February 21, 2019 8:43 PM   Subscribe

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s [re:]Awakening [YouTube][Switch Trailer] [Original Gameboy Gameplay] “Nintendo is bringing the 1993 Game Boy classic adventure The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening to Nintendo Switch later this year. The re-release is more than just a Virtual Console-style release, it’s a complete 3D “reimagining” of the classic Zelda adventure. As Link, players will once again return to the island of Koholint for new adventures. While the new Link’s Awakening will retain the top-down — and occasionally side-scrolling — view of the Game Boy original, the Switch remake will use 3D models and employ a stylish, toy-like aesthetic.” [via: Polygon]

• Getting Reacquainted With Zelda: Link's Awakening, An Irreverent And Often Very Silly Classic [Nintendo Life]
“ I'd forgotten how goofy and irreverent the game is; back in 1993, after the relatively light-hearted and cartoon-like Link to the Past, it was less of a tonal shift, but even then I can remember thinking how silly Link's Awakening was in comparison to the SNES game. This is a title that features cameos from the likes of Kirby, Yoshi and even Dr. Wright from the SNES version of SimCity, and showcases side-scrolling platforming sections where you leap on the heads of Goombas from the Super Mario Bros. series. Elsewhere, dialogue with non-player characters is often amusing, but does much to shatter the illusion of immersion; who can forget the many kids in Mabe Village who happily explain gameplay tips – such as how to save your game and the ability to re-spawn at the last doorway you entered – but then confess to not actually knowing what this information pertains to? And what about Ulrira, a sage-like individual who doles out patchy advice to the player via an anachronistic network of telephones?”
• Let’s talk about that Link’s Awakening remake art design [Nintendo Enthusiast]
“The heart of Link’s Awakening is about the hero trying to find his way home again. It’s a simple, yet imaginative tale that deserves the touch of a passionate and artistic team. This unique redesign, in my mind, declares self-confidence from the team behind the game’s development. It’s easy to do what has been successful in recent history to ensure a commercial win. However, I get the sense that the story of this game will pair nicely with the tone set by its appearance. Taking the route of a top-down view preserves the memory of the original game and encapsulates some of its magic. Meanwhile, the remake creates and contributes some new magic with its modern art style. Check out some of these magnificent side-by-side comparisons shared by Tiny Cartridge.”
• A ‘Link to the Past’ remake would have been better than ‘Awakening’ [Hypable]
“Don’t get me wrong: it will be wonderful to dive back in to the Game Boy game that continued the Zelda series right off the hot tracks of Link to the Past. There’s nothing wrong with Link’s Awakening Remake being made, and honestly, I’m grateful that Nintendo is taking the time to give a somewhat more niche title in the Zelda series some love. Will Link’s Awakening Remake sell incredibly well? With Breath of the Wild carrying the Zelda branding strongly into the Nintendo Switch’s launch, there is no doubt that it will be one of the most popular Nintendo Switch titles on the console. Would Link to the Past remake have done even better? As far as I’m concerned, hell yeah.”
• Nintendo's decision to remake Zelda: Link's Awakening is a game-changer [GQ]
“But Zelda owes a much bigger debt to Link’s Awakening than that. Kaepora Gaebora, the owl in Ocarina Of Time, would probably not exist without the wise bird that frequently appears here. This was the first Zelda game to play different music in every dungeon. It’s the first game that uses music as a magical device and the first game to feature an ocarina as an item. It also introduced the Roc’s Feather into the series. Most importantly, we’d probably not have some of the most defining features of the franchise’s energy without this game's sense that nothing is as it seems, its use of the power of music to control nature and the idea that the world you've come to know is actually the construct of some great tragedy you are set to discover more about.”
posted by Fizz (33 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
a stylish, toy-like aesthetic.

