Our Thoughts on Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity



On September 8, 2020, Nintendo revealed Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a game set 100 years prior to the events of Breath of the Wild. Fans declared their excitement, hopes, concerns, and even analyses of the 6 minute-long trailer. Since 2019's tease of the sequel to Breath of the Wild, many of us have been hungry for more announcements of Zelda content.


Here are the AZP team's reactions to and thoughts on this latest adventure, which will be available on November 20, 2020.


Carlos


Like my fellow AZP writers, I found myself eagerly watching the Nintendo announcement for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. I hadn’t expected to hear any Zelda news, so it was a moment of pure adulation to see a game offering a prequel of sorts to Breath of the Wild. The reveal was beautiful, immediately grasping my attention with the art and music of BotW’s Hyrule. To put it simply, this title both excites and scares me. Obviously, more Legend of Zelda content makes me ecstatic, and the idea of being able to delve deeper into the lore of the Calamity makes my mind dance with possibility. Hyrule Warriors has a wonderful large-scale battle format, which offers the potential for making a great war game.


However, questions remain, like is this truly canon? Because of its importance to BotW’s lore, the Nintendo team was very involved in its development (again... is it truly canon)? That’s my first concern with the title, my second being repetitiveness. I own Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U and Switch. It’s a game I can pick up and play any time because it’s pretty mindless. It was fun the first play-through just to see all of the characters, but it doesn’t have much depth in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong: it’s fun to be able to just pick up the game and pass the time while fighting hordes of evil-doers. However, the action in each level gave me déjà vu after a time. The game felt like it was designed to highlight Zelda characters with a quick storyline shoehorned in. BotW has a definitive story, and I hope that using the lore of the game will create substance and unique scenarios that make each battle feel alive rather than the same battle with a scenery change. The game draws inspiration from BotW but won’t have an open world, which is shown in the trailer when the map is displayed. I wonder how the interaction would be with animals, nature, and townspeople. Will Age of Calamity stay true to the game it draws inspiration from or lack those elements?


In closing, by directly tying Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity directly to BotW, the bar has been set high. This game can’t simply be a slideshow of characters in a paper-thin world, nor is it truly expected to be the masterpiece of BotW. Instead, I expect something in the middle, a fusion of Hyrule history and button-mashing calamity. Since taking over the franchise, Eiji Aonuma hasn’t led us astray, and, thus, in his vision I will trust.


Follow Carlos (aka The Lost Hylian): @The_Lost_Hylian on Twitter, thelosthylian on Instagram, or his Facebook page, The Lost Hylian.

Shane


After playing Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U, I can say I enjoyed the interesting story and expanded cast of characters and weapons but did not thoroughly enjoy the gameplay as much because of its repetitive nature. I did not buy the game when new content came out on the 3DS, nor did I purchase the Switch version because of this. Seeing the new trailer for the upcoming Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, I immediately have high hopes for more of a varied and fleshed-out gameplay experience. This coupled with an engaging story with a colorful cast of familiar and new characters could really remedy the low points in this franchise and possibly fix the grinding that we endured within the first game.


We know what characters we saw in the trailer, so let’s talk about possible characters I think will also be playable in this game or at the least make an appearance:

  1. Impa – Since Impa was an official advisor to the royal family around the time of the Great Calamity, this puts her at the forefront of characters who will most likely make an appearance in the game, alongside her older sister, Purah, the oldest of the Sheikah tribe during Breath of the Wild. I’m assuming traditional weapons like the Great Sword would be Impa’s main weapon. We can also assume speed and stealth-related weapons and/or ninja-like attacks would be incorporated into her moveset.

  2. Hetsu – Hetsu is the biggest Korok we have come across in the Zelda series. I do not know his age, but if it has not been stated or alluded to, we may see a younger version of Hetsu in Hyrule Warriors. We could have a deeper story of why he is the keeper of Link’s upgrades in Breath of the Wild. His main weapon, of course, would be his maracas. I could see him fighting alongside other Koroks, who go missing during battle and are scattered in the wind, which sets up the 900 Korok seed quest in Breath of the Wild. Lastly, Hetsu’s big finisher should naturally be the Golden Poop. In this case, do hold your breath!

