Breath of the Wild has been extremely well received, and naturally we’re all looking at Nintendo and wondering, “what’s next?” It’s pretty hard to top perfect 10 scores practically across the board. We’ve seen Zelda in side scrolling platformer, 2D, 3D, 2D with 3D capabilities, and now, open-world. What could Nintendo possibly do with the franchise to follow such a monster hit?
While Breath of the Wild certainly was an innovator, a lot of same old formula has kept it from evolving as a game franchise normally would. We’ve seen Link swing around swords, swing hammers, and run around with his Pegasus Boots, but what if we made some adjustments? Overall, Nintendo is all about pushing the envelope with their IPs and figuring out small tweaks to the formula would ensure another smash hit.
Here are some ideas I think could really make the next Zelda game make Breath of the Wild look like No Man’s Sky. I drew two of them out in crayon to give you a better visual!
Twilight Princess brought about one of my favorite toys in a Zelda game: the double-clawshot. Allowing you to traverse giant ravines by chaining together shots, one was held in each hand and Link moved about effortlessly, gliding through the final dungeon where they were found. So how could we make this better? Let’s apply the formula.
Some = Good. More = Better.
As you can see in the above mathematical equation, more hookshots would certainly be an improvement. Remember how far you could move with the double-hookshot? Well, attach two more hookshots to Link’s feet and you can now move twice as far. This one’s a no-brainer, to be honest.
A Bartending Mini-Game
Throughout the Zelda franchise, we encounter countless townspeople facing trial and tribulation. The people in the universe are simple-minded yet always seem to have something missing in their life. Tell me – why wouldn’t there be a bar in these towns? Sure there was the Milk Bar in Majora’s Mask, a bar in A Link Between Worlds, and probably others, but with the addition of recipes and cooking in Breath of the Wild, wouldn’t making cocktails be the next logical step?
Perhaps you could gather intel about certain townspeople – what they drink, how they like it made, shaken or stirred, that sort of thing. Then, you could use the Motion and HD Rumble features in the Switch JoyCons to pour, mix, and garnish each drink, in the style of Cooking Mama! Townspeople would forget about their problems completely, and give you reward money, in the form of cash tips!
Ganon is Back, and His Gambling Addiction is Destroying His Family
Ever watch Intervention? There are all kinds of people on there with all manner of problems. The real takeaway from the show is that sometimes the most unsuspecting people harbor dangerous addictions, and a strong support group can be the difference between getting help, and lifelong crippling despair.
Let’s be honest. Here you have the freaken Gerudo leader with the Triforce of Power who continuously kidnaps a princess with the Triforce of Wisdom. Really makes you think he’s after that Wisdom bonus, doesn’t it? And what do you need wisdom for? Counting cards. And why would you need to count cards? To win at Blackjack at the gambling tables.
It’s crystal clear to me what Ganon’s purpose is. In his human form, Ganondorf, kidnap Zelda and try to get better at playing Blackjack from her Wisdom perk.
I’d like to get some insight into this obvious Easter egg, perhaps some sort of intervention situation where we have to confront him at the end of the game, rather than battle him in an epic fight to the temporary death like every other game in the series. Let’s see him get defensive, maybe see a few tears, before voluntarily committing himself to a Hyrulian twelve step program.
Princess Zelda is Doing Great and Requires No Assistance Whatsoever
Let’s be honest, we’ve saved this woman like, a hundred times. If this were real life, she probably would have learned some karate, hired some bodyguards, or at least gotten better at screaming. What’s her job in the next game? Simple: letting Link know how she’s doing via text message.
Think about it – how many times have you been cruising through Hyrule Field on your pony, only to wonder, “man, what’s that girl up to anyway?” Now, periodically, your cell phone will start lighting up with Princess Zelda selfies in front of the organic produce section, or with a flirtatious angle at her new Lulu Lemons after spin class. This could add a whole different relationship dynamic between Link and Zelda, and I think we, the fans, could use a different perspective on these video game icons.