Not just toy-like but straight up 'Chibi'. And considering how this is one of the darkest Zelda games, it's going to make for some interesting gameplay/story-beats.
posted by Fizz at 8:51 PM on February 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

A ‘Link to the Past’ remake would have been better than ‘Awakening’

I love A Link to the Past, but no way, Nintendo showing love to the lesser known gems in its library is way more exciting! I'd be super into a Switch remake and expansion of Four Swords Adventures.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:23 PM on February 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

I hope people enjoy this. It's a great game, but for me I worry I'll forget the impression I had of monochrome Link in my head battling across Koholint. I don't want a Peter Jackson's LOTR taking Frodo's face from me sort of situation.

I don't know if it's the darkest Zelda, but there's a definite sense of dread mixed with sadness ... anticipatory melancholy maybe ... after the Southern Face Shrine.
posted by Mister Cheese at 9:25 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

This... was the first Zelda game I ever played. A boy who rode the bus with me gave me the Links awakening DX cartridge because he felt bad for me and I played it and played it and played it... and the reason why until the switch which I don't have, I'd played almost every game that ever came out in the series. I... really need a switch. The music still haunts my dreams...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:35 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I only want a Link to the Past remake if they build in a randomiser mode, honestly.

I'm not sure I need to revisit Link's Awakening, but there are a lot of people who missed what is one of the stronger Zelda games in the series. It seems like it's going to be pretty faithful in terms of gameplay, but I feel like there's room in Link's Awakening to add some surprising new twists without it being gratuitous.
posted by Merus at 10:00 PM on February 21, 2019


And baba is you is coming too!

posted by Going To Maine at 10:04 PM on February 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

It was a fine game for it's time, but if Nintendo remakes every good game of theirs every 10 years, eventually they'll be so busy pumping out remakes they can't be bothered to produce amazing new content, right?
posted by pwnguin at 10:42 PM on February 21, 2019

Ah Link's Awakening. A game I played so much I even completed it upside down (holding the Game Boy upside down that is, not standing on my head), completed it in a single session without dying to get the easter egg on the end screen, discovered the select + scroll glitch independently.

I only want a Link to the Past remake if they build in a randomiser mode, honestly.

Agreed. I like the randomiser so much I'm even considering giving a talk on the implementation and logic at a future tech conference. It's brilliant.
posted by lawrencium at 11:39 PM on February 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Man, I totally forgot that Link's Awakening is the one with the ice dungeon where Link gets the dental tools and has to pull out all the Bumble's teeth to get past it.
posted by straight at 12:44 AM on February 22, 2019

It's the only game in the series where there could be spoilers, and the only one inspired by Twin Peaks. Honestly, best Zelda.
posted by Four String Riot at 5:19 AM on February 22, 2019

if Nintendo remakes every good game of theirs every 10 years
If they did, we would have seen this on the GameCube. It’s been 26 years — Nintendo surely has many employees younger than this game. I’d say it’s into safe-to-remake territory.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:19 AM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I adore every Zelda game I’ve ever played. Original gold NES cartridge was the first, and Adventures of Link next. Picked up new Nintendo systems for each of Ocarina of Time, Windwaker, and Twilight Princess respectively. Managed to miss a few of the major console releases (Majora’s Mask, Skyward Sword) but never played any of the handheld versions as I never had a GameBoy. I do have a Switch though. This announcement makes me happy, because it will fill in a bit of what I missed.

Come to think of it, there’s no reason I can’t go back and play the ones I missed... my old N64, GameCube, and Wii are all plugged in to the TV in the game room. (I mean the N64 graphics look really crappy on an HDTV, but it works. GameCube still looks surprisingly good though given the age of the system.) I’d just have to pick up the cartridges/discs used somewhere. But still no handheld. The Switch is the closest thing to a Nintendo handheld I have ever owned.

(Mario Kart I ride the Master Cycle as Link. Smash Bros I’m maining Link with smatterings of Young Link and Toon Link thrown in. Why? Because I can. It amuses my son.)
posted by caution live frogs at 5:33 AM on February 22, 2019

Nintendo surely has many employees younger than this game. I’d say it’s into safe-to-remake territory.

