Lately, the Zelda community has been full of fans calling for specific Legend of Zelda games to be remade. It isn’t unusual for fans to want their favorite games to be made available for the latest gaming platforms, but the recent overhaul of Ocarina of Time has made the cries louder than normal.
The loudest noise is coming from Operation: Moonfall. The operation seeks to have Majora’s Mask receive the same treatment as Ocarina of Time: a Nintendo 3DS remake with enhanced graphics and an updated interface. They are encouraged by Eiji Aonuma’s recent comments stating that Majora’s Mask could be remade if enough fans wanted it.
Another group of fans has started a similar operation for The Wind Waker, and Shigeru Miyamoto’s comments about wanting to remake A Link to the Past have excited fans as well.
I’m extremely excited about the possibilities, but I’m not convinced that remakes of Majora’s Mask, The Wind Waker, or A Link to the Past are what the Legend of Zelda series needs right now. Instead, I think it’s time Nintendo revisited the games that started it all.
Nintendo should remake The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link.
Learning from Metroid
Remaking the NES Legend of Zelda games will be completely different from the recent remake of Ocarina of Time. Even so, Nintendo already has experience with extensive remakes. In 2004, Nintendo released a remake of the original Metroid game (which just happens to have been released in the same year as The Legend of Zelda) called Metroid: Zero Mission. The game is a complete reimagining of the classic NES game. The characters, setting, and story are familiar, but the gameplay has been updated for the 21st century.
While the story is familiar, it has also been greatly expanded. A whole new segment was added to the end of the game, and the story now feels like a true part of the Metroid timeline (which is infinitely less complex than the Legend of Zelda timeline).
The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link are both great games that have served as the basis of the Legend of Zelda series for twenty-five years, but despite being revolutionary in the 80’s, the games were limited by the technology of their time.
Remaking the games for the 21st century would benefit the entire series in many ways, but I think the story is the most important.
The First Shall Be Last…But Why?
The Legend of Zelda timeline is a never-ending debate. Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma have been a little more open about it in recent years, but most of the information we have comes from the games themselves, speculation, and constant discussion. One thing that is clear is that The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link likely happen after most of the newer Legend of Zelda games. While this is generally agreed upon, it is based on only a few developer quotes and the location of other games on the timeline. The games themselves offer little information to help place them on a timeline of events.
Both games have stories, but they were fairly basic compared to the stories in video games today. Furthermore, the stories cannot be found anywhere in the actual games. To get a full understanding, you have to read the instruction manuals.
Remaking the games and retelling the stories would help clear up the confusion. This could mean retconning some of the details, but it could also allow more context for placing games before and after on the timeline.
However, as interesting as the timeline is to some fans, “we need to remake these games so that the timeline makes sense” is not a convincing argument. The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link are video games and they need to be fun to play. The gameplay should be updated to match what gamers expect from a game in the 21st century.
Beyond Metroid: Zero Mission
I previously said I wasn’t calling for a remake like Ocarina of Time 3D, but I’m also not calling for a remake like Metroid: Zero Mission. The Legend of Zelda and (especially) The Adventure of Link need to be completely reimagined as modern Legend of Zelda games.
The once revolutionary gameplay is now severely outdated. For example, the very first puzzles in the first dungeon (Eagle Labyrinth) in The Legend of Zelda requires that you push a block to open a door. That’s it. You don’t push the block to hold down a switch or to create a platform to jump on. You just push the block.
That kind of puzzle design wouldn’t have been acceptable in 1998 when Ocarina of Time was released, and it would be video game suicide if it were done in 2011. The dungeons need to be completely reimagined.
The Adventure of Link doesn’t even play like a traditional 2D Legend of Zelda game. I’m going to make some fans upset by suggesting it, but a remake of The Adventure of Link needs to ditch the unique game style and make the game play like every other game in the Legend of Zelda series.
Once completed, the remakes I’m suggesting would look a lot more like new Legend of Zelda games than remakes.
2D Or Not 2D
If The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link are remade, the games need to be 3D. I love 2D Legend of Zelda games, but these classics should be brought into the 21st century in every way possible. Not only will the 3D environments have a greater appeal to younger gamers (who will keep the series alive when we’re gone), but they will also allow for greater creativity when redesigning the games’ environments.
The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link are classic games that some fans will not want tampered with in this way, but fully remaking the games will do a lot more good than harm. These games defined the Legend of Zelda series when they were released in the 80’s, and well-made remakes would define the series once again for a new generation of gamers.