Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is Finally Nearing Release... [1/2]

Ironically enough, the not-so intruiging title of this post doesn't seem to reflect on the fact I haven't written about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in the main in a post once since it was first revealed back at E3 2010 more than a year ago. Since the next game in my favourite series was announced it has seen a number of trailers, a bunch of screenshots and some pieces of art released for the gaming community to gawp at, but with each new snippet of the title shown-off we don't really seem to be seeing anything new since the last trailers, screenshots or pieces of art were shown. Despite having four trailers released, the third and fourth trailers for Skyward Sword are essentially exactly the same, with the more recent video featuring a few new two-second segments showing a Robin Williams lookalike standing next to a statue and a single member of Zelda's long-time rocky race, the Gorons. It's the same for the art, too. The first batch of beautifully drawn art showed hero Link in various different stances, swinging the Master Sword about in all manner of ways - most probably to subtly say that you can in fact swing the sword wherever you want thanks to the magic of 1:1 motion controls with the addition of Wii Motion Plus for the first time in a Zelda game. Despite showing art of Zelda herself and the game's apparent antagonist Ghirahim in later batches of artwork, future pieces after the first load were only modifications of previous artwork on Link. What I've just said about the trailers and art of Skyward Sword quite frankly can't even be said for screenshots, because we've seen barely any images of Link traversing the new Zelda world of Skyloft thus far.

With all this recycled footage and all these re-used images, Nintendo is intentionally putting Zelda fans through incredible pain by not revealing more than a miniscule chunk of what we're going to see in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which will apparently be the most lengthy and expansive game yet to see release in the long-running series. The reason they happen to be doing this is quite simple: So none of the game is spoiled before release. By the time the most recent handheld game in the series that we know as Spirit Tracks was released, many gamers including myself found themselves slogging through many spoiled moments that had already leaked onto the interwebs through the earlier Japanese release of the game, including the completely ruined revelation of a certain Princess Zelda's death and reincarnation as a ghostly acquaintance for Link (although that didn't really matter too much because Spirit Tracks was average at best, in fairness). Skyward Sword on the other hand is much more exciting, and has my anticipation levels overflowing, even more so by the fact that Nintendo aren't giving away anything minus the odd tidbit in interviews and trailers. What we do know is when the game will be released. As a matter of fact, what I said earlier about a lack of art for the game isn't strictly true either, as the absolutely gorgeous box artwork for Skyward Sword was revealed the other week, and without a doubt takes place as my favourite cover for a Zelda game yet. While it's not 100% confirmed just yet that we'll be seeing this lovely art on the games UK covers (although it's pretty damn likely as almost every other Zelda game had the same box art in both PAL and NTSC regions) all we know for now is that it looks awesome. Check it out below...

As you can see here, the Limited Edition bundle includes a gorgeous Zelda Wii Remote and a Zelda Symphony Orchestra CD packed with classic tunes and ditties. Oh, and you get the game as well.
The artwork on the cover of the latest and potentially greatest Zelda adventure also reveals a rather interesting secret, but I'll get into that later. First off, the aforementioned release date. It has now officially been confirmed by Nintendo that us UK gamers will be seeing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on UK shelves and eventually in our Wiis from the 18th of November this year. What's even more ace is that we'll be able to gloat in the faces of US gamers, as they'll have to wait another 48 hours until they get their hands on their release of the game. Although I'd rather see Professor Layton's London Life included in the UK package of Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call than wait another 48 hours for what could potentially be the best game ever made, if you get what I mean! Anyway, let's get this post back on track with the small hint many of us (but not all) noticed on the cover of Skyward Sword. Anyone who's familiar with Zelda lore should be aware of the three symbols of the creators of the Triforce, the usual main cause of all the trouble in each and every Zelda game that makes a standardised appearance in some form or another in each title. If you look closely, the three symbols can be seen on the box art behind Link's new partner who we currently know as Phi. Two of the three symbols can be seen to the left and right of Phi, while the final symbol can vaguely be found just behind her head. While this isn't particularly exciting, let's not forget that Skyward Sword will be the game where we discover how the Master Sword and the Triforce came to be. What with the six years of development this game has been in I'm sure Nintendo will have nailed it with the risky explanation of the creation of these iconic, recurring Zelda items. Back to the box art, like I said earlier I think it's easily my favourite cover on a Zelda game yet, and I really do hope us UK gamers get our greasy Zelda-craving mitts on a box as gorgeous as this one when the game sees release on the 18th of November.