I mean, I was alive at the time, a Nintendo fanboy, owner of a Game Boy, and the right age, and I never did play it for who knows what reason. I guarantee you it's gonna be the first time a ton of people see it even if they aren't younger.

(this is also why I don't agree that LttP would be a better choice; LttP is a great game, but it's been available in some reasonable virtual console form forever, while Link's Awakening has not)
posted by tocts at 5:49 AM on February 22, 2019

I think that this looks absolutely wonderful. The art design is gorgeous, it's clearly a labor of love as well (those comparisons are incredible) and frankly, as a 35 year old who grew up on all things Nintendo from '86 onward, they can keep remaking all the things in gloriously updated graphics forever and I'll be happy.

ps there's a thread where switch folks are sharing friend codes if that's something you're into
posted by lazaruslong at 6:08 AM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Didn't realize but The Legend of Zelda turned 33 years old yesterday. So the timing of this post is more than appropriate. 😁
posted by Fizz at 9:32 AM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I loved this game so much! I can't wait to play the new one.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 11:31 AM on February 22, 2019

A Link to the Past has been consistently ported to what feels like everything and is still quite accessible in its original form (thanks, retro gaming aesthetic boom) while Link's Awakening was already visually dated on release and the following 20 years haven't been kind to Gameboy games in general. I bought a Gameboy specifically to play this game, just bought a Switch after 10 years of not owning a console, and can't wait for this remake. I understand Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece but I just don't know how to enjoy wandering around a massive map.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (also on the Switch) is an unrelenting fountain of joy, by the way.
posted by seraphine at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Come to think of it, there’s no reason I can’t go back and play the ones I missed

Definitely play through Majora's Mask if you haven't yet. Much like Link's Awakening, it's set in an alternate reality and it stands apart from the other titles in the Zelda series because of its novel gameplay mechanic.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:17 PM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you have access to a 3DS or 2DS or New 3DS, you pretty much have access to most mainline Zelda games.

• The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
• The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
• The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The eShop and Virtual Console have all the original games but the three up above are reimagined/rebooted versions of those games that play wonderfully and worth your time if you've never played them to begin with.
posted by Fizz at 1:53 PM on February 22, 2019

Also, I always like to describe Majora's Mask as a Groundhog Day for Zelda, only with a nightmarish Moon that wants to eat you.
posted by Fizz at 2:17 PM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I understand Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece but I just don't know how to enjoy wandering around a massive map.

I hear this, 100%. Zelda does not have to be Skyrim, because Skyrim is Skyrim. Also, I lost a magical trident in a deep pool of water and it's like, well, goodbye forever I guess.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:45 PM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

This led me to look on YT for more videos from the original Nintendo LoZ, and I spend the next hour watching someone play (very well). When I was married, we had this game and I remember my husband got hooked on it. The music brought back some funny memories - all good. Thanks Fizz, for sending me down this rabbit hole!
posted by sundrop at 8:23 AM on February 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Breath of the Wild doesn't feel much like Skyrim to me. To me it feels more like they took Hyrule field from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess and expanded and deepened that into an entire game, actually making it as enormous and mysterious as it felt that first time you got out there in OoT.

In Skyrim, I always feel like I'm either doing the main quest or ignoring it and exploring the world. In Breath of the Wild, exploring the world feels like it is the main quest. To me there is an enormous difference between Skyrim putting an icon on my map and saying, "Hey, there's something to do here" vs. me seeing something in the distance in Breath of the Wild, thinking "That looks interesting," and putting my own mark on the map where I think it might be.

Skyrim's landscape creates lots of interesting routes to explore, but BotW's landscape is more of a challenge: How are you going to get over there? Or past that? And it's just so much more vertical. There is all of this 3D platforming flavor that is completely absent in Skyrim.
posted by straight at 9:59 AM on February 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

I mean this is a question of perceptions, but my feel -as someone who has only completed part of the game- wasn't this. The main quest is pretty well sign-posted, and the world contains lots of secrets but you don't particularly have to find them. As in Skyrim you can basically just wander anywhere, you have lots of breakable and disposable items thrown at you, and you're going to have to waste time cooking and gathering components.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:08 AM on February 23, 2019

It's pretty much agreed that BoTW does open world correctly. There are very few map icons; instead you place down your own trackers. The game does kinda cheat by having POIs emit a blue/orange light that's easily visible at night, but this is at least leaning into visual aspects of exploration.

