Zelda: Wind Waker HD Remake Was Met With Resistance At Nintendo

By Ishaan . July 3, 2013 . 5:40pm

When Nintendo’s Zelda team began looking at ideas for a new Zelda game on Wii U, they conducted a few experiments with regard to HD graphics, by converting previous Zelda games to HD.


Initially, Nintendo attempted to do this with Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, series producer Eiji Aonuma tells Wired. However, since both games were “semi-realistic” representations of the Zelda world, the results weren’t very surprising. Then they attempted it with The Wind Waker, the results of which they did like.


“When I suggested moving forward with Wind Waker HD, internally there was actually a lot of pushback,” Aonuma shares.


“The reason for that is, people were saying, ‘Oh, that Link. People didn’t like that Link.’ But in talking to our counterparts in the U.S., that wasn’t actually the case, people didn’t have that negative reaction maybe anymore to that younger Link.”


Aonuma is referring to the time when The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was first revealed. At the time (and even today), there was a subset of fans that voiced their dissatisfaction with the game’s cel-shaded visuals and more cartoony look. To put things in perspective, just a few years later, the more realistic Twilight Princess received a standing ovation when it was revealed.


Now, however, The Wind Waker is far more warmly received than it initially was.


“It could be that when we introduced Wind Waker in that graphic style, people resisted it because it was so new, but over time, we may have created this environment that 10 years later is ready to embrace that graphic style,” Aonuma hypothesizes.


Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • AuraGuyChris

    *Loads shotgun*
    Tell me which Japanese people eww’d at the game from the start and dissed Toon Link.

    • SetzerGabbiani

      It was at E3 many years ago, not necessarily Japanese people.

      • Guest

        I imagine them being like this xD

      • NewestType

        Except for some of the devs, the general audience seems to be mixed crowd.

    • Spider-Man

      I DID! (Not Japanese, but still.)

  • CirnoLakes

    ‘Oh, that Link. People didn’t like that Link.’

    • Terraforce77

      “But that wasn’t actually the case”

    • Impressionnant

      Not 10 years ago. I remember the hatred that most people had for it when it was announced and released. It’s just the zelda cycle though. When the next zelda comes out expect people to love SS.

      • CirnoLakes

        I think that was a vocal minority of people, the same as with Skyward Sword. Skyward Sword already has its haters.

        But the game is far, far more beloved than its vocal minority of haters. It’s amazing that people actually believe that people hate Skyward Sword. Most people quite adore it.

        • Really? I’ve found Skyward Sword very polarizing in general. People either scream that it’s the best one since Ocarina of Time or fall into the same camp I do where it’s made them wary to even keep following the series going forward.

          I really wanted to get into it but it feels way too padded to me, even ignoring my personal distaste for the MotionPlus swordplay. :/

        • Trepie

          I guess most of my friends and myself are part of a vocal minority. I don’t really know anyone personally who enjoyed Skyward Sword.

      • Yause

        Fans come and go, plus the people hanging out on message boards move on.

        Generally, you have a lot of experienced gamers complaining when a new installment launches. However, ten years down the road, they’re no longer the ones bombarding the discussion forums and writing in to the publishers. Instead, the kids who were okay with the game from the start (maybe it was even the first one they played) are now the vocal ones.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      The majority didn’t like it….and if I’m entirely honest, I think they still don’t. But the combination of the Zelda fanbase shrinking and Wind Waker becoming a cult favourite leaves the false impression that people have warmed up to it.

      Although, honestly, the cel-shaded visuals are the least of Wind Waker’s problems. Even if it had semi-realistic ones, that would have only made a difference as far as the initial impressions were concerned, since the gameplay and content issues would have remained. Even Twilight Princess, with it’s semi-realistic representation, had a fair amount of issues.

      Either way, I think Wind Waker HD is going to receive a very cold reception once it is released.

      • Ethan_Twain

        By what metric are you measuring “the majority”? Sales and critical scoring would both seem to indicate that Wind Waker was quite a hit. If critics liked it and the market bought it… how do you reckon most people didn’t like it?

        • Tom_Phoenix

          How exactly would sales indicate that Wind Waker was a hit? Granted, it didn’t do as poorly as Majora’s Mask (3.36 mil), but it was still a significant decline compared to OoT (4.6 mil vs. 7.6 mil). By series standards, Wind Waker didn’t do all that well and contributed to the market’s increasingly cold reception to the series. If they hadn’t at least partially changed direction (and if it hadn’t been for the Wii phenomenon), Twilight Princess would no doubt have suffered even worse sales.

          As for critics, well…..I think it goes without saying that it isn’t uncommon for the opinion of critics to clash with the opinion of the majority. Let’s not forget that critics also praised Final Fantasy XIII, a game who’s ultimately extremely poor reception has destroyed much of the FF brand’s significance.