As you may or may not know, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will be available in a special bundle which includes an awesome Zelda-themed Wii Remote Plus (a standard remote with MotionPlus built-in) that sports an epic shade of gold. This most certainly doesn't look like the plasticy gold crap that THQ gave to the Queen along with a copy of Big Beach Sports a few years back (quite possibly the most shameful thing anyone could ever do to her majesty) and instead appears to be a fan's dream and the perfect extra to compliment the next Legend of Zelda game. The gold Wii Remote Plus isn't the only extra you can get your hands on when purchasing Skyward Sword, however. A soundtrack CD featuring songs performed by the Zelda Symphony Orchestra will be included with every single copy of the game (yes, even the standard release without the remote) which is also a pretty awesome (and free) bonus. Not only this, but if you happen to have a Club Nintendo account and end up buying a copy of the game you can register it on the Nintendo website for a chance to get your hands on the Ocarina of Time 3D soundtrack as well, although the stocks are pretty low so I'm not sure how likely the opportunity to also grab this gift will be. Regardless, all these extra bonus items feel like a reward for us gamers (un)patiently waiting for the next Zelda game, and the first 'proper' full on title in the series to see release since Twilight Princess, which came out a whopping half decade ago.

I neglected to mention this absolutely epic cover for US magazine Game Informer in this post (because it only popped up the other day in case you're wondering). Just wow, I'm speechless!
UK gamers have only got to wait just over two more months until they can finally stick a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword hastily into their Wii disk drives. The painful wait for the potential greatest game ever made is finally coming to a close, and it really is about time too. If this game can top the GameCube version of Twilight Princess as my favourite game released to date, I sure will be happy, and even if Skyward Sword doesn't end up all it was hyped up to be (highly unlikely) when it is released it'll still be an undeniably great game. It has been in development for the past six years, to be fair. Anyway, I hope you readers enjoyed this preview post. I didn't write about the actual game that much in this post, so you can expect another preview of the game when we near even closer to the next Zelda games release. It looks like we won't be having to wait too long for a stream of new info on Skyward Sword to pop up either, as US magazine Game Informer (check out an amazing cover above and an enlarged version here) and UK magazine NGamer promise new coverage of the game in upcoming issues. Until next time, have a good one and don't forget to share the blog with others, comment and keep reading! Buh-bye!


Anonymous said...

Totally agree about the reason for Ninty's tight-lipped attitude with showing off the game.

They seem to be masters at giving us tantalising glimpses of the game which we fans will pore over to find the important, meaningful bits (case in point: spiritual stones in the boxart, the sheikah symbol appearing, theme tune being Zelda's lullaby backwards, the Gorons as mentioned, etc, etc), which have far more an impact than other publishers which show us huge portions of their games, while not spoiling them!

Kezz said...

Wow, awesome SS preview, Noodle. You've picked up on some very interesting things.

Oh, and I also noticed the three symbols on the boxart. It does look lovely and is definitely my favourite Zelda game boxart so far. :3

Noodle said...

I completely agree with your comments Sporkhead. Keeping the lid almost completely shut on a game would be very risky, but when it's a game as huge as Zelda you just know it's going to be amazing no matter what. I assume we'll be seeing a fair bit more of the game next month due to NGamer and Game Informer's coverage. For now we can only wait...

George said...

A well justified opinion and one I fully agree on!