What if Retro Studios Made A Zelda Game?

-Samer Farag

Recently, Nintendo has been expressing a desire to obtain more help in developing it’s latest titles from outside studios.One of these is Retro Studios, the creators of the Metroid Prime series, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and, most recently, apart of the team that developed Mario Kart 7. This got me thinking: What could happen if Retro Studios tried their hand at a series that is regularly criticized for becoming stale: The Legend of Zelda? Here’s what I have after brainstorming: 

Voice Acting

As in Metroid Prime 3, I’m under the assumption that Retro would use a style where all characters would speak besides the protagonist-Mainly, Link himself. Personally, I think this could work. I believe the acting in MP3 was believable and interesting. However, there are many in the Zelda fanbase that wish to imagine the characters’ voices themselves, somewhat like one would do while reading a book. I would delve into that more, but the debate is so large that it warrants its own article.

Gameplay

Retro is all about making things as smooth as possible. This is reflected in the Metroid Prime series, where things like a fast travel system were integrated into a series that had never had one, but desperately needed one. As such, I envision a Zelda game where Retro would provide a fast travel system and the like. It would also be a game that would be traditional to some degree, but that would explore new territory not explored in Zelda games before it. New, more radical items for puzzles, and different ways to implement combat, but without straying too far from what makes Zelda the legendary series it is today. I also believe, given Retro’s pedigree, that there would be a larger focus on exploration in it’s Zelda, more-so than the recent Skyward Sword did. Retro would also use whatever console the game is developed on to it’s full potential. Meaning, if it is on the 3DS, 3D, streetpass, spotpass, the system’s ability to go online, and any other features it has, would be used to some extent in the game. Likewise if it is on the Wii.

Graphics

Retro Studios is a veteran at using the limited power of Nintendo’s system to maximum potential as well. This is through art direction. Retro could potentially create a wondrous world for Link to explore in the next Zelda game. No matter the setting, it would be pretty. Picture something the likes of Metroid Prime or Donkey Kong Country, but, with these past few years of added experience, even better. We’ll be in for quite the visual treat should Retro ever end up making a Zelda game. 

Radical Ideas

Speaking of setting, this is where things could get drastic. What if Retro made a Zelda game set as far advanced into the future as it’s ever been. I’m not talking about modern day, but what if it were Steampunk in nature? Airships, trains, and steamboats, all in one game? I don’t know why, but I can easily envision making a Zelda game in this style, as it perfectly fits the metallic art direction they have done with Metroid. 

Or, what if instead, Retro didn’t create an original Zelda, but rather a remake of a 2D one into the realm of 3D? This would allow Retro Studios to completely be in it’s element: A game that already has a foundation of the old school, but with all the new school fixtures that Retro could implement into it? That’s something I’d personally love to see.

Regardless, if a Zelda were to be developed by Retro Studios, I’m sure it will be in good hands. They are renowned for their ability to breath life into Nintendo’s IPs, and I’m sure they could do the same with this series in particular.