          • CirnoLakes

            Wind Waker was probably significantly hindered by being on an unpopular system, the GameCube.

            Twilight Princess sold exceptionally well because it was a Zelda game on a popular platform. In fact the reason that Twilight Princess sold incredibly poorly on the GameCube was that it wasn’t around as long as Wind Waker, on a less popular system. If Wind Waker, however, were on the Wii, I’m sure it would have sold far more than 3 million copies. If Wind Waker’s sales is bad, what of Twilight Princess’ less than 2 million sales on the GameCube?

            Even if we take into account the point in the life-cycle of the GameCube that Twilight Princess was released. And the popularity of the Wii in comparison to the GameCube. We also have to take into account that Wind Waker wasn’t released on the Wii at all.

      • CirnoLakes

        “the Zelda fanbase shrinking”
        When Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword for the Wii were two of the best selling titles?

        And if you compare this to previous generations, heck, even the Nintendo and Super Nintendo, Zelda games aren’t selling less. I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that the Zelda fanbase is shrinking.

        The fanbase was always split over stuff like Wind Waker. Some people didn’t like Wind Waker, other people didn’t like Twilight Princess. Wind Waker has always had a lot of fans, and so has Twilight Princess.

        And, like has been said below me, Wind Waker was a critically acclaimed game that sold millions of copies. At least in the GameCube generation, Wind Waker sold far better than Twilight Princess.

      • KingRuff

        Another so called fan who believes he is the majority. “Screw what everyone else really thinks, this is my opinion so obviously it’s what everyone else is thinking too.” The fact is the majority did like it, and still like it to this day. You are a single person, do I really need to redefine majority for you?

  • Guest

    I never had the chance to play it on Gamecube so I’m really eager for this game.

  • ChiffonCake

    I was under the impression that people always hated every new Zelda.

    • MikeTxn

      Reminds me of this.

      • puchinri

        Pffffft. That is just too perfect on many levels. I love that that episode/scene was actually used too. Thank you for that. x’D

    • Marcus J. Hopkins

      It’s true – top-down was always the way to go.

      • CirnoLakes

        Proof that Zelda was never able to please everyone to begin with.

    • CirnoLakes

      A vocal minority of people will always complain about every new Zelda that comes out.

      If the internet was popular during the time Ocarina of Time came out, I bet there would have been people on internet forums saying “what, this isn’t enough like A Link to the Past! This water temple is terrible! Nintendo, what happened to your quality? I want old Zelda back”.

      There is absolutely no pleasing some people.

      • Spirit Macardi

        And now that there is the internet, there ARE people that complain that OoT wasn’t enough like ALttP.

        Ain’t global communication great? :B

      • Ehren Rivers

        While I’m gonna try not to get involved in yet another one of these types of e-spats (I’ve got my hands full with Final Fantasy), I’d just like to tack on and say that nearly any game “series” that has survived over 5-10 years is met with a disappointingly LOUD vocal minority that think it is the death of the franchise in question.

        Final Fantasy, Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, even Disgaea. People will rage, and that’s just a sad truth we have to deal with.

  • James Enk

    i consider WW one of the best installments in the Zelda series and one of the best games in general i can understand that some ppl may dislike the cel-shaded visuals but there is so much more to this game that if you can not see it you are missing out

    • CirnoLakes

      I think because some childhood fans of Zelda were dark and edgy teenagers when Wind Waker came out. And they didn’t watch those cartoons, cartoons were for kids. Dark stories and wallet chains were what was appropriate for 14s going on 19s like them.

      Or so my own teenage years and seeing how some other teenage boys acted would have me believe. I distinctly remember a group of kids for whom cartoons were for kids, but Linkin Park and Korn were totally the coolest and so hardcore.

      Also the types of people who thought sex and violence in anime made it more mature and superior to American cartoons.

      Anyway, going by my personal experiences, that’s my best hypothesis.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    ““The reason for that is, people were saying, ‘Oh, that Link. People didn’t like that Link.’”

    It’s good to hear that some semblance of sanity remains within Nintendo. Aonuma thinks that people are ready to embrace Toon Link. He’ll soon realise that he is sorely mistaken. *cue angry responses from Wind Waker fans*

    But to be honest, this whole visual style debate tends to draw attention away from the fact that the Zelda series suffers from far more serious problems. It’s just that the visual style is the most readily apparent difference, so people tend to focus too much on that.

