which became increasingly annoying as pretty much the whole combat system was based around it.
Of course the Switch’s Joy-Cons should be more sensitive to the player’s movements, but only being able to use motion controls would go against the Switch’s main selling point. It’s a home console that is also portable; much of the system’s marketing has been built around this. Only being able to use Joy-Cons would completely contradict that initiative, and make the Switch much less appealing to many potential customers.
2. Use HD Rumble for battles
Choice is important, and if the player chooses to use the Joy-Cons then there should be a benefit. And the use of the HD Rumble could be perfect for this. It could add extra drama to each fight, and increase the realism in each swing of the sword.
Skyward Sword has some incredibly tense duels. These are mainly so dramatic because of the fighting style revolving around the motion controls. Adding to this by actually feeling each hit or parry would immerse the player even more into the world that Skyward Sword offers.
3. A less linear story
During the 2017 Game Developers Conference Hidemaro Fujibayashi, the director for Breath of the Wild, stated that he wanted to build a Zelda game where the player could go “where they want” and also do what they “want to do”. It seemed like a fresh new direction for the franchise: one that heightened the sense of adventure for the player.
Skyward Sword holds the player’s hand far too much and limits the sense of openness. The developers need to ensure that the freedom crafted in Breath of the Wild is also added to Skyward Sword HD. Let the player choose where they want to go and the order they want to complete dungeons.
4. Include some new areas
Zelda games have included some incredibly iconic locations. Many of the locations reappear throughout the series: Castle Town, Death Mountain and Kokiri Forest (to name only a few). But Skyward Sword only really included three new lands to explore. And this lack of diversity only gets more noticeable when you have to return to each area for the third or fourth time.
Obviously Skyward Sword sits at the the beginning of the very complex Zelda timeline, and this means that some of the iconic locations just wouldn’t make sense to be included. But Breath of the Wild so brilliantly included areas fans knew so well, but were highly changed from what we remembered because Breath of the Wild is much further in the future. It would be so interesting to see the beginnings of many iconic Zelda settings, and Skyward Sword HD could make this a reality.
5. Don’t imprison us in the Silent Realm
Repetition was a recurring theme within Skyward Sword. And this was never more problematic than when fighting the Imprisoned for the second and third time. Why force us to fight the least interesting boss (way less exciting than some of the best Ocarina of Time bosses) so many times? It just became monotonous; surely after seven years the developers have had some more ideas on an Imprisoned 2.0 and 3.0. Or Imprisoneder and Imprisonederer (which would be my choice…).
And that Silent Realm… It didn’t just make all our hearts beat faster – it made our hearts explode into tiny shards that even Toon Link from Wind Waker would struggle to find. But, you know what’s worse than the Silent Realm? Repeating it over and over. Please Nintendo, don’t make us have to do that again.
6. Please Fi, we don’t need so much advice
Fee Fi fo fum, it’s time for a wave of Fi’s advice to come. Again. The constant guides are just too much from Fi. They’re a really interesting character, and one that actually has an emotional story arc, but the constant walkthroughs make it a lot harder to like them. Hopefully Nintendo will tune down Fi’s advice.
Breath of the Wild introduced a new level of difficulty for Zelda, and hopefully that has set a benchmark for the franchise. It just wouldn’t make sense of Skyward Sword HD to go back to the handholding style that Skyward Sword utilises.
7. Shorten the Tutorial
Skyward Sword has a fantastic story. It’s an origins story of sorts, and Link’s opening moments in Skyward Sword are certainly well developed. But it’s almost too well developed. There’s just too much of it. The developers really should shorten the tutorial for Skyward Sword HD.
Due to the constant handholding in the tutorial the game lacks that stand out moment at the beginning. There’s no walking out into Hyrule Field for the first time, or sailing the seas of Wind Waker for the first time. It’s an element that makes the sense of adventure in Zelda games so much more heightened – one that Skyward Sword solely lacks in, and hopefully it’ll be added for an HD release.