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Another E3 has come and gone, but come on--you know us--we're only getting started covering
it all. And that starts with our analysis of the Zelda Wii U trailer. So it's time to
kick-start the old analysis machine and see what secrets the Zelda U trailer has in-store.
But because we're operating on such a tight time-schedule, Derrick and I are actually
going to double-team this one. So let's get started.
But before we get to the footage itself, the game's director, AG OW-Nooma Eiji Aonuma revealed
some tantalizing information about the game itself. Specifically, that they're basing
the experience on the gameplay-style of the original Legend of Zelda, which offered a
completely non-linear world, allowing you to go almost anywhere at any time, as opposed
to more recent 3D Zeldas which have been largely linear, with defined entrances and exits into
So Aonuma made it clear that this is no longer the case, as you'll now be able to enter any
area from any direction, in any order. This is basically Zelda's take on Skyrim's open-world,
and to back this up, Anouma showed a scene taking place in real-time that depicts just
how vast the world in Zelda Wii U really is.
It's huge--never before in Zelda have we been able to see so far. And yet, according to
Aonouma, you can travel to any point that you can see here--even those distant mountains.
And because of this, Anouma states that the puzzle-solving will begin from the very start,
from the moment that the player decides where to go, then in figuring out how to get there,
and what exactly they'll do once they arrive at their destination. It's basically taking
the puzzle elements of Zelda to world-wide level, perhaps suggesting that even entering
an area from different directions could influence the course of events that follow. The possibilities
are really as endless as the world itself seems to be here.
And speaking of the world, let's take some time to explore the many details hidden within
And of course, we have to talk about the lovely field of grass first--I mean, just look at
it--it's not only vast, but the blades even sway convincingly in the wind. Then there's
the fact that you can see the shadows of clouds rolling across the landscape, casting darkness
on anything they pass over, including the trees here.
Now this enitre scene also appears to take place at dawn, with morning mist lingering
just above the ground, and the reflection of a low-hanging sun can be seen in a nearby
lake--plus the intense bloom-lighting on the left also kind of gives the rising sun away
But the fact that it's set in the morning does suggest that the time of day will change
throughout the game--much as it has in past Zelda games--so no real surprise there.
Buut, throughout the gameplay footage, we can see that the time of day never actually
changes. Even though this scene does cut at several points, the longest unabridged shot
is more than 30-seconds long and shows what appears to be a static time of day, whereas
in past Zelda games, morning last but just a few seconds.
So either the time of day freezes at certain points in the game, OR the time of day has
actually been greatly extended--which would make sense if the world truly is that much
larger. After all, the day/night cycle before helped lend a small world a more epic feeling;
one that a larger world wouldn't necessarily need. For example, a full-day cycle in Skyrim
takes about an hour in real-time.
But that's enough about the sun, as there are a ton of other details hidden in the field
here. Such as the villagers working away--there's 2 on the left and another on the right. And
they're joined by some goats grazing nearby.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg, but for the rest of the details, let's switch
over to a direct-feed screenshot from the game. And not just that, but let's enhance
it too. Analysis machine...enhance.
So you might have noticed the large house here, plus a couple more on the right. And
a well can be found nearby too, along with some walls here. Also, there appears to be
a unique tree here too that can't be found anywhere else in this location, unlike the
others nearby--does it have any special significance?
And just behind that village are these odd pillar-structures, but we have no clue what
they might be for.
To the right of the small village is a tall wooden structure, complete with a windmill
weather vane on top. And we think based on its height, and the fact that it features
staircases and ladders leading to the top, that it may just be a lookout point.
Looking farther out, we can see some cliffs on the east side that loom high over the ground,
along with even more mountainous terrain on the right.
And on the left side, we can see a lake with what appears to be a watergate--or a barricade
of some kind--running through it. Behind that, we can see what appears to be one of several
forests visible in just this area--and a later scene even offers a hint of what it might
look like, with light filtering through the trees, in what may be a more limited, structured
But the really interesting thing is this pyramid-like structure here--is this a temple? And it looks
like we might be able to see the entrance on the left side--so perhaps you have to make
your way through the forest to reach it?
Now if we look even farther out, we can see some kind of ravine--that looks like it may
be a pretty intimidating passage to cross through!
And spekaing f intimidating, on the opposite side of the world, we can see a smoldering
volcanic peak that might just be Death Mountain, but this time it appears to be surrounded
by what looks to be desert, which would be an interesting change. And just in front you
can see what appears to be a settlement or at least a kind of structure.
And if we zoom in real-close on the area between the two, we can see what might be some kind
of town--or maybe even Hyrule Castle. You can almost make out what might be one of the
castle's famous blue spires.
