What's next for Nintendo's best?

Each of Nintendo's franchises is weighed down with sequels that deliver a teaspoon of new content amidst gallons of familiar fan service. This pandering ensures the devoted legions happily slam down money for the latest re-imagining of Link, Pikachu, Fox or Samus despite the overall similarity to the previous game. You love it, we love it, but after seeing crowning achievements like Twilight Princess and Prime 3, we can't help but wonder "what do you do next?"

Detailed over the next few pages are our hopes for four key Nintendo franchises. Each has special issues that need to be addressed if the next entry is to be as exciting as the last, so careful consideration went into each selection. The idea is even though Nintendo could simply rearrange Zelda's dungeons and items and pop out a new game in a couple of years, they should take the time to really wow us with a major shake-up. So, what batshit crazy ideas did we come up with? First up - the next Zelda game should take place in the future.

Yes, it's hard to swallow at first glance, but hear us out. Twilight Princess was the Zelda game, one that we'd been waiting to play since 2000, when a demo reel showcasing an adult Link and Ganondorf locked in battle ran in front of massive crowds. We got Wind Waker instead, an entry that couldn't have been further from that original footage. Three years later, Twilight Princess appeared, sold like crazy and saw more than a few 10/10 review scores. Now that we've finally seen, played and beaten our long-awaited "serious, realistic" Zelda, would another medieval setting be as exciting? We need a completely fresh look at the series, something even more drastic than Wind Waker's candy-coated islands.

Our suggestion? Take it to the future. For one installment, ditch the rustic towns and Ren Faire populace for a bustling cityscape that spans an entire solar system. Let's see Link with a lightsaber. Impa as the leader of Hyrule's cybernetic soldiers. Ganon as an armored villain on a quest to annihilate the sun and harness its explosive power to break back into the Golden Realm. This is a legend after all - no reason this timeless tale couldn't still be going on 500 years from now.

Above: This elaborate, overacted hoax set the internet ablaze a year ago. Some of it's a bit much, but it goes to show this idea is not going away

Now before your conservative fanboy alarms start going off, realize that we're fans too. We just want to see something totally unexpected and not another shuffled set of dungeons. We want to see re-envisioned versions of Link, Zelda, Kakariko Village, even Epona, seen above as a speedy vehicle that jets Link across the many planets he'll have to visit. Traveling to different worlds also opens up the design to any terrain imaginable, plus locales that Nintendo's best could dream up without the confines of Earth-like environments. The only things we'd want to see untouched are the Master Sword and the Triforce - they're ancient artifacts and should stay that way, regardless of how much time has passed.

But don't worry - we still don't want voice acting. Link should remain silent. Ganon might benefit from a booming, competent voice actor, but overall we'd prefer to keep the dialogue as straight text. However, let's see some cutscenes. Smash Bros. Brawl's cinemas were fantastic, so imagine what could be done with Zelda. We're not the only ones.

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.