The Verge is running a question for their community: “You’ve Just Been Given Control of a Great Video Game Franchise!” What do you remake, and why?
I wrote this:
Now, I’m an inveterate Legend Of Zelda fan, but if you’re paying attention to the sociopolitical background noise in that series, it’s… well. Literary theorists call this sort of thing “problematic”, which an in-field shorthand for “inconsistent and, if you look carefully, kind of sadmaking.” Your role as a hero there is to ostensibly to gain the powers and tools you need to defeat Ganon, noted evil megalomaniac, and secure the safety of the Kingdom of Hyrule.
But if you look a little closer, your role there is explicitly to restore the status quo ante of the Kingdom of Hyrule, power structure and all. The Royal Family stays Royal, the gods stay gods, the people stay the people. It’s a little… undemocratic.
The only time they’ve really deviated from that formula was in Majora’s Mask, which I don’t think strictly counts as a Legend Of Zelda game, despite being arguably the best game in that series.
The game I want puts a spin on that; a new Legend Of Zelda in which, through the curse of the wayward Skull Kid, Link wakes up to that realization and seeks out the Princess and Ganondorf, who have known the truth of the situation for centuries. The player retreads some of the older games, seeking out some of the less-used artefacts and people; large parts of the game played as Gandondorf and the Princess as the real villain of the whole thing, the divinely-backed King of Hyrule, marshals his forces and eventually the Gods themselves to stop you from dethroning him.
Roughly sketched, the trailer looks like this:
Fade in, to the sound of ZREO’s version of “Farewell Hyrule King”, from “WindWaker” In the old eight-bit Legend Of Zelda arcade font, the screen reads: “We’ve fought for centuries.”
Quick, pulsing cuts of Ganon’s introductory scene from A Link To The Past, Ocarina and
In the purple “Link To The Past” text style: “Over and over again.”
More fade-in-and-out cuts from the final fights in Ocarina, WindWaker and Twilight Princess.
“Ocarina of Time”-look: “Hundreds of years.”
We pan over the world maps from Link To The Past and WindWaker.
“WindWaker”-look: “Thousands of miles.”
Style: Twilight Princess. “.. and all that time, I’ve never lost.”
Music fades out, at the end of the slow part of Farewell Hyrule King, and closes
with the skittering-over-stone sound of a dungeon door closing.
“And all that time, I was wrong.”
Three heartbeat clips of Ganon’s face from different games.
“And now I have to go back.”
“Through the long years and distant lands.”
More clips of Link as he walks towards some of the iconic architecture of the series.
“To recover the ancient powers,”
“To summon my old enemy one last time.”
Style: Something new, light-grey on black, understated.
“To face the gods that have savaged our land,”
Slow pans around devastated landscapes, islands from the dark-worlds from A Link To The Past and Twilight Princess blurring into Hyrule. Broken ruins of the castles from various games.
“that Power, Wisdom and Courage might stand together at last,”
“… and set the people of Hyrule free.”
We now see Link walking into a small shrine, clearly built around the statue at its altar, a kneeling Ganon looking skyward. The Master Sword still embedded Excalibur-like in his skull; this is where he was last defeated, at the conclusion of Windwaker. Link brushes him off, as gently as an old friend, before putting two hands to the hilt of the sword and drawing it out. A thin shell of the stone crumbles away, and Ganon sags for a moment, and then rises.
He looks at the raised sword, and then to Link, and a voice that rumbles with scratching subsonic echoes asks, “You have woken me, here? Why?”
Link answers: “To end this. To give you everything you want.”
As previews of the gameplay, the trailer concludes with some exploration of canonical past environments by Link, but we also see Princess Zelda carrying a bow and a fine rapier, dressed as Shiek and creeping, Thief-style, through the rafters of Hyrule Castle at night, and Ganon parting a phalanx of armored pikemen with the same casual gesture you’d use to part a bead curtain.
Shortly we see Ganon, walking into Zelda’s room as she stands on her balcony, overlooking the kingdom. The princess knows he’s there, and doesn’t even turn around, smiling sadly. “Again, Ganon? And so soon?”. He shakes his head, and she turns around, looking quizzical as he replies “No, Princess, not this time. The Hero is Awake.”
A clip of Ganondorf, arm extended, levitating Zelda up to the back of an enormous arachnid creature, as she grabs on with one hand and pulls her rapier with the other. King of Hyrule snarling “You will not defile my kingdom” as an army of knights marches forward.
We close on a close up of Link, looking down briefly at the shield on his arm, emblazoned with the Crest of Hyrule. He smiles, tossing it to the ground and drawing the small Kokiri shortsword from his belt, Master Sword in his other hand. We pan back from that to see Link standing on a green hilltop, backs together with Princess Zelda, bow drawn and eyes narrowed, and Ganon, nodding to himself while his hands smoke with a green, burning-copper fire. As we pan further back, we see the hill surrounded at the base by thousands of soldiers, armored knights on horseback and snarling monsters in shining armor plate.
We fade out over the Crest of Hyrule and the title: “The Legend Of Zelda: Divine Kingdom”.
And then we fade to black.
I mean, sure. Almost pure fanservice, in a sense, but I think the idea’s got potential. The hard part is designing cooperative gameplay that makes sense for the very different character-roles involved, but I think that’s solvable.
Anyway, there you go.