Our Thoughts on The Legend of Zelda Portion of E3's Nintendo Direct 2021


On June 15, Nintendo fans around the world enjoyed footage of upcoming games and downloadable content (DLC), including items for The Legend of Zelda series. Here is a recap:


  • First up was an announcement for an Expansion Pass for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Wave 1 (“Pulse of the Ancients”) is available June 18 in the Nintendo eShop. It includes a playable Battle-Tested Guardian, a flail for Link and Master Cycle for Zelda, Apocalyptic difficulty level, new challenges (“In the Royal Ancient Lab”), and new enemies. Wave 2 (“Guardian of Remembrance”) is available in November 2021 and includes new character vignettes, new stages, an expanded roster, and new battle skills for existing characters. A Purchase Bonus available now includes a costume for Link (Prototype Ancient Gear) and a new weapon for Link (Prototype Ancient Sword).

  • Next was footage for Skyward Sword HD and an explanation of controls (after all, the original game on the Wii relies on motion control to play). The port of this game is available on July 16, 2021.

  • Game & Watch™ enthusiasts, rejoice! Game & Watch™: The Legend of Zelda™ is available November 12 and includes three classic games: The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. An interactive digital clock/timer is also featured.

  • More footage of the sequel to Breath of the Wild teased us! Link appears to be traveling somewhere in the sky. New enemies run amok. Link can travel through solid matter. Hyrule Castle is surrounded by Malice. We have so many new questions!


You can watch the Nintendo Direct for E3 2021 below:


Source: Nintendo’s YouTube Channel

(Start at the 32:08 mark of the presentation for Zelda content)


A few of us wanted to share our thoughts on the Zelda portion of the Nintendo Direct.

Shane:


From Hyrule to “Higher-rule,” the new footage for the Breath of the Wild sequel shown at E3 2021 has us looking up once again. Here are my thoughts of what we saw, speculation, and reactions to this short but magnificent-looking trailer:


We first see red Malice, which is a stark contrast to the green color theme in the trailer from 2019. We see the Malice encapsulate Link's right arm, which traditionally is not his weapon-wielding preferred arm. I’m wondering if the evil from the Malice takes Link’s arm and replaces it with power from the green hand to save his arm and in the process gives him the powers we see? Zelda seemingly falls into the abyss; will we need to rescue her?


From here we see a different looking Link descending from the clouds. I have a few thoughts on what we see here: He has this wild-looking hair; the green arm shows strange, almost Midna-like from Twilight Princess patterns going towards his shoulder and back; there is a cloth with a symbol almost resembling a lizard of some sort; and a modified Sheikah eye shield is visible.


Questions arose for me at this point: Are the land masses all from Hyrule below, or do a fair amount of these already exist in the sky? Does some sort of Sheikah-type tribe reside in the heavens? Where did Link get that shield? Also, since his arm was touched by Malice, which is a negative force, can Link not wield the Master Sword because it is a positive force? Was Demise/Ganon/Ganondorf trying to transfer into Link to take over his body as a new vessel?


Later we see Link with a flamethrower-like weapon or power fighting some creature protruding from the ceiling. He then uses new reverse mechanics with stasis and ascends from a water puddle to a landmass above. All these new mechanics in the game can really spice up fighting and travel. Also, the enemies on top of the Stone Talus and the mechanical-looking creature were refreshing to see, providing me with a remix and refresh to the scene.


So, my thoughts in summary of this trailer are mixed. I’m of course hyped about every detail I see here and am extremely excited for the potential this game seems to have, but will it have traditional dungeons, items, etc.? How will we traverse this seemingly even bigger Hyrule, and will Zelda be more involved than she has been in the past? What do you think the title will be? We will again wait for more news. Stay thirsty, Zelda fans.


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Stephanie:


Nintendo knew exactly what they were doing during their Direct at E3 2021. They streamed on a Tuesday, the last day of E3, as they historically have done. Many fans were riding on hopes and rumors since Nintendo first announced the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2019. While we have been waiting for this monster of a release, Nintendo released Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.


My heart leapt when I saw a dead (or unconscious) Ganondorf at the start of Nintendo’s Direct. Were they really going to start with Zelda news? Why did it look like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time version of Ganondorf? Nintendo pulled a fast one on us as it ended up being a Smash character reveal. Once I got over my initial shock, I patiently watched the entire Direct. When Eiji Aonuma appeared toward the end, I knew it was time.


