Last weekend was chock full of gaming news. With the Video Game Awards taking place, in addition to Sony’s PlayStation Experience, it was just an all-around good few days for gamers. What’s interesting about it all, though, is despite the magnitude of PSX, it was not the most active gaming-related news tweeted about. No, that award goes to the Zelda.
During the VGA’s, Nintendo surprised us with the first gameplay footage of the upcoming open-world Zelda U title. During that few-minute montage, we got a look at combat, exploration, visuals, and the overall feel of the game–which certainly seems to be all about returning to the series’ roots. It would seem that the rest of the gaming world was fascinated by what they saw, as well. We say that because, according to the graph below, the term “Zelda” was tweeted nearly 40,000 times! That’s 4,000 more times than the terms “PlayStation Experience” or “PSX.” This is interesting for two reasons: 1. it goes to show how much love and interest there still is for the Zelda franchise, despite being decades old, and 2. Nintendo is hardly out of the game. It’s sort of crazy to think that a series, with so much history, can still light the Internet ablaze; there’s something we just seem to love about the elfin warrior.
This particular installment, though, seems to have folks’ attention, not just for the ability to see Link in HD again, but because of the sheer scope and non-linear approach to a franchise that has historically been very direct in its delivery. Moreover, the game seems to be taking a lot of influence, not from the entries before it, but more modern classics like Skyrim and even the latest Dragon Age, which is adding to the aforesaid anticipation. That kind of sandbox world, that is filled with lore and its own history, is not only tantalizing in general, but to finally get something of that magnitude in a Zelda game–something the series has never attempted. It will be interesting, then, to see just how much of the LoZ world is fleshed out. If there’s one thing that has remained fairly constant across all Zelda titles, it’s that its universe is shrouded in a type of expressionistic mystery that can be interpreted in a number of ways. Much like many Nintendo IPs, the developers and writers never seem to want to spell out too much for players. Sure, the story in these games are usually straightforward, but there’s so much to try to understand, that’s never overtly told, which is a small part of the franchise’s appeal and overall mystique.
That being said, it’s also kind of fun to see something like this happen (Zelda being Tweeted about more than more mainstream properties) simply because of the satisfaction we take in seeing the world explode with excitement about Nintendo stuff. We’re not sure why exactly, but it could definitely have something to do with knowing that there are plenty of Big N-haters just brooding and plotting the ways they can spin these kinds of stories so that it looks like Nintendo is doomed. It’s kind of funny, actually; after all, it’s what they’ve been doing since the N64 days.
Nintendo is set to have a really strong 2015 Wii U showing. Already they have confirmed the following for a 2015 release: Zelda U, Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Star Fox, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Mario Party 10, Mario Maker, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and then the third-party stuff like The Devil’s Third, 90s Arcade Racer, and Mighty No. 9. And then there are the titles that we suspect, or are hoping, will come within the next year such as Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem and Dragon Quest X. Nintendo’s showing, and clean up of awards, at the VGA’s was proof that they’re still very much so “in the game,” and could be headed for one of the best year’s they’ve had in a long, long time.