An anonymous tipster recently leaked a slew of “details” for the upcoming Zelda game for Nintendo’s Wii U. The tipster claims to work for Nintendo, and sent us a list of news in complete confidentiality. Before reading any further, it’s important to remember that this tipster is anonymous—We cannot trace him nor confirm his validity. In other words, these details are probably completely bogus.
Some of these leaked details line up with the last set of rumors we heard for the next Zelda title, while others send us quickly to skepticism. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see what they say, and if they turn out to be true, we can always look back and think, “I remember when we thought this was a load of bull.”
1. The game will be revealed in some form at E3 2013. The game most likely won’t be released until early 2014 (it’s still in the early development stages). We may see an eShop demo in late 2013.
Shocking, right? Don’t worry, it gets juicier.
2. The game will feature a different art style than the HD tech demo shown off when the Wii U was unveiled. Early concept artwork looks like they’re sticking with Skyward Sword‘s style for now.
This aligns perfectly with what we’ve heard in the past, but that doesn’t give either assertion any more credibility. If these guys are for real, then it makes sense. If not, this one is probably staying true to few past rumors to give an undeserved air of authority.
3. Nintendo of Japan prefers Skyward Sword‘s motion controls to the GamePad. However, they are aware that some fans still prefer traditional buttons or will want to use the GamePad.
No big surprise here. The important thing to note is that this directly conflicts with the previous tipster’s assertion that Zelda U will feature full GamePad controls throughout the game with new setups unique to each dungeon.
4. Nintendo of Japan was surprised at how well-received the romance was between Link and Zelda in Skyward Sword and intends to flesh it out further for Zelda U. Because this dynamic was favored more in the West than by Japanese audiences, Nintendo of America is looking to popular American romance stories. Names like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey have popped up in conversation, but the extent to which they will inspire the next Zelda is unknown.
This is where things start to get dicey. First of all, Nintendo would not seek to cater to Western audiences after acknowledging that it may alienate fans in Japan. Not only does this sort of approach go completely against Zelda’s past focus, but Nintendo has always been about satisfying everyone as best as they can—Nintendo as we know it would probably try to pull off a balancing act.
And I think I speak for everyone when I say that I pray to the goddesses Twilight was mentioned sarcastically.
5. Developers are weighing the pros and cons for both full voice acting and whether or not Link will speak.
This is entirely reasonable. Nintendo has come under criticism lately for the direction they’ve taken Link as the series progresses—While he was once a blank avatar character, he has more recently begun to express emotion throughout the stories while remaining a silent protagonist. Some fans claim that this indecisiveness makes him both a terrible avatar and a terrible protagonist, rather than doing either one well.
It would make sense that Nintendo should reconsider this strategy going forward, especially if they hope to regain the strong install base Zelda lost between Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. On the other side of the coin, full voice acting just feels like a natural step for the series, so there’s really very little to question here.
6. A well-known character from a past game is returning in some way. This character may or may not be the in the same role and/or form as they was in the past.
The tipster claims to know who this character is, but says “all hell will break loose if I say who it is.” Again, this is a completely reasonable claim and only makes me wonder if this is true… who could it be? Kaepora Gaebora? Navi? Majora? Midna? Ghirahim? Just about every character in the series has a good shot of making it back—Zelda is all about reinvention. We could write a whole article for each of these selections and plenty of others, explaining why the make perfect sense. So it boils down to opinion: Who are you hopeful for?
There are two big conflicts between this leak and the last major one, further suggesting that neither should be trusted. First of all, the last set of rumors claimed that Zelda U began development in 2010, before Skyward Sword was even completed, whereas this leak claims the game is still early in the development process. Just as important is that this leak claims the development team is still somewhat unsure of the control scheme, while the past leak confidently asserted that the game would feature full GamePad integration.
Ultimately, it’s fun to anticipate, but don’t take any of these details to heart—they’re probably nothing more than speculation.