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Expansion Pass: More was revealed for this hack-and-slash DLC. Footage included Zelda riding on the Master Cycle Zero, a Guardian clearing a field of bokoblins, Link swinging a Guardian-like flail weapon, and much more. I personally have not started Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity yet, but I appreciated the additional content that I hope to enjoy soon.


Zelda Game & Watch System: What got me hyped was the Game & Watch™ system to celebrate The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary. Gamers can play The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Link’s Awakening, and a Vermin game with Link as the playable character. After the excitement settled, I thought to myself that this Game & Watch™ would be more of a collectible versus something I would use to play the games. The first two Zelda games are available on Nintendo Online, and I already purchased the remake of Link’s Awakening. Disappointment soon took hold as Aonuma mentioned they had no intention porting any more Zelda games for its anniversary. I certainly didn’t want to be an ungrateful fan, but part of me wished Nintendo had done a little more for the beloved franchise. I do have hope, though. Nintendo knows what they’re doing—who knows what the future holds!


Breath of the Wild 2 Teaser: In typical Nintendo fashion, they saved the best for last. I appreciated Aonuma addressing his viewers by saying “development has steadily been progressing” before revealing a teaser trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel. There were brief clips featuring Zelda falling, the rise of some form of Ganon, and Link wielding powers that generate from his arm. Many will spend the time to analyze and write down what they think, so I will forgo doing so in this article. What I wish to speak about was the trailer’s stunning similarities and nods to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.


As I’ve said before, Nintendo is very particular about the when, how, what, and why. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is briefly featured in the Nintendo Direct with no real new information. It will be released July 16, 2021, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel will drop sometime in 2022. The brief cameo of Skyward Sword HD at the Direct was not some side-thought. Then, during the Breath of the Wild sequel teaser trailer, we notice obvious nods to the origin story. The most obvious is the clip of Link free-falling from the sky, just like Skyward Sword Link before he whistled for his Loftwing. We also see ancient machinery in Skyward Sword-style and the presence of islands in the sky. Finally, these two games currently act as bookends to the franchise. One is the origin story while the other has been confirmed to be last on the timeline. It is unsure if the Breath of the Wild sequel will have true ties to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, but I feel Nintendo wants them to complement one another as the titles roll out.


Overall, I appreciated the Zelda portion of Nintendo’s Direct. While I would have preferred more on the anniversary and perhaps more on the Breath of the Wild sequel, I can only stress how methodical Nintendo is. I trust the company to do the franchise justice, and I am thrilled to see how Skyward Sword will influence this next game!


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Celeste:


Although I own Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, I have played maybe only an hour of it! Lately I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the “information overload” of video games and entertainment media in general. I long for a day where I can take my time and play a video game for hours on end. The DLC for Age of Calamity looks exciting, but I still need to play the main game. I did play Hyrule Warriors on my Wii U, and although I devoted a substantial amount of time to that game, I don’t feel as drawn to Age of Calamity. Am I too busy? Am I just not into this genre as much? If you decide to purchase the DLC, please let me know how it is. You may convince me to power through this hack-and-slash game.


I likely will pick up Skyward Sword HD because I did enjoy the original game. I am ecstatic to not have to rely on motion controls and calibrating the motion sensors; those aspects made gameplay a hassle many times. I love to move and stay active, but sometimes I just want to sit down and unwind with a virtual story. Maybe I’ll finally complete the harp mini game at the Lumpy Pumpkin!


I grew up playing Game & Watch Gallery on the GameBoy Color and GameBoy Advance, and I think this collectible is an improvement on the Mario Game & Watch™ from 2020. I do love Mario games, but how many times has the original Super Mario Bros. been ported? I’m more willing to spend $50 on the Zelda version, especially since it includes three complete games. The ability to interact with the digital clock also intrigues me!


The main reason I watched this Nintendo Direct was for the pièce de résistance: more information on the sequel to Breath of the Wild. Link appears to be traveling to the islands in the sky we see in Skyward Sword, and his right arm appears… infected? With Malice? Replaced with something mechanical? Is this related to Dark Link? Will our hero turn into something malevolent?


Will we see familiar locations either centuries after we originally visited them or in their prime through the magic of time travel? What happened to Link and Zelda’s companion animal from the original trailer in 2019? How did Link manage to travel through solid matter? Will we finally play as Zelda?


Are you interested in any particular announcement more than the others? What are your theories and thoughts on the Zelda content from E3? Let me know on Twitter!


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