  3. Councilman Muzu – His disdain of Hylians is felt in Breath of the Wild. He was Mipha’s teacher, and her passing caused his contempt. I think the story that could unfold for him would bring excellent dialogue in the form of tragedy. Currently, he is shown with a cane in Breath of the Wild, so I can naturally see him with some kind of staff or rod for his weapon of choice. This weapon would also give him control over water-based moves, just like we saw Mipha use in the trailer.

Honorable mentions for other possible characters they may choose to use are Kilton, Robbie, Buldo, Kaneli, and the obvious King Rhoam, whom we saw in the trailer. What questions may this game address? Could we see Zelda’s mother? How does Link wind up in a 100-year slumber? Who pierces Link’s ears?!?! Hopefully we will get a glimpse.


Thanks, everyone. I hope you are well. Please follow me on Twitter @Stillsaneshane.

Celeste


In November 2020, I am taking a trip in a time machine from the comfort of my home. I am journeying to a century prior to the events in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by playing Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.


Like many fans, I have wondered what Hyrule looked like before Calamity Ganon and his horde destroyed Hyrule Castle and its adjacent parts, completely devastating life as the kingdom knew it. I also have wondered what the deceased Champions were like in battle, their might and skills tested against terrifying beasts. I think this installment in the series (dare I say, possibly canon to the lore) will provide depth and even answers to questions that arose from our adventure in Breath of the Wild.


A Hyrule Warriors game makes perfect sense in depicting the chaos and war Calamity Ganon unleashed. Link, as we know, was a knight in Hyrule’s army and eventually Princess Zelda’s chief protector. The princess mentions him and his stoic nature in her diary in the ruins of Hyrule Castle, and we see their adventures and hardships in the collected memories:

When I finally got around to asking why he's so quiet all the time, I could tell it was difficult for him to say. But he did. With so much at stake, and so many eyes upon him, he feels it necessary to stay strong and to silently bear any burden. A feeling I know all too well... For him, it has caused him to stop outwardly expressing his thoughts and feelings. I always believed him to be simply a gifted person who had never faced a day of hardship. How wrong I was... Everyone has struggles that go unseen by the world... I was so absorbed with my own problems, I failed to see his. I wish to talk with him more and to see what lies beneath those calm waters, to hear him speak freely and openly... And perhaps I, too, will be able to bare my soul to him and share the demons that have plagued me all these years.

Zelda's Diary, Page 5


What was Link’s training like? How did the other knights treat him? How did he become a part of this legion? I hope we can enjoy more character development for our silent protagonist.


The trailer for Age of Calamity shows the ability to play as Urbosa, Daruk, Mipha, and Revali, who aid Link in spirit form in Breath of the Wild. The mere flashbacks of these Champions whetted my desire to know more about these brave souls who were tasked with helping to save Hyrule; their tribes speak highly of them, too, making me wish even more that we could have experienced their involvement before they passed away. I am excited to control each one and pay them their due diligence for their ultimate sacrifices.


Some players speculate about Impa and wonder whether we will have a chance to play as the former royal advisor. We are able to play as the fierce Sheikah in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends, so perhaps Age of Calamity will include her in its roster.


Frankly, I am most excited to learn more about Hyrule, Link, Princess Zelda, and the late Champions. The gameplay likely will keep me entertained for hours on end, but the story is what captures my attention.


Are you planning on picking up this game? Do you have any theories or hopes? Let me know on Twitter.

Andy


I was sitting in the library of my college campus when I felt my phone buzz. Being the responsible student that I am, I immediately stopped working on my assignments and checked my phone. For a second, I was disappointed to see it was just a notification from Youtube, but when I looked at it before I cleared it, I saw the title “Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Trailer.” At first, I didn’t believe it.


We Zelda fans have waited for well over a year now for development news for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, and, to our surprise, we find out Nintendo has been collaborating again with Koei Tecmo Games to bring us a prequel to Breath of the Wild in addition to the sequel they are developing independently.


The director of the upcoming Zelda game informed us that Nintendo has been working with them to develop the story far more than they did for the first Hyrule Warriors game, so it’s possible that even though the first Hyrule Warriors isn’t considered to be canon, the story that will be presented in Age of Calamity will be incorporated into the official lore of Breath of the Wild.