Anyways, it's certainly the case that BoTW traded several traditional Zelda mechanics away and in favor of Skyrim-ish features:

* Bottles are no longer a thing. Instead of filling bottles you craft your own potions from ingredients at a cooking fire. And you can have a seemingly unlimited number of them, versus the traditional four. Fairies are still limited to four, but this can be gamed.
* Dead enemies no longer drop money or hearts. Instead you get a small pile of ingredients for said potions.
* Dungeons are no longer gated by items found in previous dungeons, nor are bosses defeated in combat using said items. Instead we have a handful of magics that are found in the tutorial region, and abilities on a cooldown that chiefly aid in combat.
* Bow and arrow is no longer an 'item', but instead has a dedicated button.
* Armor can be purchased and forged throughout the course of the game, and wearing complete sets yield bonuses. These sets can be cosmetically altered to suit your preference, versus the prime color tunics of previous games.
* Stealth is now an option. Since the OoT, stealth had been pretty much limited to a single section of games. Now, pretty much all enemies have an alert status, and backstabbing unaware enemies is a direct feature.
* Combat -- already a high point versus Skyrim -- has now evolved into three categories: tank, agile, and stealth. Tanks can take a strong direct hit and not topple, but are slow to dodge; agile takes more damage on hit but can better dodge attacks in the first place and counter them; stealth avoids alerting enemies and backstabs for double damage. This is roughly comparable to the heavy fighter, light fighter and rogue builds in Skyrim. No archer or mage builds, though. Ranged attacks are Yiga clan tactics, I suppose.
* You now have a home you can dump money into, which doubles as an Inn and storage closet.
* There's a giant ass map you can run around without triggering loading screens. Only quick travel or entering shrines or dungeons triggers a loading screen.

Obviously BoTW does a better job of it having roughly a decade of advantage to go upon. It'll be interesting to see how Elder Scrolls VI adapts.
posted by pwnguin at 4:42 PM on February 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Link's Awakening DX has been out for the 3DS' Virtual Console (region: US), if anyone was looking for it.

As a kid, Link's Awakening (DX) was one of those few Zelda games I owned apart from ... one of the Oracle games. I think maybe it was Seasons; I probably played Ages later in an emulator, well before VC was a thing.

In trying to figure out where I consistently got stuck in Awakening I discovered it's older than Ocarina of Time? That's unfathomable to me, but why I'd be taken off-guard makes sense, I guess -- DX was a remake that came out in Dec. 1998 (according to Wikipedia at least), a couple months after Ocarina of Time debuted. So I would have seen Ocarina of Time and Link's Awakening DX side by side in like, Walmart or something.

I still hear the overworld music playing in my head sometimes. Between that and the Goldenrod theme from Pokemon Crystal, I think ... well, I don't know where I was going with this bit, honestly, but I did spend a sizable amount battery power leaving my GBC on just for the background music of various games.
posted by redrawturtle at 8:16 PM on February 24, 2019

It's probably available in regions other than the US, for the 3DS VC at least, and I feel like I've seen it, but I'm not absolutely positive. When I looked for it the search results came up with a link on Nintendo's official site so I thought I'd link to it.
posted by redrawturtle at 8:23 PM on February 24, 2019

It's pretty much agreed that BoTW does open world correctly.

So now I feel like I'm just being petty but… agreed upon by whom? A number of critics, I suppose, but I didn't agree to it. To me, an open world that works correctly isn't one that I get bored of or that has horrible breakable weapons or inane recipes to be cooked. I'm obviously just one person and am likely in the minority, but I'm not inclined to question my own enjoyment of it.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:54 PM on February 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

You don't have to finish Link's Awakening in one session to get the secret extra bit of the ending (which is great). All you need to do is win with 0 deaths. Saving the game normally does not increase the death counter. (Stealing from the shop and then going back in, however, does.)

