I have always loved the Legend of Zelda series. Even if it seems like the official timeline is REALLY stretching it once in awhile, I love playing through Link’s adventures and exploring Hyrule. So today I’d like to hypothesize my own entry to the Zelda series and how I would upgrade it for the latest generation of gamers.
Let me start that, for sake of not limiting by creativity by preconceived events, I’m not going to put my game idea on the Zelda timeline. I’m sure I could change a few details and BS my way into shoving it between somewhere…but I won’t for now. The game is going to take place in Hyrule, so let’s leave it at that.
The game kicks off right away with action. Three Hylian knights (one accompanied by his young squire, Link) are returning to Hyrule with a priceless artifact. They are suddenly ambushed by a group of Gerudo thieves, who knock aside Link with ease and proceed to fight the knights. Two of them are defeated quickly, but the third knight, a veteran warrior and Link’s master, manages to hold his own — until he takes an arrow to the knee! (Sorry, had to do it.)
Link stands as the players take control, with his mentor shouting instructions (He has a “remember your training!” moment) on how to fight in hopes of protecting the relic. Link defeats the thieves, but a sneaky one hiding behind the rocks manages to steal the relic and run off with it. Link gives chase on his master’s horse, and the desperate thief rides her horse into a cave — and right into the jaws of a hungry beast! Link must then defeat the beast to retrieve the relic, which…was swallowed along with the thief.
Upon defeating the monster and retrieving the artifact, Link opens the box curiously and finds that the item in question is none other than… the Triforce!
Cue title and a quick overview of how, from that day on, Link was given the title of Knight of Hyrule. Ten years later…
…And we begin with Zelda’s coronation as the new Queen of Hyrule! Link, now Captain of the Guard, stands by and looks on with the rest of the crowd. Although the vision of grace and poise, she manages to steal a glance and little wave at her friend; Link blushes a bit and waves back. Link’s friend and fellow knight mutters to him about how the castle is on high alert for the occasion, especially since it is known that many people would like the Triforce…which Zelda, as the Queen, is being sworn in as the protector of along with the title of queen. The moment of coronation comes, when suddenly the priest overseeing the ceremony seizes Zelda!
He threatens to kill the young queen if anyone tries to stop him, forcing her to hold the Triforce while he keeps her at knife point to subdue her. Unfortunately for the kidnapper, Zelda is a well-trained mage — and with a flick of her wrist, vanishes (a la Farore’s Wind from Super Smash Bro.s!) and reappears beside Link, Triforce in hand. With his plan thwarted, the kidnapper turns into a huge monster. Players control Link while Zelda aids him with her magic.
The monster is defeated, although the fact that enemies were able to get through the castle’s defenses leaves people feeling grim. Queen Zelda rallies their spirits and completes her coronation while ordering Link to investigate the matter after the party.
Link speaks with fellow knights and others around the castle before catching a lead that the kidnapper may have gotten help from a criminal group in the under city of Hyrule, which he goes undercover to explore. Posing as a commoner, he infiltrates and completes quests to earn the criminal group’s trust. When he finally discovers the plot, he realizes that Queen Zelda is in danger. He arrives too late, and she is kidnapped — the Triforce along with her.
Link follows, and eventually catches up with the villain, who introduces himself as the King of the Gerudo — Ganondorf! During the battle, Link must make a choice to either save Zelda from falling to her death or stop Ganondorf from making his wish on the Triforce. Link, of course, goes for his friend (who is NOT happy with his choice by the way) and Ganondorf makes his wish. As usual, there is not enough balance of Wisdom, Courage, and Power in Ganondorf. All he gets is Power.
Ganondorf is not very pleased with the results, but uses his new power to become a mighty force and plans to take over Hyrule anyway. He sends a blast of magic at Link and Zelda, not knowing that they possess Wisdom and Courage needed for his wish, and the ground they stand upon shatters. They go falling…
…but their Triforce pieces spare their lives. They awaken at the bottom of a deep, dark canyon — an infamous place where exiles of Hyrule are sent. Together, Link and Zelda fight their way through the canyon, eventually gaining allies along the way. They eventually escape the canyon by finding a pair of what-thought-was-to-be-extinct Loftwings!
The Loftwings fly them back to the castle, terrified to see that Ganondorf has taken over and enslaved the realm in their short absence. They realize that they cannot defeat him on their own, and Zelda suggests they grab two secret treasures of her family — the Master Sword and the Hero’s Bow, which are said to be the instruments of those who have protected Hyrule in the past.
But upon sneaking into the vault, the pair discover that these relics were given to Ganondorf’s two loyal servants Koume and Kotake. Link and Zelda decide to split up so that they may retrieve their respective items, and return to defeat Ganondorf together. They do so, and upon defeating Ganondorf, Queen Zelda reunites the pieces of the Triforce and decides to seal them in the Sacred Realm.
