*THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT Hardcore Casual Gamer*
Forever ago, I published a Zelda-themed blog examining the untapped potential of The Imprisoning War in the Zelda Universe. I touched on how complex the lore of the Universe has become, yet most of it remains shrouded in mystery and ignored by Nintendo. There’s endless debate in the Zelda fan community as to what Nintendo should be focusing on when it comes to future Zelda games, mainly between expanding the lore and exploring new gameplay elements. I am of the camp that wants to see Nintendo start fleshing out the lore and begin incorporating more complex narratives into the franchise. More character examinations/growth arcs, strengthening the validity of the lore, and novel story elements that break away from the established Zelda formula of collecting the Triforce, defeating Ganon and saving Zelda are what I want to see from future titles.
The reason I want to see a greater focus on story and narrative in the series is due to how tiresome the established storytelling has become for me. It seems that in the confines of the current timeline history of The Legend of Zelda, the same series of events inevitably repeat themselves until one has to wonder why Zelda and the Sages can’t seem to get it together. You KNOW Ganondorf is going to return in one form or another, you KNOW that someone is going to try and kidnap your dumbasses and Zelda’s too, so why haven’t you done something to prevent this from happening? Obviously, there are hundreds of years between most of the main entries in the series, so it’s somewhat understandable that the rotating cast of Sages and Princess Zeldas would ‘forget’ how easily they all seem to get captured. Still, as the focal narrative element in most of the Zelda games, it seems to happen a lot.
People’s first defense for the lack of variety in the Zelda franchise’s story-telling is that the Zelda team crafts the gameplay first and then writes the story around that. That would seem to be an understandable excuse, but there are a few games in the franchise that are not held back by that development cycle; Link’s Awakening, Majora’s Mask, and Oracle of Ages have all managed to tweak the narrative elements enough to separate themselves from the rest of the franchise’s entries, and are often defined by their ability to stand-out from the Zelda crowd. If Nintendo managed to do it in the past, they have no excuse not to be able to do it again.
For those confused about what’s fan fiction and what’s canon, buy the damn book.
Another thing worth pointing out is how important the lore of Zelda has become over the course of the series’ lifetime. In the beginning, the defining element of Zelda was the exploration elements. Since ALttP, however, story and lore have become just as important to the spirit of the games, and have built up an impressive amount of complexity when you consider the rest of the Nintendo Universe and the lack of complexity present therein. Recently, Nintendo released Hyrule Historia, finally cementing the oft debated canonical timeline and exploring the many colorful characters that bring the lore to life. Now that we have this established presence of character-driven story-telling and a detailed history within the franchise, it is now Nintendo’s responsibility to attend to that established doctrine with care, for the benefit of the series’ continued relevance and the many fans like me that believe in the potential for a complex, engrossing, and immersive narrative experience. Zelda stands out as Nintendo’s premiere fantasy franchise, thanks in no small part to the timeless tales told throughout, and it;s time they treated it as such.
In the tradition of my Imprisoning War blog, I’ve decided to start up another series of blogs examining other unexplored lore elements within the Zelda Universe that I think warrant more attention from the Zelda team. I know I have another blog series I haven’t finished (Scoring a Legend) that has countless readers waiting in intense anticipation for the next installment
…to you, I say:
I’ll get to it eventually.
This small blog is meant to provide an introduction for the lore examinations to come. I’ve got at least a few ideas in my head that have morphed into completed blogs, and a few small inklings that have yet to fully take shape.