If you didn’t know already, there’s a new Zelda game coming from Nintendo next year, and Breath of the Wild will probably end up being a launch title for the much speculated, NX. I, like most of the gaming universe, am quite hyped for Nintendo’s new take on the Zelda franchise.
The gameplay demo from E3 is extremely impressive, what’s more, they were running the game on the Wii U, with Nintendo holding off from revealing details on the NX until they are ready. The Digital Foundry folks over at Eurogamer have taken a closer look at the demo, and as is to be expected from an open world game like this that is running on the limited Wii U, there were some performance dips. But the biggest takeaways from the demo are the game mechanics that Nintendo have brought in from the big boys like Skyrim and Far Cry: it’s a massive open world with areas free for exploration from the off; you can hunt animals and cook meals, this looks set to replace the classic red health potions that hid in the grass; Link will suffer in the colder climates without warm clothing or from crafting new potions and weapons will degrade over time. Hell, just look at the scenes that have been shown off where Link chops down a tree to bridge a gap! You can even use stealth mechanics to sneak up on enemies, or even prey.
During E3, Nintendo showed off a lot of action during their Treehouse presentations, I’ve yet to watch them all, but they all point towards Breath of the Wild being a potential smash hit for Nintendo. What is telling though is the gameplay videos, and hands-on reports, indicate that the Wii U’s GamePad isn’t utilised as anything more than a basic controller (and Amiibo port), with the touchscreen not offering anything to the action. If anything is to be an indication that this new adventure for Link is going to be best experienced on the NX, I think that is it.
I’m incredibly pleased to see Nintendo taking one of their key franchises in a new direction, or rather harking back to the original game in the NES era while mixing in modern ideas. It is all coming too late in the life of the Wii U, and it will be interesting to see how many skip that version, and instead head straight to the NX. I also have confidence in the scale of the game, Monolith Soft are helping the core Nintendo teams with development, and are clearly bringing their expertise from developing the massive Xenoblade games to Breath of the Wild. The promised size of the game (the E3 demo was a small part of the world), innovations to combat and exploration are enticing, but the art style needs a mention. It is an undeniably gorgeous game, and it will look even better on the NX I am sure.
Bring on March 2017!