Few video game series reach the same lauded status and notoriety that has become concomitant with Nintendo’s in-house IPs. Fewer still are as renowned as the Legend of Zelda franchise. 2021 is the 35th Anniversary year for the storied epic, and longtime Hyrule Historians have been speculating on what we’re in store for since last year when Nintendo gave us the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection and the announcement of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury for Mario’s own 35th Anniversary. In a Nintendo Direct that ran just shy of an hour, the video game giant teased one of the things that many fans were hoping to see come out of this anniversary year: a Skyward Sword remaster.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is an interesting conversation piece amongst Zelda fans. On the one hand, it has some of the best and most in-depth storytelling of any franchise entry. On the other hand, many players found the exclusively-motion controls of the game’s original release on the Nintendo Wii to be a grueling and tremendous pain to get through the game with. Everything from swinging Link’s sword to utilizing the myriad tools and weapons at his disposal required using the in-retrospect-disliked Wii motion controls. Zelda fans have very specifically been hoping for a 3D Zelda collection in the same vein as the aforementioned Super Mario triple pack, with HD ports of Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, and Skyward Sword being the targeted entries. As of this Direct, we’re only getting the latter; however, I’m still holding out hope for a dual-pack of the two former titles.
From what the Zelda series director and producer, Eiji Aonuma, described, we’re getting an HD remastered port of the original Wii game, with enhanced motion controls utilizing the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers. The Joy-Cons allow for better range and accuracy of motion pickup than ever before (provided you don’t have stick drift) and will more seamlessly enable players to brandish Link’s sword – whether you’ve tempered the Goddess Sword into Master Sword yet or not – and shield when taking down enemies. More importantly, however, the game’s team tirelessly worked on sorting out a way for players to use their standard button controllers. If you are wanting to play the game in the Switch’s handheld mode, on your Nintendo Switch Lite, or just fancy using a Pro Controller, you will now be able to play through the entirety of Skyward Sword using any of these methods and not shackled to using motion controls strictly.
To incentivize players to use their Joy-Cons, Nintendo will be releasing a set of Legend of Zelda-themed Joy-Cons along with the HD remastered title. The left and right Joy-Cons are themed after Link’s Hylian Shield and Master Sword, respectively, and are absolutely stunning. This pair will be a must-have for any Legend of Zelda fan, worth their weight in Rupees. Not much else is currently known about the remaster, or if we’ll see any other announcements throughout the year as part of the 35th Anniversary celebration, but the Nintendo Direct also teased an ad for a Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Expansion Pass. As of right now, we only know that the pass, which will begin its first wave of content in June, will add additional weapons and costumes for Link, expand the roster of playable characters, and provide more challenges. The special edition controllers and The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD will launch on July 16th, with the software available for pre-order on the Nintendo Switch’s eShop today.
Are you excited about these Legend of Zelda announcements? Are you satisfied with what we’ve been given so far for the 35th Anniversary, or are you holding out hope for more? What are some releases that you would like to see for the series’ hallmark year? Let us know in the comments below!