I was also surprised to find out that the release date for the new Zelda game is in just two months. It’s good to hear that Nintendo is delivering on their promise to release a Zelda game every year, but announcing a prequel to Breath of the Wild when everyone was expecting a sequel seems bizarre.

Although the game was unexpected, I cannot emphasize enough how ecstatic I am for it to come out. Breath of the Wild is a great game that introduced a lot of new lore into the franchise, but it also left me (only slightly) unsatisfied due to all the unanswered questions. However, I think that the seemingly orthodox method of storytelling that will be in Age of Calamity will satisfy my thirst for my Zelda lore. In addition, playing as Zelda and the four Champions in Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule is just too good to be true (but apparently it isn’t). The trailer hints at some of the combat mechanics, such as Zelda’s using Stasis with the Sheikah Slate, Daruk’s slamming and crushing enemies, and even Sidon’s leaping out of the water to deliver heavy blows. I believe this game will satisfy many fans, and, once again, I can hardly wait for its release!


Check out my overview on my YouTube channel and follow me on Instagram.

M.J.


I literally just beat Breath of the Wild for the first time this week (I know, I know), so I feel like this announcement was the very best timing possible for me. I think I’m excited for this new Hyrule Warriors game for some of the same reasons why it took me so darn long to beat BotW in the first place.


The Hyrule we see in BotW is pretty calm overall. I mean, yes, there are monsters all over the world, Calamity Ganon rules in the castle, blah blah blah, but when you head to the villages and towns, it’s clear that the war itself is behind us (for now). This was an interesting new take on a Zelda game, as I feel in most of the other games (Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, etc.), the story takes place right at the outset of the conflict. With BotW, it felt a little like we missed all the action. The first thing I’m excited for in this new Hyrule Warriors game is the chance to actually see that story play out--and not just in memories.


The other thing I’m most excited for in this game can be summed up in a single word: Urbosa. OH, MAN, the second I saw the shot of gameplay where you get to play as Urbosa, I was 100% sold. I’m excited to play as everyone, of course (even Mipha looked pretty killer in the trailer), but, man, I’ve been a fan of Urbosa since the first instant I saw her in BotW, so that part of this game looks incredible.


One big question I have about the game at this point, though, is… will it technically be considered canon? I know in the past Hyrule Warriors has not been, but this game seems pretty darn plot-specific for the creators to just go “Psych! None of that actually mattered!” in the end.


Canon or not, this looks like an intense, button-mashy, fan-servicey good time, and I am here for it. Let me know your thoughts on Twitter!

Ryan


I love learning about the history and lore of any game or show I get into (and even lore in the real world). I love listening to stories about Greek and Norse mythology, and I own both Hyrule Historia and the Westeros compendium for Game of Thrones. When I saw that the Zelda team was getting together with the creators of Hyrule Warriors again to make the new Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, I knew I wanted this game right away. It looks like we will be seeing how we got to where we are in Breath of the Wild when Link wakes up. Getting to see the fall of each Champion is a dream for me. Add in the possibility of playing as Zelda, Revali, Urbosa, and/or Daruk (even though he is terrified of dogs), and the game is a straight-up button masher monster brawl? Count me in for a pre-pre-pre-order.


I just finished Hyrule Warriors, and although I have some issues with it (you can definitely tell it is not your usual kid-friendly Zelda game), it is a blast! All the power ups and the awesome combo attack moves--what a great game! I was sad it took me so long to get to it. Even though none of its story is canon, it is still a good play. Now we are getting that same gameplay with actual canon? Sign me up!


The question is how good of a prequel will we get? I love me some Star Wars, and the prequels, despite some issues with writing and some acting, are perfect to me. Even though I knew (SPOILER--but not really after almost 20 years) Anakin was going to be Vader, watching the story unfold and knowing the endgame while no one else knew was entertaining and great to watch. I want to see how the Champions fell; I want to see how cocky Revali was when he thought he was amazing but was not on Link’s level. I can't wait to fight 300-style against the Yiga as Urbosa. Finally, I would like to see more of Link and Mipha’s relationship as that is the ‘ship that is better than all other ‘ships in BotW.


Let's chat about Zelda on Twitter.