    • Curan_Altea

      I can see why you’d dislike toon Link, and even why you might say it was a bad choice. I prefer the more adult Link, but regardless Wind Waker looked great, better then Twilight Princess even. It’s just a matter of preference. As an overall game I feel Wind Waker is one of the strongest entries in the series, and out of the three Zeldas mentioned it would look the best with an HD makeover. Twilight Princess wouldn’t look special, and Skyward Sword just came out.
      (you’re gonna get a lot of downvotes btw, I didn’t even find your comment offensive and WW is my favorite 3D Zelda.)

      • Symbol de Au

        Because only offensive comments should get down votes? Is that what you meant by that?

        • Curan_Altea

          That last bit? Kind of. People can downvote whatever they want. I just personally only dislike something I actually dislike. Difference between not liking something and disliking it. They only stated opinions, just most people here would seem to disagree with those opinions.

  • Maia Kasoya

    I feel like imagining how a Zelda game would go down if it was in the moe art style of today…

    • Curan_Altea

      Nendoroid Groose needs to happen.

    • psycho_bandaid

      oh man, Link’s little animation when he gets an item from a chest would be precious.

    • Thankfully with actual children (instead of adult children) still being a significant portion of Zelda’s target audience, there’s little chance of this happening.

  • psycho_bandaid

    I still don’t really like the artstyle, but Windwaker is pretty much my favorite Zelda game. I even liked it’s offshoots Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

  • Marcus J. Hopkins

    Maybe it’s the fact that, of all the Zelda games you could’ve remade to show off your new hardware, you pick the one that’s the least likely to be impressive. It’s a great game, and all, but of the 3D Zeldas, it’s the least graphically amazing, and largely the most boring mode of transportation. It’s wicked fun, and all, but…not the graphical masterpiece that needed to be updated.

    • Yeah, a lot of people thought it was a great game, until you had to do a bunch of sailing… That’s where it got so boring I quit playing it…

    • Barrylocke89

      If anything, I’d say that Wind Waker is the one that least needs to be remade because thanks to the uniqueness of its art-style, it manages to still look solid despite being a 10-year old game.

      • British_Otaku

        The issue for me is that the current Nintendo console, the Wii U cannot play GameCube games. The 3DS cannot do so as well and has two successor games to WindWaker if we count backward compatibility.

        Ocarina of Time? On the N64, GameCube, Wii (not just the GameCube thing, the Virtual Console), Wii U (Wii Mode at least) and 3DS. Majora’s Mask? All of the above but 3DS (It will happen).

        WindWaker was virtually lost (millions of dirt cheap copies across the world aside), not playable through current systems or even rereleased in any shape of form. Whether it needs a remake or not? It would need some sort of update with current systems whether it is just getting the Tingle Tuner to work with a new system (GamePad and/or 3DS) or letting us send pictures to friends (even Pokemon Snap on the VC got that much).

        • Barrylocke89

          To be fair, it can also be played on old Wiis, and I imagine there’s still quite a few of those around (I’d go as far as to say that there’s likely more old Wiis in peoples homes than new Wiis.) so it’s not exactly like the game is almost impossible to play in modern times.

          Note that I’m not particularly annoyed by this remake, especially since Wind Waker is my favorite Zelda game. ^_^

    • I think you meant to say that out of all the 3D Zeldas, Wind Waker was the only one which had a graphical style that was already perfect and didn’t stand anything to gain from an unnecessary facelift. That’s what you meant, right?

      • Marcus J. Hopkins

        Nope. It is the least likely to impress audiences enough to front the cost of the graphical overhaul. Unless the price point is exceptionally low, the game isn’t worth throwing another $40-$50 at for a game that, at barely a decade old, just didn’t need a remake. Again, though I was initially prejudiced against it, I actually had more fun playing it than any of the other 3D Zelda games. I just don’t feel that the product is going to show off the new hardware in a way that’s going to achieve the desired effect of attracting gamers who haven’t already played it.

        • You realize I’m agreeing with you that the Wind Waker remake is unnecessary, right? I mean, if they were genuinely overhauling the game, like adding new dungeons and map segments and fixing the Triforce hunt and stuff, that would be one thing. But a dubious graphical reskin and a handful of minor tweaks does not really justify putting the game out again as a full retail title, let alone on a system that’s already struggling with its software library.

          • Marcus J. Hopkins

            I won’t say my Wii U is lacking of things for me to play. Granted, most of the games designed specifically FOR the system (and released) have not, as of yet, really suited my preference for RPGs, Puzzle, and Adventure games, the few I have purchased have been great. Lego City Undercover, New Super Mario Bros. U…both fantastic games. The rest of the software on mine is all Virtual Console, save for my abortive attempt to enjoy Zombi U.

            It’s that Aonuma seemed surprised that Nintendo pushed back against this remake that amazes me.

          • X_Bacon

            “a dubious graphical reskin and a handful of minor tweaks”
            And bloom. Don’t forget the bloom.

