In response to a few recent games that appear to be lacking in the criteria. This is a short list and thoughts on some stand out game mechanics that developers seem to be ignoring and need to build upon.
One Man’s Journey Into A Zelda Timeline…
(BEFORE I EVEN BEGIN, THERE WILL BE SKYWARD SWORD SPOILERS IN THIS ARTICLE. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.)
I’m sure all of you have heard about the Zelda timeline; an accurate, Nintendo-approved sequence of events in the Zelda lore found in the upcoming art book Hyrule Historia. This bad boy uses not one, but THREE different parallel universes, all fittingly stemming from Ocarina of Time. I had subscribed to the parallel universe theory for Zelda a long time ago, but most that I talked to agreed that there were only two possible timelines: child Link and adult Link after OoT. One world would be when Link returned to his diminutive state, containing games like Majora’s Mask, and the other would be the world in which adult Link defeated Ganon, with Wind Waker and the two DS games finding a home here. The official timeline proved me right, even with my “what games go where” prediction. But…this timeline throws in another theory that I wasn’t prepared for, one that I hadn’t even considered:
The Hero Is Defeated.
There it is, in legible print: six games in a sequence that banks on Link, the Hero of Time, coming up short. As Lucas Thomas writes in an excellent IGN piece called “When Link is Dead,” Nintendo actually considers a universe where the “Game Over” screen is the real turn of events. This to me is unfathomable. As I’m sure many of you can relate, I’ve spent countless hours making sure that Link SUCCEEDED in turning Ganon/Ganondorf/Demise away, and NOW they’re telling them that I may have went against the grain? It’s a fascinating revelation for many reasons:
-First off, when was Ganondorf successful? Did he take Link out in the battle before or after the castle fell? Was it even Ganondorf who defeated our hero? I hope that there’s a bit of elaboration on this in the future, but I don’t expect there to be.
-This timeline could completely change my perspective on the entire series, to the point where I want to go back and play some of these games now knowing where they stand. I’m sure I’m not alone here, either.
-Finally, who’s to say there won’t be more branching off? Anyone who has played Skyward Sword knows that it dabbles in time travel as well…will there be a branch there?
While all of these things are fun to think about, I’m focusing on a far more part of this timeline: the definitive end. People will say that there’s no way to have a definitive end to Zelda, not anymore. Three different universes can never be wrapped up in one big bow, can’t they? I say they can, and everything we needed to know to make this happen was presented in Skyward Sword.
Here’s my theory: the last Zelda game will see the Master Sword shattering into pieces. Yup, that’s right, see ya later Master Sword. When this happens, the true villain known as Demise will be freed to wreak havoc however he pleases. Link will have to rebuild the Master Sword, but also make it stronger than it ever was before. How will he do that? Here’s where things will get crazy:
Link will travel not through time, but through DIMENSIONS. He’ll need a piece of each Master Sword in order to create the Ultimate Master Sword. The Master Sword from Link to the Past, from Wind Waker, etc will be needed. The dungeon structure will follow Ocarina of Time: collect three stones/runes/etc of some kind to gain the Master Sword and confront the “villain.” This villain (Ganon or Ganondorf, maybe?) will somehow break the Master Sword and unleash Demise. Demise will kill the villain character himself, as he can do his own dirty work now. Link then must take the broken Master Sword and travel through dimensions to five other Zelda worlds (let’s say Link to the Past, Wind Waker, Ocarina, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword) and gather the Master Swords from each game, forging them together to create the Ultimate Master Sword, which he will then use to slay Demise once and for all. Hell, maybe even Nintendo could get creative and make each of those “dimensions” look, sound, and play like the games from which they originate. 16-bit Zelda re-born? Sign me up.
Yes, I know it’s far-fetched. It seems downright silly, even. However, there’s another well-known franchise that went back in time to set up the ultimate end of the story: Metal Gear Solid.
(WARNING: METAL GEAR SOLID SPOILERS AHOY)
The first two Metal Gear Solid games set up many of the series’ main plot points, the biggest of which being The Patriots, an Illuminati-style shadow group looking for complete global control. After the second game the goal is simple: stop the Patriots from achieving their goal at any cost. However, when the third game was announced, fans found out they’d be going to the 1960s, with only one or two characters that we’ll recognize. Huh?!
When the fourth game finally hit, the third game instantly became the most important in the whole series. These new characters we didn’t recognize would become the Patriots, including Big Boss/Naked Snake himself. The group would be born from the sacrifices of The Boss, perhaps the most influential person in Metal Gear. A difference in beliefs between this group, we’d find out, would shape the entire Metal Gear series: Big Boss believed in freedom and created Outer Heaven, while Major Zero wanted control and turned the Patriots into what they are in MGS 2 and 4. If Metal Gear Solid 3 doesn’t force players back to the beginning, and MGS4 becomes MGS3, the series is ruined.
(METAL GEAR SPOILERS ENDED)
It’s this path that I think Zelda will take: Skyward Sword takes us back to the very beginning of the story in order to set up the ultimate end. Now, don’t take the “ultimate end” as the final Zelda game; as long as Zelda games are successful, they will be made. However, I feel that just like Metal Gear, in order to truly end the tale, you must go back to the beginning.
All of this, over a thousand words, because Nintendo has finally decided to life the curtain on the sequence of Hylian events. After reading my theory, what do all of you think?