— The Game Awards (@thegameawards) December 2, 2016
Fans of The Legend of Zelda have had a long wait since the last bona fide console release from the franchise, 2011's Skyward Sword, and gamers are no doubt eager to return to the land of Hyrule and give Ganondorf another beating with the Master Sword. Whilst the two Zelda releases for the Wii, Twilight Princess and the aforementioned Skyward Sword, attracted plenty of critical acclaim and commercial success, some of the series' longtime fans felt they didn't quite live up to the franchise's former Nintendo 64 glory days and as such, there is plenty of expectation for the new release to deliver.
The next installment in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, has experienced a number of delays in its development, but is now set to see the light of day at some point in 2017. In the intervening time between games, plenty of footage, both of the gameplay and trailer variety, has emerged at various E3 events and other gaming conventions and the latest video provides yet more insight into what can be expected from Breath of the Wild.
At last night's 2016 Game Awards, Nintendo treated fans both to an extended clip of in-game footage. Introduced by series producer Eiji Aonuma, the video sees two members of the Nintendo Treehouse team play through a small section of the game, with Link apparently on the hunt for a shrine and taking out a team of formidable foes.
The footage features elements that will be both familiar and relatively new for The Legend of Zelda fans. The core Zelda gameplay and visual style is, of course, still alive and well and searching for shrines will certainly be nothing new for anyone who has played a game in the series before. However, there several notable additions to the gameplay - not least of which is Link's apparent ability to pick up and use the weapons of fallen enemies. In fact, the footage seems to demonstrate a general increase in role-playing elements, at one point depicting Link eating food in order to regain health, rather than just relying on red potions and floating hearts as before. The video is also keen to point out that Breath of the Wild will give players multiple ways of completing a task, showing one of the Nintendo team attempt to take out a group of enemies head-on and the other then try more stealthy tactics.
With these - and likely many other - new additions to the classic Zelda formula, Nintendo certainly aren't going to simply serve up a carbon copy of Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword and with the game getting a release on both the Wii U and Nintendo Switch consoles, Breath of the Wild is sure to become a staple purchase for Nintendo's new console. Fan reaction to both this footage and previously released clips has been largely positive, with many praising the game's visuals and tone and given the franchise's enduring popularity, it'd be unwise to bet against the game's success.
It has, however, been a long wait between releases and whilst Zelda fans are perhaps one of the more loyal gaming fandoms, there are some who will always hold new Zelda releases to the yardsticks of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask and Breath of the Wild will have to be seriously impressive if it is to live up to those two classics. Putting the franchise's former glories to one side however, The Legend of Zelda has been a remarkably consistent series in terms of the high quality of its games and judging by this footage, there's no reason to believe will be any different.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released on Wii U and Nintendo Switch in 2017.
Source: Nintendo (via The Game Awards)