    • Suicunesol

      I actually disagree! I went through a Zelda marathon last year to make up for all of the Zelda games I had missed. I went through Windwaker, followed by Twilight Princess, followed by SS. I felt that Twilight Princess, even though it might have looked good in it’s day, didn’t age nearly as well as Windwaker did. If Twilight Princess was made in HD, it would need a texture makeover to make it look halfway decent for today’s standards. Windwaker didn’t really need extra treatment as it already looks crisp as hell in HD. I don’t know how much Twilight Princess pushed the Gamecube in terms of power, but that doesn’t really matter! In HD, regardless of which is more graphically demanding, Windwaker looks better because it has no “age spots!” Aonuma probably realized this when he saw it, which is why he chose WW for the HD release.

      Also, when I played through WW, I noticed a lot of interesting details in the form of light effects, shadows, and physics. It was really interesting to watch how the waves churned, or how the gigantic shadows and lights that moblins cast on the walls bounced all over the place. And when Link walked around with a giant moblin spear in his hand, I noticed how the flag realistically dragged on the floor and on the stairs wherever he walked. I felt that was quite advanced for its time!

      It was cell-shaded, non-realistic, and therefore simple-looking, but I believe this artstyle allowed Windwaker to excel in other ways.

      Also, I can’t fault you for disliking the monotony of sailing. It’s an acquired taste. I do feel the boat rides could have been shortened (and the Triforce fetch quest was ridiculous). If it were me, I’d have added more things to do while traveling. More pirates or islands or sea monsters. Something One Piece-ish.

      • Marcus J. Hopkins

        Is it really a “marathon” if you started with the eighth entry in the series? Lol

        Seriously, though…I get what you’re saying. But, the purpose of “remaking” a game, or even updating it to HD is to significantly improve and enhance the gaming experience. Though I may not find FFX-X2 worthy of an HD update, it looks visibly, and more importantly noticeably, better. With the videos and screenshots I’ve seen of WW, even with the side-by-side comparison shots, to the average gamer, it’s not really going to be that profoundly different.

  • Shane Guidaboni

    This is one of my favorite versions of Link. Probably one of my favorite Zelda games, actually.

    • X_Bacon

      It is my favorite, followed closely by Majora’s Mask.

      Yes, I’m a strange fellow.

  • Nyandroid

    I admit. I’m one of those people that didn’t care for this style of Zelda. But I bought Phantom Hourglass a long time ago, because I wanted to play a Zelda game, and I still loved it. I didn’t care about the graphics anymore. It was still a Zelda game.

    So I’m really glad they are remaking this. As I never got to play Windwaker!

  • Ixbran

    Still waiting on that Majoras Mask 3DS remake Nintendo … still waiting …

  • $29082171

    Oh how I wish Aonuma stopped being the head of the Zelda team, it’s been 10 years of mediocrity after WW. The man is insane in thinking that, of all the Zeldas to make a remake of, WW was the one he chose. He didn’t even add the removed dungeons for christ’s sake.

    • Agreed. Zelda needs fresh blood badly.

    • Suicunesol

      The removed dungeons were used in future Zelda titles.

  • Mir Teiwaz

    I recall being a bit thrown off when they announced the cel-shaded cartoony look, but after actually playing the game I wound up loving it.

  • ZEROthefirst

    Honestly I wasn’t big on the art style for Wind Waker when it was first released. It was a Zelda game though so I tried it and love that I didn’t listen to my friends who to this day still won’t play the game because it’s too cartoony.

  • I remember first seeing the commercials on windwaker at the time i thought to myself that people would complain about it, and i was right! but it’s a shame because i instantly liked the visuals they were so colorful and different

  • mirumu

    Personally I always liked Wind Waker, and it’s probably my favorite Zelda game overall. I was quite pleased to see they were doing a HD remake of it. Twilight Princess on the other hand just wasn’t my cup of tea.

    • CirnoLakes

      Yeah, I’ve always been in the Wind Waker camp of the WW and TP fan-split of sorts. I just didn’t see what was so great about a darker and edgier Zelda.

      I don’t refuse Twilight Princess, either, though. I think Twilight Princess is a fun and great game and I quite enjoyed it. I’ve played both the GameCube and Wii versions several times. I’m definitely not with the crowd that insults Twilight Princess as being “emo Zelda” or other really dismissive and negative opinions toward Twilight Princess.

      I just happen to prefer Wind Waker. It’s an amazing game that deserves all of the respect it gets and more.

      • Symbol de Au

        I think Majora’s Mask was darker and edgier than Twilight Princess really but meh.

        • X_Bacon

          Oh yes, I think so too.