Our silent protagonist is a Hylian boy who aspired to become a knight and was fortunate enough to be granted the chance to start training as a squire when he was young. He is 10 when the game starts, but after the short prologue, he is 20 for the game’s remainder. Link originally starts off with knight’s armor, but before he goes undercover as a commoner, he is given a set of familiar green garb to “blend in with peasants” by a questionable merchant named Tingle.
Princess Zelda has been a friend of Link ever since he was knighted for his heroic deed. While he struggled to keep up with young men twice his age, Zelda struggled with the duties of being a queen and the responsibility that was about to befall her shoulders, and the two bonded over their intimidating situations. Although definitely regal and graceful as ever, Zelda’s more personable and mischievous side is shown throughout her time spent with Link outside the castle. Her knowledge of defensive magic is immense, and she’s pretty darn good with a bow, too! Zelda’s magical abilities are sealed away for good shortly before she is successfully kidnapped (the second attempt). Zelda begins the game in traditional princess garb, but attempts to escape Ganon’s clutches by herself by stealing a Gerudo’s uniform. Ultimately she is discovered and locked away again, but it is this outfit — similar to her Sheik clothes from Ocarina of Time — that she wears for the remainder of the game.
Because the Legend of Zelda is such an iconic series, I wouldn’t want to change the basic elements of gameplay that everyone is familiar with. I would, however, like to add and update a few things!
Once Zelda joins Link permanently on his adventure, players may switch between her and Link on the fly. They may also have a friend join in as a second player and control the other character separately. Zelda’s character is a quick and nimble fighter who uses hand-to-hand combat short-range attacks but deals the most damage from long range with her bow. Link’s character, of course, excels at short and mid-range combat and is decent with long-range weapons.
Knight’s Training — Link
Link’s training as a knight gives him the basic fundamentals of the hack-n-slash combat we all know and love. Link’s friend and fellow knight Ashei (a cameo from Twilight Princess!) bullies him into practice sparring with her at an early point in the game to remind him of the basics.
Outlaw’s Training — Link
While gaining the trust of the secret Hyrule crime ring, Link must prove himself by learning and effectively demonstrate the ways of the criminal guild. His overseers teach him to use whatever is around — including Deku nuts, bombs, and more. They also introduce players to a new aspect of battle: climbing upon large targets (similar to Shadow of Colossus gameplay!).
Sheikah Training — Zelda
Zelda was taught self-defense by her caretaker, Impa, as a child, since Impa knew that Zelda would need it one day “when no one else is around to save her.”Nimble and quick on her feet, Zelda can deal fast hits that disorient an opponent so that Link can deal the final blow. She’s a better climber than Link and can even occasionally pull of free-runner-esque moves when needed.
Archer’s Training — Zelda
Fully aware that her delicate frame could not deal the damage that may be needed in a fight, Zelda asked for a lesson in archery from the Master Archer of Hyrule, Roam. Zelda proved a natural at the bow, both from the ground and on horseback.
Other Thoughts and Ideas
I think what I like the most about this concept is that it keeps true to the most traditional aspects of the Zelda series: the Triforce, Zelda is eventually kidnapped, Ganon is the bad guy, traveling to collect items / impress others for their help, and there’s plenty of potential for cameos.
But then you add in the cooperative play element with Zelda, who balances Link, who proves to be a bit more competent while still vulnerable enough to need saving, who will have more of a voice to make up for Link’s muteness. I want her support to be similar to that of more recent female protagonists, such as Ellie from Last Of Us and Elizabeth from Bioshock: Infinite. And she’s not a princess anymore — she’s a queen. She is an adult, and despite being the epitome of perfect royalty on the outside, her burden of protector of the Triforce and ruler of Hyrule will show. I think, also, that I would like to keep an undertone of “I’m in love with Link but we cannot be together” in their story — very subtle, but hinted at enough so that people who are looking for it will see.
And then there’s Link: I like giving Link a relatively painless backstory in this game. His family is alive and not really in danger until Ganon takes over Hyrule, he has some fun friends, and his ability to fight is explained and developed in a relatively simple manner. He’s been training for ten years, it makes sense that he’ll know how to wield most weapons! I’m also very fond of the ability t scale monsters, which I feel would add a new element of strategy to the game like it was for games that used it in the past (Shadow Of Colossus, Dragon’s Dogma).
Although I don’t quite have the world set up in my head, I’d like for Link and Zelda’s adventures to take them outside of Hyrule. The vaguely-described canyon I wrote about would be an excellent area for all-new monsters to show up that aren’t native to Hyrule. Perhaps Hyrule is the only safe, livable area and the rest of the world is a horrifying mess? That would be a very interesting idea to address…
I could probably go on with ramblings on what I would do with this new Zelda game, but that’s the majority of my inspiration right there. So I’ll leave it for now and see what you guys think instead!