INSiGHT | The Legend of Zelda on Wii U - How to Control?

By Shane Jury 25.08.2013 9

With so many control schemes experimented by Nintendo for The Legend of Zelda series, how could it work in the new Wii U entry? Shane explores a potential control scheme.
Image for INSiGHT | The Legend of Zelda on Wii U - How to Control?

For many years before the advent of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on Wii, the control scheme for the franchise in 3D by-and-large remained consistent, making use of analogue stick movement and trigger-targeting techniques, together with equipment-defined buttons and a fairly linear dungeon-to-overworld system. Majora's Mask mixed up the latter nicely with a three day limit and a bustling town in fear of being obliterated, and the freedom of the ocean sailing in The Wind Waker HD looks set to wow a new generation of Nintendo fans.

Skyward Sword arguably did the most to mix up these standards of the franchise; not only basing the hub-world in the sky, but making the environments before each dungeon act like as standalone dungeon sections. Nintendo put more emphasis on item usage outside of their respective origins, using items in tandem on the field, as well as inside the dungeons. Not only that, but the expressions and mannerisms of the characters made for an emotive game even without proper voiced narrative.

Image for INSiGHT | The Legend of Zelda on Wii U - How to Control?

That's before even mentioning the controls, which have probably done more to split the opinions of the fan-base far more than Wind Waker's art style or Twilight Princess' familiarity in relation to Ocarina of Time. For better or worse, Skyward Sword's Motion-focused approach gave heroes one-to-one control over a blade and the items equipped alongside it, making for unique and more imaginative puzzles and enemy fights.
The layout of the game, with collectables and dungeon tropes still soured many looking for a more refreshed Zelda title, but the majority agreed that the freedom of motion control should be carried forward into future games.

Looking at the Wii U's primary control input, it would be difficult to see how this could happen. As versatile as the GamePad may be, its motion capabilities would not allow the freedom of a Wii Remote, and would inevitably return to a more conventional setup from older titles in the franchise. Is there a way to combine the two, perhaps?

Image for INSiGHT | The Legend of Zelda on Wii U - How to Control?

As an opinion piece, this suggestion is admittedly out of personal preference, but seeing and playing Nintendoland's Zelda Battle Quest mini-game might have provided the solution. Both control options for a one player game are separated for use of ease, but imagine if they were combined?

Imagine holding the Wii U GamePad with one hand, be it your left or right, giving access to an Analog stick for character movement, two shoulder buttons for targeting and dodging, and 4 face buttons (or a D-Pad) for items switching/other purposes.

Holding the controller in this way and resting it on your lap to avoid hand strain frees up your other hand to wield the Wii Remote. Using the remote this way not only eliminates the cord of the nunchuk; but gives full freedom to use it like a sword once again and allows the superior speed of the pointer to come into play for targeting arrows and hook-shots.

Image for INSiGHT | The Legend of Zelda on Wii U - How to Control?

But what of the GamePad's touch screen? Well, the feeling of actually holding a dungeon map in your hands could be well replicated, as is moving all main-screen indicators like the health and magic bars onto it to provide a more cinematic experience. And holding up the pad to use the shield if you so desire… why not?
Skyward Sword had to balance the complexities of a MotionPlus-enhanced Wii Remote and a basic gyro-equipped nunchuk, so puzzles were fairly one-sided in that respect. With this dual-setup, you have two devices that are fairly well matched, and thus allow greater flexibility. That's to say nothing of transport possibly, like the reigns of a Horse or giant Bird. Naturally this potential scheme could complicate a few things. Off-TV play for example, which can be remedied by moving the sword options to the second analogue stick as a trade-off would be not as accurate, but functional enough. Plus since there is no guarantee that each Wii U owner has a Wii Remote+ hanging around, Nintendo would likely have to provide one with the game like with Skyward Sword, but by that point manufacturing costs for remotes should be dirt cheap anyway.