I greatly enjoyed BoTW. I don't wish to negate your experience, Going To Maine, breaking weapons was annoying. I understand they did it so that you'd always being finding new things that would help you, but they probably went too far with that. Honestly, I'm unsure what, in a game the size of BoTW, they could have done in that direction other than use it to make up for equipment breakage or some other concession to entropy. That's game design in 2017 I guess, it's easier to make a gigantic game world to explore than it is to figure out enough interesting stuff to put in it.
posted by JHarris at 12:29 AM on February 25, 2019

Obviously BoTW does a better job of it having roughly a decade of advantage to go upon. It'll be interesting to see how Elder Scrolls VI adapts.

I have a pet theory that BoTW also has an advantage in being developed on computers that are much, much more powerful than the hardware the game is targeting. I feel like that's gotta make a difference in how much freedom developers have to tweak the design of the world and make the macro and micro elements of the topography work together so well.
posted by straight at 10:59 AM on February 25, 2019

If it's okay for me to weigh in on BotW... The ability to just pick a random direction and go was neat. Starting fresh, I went from the starting plateau straight to the mouth of the desert, and from there made my way to a town (not in the desert). Granted, I had done this after having played the game before, so I was passing through familiar landmarks. The sense of freedom was tied up in how familiar I was with what Link could do when he encountered various obstacles to his travels, and in spite of being slow to warm up to action games I had managed to learn just enough to feel secure in my exploring.

But, well, having the option to emergency teleport helped a lot with the ... learning? There has to be a better word for that. Deaths also didn't cost a lot of time, most of the time, and getting back on track wasn't very frustrating. If I had stuck it out with Skyrim on the PC, I may have eventually gotten to a point where I was comparatively comfortable with exploring its world; I don't deny the possibility. I feel like there are definitely differences between Skyrim and BotW that make me prefer the latter, but to unpack them would take time and I don't really think I'm capable of doing it very well. Which may well be a cop-out, but. Same for why I might prefer BotW over, say, Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword. (Though the answer to both of these is easy: I can't really hack it with motion controls.)

Well, I suppose there is one thing I appreciated about Skyrim, that you can't do in BotW: character creation.

I really enjoyed BotW overall. The closest I got to the final boss was exploring the dungeon it was in; I doubt I'll ever complete the game. But the experience was ... I can't believe I'm running out of words here. Saying good things about a thing you like should be the easiest thing to do in the world.

One of my favourite things to do with the game is to stand Link in a random spot where you can see the sky, and just let the in-game hours pass. The sense of colour gradually shifting with both the time and the weather is relaxing to watch; if they had included changing seasons like Yonder-- Well, I think it would have been nice, but what they did do was good, too.
posted by redrawturtle at 2:51 AM on March 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

> The sense of colour gradually shifting with both the time and the weather is relaxing to watch; if they had included changing seasons like Yonder-

It's not time lapse, but there are seasons in the game. There's a couple of wintery mountains, a summer beach town, a springtime cherry blossom mountain top pond, and a Vermont style fall pioneer camp. But yea, it'd be really cool to see someone put together some 4k Apple TV style screensavers slowly panning across the Gerudo Canyon or Zora's Domain.

There's actually a game going back to the Gameboy era that featured seasons and their interaction with the environment, Oracle of Seasons, which features the same level of graphics as Link's Awakening DX. The game was actually developed by a Capcom subsidiary, but was quite good. It has a partner game Oracle of Ages, and apparently originally was intended to be a trilogy. Perhaps the remake engine can be reused to bring those games to a wider audience, and maybe even revive the missing third game.
posted by pwnguin at 12:02 AM on March 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

An Oracle of Seasons and/or Ages remake would be wonderful.
posted by redrawturtle at 12:23 AM on March 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

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