      • XiaomuArisu

        WW: Water…too much water and that slow ship
        TP:Holy Moly I can explore the friggin land!

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu


      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Twilight Princess wasnt even edgier.It has its merits but I’ve always called bullshit on that.It gets critisized for all the wrong reasons.As for Majora’s Mask it is way darker.

        2D Zelda>3D.

  • Juliano C

    WW is my fav 3d Zelda, I will probably buy an wiiu to play it

  • biskmater

    I loved wind waker, it was the silliest looking one, and the developer exploited it for the slapstick, gotta feel sorry for that line of links.

  • Repede91

    I just gonna throw this out there: In my opinion, Twilight Princess felt like Nintendo put more effort into what people said/thought they wanted instead of making a quality game full of surprises using their experience as some of the most accomplished game developers in the world.

  • Ugh, all the manbaby fans who complained about the “cartoony”, “kiddie” Link in their MATURE, ADULT Zelda games really did ruin it for everybody.

    Also, Dear Nintendo: Please include an option to play Wind Waker HD with the original graphical style, rather than the “everything’s bloom lighting” version. Thanks!

  • darkfox1

    Who has that Miyamoto image when he talks about Link and how the fans react each time they do something different?

    • TruSpindash

      This one?

  • O_O Master Clueless

    Idk last time I check zelda was about adventure the story, hard dungeons with puzzles to solve, if graphics are “kiddie” the only reason you hate on a game then you need to stop playing games, they entitled to try new things hell isn’t that whats gaming all about.

    • XiaomuArisu

      thats true but I think some people (like me)are a little “pissed”that instead of trying something new they make a remake.
      Its like Fire Emblem the DS got 2 terrible remakes and it looked like that it woukd be the end of FE…But then Awakening happend!
      The big apologize for all FE fans!
      But now imagine this:”Wanna make a new FE for the 3DS?”
      “Hmm….How about we make a remake to learn how to use the 3DS Hardware?”
      So instead of Awakening we would got a Remake again.
      Would be sad,right?

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        This doesnt apply at all….

        Screw you, Shadow Dragon was fun!

      • O_O Master Clueless

        Well the US never got the first Fire Emblem until that remake was made. What wrong with shadow dragon?

        • XiaomuArisu

          The DS only got remakes.
          And Shadow Dragon…well I prefer the 2d graphic instead of SD terrible animated characters.They looked terrible.

  • Symbol de Au

    I wish the ones pushing against it had won. Wind Waker is my favorite Zelda but it’s useless to make an HD remake of it.

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    I saw a commercial of Wind Waker… it was cool, but I didn’t own a Gamecube. When I got a Wii, the first Gamecube game I bought was Super Mario Sun Shine, since I always played that at my cousins. The 2nd was Wind Waker… I also own 3 Gamecubes now lol

  • AndyLC

    Well, I’m sure all the folks who belly ached about cell shaded Link are occupied with Skyrim now, so go on forward Nintendo!

  • Spider-Man

    Wind Waker is the only LoZ game I did not drop halfway through. It was quite enjoyable. The other being Twilight Princess. For some reason I get terrible headaches when I play LoZ games and I’m forced to stop playing. I’ll maybe pick this up someday when the Wii U’s price is lower and has more appealing games.

  • There are a lot of people who, in hindsight, like to give Twilight Princess a hard time, and claim that Wind Waker was the better game in every sense of the word, but that simply isn’t true, if you ask me.

    I think Twilight Princess is the only Zelda game we’ve had in eight (more?) years that ever acknowledged that Zelda’s audience is older now. A very large portion of Zelda fans are folks that grew up playing the older games and are well into their twenties by now, and I feel like the Zelda team just doesn’t get that.

    In TP’s case, they got it right because they had no choice. It was the only time Aonuma and his team basically had to do what people wanted, and honestly, it was one of those rare cases where the developer caving in and just giving people what they asked for was the right thing to do. Zelda’s relevance has been in jeopardy for a while now, and it would’ve happened a hell of a lot faster if not for Twilight Princess.

    TP had some of the best writing and characters in a Zelda, period. The only other recent Zelda that’s come anywhere near is Spirit Tracks, because they had a really interesting take on Zelda herself. She was really personable and funny in that game.

    So, yeah, hats off to whomever did point out to Aonuma that people didn’t like that Link; because, hey, it’s true! And this isn’t to say they shouldn’t remake Wind Waker or that it’s a bad game, but I feel like Aonuma needs someone to help him keep his ear close to the ground.

    • gold163

      “I think Twilight Princess is the only Zelda game we’ve had in eight
      (more?) years that ever acknowledged that Zelda’s audience is older now. A very large portion of Zelda fans are folks that grew up
      playing the older games and are well into their twenties by now, and I feel like the Zelda team just doesn’t get that.”

