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The Legend of Zelda

When Nintendo unveiled the latest GameCube iteration of The Legend of Zelda at its 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference, the crowd went absolutely berserk—grown men wept openly, prim-and-proper businesswomen squealed like schoolgirls, overweight nerds in Hot Topic T-shirts leapt up and down uncontrollably. Someone was probably carried out on a stretcher, like at a Michael Jackson concert. Why? Contrary to what Nintendo had previously told us, the new Zelda game isn’t a direct follow-up to the cute, cartoony Wind Waker—instead, it’s a startlingly realistic, mature take on the classic franchise. The new game has no official title yet, nor a release date, but we expect it to hit in late 2005.

“There were very, very, very, very many people out there who wanted Link to change,” laughs series creator Shigeru Miyamoto. “We feel that [cartoon style] was the best option for expressing Link as a young, energetic boy in Wind Waker, but now we’ve made him a teenager again.” He’s not kidding: Link has assuredly grown up, leaving behind all his boyish charms—no more ultraexpressive doe eyes, friendly talking boat, or Dennis the Menace–style slingshot. The new Link echoes the lanky, grown-up version in Nintendo 64’s Ocarina of Time but is a li’l tougher, with a more rugged tunic and angular features. In fact, he’s not too dissimilar from the ass-kicking elf seen in last year’s Soul Calibur II for Cube. Now, all he has to do is ditch that prudish Zelda, hook up with sultry dominatrix Ivy, and then he’ll be really mature....

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.

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