Cast your minds back if you will to the close of one century and beginning of the next. The time when Nintendo announced the GameCube at Space World 2000 and with it, a few technical spec videos one of which showing a realistic (for the time) looking Link battling a detailed Ganondorf in what was then thought as the next Legend of Zelda game. A year later, Wind Waker was revealed to be the official heir and the video shown alongside the GameCube was purely for show. Some people were pissed at the new cel-shaded art style instead of a more mature-looking Zelda but personally, Wind Waker is one of the best looking titles in the franchise and I’m not alone in that train of thought. Train being an appropriate word since the art style continued from Wind Waker, through Phantom Hourglass and onto Spirit Tracks on the DS.
This year’s E3 shares similarities to Nintendo’s Space World in 2000. Both saw new consoles, the GameCube and now Wii U and both had new looking Zelda games that according to producer Eiji Aonuma, don’t necessarily reflect what the final game will look like. Speaking with Wired (via Kotaku) about the Wii U and its E3 announcement, Aonuma called for a level of calm when discussing the next Zelda: “So when we show a graphic demo, people think, ‘Oh, this is what the next Zelda will look like,’ but that’s not necessarily the case.” The words are by no means final but if the video seen at E3 did resemble the final version, I don’t think Aonuma would be dismissive of it in this way.
Is it really such a big deal? Companies do this all the time with the Wind Waker switcheroo possibly the most famous. And more recently, Techland gave the impression that Dead Island was to be a poignant emotionally destructive experience through its debut video but positive previews claim it’s more slapstick than touching. I think for the Wii U’s Zelda showing, it was the first time anyone had seen Link in full HD and since a lot of buzz around the console is its ability to play high definition graphics, so when seeing an HD battle between the green-clothed hero and one mega arachnid, thoughts would naturally be filled with “omg, a Zelda like that would be awesome!”And it would be but Aonuma’s comments suggesting we should not expect it to look anything like that new infamous Zelda video is probably to try and avoid any angry fist-waving when Zelda Wii U is officially unveiled.