      I don’t understand. While it’s true that a lot of fans who grew up with Zelda are older now I don’t think that’s necessarily a reason to want a grittier, serious art direction. And while such a style is arguably exactly the kind of thing Nintendo needs, I don’t think that Zelda games should be aiming primarily at already existing series fans. Skyward Sword and Aonuma’s recent comments are indication that the Zelda brand is starting to falter, and it needs to be revitalized. Why should Zelda development focus on appeasing existing series fans (who are seriously fickle and picky) when they can broaden Zelda’s appeal instead?

      I was never opposed to Wind Waker’s art direction and to this day I find it charming and appealing. But most importantly, it perfectly fits my image of what a Zelda game should be — bright, colorful, fantastic and imaginative. It evokes the same feelings that I had when playing A Link to the Past and the Gameboy Zeldas as a kid. OoT, TP, Majora’s and their ilk are a different breed of Zelda. There doesn’t just have to be one. I hope Nintendo pursues a direction with Zelda that is similar to what they have done with Mario, because it’s obvious that the fan base’s tastes are too diverse at this point to have one style of game please everybody.

      • I don’t understand. While it’s true that a lot of fans who grew up with Zelda are older now I don’t think that’s necessarily a reason to want a grittier, darker art direction.

        This wasn’t what I meant. I meant, Twilight Princess is the ONLY Zelda in close to ten years that has had good writing and characters that one cares about at all. Skyward Sword’s world and characters were utterly boring, and Phantom Hourglass was a rehash of The Wind Waker.

        Spirit Tracks came close with the writing, but other parts of the game suffered for it (as always seems to be the case with Zelda of late… some aspect of the game always suffers if they excel in another).

        • NimbusStev

          Maybe I’m too jaded by my negative experience of playing the game with a Wii-mote, but I don’t feel that TP had good characters at all. TP is one of the only games I’ve ever beaten that I just don’t seem to have any significant memory of. It’s like I blocked out all of my memories of it, because I couldn’t tell you about a single NPC or dungeon or anything. I blame that on the fact that the story and characters just felt bland on un-memorable.

          I applaud the game for its leaps forward in cinematography and the way that it presents its story, but I just couldn’t get attached to the world or its inhabitants.

          • I agree, the NPCs in TP were uninteresting. I was talking more about Link and Midna’s journey together. Twilight Princess was just really stellar at creating an atmosphere, which is something every Zelda since has kind of failed to do. The rooftop sequence at the start where you’re making your way into the castle at night, and it’s raining is one example that I always think back to. It just felt so exciting and new at the time.

          • NimbusStev

            I will give the game that. The relationship between Link and Midna is great, and she is by far the best ‘helper’ character in all of the Zelda games. It’s been a while, I might need to replay the game on Gamecube.

    • XiaomuArisu

      Someone needs to tell Aonuma that people wanted a NEW Zelda not a remake.
      TP was for me a GC game not Wii.That means Zelda SS ,the only real Zelda for the Wii came on the last year of the wii…
      Now there going to do the same again?
      BTW Deja-vu?
      They show us a realistic zelda but then make WW….that happens now the second timeXD

    • I think the Zelda team would be far better off focusing their efforts towards real children, as opposed to adults who grew up on the Zelda games and demand that new ones live up to their childhood memories. Twilight Princess was indeed the result of Nintendo trying to appeal to this demographic, and it showed in the worst ways. Wind Waker was the last game they made without fretting about how it would be perceived by Zelda fans, and therefore the last game made with actual confidence and creativity.

      • Right, and Twilight Princess is also one of the highest-selling, best-received Zeldas in recent years. This isn’t about some niche game where there’s an imaginary audience waiting to be satiated. It’s Zelda. A large portion of the audience (the audience that actually has the money to spend, btw) is older now, and expects the Zelda games to treat them like grown-ups.

        And I don’t mean this just in terms of story. I also mean it from the standpoint of being an experienced gamer. Skyward Sword is horrendous when it comes to the way it feels the need to point out the most obvious facts and constantly badger you with information you figured out well in advance. “Gamer instinct” is something that’s important to take into account.

        I don’t know who Nintendo (or Aonuma, or whoever’s job it is to interpret all the market research they do) thinks is buying Zelda games. It isn’t your average joe that picks up Uncharted games because, hey, it looks like an awesome interactive movie! It isn’t grandmoms who played Wii Sports. It isn’t your usual 13-year-olds that play Call of Duty.

        Zelda has a very specific kind of audience because, frankly, Zelda isn’t just a game—it’s a genre, a very specific kind of game. There’s nothing else like it. The people who buy Zelda know what they’re getting into. And that was the whole point of Twilight Princess. It was a game that knew who it was appealing to, and it didn’t hold back, and it was a better game for it.