When Ocarina of Time first invented the concept of horses for human transportation, all the members of the gaming community who don’t own horses were blown away at the idea of having your own pet horse. Epona quickly became a staple in the stable of the Legend of Zelda series after that, with the exception of the boat in the 2003 series entry The Wind Walker, where it was known in-game as “King Horseboat.”
Tanks have been in use for military application for literally dozens of years longer than horses. Tanks can be found in all kinds of games, including World of Tanks, Panzer Elite, and other games about tanks. It’s a far more modernized mode of transportation that could add a layer of depth to the traveling portion of the gameplay.
Bombs have been in Zelda since the beginning, but you know where you don’t need bombs? Inside a game where you drive a damn tank.
Fully Automatic Assault Rifles
Hey, uh, Link – Medieval Times called, and they want their swords and shields back. Link’s been wielding the same antiquated technology since the Bubonic Plague was spreading across Europe. It’s 2017 now and wars aren’t fought with weapons forged by blacksmiths. With weapon durability arguably being one of the most defining features in Breath of the Wild, this can easily be replicated with ammo conservation. Ammunition reloading stands can be sparsely located throughout the map, with the player being able to pick up ammo casings, smelt them down into raw brass, and make more ammo, or lie about and tell everyibe it’s gold to sell to the peasants in Kakariko Village.
Billboards Advertising Discount Divorce Lawyers
This one might come across as strange, but the direction that Nintendo has taken Zelda tells me that they want to get as authentic and true to life as possible. If you know Zelda, you know that Zeldaland is full of relationships. Anju & Kafei from Majora’s Mask, Yeto and Yeta, the romantically involved yetis from Twilight Princess, and of course, all of Link’s relationships over the years. Of course, we can assume the divorce rate is still hovering around 50%, meaning there are a lot of divorce contracts to write.
If you’ve ever driven down a highway in the United States, you already know the comfort that comes with knowing a $250 divorce is available practically 24/7. This could extend right into the Zelda universe without breaking cannon, since we can practically assume at this point that even Link himself has had a few relationships end in shattered ruins. In fact, it’s thought that Breath of the Wild’s ruined Hyrule world is symbolism for Link’s failed relationships, and that the start of the game, Link’s just waking up from a huge depression-driven bender.
Every Zelda game is full of side quests (odd jobs) that are rewarded in rupees (alimony payments). Clearly he needs a good lawyer, and I think it’d be great for the next Zelda installment to explore that.
Zelda… In Space!?
The open-world sandbox concept of Breath of the Wild has resonated well with players. While it may be one in a sea of dozens of open-world games, others have been harshly criticized for being wide open spaces with nothing to do. Breath of the Wild broke the mold and abandoned traditional open-world concepts in favor of newer ones, adding just the right amount of content to keep you wanting to explore. I think we can expand here.
The map of Breath of the Wild is absolutely massive – but what if it were to expand to infinite proportions? Just picture it: the screen fades in, a subtle and melodic piano roll in, fades into earshot, Link’s eyes snap open.. “where am I?” he wonders. Wake up Link. You’re in the International Space Station.
Using your trusty spaceship Spacepona, you blast around outer space, visiting procedural-generated planets brimming with all matter of fauna and life forms for you to discover and document. There would probably be 18.4 quintillion planets more or less, allowing for endless opportunity and mysteries to uncover. Hyrule would become a series of planets floating around space. Zora’s Domain on an Earth-like planet with water. Goron City on a Mercury-type of planet with volcanoes and endless lakes of fire as far as the eye can see. Hyrule Castle would be right in the middle of the galaxy, which theoretically could take 100 hours to reach. You might even run into other Links, but odds are that wouldn’t ever happen given the sheer scale and a couple quintillion other planets.
On an unrelated note, I think the game should cost $60.
While the newest game in the franchise has been impressive, I think there are some great directions that Zelda can go from this point forward. Changing some of the old formula can add a breath of fresh air. Let’s all hope Nintendo considers some ideas like these – I think it can ensure that the next Zelda is another Perfect 10!