Image for INSiGHT | The Legend of Zelda on Wii U - How to Control?

Of course, there were other considerable factors that dulled the Skyward Sword experience for many, which Nintendo would be wise to focus on outside of the control scheme, but one like this could satisfy not only the purists and Motion converts, but those also seeking a newer way to play.

Image for INSiGHT | The Legend of Zelda on Wii U - How to Control?

With Nintendo looking to move outside their comfort zone and re-energize the Legend of Zelda formula, this could be one way to make Link's next adventure an even more memorable one.

How do you want to control the new Legend of Zelda game? Have your say in the poll below.

User Poll: How do you want to control a new Zelda for Wii U?

Wii Remote+ and Nunchuck
Wii U Pro Controller
GamePad Only
GamePad + Wii Remote+
Wii Remote+,Nunchuck and GamePad on the side
Mind Control
Box art for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild





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It's hard to imagine going back to button controls after Skyward Sword, so I'll have to pick Wiimote+ and Nunchuck. I really can't see them doing GamePad with the Wiimote+, now THAT would be even more controversial than the motion controls themselves.

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I'm replaying through Ocarina of Time 3D at the moment, and it's such a breeze to play with the inventory management system accessible at all times on the touch screen that I don't think I'd want to go back ^^, not to mention that gyroscope aiming for the bow, slingshot and hookshot proves to be extremely accurate in OoT 3D, so if it's just to implement more waggling of the wiimote, I think i'd stick to the gamepad. IR aiming was a must in the zelda games on Wii but first person gyro aiming does it even better so...

( Edited 26.08.2013 12:49 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I would definitely pick Wii Remote + Nunchuk with Game Pad use on the side (like Pikmin 3)
I absolutely love Skyward Sword's controls.

(I did accidentally vote for just Wii Remote + Nunchuk though)

I think they'll probably go for an analogue/classic approach with the new Wii U online - unless - they do bundle in a Wii Remote+ as you say, good ideas though, do like the GamePad on the lap idea. They should do an attachment where it bolds onto your arm lol.

Skyward's controls were pretty darn good I must say, they worked for the most part.

( Edited 26.08.2013 09:44 by jb )

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

IF they use a control-scheme similar to this one, then I think they may utilize the scheme used in Pikmin 3 - the pad as a monitor and touch screen and wiimote an nunchuck as steering utility. I think they may use this one.

But maybe they invent a new one, since Pad and Wiimote sounds a bit chunky to me...

I find your lack of faith disturbing!
Boxpuncher (guest) 26.08.2013#6

How about controlling the sword with a finger swipe across the game pads touch screen ala fruit ninja? I reckon this could be a good way to utilise the game pad and bring something different than to what has been used before. You can still hold the pad and control link as well as targeting with the left trigger

bob (guest) 27.08.2013#7


TheCiscoKid (guest) 29.08.2013#8

That's not a bad idea.

Bob (guest) 05.10.2014#9

If the new Zelda game lives up to expectation and customer review, and the sword control is less problematic than with Skyward Sword, the sword moves likes you want it to if your 'in the moment' and not stopping to surgically position the remote!! I would buy it quite happily.

And although i haven't used a touch pad control outside of the DS i can imagine that with both the pin point precision and motion control you get with the wii remote (use to love chain and ball in Twilight Princess and aiming the bow with the remote) and quick access to menus, sliding block door puzzles, maps and everything else that the touch screen can be used for, i think that you could make quite a game with a real technical edge.

I think that OOT and TP are still class games, with what the newer consoles can handle in terms of expanded maps, better environmental interactions, weather systems etc and some harking back to what made OOT and TP so fun, combined with some refined control systems the next generation of Zelda games could be more epic and fun than ever and retake/hold their rightful place in gaming history.

PS: Imagine the Zelda games from the Snes and beyond revamped with new graphics and technology, but with the same plot, gadgets, gameplay style etc.... Epic

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