        Yes, there were a ton of issues with TP, but at the end of the day, it’s the most self-aware Zelda we’ve had in years, and that’s saying something.

        • You know as well as I do that Twilight Princess owes much of its success to being a launch title for the Wii. I guess I have to agree, though, that Aonuma no longer has any clear sense of who the games are for. I would be genuinely surprised if all the patronizing tutorial shit from Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword were actually necessary for newcomers to understand the game – after all, plenty of kids and inexperienced gamers were able to figure out A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time, right? And yet the series continues to include this stuff, while also sticking rigidly to OoT’s formula and throwing in more and more linear, scripted sequences, seemingly for the “fans” who want Zelda to be “epic”.

          Zelda being its own genre, completely isolated from the rest of the gaming world, is nor a good thing imo. Zelda started out as an action-adventure game, not a “Zelda game”, and in my opinion it needs to get back to that. The franchise has become trapped in the shadow of its own success. Look at it like The Simpsons: The Simpsons used to be a comedy show, one of the smartest and funniest on TV, and within that identity as a comedy show it was free to constantly evolve and try new things. Now, though, The Simpsons is a brand, and icon: The Simpsons can no longer just be a comedy show, it has to be The Simpsons, and that endless cycle of chasing after its own tail has caused it to stagnate and fade into its own, irrelevant little world. It’s still pulling in ratings, but would anyone seriously suggest that it hasn’t become a shadow of its former self?

          • I agree that being a launch game had a lot to do with it, but I think we can also agree that Twilight Princess was the last time that a large number of people were genuinely really vocally excited about Zelda.

            The thing is, Zelda isn’t like Nintendo’s other games in a lot of ways. It’s not one of those mainstream sellers where it appeals to an audience that most enthusiast gamers are unaware even exists. It’s not a Mario or an Animal Crossing, and that’s precisely where the problem lies.

            With games like Mario or Animal Crossing, Nintendo’s teams don’t have to do what the vocal forum-going crowd wants. It’s not in the best interests of those series to follow the so-called vocal minority. Zelda, however, can’t afford to ignore the vocal audience, because that is its audience.

            The problem is, Aonuma’s team is doing precisely that. Time and again, they’ve managed to ignore the issues that have led to Zelda’s decline over the past decade, each time proposing different workarounds but never a solution. Twilight Princess represents the only time they looked at what needed to be done, and did it. And for the most part, everyone was happy.

            …then along came Skyward Sword and did away with the idea of an overworld completely. Additionally, it had no interesting characters or world to speak of, and its only saving grace were the fantastic controls and items. And while I don’t mean to push those aside and pretend they aren’t important, I think at this point, everyone expects Zelda to have great dungeons and puzzles. What we need for it to be relevant again is for people to care about the world… and they don’t.

  • Adam Wright

    What they need to do it get on with making Zelda look realistic now they have HD capabilities. That cartoon style can be achieved in standard def.

  • Reading this article makes me feel nostalgic…really. I remember watching the reveal footage and going “WTF!?…..that looks so COOL!” then reading all the negative comments and flame wars. Best part was when most of the haters that were lucky enough to try it had a change of heart.

  • Musashi234

    I remember I did hate Toon Link when I first heard about him. But when I actually bought the game and played with him he instantly became my favorite Link!

    • NimbusStev

      Yeah that’s how I felt. I was super into OoT and MM, so I remember being really negative about Windwaker, even while playing it. However, the more I played the game and the more time that has passed since that time, I’ve realized WW is one of the best games in the series.

  • Göran Isacson

    As someone who didn’t play this game because he never owned a Game Cube, I can’t really say much about this. I will say that I did raise an eyebrow when it was unveiled, but overall just shrugged my shoulders at it and moved on. I would love to revisit it after all these years…

    But I think that more than just resisting this particular version of Link, what has me casting doubts on this project is that for a franchise which gets complaints that it doesn’t innovate enough, doing a remake isn’t going to win you many fans. I think that most people want to see what NEW things the Wii U and Zelda can bring. We want a killer app. We want change, a possible playable Zelda, something to wow us. Wind Waker already had it’s chance to wow us. It will draw in the crowd that liked it long ago, and that’s about it. It’s… safe, I suppose. And I’m not sure I’m in the mood for safe.