Now the setting here appears to be rather peaceful--pleasant even, which suggests a
world that's--at least for now--largely unaffected by Ganon or evil forces in general. But that
doesn't mean everything's peachy-keen, as it's not long before some kind of monster
appears on the scene.
But we'll have more on him soon--what's more interesting for now is what happens leading
up to it. Check it out.
You first hear a soft boom in the distance, followed by some trees rustling, which causes
a flock of birds to fly the coop.
And all of this catches the attention of both Link and his horse, causing them to turn their
heads. Even the goats nearby stop eating to look at what just happened.
The horse than rears back and appears to be scared of what might happen next--and with
And the horse's reaction actually freaks out the goats on the left causing them to scatter,
and it's about at this time that the ones on the right take notice of the giant creature
before skedaddling too, followed by the nearby villager. And did you notice how even the
grass reacts to the shockwave caused by the monster's energy blasts?
This is all a pretty awesome level of detail that truly conveys that this is a living,
Well, at least it is until the monster blasts the poor villagers on the left to smithereens--or
so it seems. And it even chars the ground too--and we can't help but wonder if the lingering
fire might actually continue to grow in size, similar to the brush fires in Far Cry 2.
As for the monster itself, we can see its head rotating nearly 360-degrees, as if it's
scanning the environment immediately after emerging And based on its aim, it seems as
if it may be targeting people, first going for the villager's on the left, before aiming
at Link's original position.
It then chases Link into the forest, into an action-action packed segment full of details
all its own--but I'm far too spent to tackle all of this, so take it away Derrick.
As the monster chases Link into the forest, we can see even more details that this world
has to offer. The woods are lined with ruins depicting animal-like beings. One even resembles
a snake with a human face. We can see its long body that ends in a sunken eye, a nose,
and even a mouth with pronounced lips. The other has an almost dragon look to it. Unfortunately,
we have no idea what these statutes could be in reference to, but the fact that they're
covered in moss means that they're quite old at the very least.
Along with what's inside the forest, the forest itself is quite detailed with light filtering
through the trees and even realistic shadows appearing on the forest floor. The peaceful
scene is interrupted by the monster firing its laser at Link. The laser appears to go
off into the distance before the explosions are set off, but it seems that the laser actually
skims the ground. These points explode, sending out more rocks and rubble. It happens again
as it chases Link into the foreground. This seems to be its pattern.
The sheer power of this creature is demonstrated as it collides with a rock wall that shatters
around the monster yet it appears to be unfazed. But could this mean that there are destructible
environments in Zelda Wii U? It seems to be the case as it later destroys a bridge, preventing
Link from running further. The animations in this sequence even shows Link's horse leaning
into the sharp turn, Link looking back to see if he lost the creature after the turn,
and even Link turning to watch the monster pass him by.
However, what's most curious is the fact that the forest looks more closed off than the
open field before. There's a specific path you can follow and the ruins almost serve
as a funnel to lead you down this road. We're curious if Link could've run in a different
direction through the woods to escape, or if the monster and terrain was designed to
lead him in this specific direction. It looks to be the latter though as the side view of
the path in the next scene shows terrain that seems impassable. We do wonder though if there's
a way to explore the hole in the side of the rock in the background that the water flows
through. But let's get back to the monster who has
quite a few details worth noting in his design. Looking closely, we can see that its entire
upper body is covered in grass and moss. We can even see this foliage shake in the wind
as the creature moves. The question is, was this simply camouflage or something else?
Camouflage is possible simply because its mechanical legs are in much better condition
that the rest of it. There's no way for that to blend in so maybe they were hidden underground
until it was ready to attack. But with the sheer amount of power that it obviously wields,
why would it need to hide itself? Another possibility is that the moss formed
naturally over time. The enemy could've been asleep for ages before being awoken by something
and attacking whatever happened to be close. In this case, Link and his village. But Link
himself may be the biggest mystery in this trailer. Even his appearance threw fans off
as it appeared to be incredibly feminine. His soft facial features, ponytail, and even
the fact that his main weapon looks to be a bow made many believe that this character
is a girl. While it hasn't been 100% confirmed or denied, Aonuma has made it sound like Link
is still a boy. What has us more interested is everything
else about him. The cloak he throws off has strange symbols imprinted on it. We have no
idea what they could mean though. They don't seem to have a basis in anything from previous
Zelda games so they might be directly related to Link's village. This Is supported by the
fact that the rest of his clothing appears to bear similar designs
The other thing to note is that Link is not in his traditional green tunic which likely
means that this scene takes place toward the beginning of the game. Link often has different
origins that set the tone for the rest of the game. And in the case of Zelda Wii U,
we believe that he might live in a hunter culture.
