Nintendo shocked fans with a surprise announcement earlier this year of a spruced up, high-definition version of The Wind Waker, releasing a handful of screenshots for the world to see. What still remains a mystery though is how the game might control: the Wii U GamePad is a given, but will Nintendo incorporate motion controls for aiming and even Wii Remote for swordplay?
In this edition of The Game Factory we wanted to try something a little different by crafting a video mock-up of a what if scenario, bringing different ideas as to how Nintendo could control movement, items and weapons in the much anticipated Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
These are unofficial suggestions, designs and ideas using a mock-up Wii U GamePad interface with GameCube graphics and are not indicative of what Nintendo are developing.
Which Controller to Use?The issue with The Legend of Zelda series when it comes to the Wii U asks the all-important question: Wii Remote or Wii U GamePad?
In our mock-up video we demonstrate how the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Wii U Edition might look on the GamePad plus could handle if a Wii Remote were thrown into the mix.
The GameCube classic had and still has an incredible amount of potential to use a Wii Remote for Link's set of weapons and tools - as a sword, grappling hook, bow and even sailing - and the GamePad offering an extra screen for inventory and map management. Nintendo Land also demonstrated that aiming through the 6.2 inch touch screen isn't as clumsy as it sounds, and by offering a range of control schemes Nintendo could create an irresistible Wind Waker remake with a setup to cater for the traditional Zelda player and one for the motion-lover.
The GamePad - Traditional ModeWhen Nintendo first revealed the Wii U GamePad concept and its delicious touch-screen, one of the immediate ideas that sprung to mind is a place for a map and items in an adventure game or RPG. The Legend of Zelda is heavily reliant on both of these and much like Ocarina of Time 3D on the Nintendo 3DS, the Wii U version is more than likely to use the second screen in this way.
Nintendo are also promising Off-TV play, so a separate item/pause menu would also be required, with an array of configurations depending on how players wish to tackle the game.
In our video mock-up the touch screen has an enlarged map, health and items that can be assigned to two face buttons - X and Y - plus two additional as shoulder buttons. Movement and camera could, as you'd expect, work with the two analogue sticks fora traditional means of playing the game with an added inventory layer on the touch screen.
The GamePad - Stylus/Touch ModeThe Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass attempted something different; controlling Link directly using the stylus on the screen. Whilst this method perhaps wasn't for everyone, it might be interesting to see Nintendo bring back this approach in The Wind Waker U.
Players would be able to draw on the screen to move Link around, swipe to roll and for swordplay. In the same way items could be selected on the touch-screen and also manipulated with the stylus; for example using the bow and arrow in first person on the touch screen, whilst Link remains in third person on the TV.
Using the touch screen could be effective for both right handed and left handed players too, with L/R acting as the shield and ZL/ZR as the aiming trigger depending on whichever hand is in control. Items could be assigned to the D-Pad or face buttons, with the analogue stick as a free camera.
Wii Remote ControlThe GamePad is likely to be the control method of choice for Nintendo given that it's the primary Wii U peripheral, but the studio could include Wii Remote and nun-chuck control as a possible alternative. Twilight Princess on Wii re-ignited the series by quite literally putting Link's sword and shield your hands, and whilst wasn't mapped 1:1, gave an extra layer of immersion.
The more recent Skyward Sword took control a step further with accurate swordplay, but this approach might be difficult to incorporate in Wind Waker U. The reason being that Nintendo would presumably have to choose one form of swordplay and given the GamePad would be primary control, any Wii Remote use would likely have to be fixed like Twilight Princess. With the Wii Remote combo for movement and item use, the GamePad could be freed up to perhaps display a map and the Tingle Tuner as a second information screen on the side.
Again like stylus control, Wii Remote play isn't for everyone but would be a solid addition and hopefully an approach Nintendo won't neglect with future Legend of Zelda adventures.
Selecting ItemsOne of the most likely ideas Nintendo might implement is having the map and items shown on the GamePad touch screen for quick and easy access. This could work in two different ways - instant or assignable.
Having to look down at the GamePad to continue to change items in the heat of a battle might be problematic, but the option to select items to use on the fly could be an interesting way of handling inventory. That said, tapping on an item and assigning it to the face buttons would probably be the method of choice for seasoned adventurers.
Like the more recent Legend of Zelda games, using the Wii Remote could require the item selection to show up on the TV screen at the press of a button, with these assignable to the D-Pad for quick use.
Aiming and Using ItemsEver since Link stepped into a polygon world in Ocarina of Time, the series cemented itself as the King of adventure game control. The use of L or Z targeting to constantly focus on enemies is one that's often overlooked and a key part of games playing in third person. What about aiming and firing items?
In The Wind Waker and other 3D Legend of Zelda titles, you're able to choose between aiming freely in first person or homing in on a target using the L trigger. Why not have the ability to use both? In our mock-up Link would remain in third person on the TV, whilst popping into first person view for more precise aiming - allowing you to continue to strafe from left to right and getting a precise shot in if needed.
Tingles, Battlesquids , Mail Sorting and Auto SailingControls aside, the GamePad could also be used as an interface for the Tingle Tuner, an additional accessory that players would use with a Game Boy Advance on the original GameCube release. The peculiar Hylian could be controlled suing the GamePad's touch screen on the fly, perhaps switching out the map for the Tuner at the press of a button. Kooloo-Limpah!
Likewise the controller could make the Battlesquids mini-game more direct by allowing players to plot out their bombs using the touchscreen, and even fling letters in the Dragon Roost Island Mail Sorting game.
Feeling a tad lazy? The GamePad could even be used as a means of plotting a sailing path - drawing on the touch screen and letting the King of Red Lions drift you towards your destination.
What ideas are you hoping Nintendo incorporate in The Wind Waker Wii U remake? Be sure to post your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.