    • PreyMantis

      Zelda doesn’t inovate enough? Starting with the 3D games, how is Zelda that finally becoming 3D on Ocarina of Time and inventing the lock-on system we know today not innovating? How is Majoras Mask not innovating with its three day system, transformation, etc.? With semi-realistic looking Zelda game to cell-shaded, have you traversing a vast sea, etc., they pretty much made an almost totally different game in Wind Waker. Where have you seen Link turn into a wolf, motion control, etc. before Twilight Princess? Lastly, where have you seen a Zelda game that have you exploring the sky on a bird, have parkour, stamina, blends of cell-shading and realistic aesthetic, etc. before Skyward Sword? I can list a bunch of innovations that the Zelda franchise have made from the first game to the current one, but to say it doesn’t innovate enough makes me believe these people you speak of don’t even play the games. If the Zelda franchise doesn’t innovate enough; then, the other franchises out there don’t innovate at all.

      • Göran Isacson

        I dunno, I think I can sort of see their point? At least when I ask myself “which of those innovations drastically alter the gameplay of the franchise in a memorable, lasting and drastic way?”

        Ocarina of Time was a gamechanger, only the stupid would deny that. EVERYONE was copying it there for a while, it’s targeting camera, it’s build, people were looking at it and paying good attention.

        I won’t say too much about Wind Waker since I didn’t play it, but for all it’s special features I don’t really see that many which stuck. It had gorgeous graphics and a big open sea to give it it’s own style, but the sea and large open spaces went away in later games. I suppose that it’s cel-shading could’ve inspired people since I recall that being a very popular style for a while, but I can honestly not say if it was a follower or a leader in that trend.

        Twilight Princess may have given you the ability to turn into a wolf, buuut… what was honestly fundamentally DIFFERENT from Ocarina of Time? The combat worked the same way, just with somewhat imprecise waggle added on this time. It had an intriguing story and one of the better Zelda characters in later days in Midna, I won’t take that away from it, but it also had an overdose of temples you need to go into to find magical doodads and proceed in the game. Find temples, find tools, find Master Sword, Fight Ganon.

        Skyward Sword REALLY innovated in the battle segments, buut… the flying? It was SERIOUSLY limited to a small area, and mostly felt like riding Epona but clumsier and harder to learn. The parkour? Didn’t really alter much about the fundamental puzzles, beside give you a meter you had to wait and refill every now and then. And once again, you were lead down a rather linear progression of temples which you solved by utilizing the tools found in that temple. Temples, tools, Master Sword, Ganon.

        Each of these games worked, but I honestly can’t say that most of their innovations fundamentally altered the way other games were made or made them feel THAT different from other games inside the franchise. I think Skyward Swords battle system and controls are the biggest innovations the series has seen in a long time, and even then it was connected to features which may make people less sympathetic towards it, such as a flight system that felt limiting instead of freeing and dazzling, a very similar structure to other games in the franchise (temples tools MS GanImeanDemise), and you have Fi.

        But I freely admit that the last point is a pure personal gripe and has nothing to do with innovation. I just… I just want to complain about her whenever I can because I despise Fi so much.

        SO MUCH.

      • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

        Actually, MML came first with the lock on system, Zelda OoT just improved it. As did a lot of games after OoT. That said, for all its beauty OoT felt like a huge 3D revamp of A Link to the Past: introductory temples -> introduction to a parallel World -> deal with temples in the two Worlds -> fight Ganon~.

  • Armane

    I always thought the only thing right with Wind Waker was the graphics (except maybe Link’s cat-like face). Everything else about it was so bland and shallow.

    Sail on the ocean… to a bunch of tiny islands with some rupees you probably can’t carry.

    Sneak about this fortress… because we couldn’t be bothered adding any puzzles, also it’s not even as difficult as Gerudo Fortress.

    Go do this dungeon… yeah still no puzzles.

    Fight multiple Darknuts… and see how awful the combat system we’ve been using for the last 5 years is.

  • EdzoIV

    wind waker has been my favorite zelda since i got it at launch and always will be.

  • yalissa

    I am so glad they decided to remake Wind Waker, so everyone who never got a chance to play it can now try it. It’s my all time favorite Zelda game, and this Link has always been my favorite. Despite all the flack the graphics got when it was released (and the flack it still gets now), I think that Wind Waker’s art direction was genius. I think that they did a really good job retaining the cartoony feel, but there’s still too much bloom.

    Although I’m really happy that they’re remaking it, I also think that this is the one Zelda game they DON’T have to remake. Wind Waker’s colorful, cel-shaded style has aged so well. The lighting and attention to detail is amazing for a Gamecube game. I think that a Majora’s Mask remake for the 3DS would’ve been better (I even dare say that a Twilight Princess remake would’ve been really nice), but oh well. I’m still glad Wind Waker is getting attention.

  • Elvick

    Should have been more, new version is fugly as sin.

  • Brandonmkii

    Excited to play it again. I like WW almost as much as I hate Spirit Tracks.

  • I loved that Link, Wind Waker is my favorite game of the series.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos