The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – 10 facts revealed

5) There will be beetle racing

Above: When the beetle flies Link is frozen to the spot. Best check for nearby enemies before zooming off 

Sadly not a sequel to Beetle Adventure Racing but a new Hyrulian pastime. Aonuma hinted in a recent interview that Gorons and Zoras might challenge Link to test his flying beetle might. The beetle, for the uninitiated, is a tilt-controlled bug that flaps around like a miniature biplane. It’s responsive and zippy, and we can easily imagine taking it for a spin around a shrunken racecourse. Aonuma also talks up the beetle as an exploratory device, flying ahead to scout out areas before Link wanders blindly in. With a few stealthy leanings in play (see point eight below), an eye in the sky would certainly come in handy.

6) Skyward Sword challenges Zelda conventions

Above: Offing the scorpion requires careful slicing between its open pincers. Aonuma is holding this particular git back for later in the game 

You know the score: field, dungeon, field, dungeon, field, dungeon (repeat for 16 games). But it seems Nintendo is trying to do something about it. Aonuma promises to tackle architectural cliches, restructuring Skyward Sword into an adventure unlike any before. He proposes fields (the overworld area) that incorporate more choreographed dungeon ideas, and dungeons that feel a little more open. As a result, fields will benefit from puzzling and bosses (like the scorpion in the forest demo) while dungeons will drop room-by-room puzzling for more of a themed challenge.

7) The E3 demo will be butchered

Above: Thankfully the horrible translucent remote slapped on the right-hand side is there for demo purposes. Panic over 

Where most lazy devs whip out any old chunk of game to demo at E3, Nintendo prefers mix tapes – bits torn from all over the game and stitched into a demo environment. The woodland glade we gamboled through appears early on in the Hyrule side of things, but the two boss monsters we saw (scorpion and skeleton) won’t appear until later levels. Other things we can expect to change? The eight-item inventory wheel is a placeholder – Aonuma says more items are quite possible. Likewise, the garish, remote-adorned HUD (offend your eyes with the screen below) was for helping gormless journos. Expect sleeker things to come next year.

8) Dungeons are in for an overhaul

Above: We liked the rudimentary stealth sections in Wind Waker’s sea fortress. Will Skyward Sword build on them? 

Dungeons are an integral and beloved part of Zelda lore. Their twisted, clockwork-tight puzzling gives us some of the best level designs gaming has ever seen (although we still haven’t forgiven Aonuma for Ocarina’s Water Temple). Even so, they have grown a little familiar. Familiarly genius, yes, but familiar nonetheless. Aonuma’s new dungeons sound more like adventures than traditional tests. He suggests players might see Link lose his sword, forcing him to navigate via stealth. Using Link’s items to avoid enemies instead of fighting them sounds like a great idea. Spirit Tracks’ phantom knight dungeons were among its highlights, after all.

9) Hyrule is looking grand

Above: The more you look the more detail you see. Noticed the Bokoblins’ spotted thongs yet? 

In our last preview we spoke at length about Link’s grown-up cel-shading. Inspired by the works of impressionist painters, it sees the vibrant colors of the foreground blur and smudge into painterly vistas in the distance. Eyes are easily distracted by such a novel party trick, but focusing on minor details reveals other visual splendors. The forest demo teems with life as rodents skitter around Link’s feet and sunlight cuts through the leafy canopy. After Twilight Princess’ eerily deserted plains it makes a difference. We’re also taken with the rippling air effect seen when swords smash against shields, perfectly hammering home the oomph you’re putting into the swipes.

10) Hyrule is sounding grand

Above: Imagine this screen, only moving. And with amazing orchestral sound. The finished game will be like what you’re imagining

With eyes thoroughly pleasured by our ten minutes in Hyrule, ears were happy to hear they’d be fully catered to as well. Zelda is somewhat notorious for realizing grand orchestral scores with MIDI and sampled instruments, but not for long. During Nintendo’s E3 round table, Miyamoto was asked whether Skyward Sword would make the leap to fully orchestrated majesty. There’s a good chance, according to the All-Knowing One. “I don’t think we could do what we did with Mario Galaxy 2 and not try to match that with Zelda,” said he. With Galaxy, and now Metroid: Other M, boasting blockbuster sound, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

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Sep 30, 2010




  • OniShinobi - January 24, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    PLEASE let this one be awesome!!! One question.... isnt there supposed to be a Zelda Sword and Shield for this? There Better Be! please inform me some one!
  • AuthorityFigure - January 21, 2011 1:44 p.m.

    No. 6 is all of the other points put together... Seems a bit arbitrary. It's yet to look as impressive as the Wind Waker did in its time.
  • Viridian - October 20, 2010 12:58 a.m.

    Terrible article...mostly things not worthy of mention and then an intriguing one that sounds great until you realize that Minish Cap is considered the first chronologically.
  • shinigamiDude - October 3, 2010 3:53 a.m.

    Damn, I still need to finish Twilight Princess.
  • Life - October 2, 2010 9:15 p.m.

  • Gyohdon - October 2, 2010 11:36 a.m.

    Oh my god if any of you call yourself Zelda fans and say that MC is first in the Timeline you need some serious education. OoT is the very first. MC is one of the last in the series-timeline. Respond if you want to have a discussion about it.
  • dibs - October 2, 2010 9:07 a.m.

    @jmcgrotty. I don't know, maybe people who actually like games!? Are you deaf and want to take it out on the world, or just slow?
  • MrDuracraft - October 2, 2010 1:05 a.m.

    @Felixthecat I know right? The only people who have a legit reason to want left-handed Link are LEFTIES! Those of us righties who are complaining need to STFU. @cumbdunky Sell out? Ya, sure. You sound just like a YouTube commenter...
  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - October 2, 2010 12:22 a.m.

    i pray to god that they dont change mandatory stupid hard water temple. i love the stupid hard water temple.
  • lovinmyps3 - October 1, 2010 10:32 p.m.

    Wow, I never noticed the thongs...
  • FACANAWESOME - October 1, 2010 9:27 p.m.

    Cant wait to play this game.
  • crumbdunky - October 1, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    Link should be left handed and this is the biggest sell out in the history of gaming.
  • Haxorz - October 1, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    They needs to make a left handed option >:O I'm right handed but I'd like to play left handed....
  • Felixthecat - October 1, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    jmcgrotty is a retard. And everyone else who says "BUT I WANT LEFT HANDED LINK" when it is known that Link is ambidextrous should shut the fuck up. It makes no difference whatsoever.
  • TriforcePlayer - October 1, 2010 4:33 p.m.

  • metroid2099400 - October 1, 2010 4:09 p.m.

    @n00b You're correct in saying that Minish Cap is the first in the series, but it's believed that Ocarina of Time came next after it. I would totally sign a petition for a left-handed Link. Being a lefty is awesome, but this sucks ass.
  • Geminiman82 - October 1, 2010 3:51 p.m.

    Is anyone else hoping for a more classic control scheme? I know I am
  • Kapuran - October 1, 2010 3:09 p.m.

    It doesn't matter what the game is like in the end, if you're a Zelda fan, you'll end up buying it. But for the record, I actually really loved Twilight Princess (GC). I would prefer they continued on that path, rather than this, but when this comes out my mind may be changed, I'm pretty easy. I'm not a fan of gaming by swinging your arms, which is why I don't yet own a Wii, but I'll probably have to for this. That said, the 1-to-1 sword control seems potentially fun. Change it up if you will, but there IS a reason you stick to a formulaic pattern in your games; we like it and buy it. If you're going to make alterations--or, excuse me, improvements--then they had better be really good. So far, that has been the case, I think, but there have been stumbles, too. Too much boat-riding in WW, for example. For me at least, the Wii in general is uninteresting, which is why I went with TP on GC. And though I have no problem with cell shading, I would prefer TP-styled graphics. I dunno. Maybe I'm just afraid of change. Do it right, please, and ease my wary soul.
  • AWBrawler - October 1, 2010 2:18 p.m.

    I smell haters already! Regardless, its going to be one of the best Zelda's since OOT or hopefully better, from what I've seen and read about it
  • Tobio - October 1, 2010 6:22 a.m.

    @n00b and mattdark - Isn't that one of the multiple timeline theories that's recognized among fans? Some people tend to set Minish Cap more near the likes of LoZ or ALTTP and others have a separate timeline for the 2D games. I can't remember it being officially confirmed.

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