David


I recall when the original Hyrule Warriors was announced for the Wii U. At the time--years before Kate and I would ever sit down to record an AZP episode--I felt that the battlefield gameplay would be a perfect complement to the puzzle/adventure aspects of traditional Zelda games. “We hear about all these wars and battles in Hyrule’s history, but we never get to play them” is what I thought at the time. I expected Hyrule Warriors to quench my thirst and curiosity for an action version of a Zelda game.


After playing Hyrule Warriors, I realized that it was clear that developers Omega Force and Team Ninja were massive fans of the Zelda series. However, similar to another Team Ninja/Nintendo collaboration, Metroid: Other M, while playing I was left feeling an odd balance between a supremely joyous sense of nostalgia and an uncomfortable, albeit technically playable, set of mechanics and game design. Ultimately, I couldn’t ignore my disappointment that Hyrule Warriors doesn't somehow fit before or after any of my favorite Zelda storylines. After all of the DLC dropped and fan-service-characters were being introduced en masse (not that I was complaining), admittedly Hyrule Warriors, emotionally, became more of a party game for me rather than a serious narrative in which I could trust.


These days, Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U figuratively sits on my gaming shelf next to Mario Kart and Smash Bros., not next to Twilight Princess or Breath of the Wild. I think that Koei Tecmo did a wonderful job with Hyrule Warriors. It’s a fun romp, and I feel a sense of joy every time characters from the franchise appear in the game. I’ll note that the character models are, in my opinion, absolutely gorgeous in Hyrule Warriors.


So now, years later, a very strange trailer has dropped for a game called Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. In this case, “strange" hopefully isn’t a bad thing. It is intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer that Age of Calamity looks like Breath of the Wild. It looks a lot like Breath of the Wild, and what I specifically mean is that it appears that Koei Tecmo is using Nintendo’s original BotW character models and signature cel shading engine. This excites me.


Eji Anouma himself said that he approached Koei Tecmo with the idea of creating a Hyrule Warriors game in the BotW universe. He felt that the Hyrule Warriors format and gameplay mechanics were a perfect venue for telling the story of the great war that took place 100 years before BotW’s narrative. I couldn’t agree more. It has been reported that the developers of Age of Calamity worked very closely with Nintendo while creating the game. The original Hyrule Warriors (with original non-Nintendo-created assets) was developed and created outside of Nintendo’s internal creative umbrella. Nintendo would drop in from time to time to give their approval, but, otherwise, Hyrule Warriors was very much Omega Force and Team Ninja’s game.


The real question: is this a Hyrule Warriors game with a BotW skin, or is it a BotW game with a Hyrule Warriors combat engine shoved into the existing systemic BotW engine? Either version could work, but I’m personally hoping for the latter. If you look closely at the AoC trailer, some assets, like trees in the background, do “pop” in the way they do in BotW. The original Hyrule Warriors did not use a streaming engine, and BotW famously did. Some screen shots for AoC clearly show the suggestion of a pre-loaded battle map exactly like the Hyrule Warriors maps. Perhaps assets will still pop in to save on processing power even if the “levels” are fully loaded in at the beginning of each battle.


We’re clearly getting bonkers, off-the-wall attacks from our heroes, which was a staple in the original Hyrule Warriors. We’re also clearly getting the mob-based hack-and-slash combat that made Dynasty Warriors 8 on the Xbox 360 (which Hyrule Warriors is itself a spiritual spin-off of) so notable.


What I find interesting is that this time around, a Warriors game feels sort of grounded. The game feels like it’s taking itself somewhat seriously and is fitting comfortably inside the Zelda universe. It’s easy to note that as much as the original iterations of Hyrule Warriors clearly loved The Legend of Zelda, they are, at best, referencing the Zelda universe.


I’m ready. I’m ready to go back to BotW’s Hyrule. I’m excited to see Hyrule in a state before it was mostly ruins. I can’t help but wonder if some of the assets that will represent the “young” Hyrule--buildings and towns functioning and flourishing--were already being developed for BotW 2. I hope it’s true. I have absolutely no problem if Nintendo is pre-using some BotW 2 assets for Age of Calamity. Hopefully, in a couple years we'll have a satisfying trilogy of games that exist in an engine/universe that Nintendo worked so hard to build back in the mid twenty-teens.


One thing seems clear to me: Nintendo made a sandbox, and they asked Koei Tecmo to come over and play in it.


Follow David on Twitter and share your thoughts!









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