Strap in, Nintendo- and Zelda-philes, because you definitely weren’t expecting this: a sequel to — that’s right, not a remake of — Super Nintendo phenom The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Wilder still, it’s due out this holiday for the Nintendo 3DS.
I realize many of you venerate The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as the series’ apotheosis, and I’m generally with you, but some of us remember the top-down SNES 2D A Link to the Past at least as fondly. I was still in undergrad when it came out, tapping away in a tiny dorm room on a cheap color tube. The second time I played through it was with a friend, summer of 1992 — back then you had to roll your own rules for co-op, something like “I play until I clear a dungeon, then you play until you clear one,” etc. (What nerds.) My third and final foray through the game was spring 1995, just after graduating (and sick with mono); it was Zelda or the Dragonlance Gold Box games on my PC — no contest, I chose Zelda.
Give Nintendo its due: not a remake! Instead of trotting out a high-def version of an older title (like the upcoming The Wind Waker) or a 3D-fied port of whatever fan favorite (like the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time), we’re getting something entirely new (that is, a new story and new dungeons) set in the same game world. And while it’ll be top-down, it’ll use the 3DS’s 3D capabilities “to reinvigorate the flat 2D world” by adding “a sense of height and volume.” The teaser shows Link jumping between levels, for instance, in a way that might well benefit from stereoscopy as a puzzle-solving mechanic.
And then there’s the weird, possibly innovative, predictably unexpected Nintendo twist: Link turning into a flat 2D drawing capable of sliding around on 3D walls or slipping between jail bars like a colorized shadow. “By moving in the walls, your viewpoint changes, and you can see the connections within the area that you couldn’t observe before,” says Nintendo America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime in the video. If you want to check the trailer out in 3D, Nintendo’s making one available via its 3DS eShop.
Slow clap, Nintendo.