The Nintendo rumor mill is turning again. So really, it’s just like any other day in the gaming news world. But seriously, among all the usual chatter, there’s something floating around that actually sounds plausible. This new rumor is about what the next The Legend of Zelda project is, and simultaneously about what developer Grezzo has been up to since Ever Oasis. Word is the team and Nintendo are getting ready to announce a new 3DS game that is either heavily influenced by or an actual remake of the Game Boy classic, Link’s Awakening. This would continue the line of remakes from Grezzo and makes a lot of sense as a major send-off of the 3DS. But at the same time, what kind of message does another 3DS The Legend of Zelda send in 2018?
Apparently, the 2018 part is a matter of circumstance. The game was reportedly planned for 2017, but held back a bit after the ludicrous success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new one, again, is based to some extent on Link’s Awakening and is meant to be more like Breath of the Wild, in terms of being a more open experience. It sounds a little odd to change the scope of a game like that so close to the apparent finish line, but the extent of these changes is admittedly unknown, assuming this story is true.
As far as the core idea goes, remaking Link’s Awakening is definitely a great idea. It’s a real chance for Grezzo to show what it can do with a bit more creative freedom. Its first two The Legend of Zelda projects were more comparable to remasters than full remakes, and Ever Oasis is kind of a whole other animal. Taking the concept of a game that was very much an old 2D joint and really expanding on it sounds like an opportunity to flex, much like Metroid: Samus Returns was for developer Mercurysteam.
Link’s Awakening itself was also an incredible game and arguably one of the highest points of the Zelda series. Like Majora’s Mask, it was weird in a way a lot of the other games in the series weren’t. You had a ton of bizarre cameos of Nintendo characters, off-kilter characters and music, and a story that took a lot of liberties with the established The Legend of Zelda mythos at that point. The Game Boy was, in a lot of ways, a platform for experimentation, and seeing that translated to a space that has more room for whatever the developers can think of sounds like an intriguing prospect.
The weird part is going to be selling this game in 2018. Sure, it’s a The Legend of Zelda game, and people like the series. But a lot of people are looking at the Switch now, especially now that we’re heading into its second year. Obviously being a remake and not a new idea makes it fit the current 3DS narrative of spinoffs, remakes, and things like Mario Party minigame collections, but it may cause some grumbling among Nintendo fans expecting every new game to be a Switch title.
While the next Nintendo Direct has all kinds of scuttlebutt surrounding it, none of it sounds as plausible as the Link’s Awakening rumor. Grezzo has a history with The Legend of Zelda series, remastering both Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask for the 3DS. Its original title, Ever Oasis, only adds to the developer’s experience with the 3DS as a platform. Additionally, stories broke earlier in 2017 about Grezzo hiring for a new game. Everything just lines up really well. The main hurdle is its status as a 3DS game and the odd detail of the delay to inject a little Breath of the Wild DNA into the mix. Of course, as with all rumors, we’ll see what happens, but a modern take on Ballad of the Wind Fish has me a bit giddy for sure.