Link is already incredibly proficient at using his bow, so much so that we see him smoothly
pull out two bomb arrows at the same time. He doesn't fire them at the same time, but
he's able to hold one while shooting the other. If he is from a hunter culture, it would explain
his preference for a bow and general combat abilities. It might even be why his hair is
pulled back into a ponytail, mainly to keep his hair out of his eyes when using his bow.
But strangely, there's also not a single hint of him using a sword. It's not on him at any
point, and it doesn't even seem to be a factor. Could players actually choose a weapon specialization
in the game, or is it simply that Link hasn't obtained a sword yet? The only clue to a sword
at all is the fact that a shield is hanging from his horse.
But the horse is carrying more than just his shield. It also has several saddle bags, a
blanket, and the special arrow. Could your horse be used to carry more items thanks to
the saddle bags? And could the blanket be used for setting up a camp in order to quickly
pass the time? It would fit in with this massive world that Nintendo is touting.
Link's position in the village may even be dedicated to protecting this area by taking
on roving monsters. He could act as a scout that intercepts them before they could do
any damage. This position may be emphasized because of his weaponry. Link isn't just using
normal arrows, but multiple arrow types, namely the bomb arrows and the seemingly futuristic
one. These seem like odd choices for just hunting. The blue arrow certainly stands out
in terms of design and the question of exactly what it's used for. At the very least, it's
highly specialized since Link has it stored directly upon his horse rather than in his
quiver with the rest of his arrows. It even has a different colored feather to help differentiate
it further. The arrow isn't activated right away though.
Link actually has to pull a trigger to activate the blue light. And when the blue light appears,
we couldn't help but notice how the design of this arrow was incredibly similar to the
monster itself. Namely that it uses a blue energy as its source of power and that its
body is covered with swirling patterns and glowing red circles. It even has the same
blue energy ring that appears when it's preparing to fire. If these do indeed have the same
design, then it's possible that Link can gather crafting materials from defeated enemies in
order to create unique weapons. Or could it be that both the enemy and the arrow are based
on the same technology, possibly suggesting that this technology plays a large role in
the game. Link also only possesses one of these, which means that he could be limited
by the amount of materials he has. As for what this arrow can do, we believe
that it can pierce thick shields or body plating that an enemy might possess. Especially since
the bomb arrows that Link uses only seems to stun the monster at best. There's no way
to tell for sure though as the trailer ends before we can see it strike. There is one
last maneuver Link pulls off though. He leaps from his horse to an incredible distance by
the horse actually rearing up to give him a boost into the air. It could be a game mechanic
that helps Link start a battle with a super strong attack. Even though we know that this
trailer was created using the in-game engine, we do wonder if all of this is indicative
of actual gameplay or filmed to be more cinematic in nature. The different angles, the destructible
environments, and Link's abilities could just be spiced up to make things more interesting.
It's hard to say for sure, but cinematics are often indicators of how a game will actually
play. But what about the story? We've already said
that we believe Link is either a protector of his village or even a hunter. As we looked
through the trailer, we couldn't help but notice several things that are incredibly
similar to the classic Studio Ghibli movie, Princess Mononoke. And while we likely are
completely wrong about this theory, it's definitely fun to think about as far as story.
Prince Ashitaka rides a steed and is well known for wearing blue. Link starts off with
a horse and is also wearing blue. The people of Ashitaka's village wear farming attire
and keep an eye out for danger from a wooden watchtower. Likewise, the villagers near Link
are wearing similar clothing and seem to be farmers or shepherds. And there's even a nearby
wooden watchtower. Visually, Ashitaka sports a topknot and uses a bow as his weapon in
order to take down an invading monster. While it's not a topknot, Link does have an uncharacteristic
ponytail and uses his bow to take down the rampaging monster.
So we can't help but wonder if the incident somehow causes Link to be exiled just like
Ashitaka. As a symbol of his shame, Ashitaka cut off his topknot and leaves the village
to find the monster's source. Perhaps Link does the same and sets out into this huge
version of Hyrule to see what caused the monster attack. After all, the moss on the monster
did make it seem like it had been sleeping for ages. Going a step further, could this
take place after Zelda 2 on the NES? Ganon was seemingly defeated for good at the end
of that game though that's never stopped him from appearing again. It would explain the
overgrown ruins and the sheer scale of Hyrule. Of course, this is likely not the case at
all. After all, we did point out how similar Link's arrow is to the creature's design.
If this is the first one he's ever encountered, how did he get the materials in the first
place? Unless he was able to find that technology separately from the monster. But even setting
aside the story, The Legend of Zelda for Wii U looks to have an incredible amount of potential.
So with that, we've covered all that we could find in Zelda Wii U's debut trailer. It might
be a while until the next bit of information is released, but the old Analysis Machine
will be ready to go whenever it does happen. Until then, if you liked this video, please
be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at GameXplain. Thanks for watching
and be sure to stay tuned for more on Zelda and other things gaming too.