It’s almost here folks. On Monday, June 14th, E3 2010 will be start up in Los Angeles and, just like every year, there are loads of unannounced stuff waiting to be unveiled. As usual, the biggest secrecy (and underground hype) is surrounding the Japanese giant Nintendo.
There is one title however, that is guaranteed to be at E3 this year — Zelda Wii. Supposedly in development since late 2005, Zelda Wii has been a highly anticipated title since the launch of its predecessor Twilight Princess. And why wouldn’t it be? Every console Zelda game is a classic, whether it’s the 2D classic A Link to the Past or the cel-shaded gem The Wind Waker.
So here at Game Rant, we’ve been thinking. What should Zelda Wii be? How different should it be in order to warrant a purchase? What would make us excited for the newest title in the Zelda series? As you may’ve guessed from my title – I’m hoping Zelda Wii will draw heavily from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was a great game, by any standards. A rich and diverse world, populated by interesting characters and fascinating storylines. It had everything that a gamer could hope for. Breaking away from the ‘traditional’ formula whilst simultaneously keeping the player in a world that felt distinctly ‘Zelda’, Majora’s Mask invited gamers to explore three days in the world of Termina, and boy, what a fantastic three days those were.
Most people can still remember special moments from Majora’s Mask. A friend of mine, to this day, has nightmares involving Link’s horrific transformation-induced scream, whereas another friend has a deep ingrained loved of countdown timers – thanks to the three-day rule and the sense of impending doom that accompanied it.
For me, I was very young when I first played Majora’s Mask, and still recall the feeling of absolute wonder that occured when I realized that, if I remembered or noted down the numbers for the lottery, then I could win every time I played. It may not sound like much, but it was the pure simplicity that grabbed my eight-year-old brain — “If only life worked in the same way!” I often said to myself, noting in my journal — “Note to self. Invent time machine; Win lottery countless times.”
Then there’s the big reason why so many loved Majora’s Mask — The sidequests. Brought back in Wind Waker (in a smaller fashion), and almost completely lacking in Twilight Princess, the sidequests in Majora’s Mask were legendary. After all, who doesn’t remember the tragic love story of Kafei and Anju? Or the ridiculous alien attack on Romani Ranch?
One of the reasons that so many of the sidequests from Majora’s Mask (and to a lesser extent, Wind Waker) were memorable was because they truly made the player feel part of a real community. Sure, the Fable IIs and the Fallout 3s of current-gen consoles are often touted for their vast array of sidequests, but there is never a true feeling of community and connection between the characters – at least in my opinion. When a quest is asking you to ‘Kill 10 deer’ or ‘Find 5 Bags of Gold’, there’s never a real sense of the greater implications, “If I help this guy out, it will have major repurcussions for this character’s life — not only that, but the people they interact with will see them in a whole new light.” Anything shy of that just feels… pointless.
It’s a well-worn example, but the quest for the Couple’s Mask is a true example of storytelling genius within a videogame. Although the quest was completely optional, it felt wholly rewarding when you finally managed to reunite the star-crossed lovers Kafei and Anju, even though you knew that, when you played the Song of Time, you’d head right back to the beginning, undoing all of your hard work. It was destiny – and it felt amazing.
Herein lies the problem with Twilight Princess. Whilst Hyrule Town may have been a lot larger than Windfall Island or Clock Town, because the number of people in the city was so greatly intensified, it was almost impossible to form any sort of connection to the characters. There’s always people milling about, apparently going about their daily routines, but if you chose to follow them, they’d tend to wander in an aimless circle before returning to their original starting point. They felt empty, soulless and vapid, whereas the characters in Majora’s Mask felt fully fleshed out and realized.
Sure, it may have just been three days, but you saw these people delivering mail, going to the shops, meeting at a bar, chatting about the weather… the list goes on and on. If you chose to follow a character around, you would’ve truly experienced ‘A Day in the life of…’ — and that’s something that you just don’t tend to get in videogames anymore.
So now we come full circle, to the title of this piece — Why Zelda Wii should be Majora’s Mask Part 2. I’m not asking for a return to Termina. Nor am I asking for a return to the Hero of Time. All I’m asking for is a small, tight-knit community that I can feel a part of; One that will make me laugh, cry and feel genuinely proud of.
Oh, and a huge bundle of intriguing sidequests.
What do you want from Zelda Wii? Do you agree with our little retrospective of Majora’s Mask?