Since the Fall 2012 release of the Wii U, Nintendo has been trying to convince gamers to make the switch from their tried-and-true PlayStation 3s, Xbox 360s and Wiis, for a new, shiny Wii U. The problem, those systems are already in gamers living rooms/dens and have a ton of good games, many still to come. It’s never safe to count Nintendo out, especially when you’re an long time fan of their mainstay franchises, and they’ve certainly taken a big step towards winning over gamers with today’s announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, a full-HD remake of the classic Nintendo Gamecube game. Unlike many HD ‘remakes’ release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which are little more than uprezzed versions of classic games, with little attention to detail given to updating the gameplay for a new audience, this appears to be a full remake. Think, if you will, the remake of Resident Evil released for the Gamecube, rather than the recent remake of Okami for the PlayStation 3. Both are terrific games, but the ideals behind the remakes are entirely different.
These screenshots are gorgeous. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is known for its bold and (at the time) divisive art style. Though it’s 10 years old, the original release holds up better graphically than games released five years afterwards. To see Nintendo giving such care and attention to the game makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. The bloom lighting is a little much, but I’m banking on the idea that it will look more organic and impressive during gameplay. I’m waiting anxiously for video of this remake.
Art by Akira Toriyama
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The best news last week was that a 65 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as Conan the Barbarian in an upcoming film. The best news this week? Dragon Quest VII, a much debated and eternally long volume in the much-loved RPG series, will be coming to Nintendo 3DS early next year. In Japan.
Even the synopsis, taken from the original Playstation release, is charming:
You play the role of a 16 year old boy who lives in the village of Fishbell and aspires to be a great fisherman, like your father Borkano. Once The Hero and his friends Keifer and Maribell start exploring Estard Island, they discover that there used to be more to the world than just their small piece of land. The trio will have to collect ancient tablet shards and use them to revive the lost continents, uncover why they were lost, and who erased them to begin with.
This immediately leaps to the top of my list of most anticipated games. Based on the above scan, the release appears to be a full-on remake, much needed for one of the ugliest (if charming) games of all time. Though this has only been announced for a Japanese release, the previous Nintendo DS remakes of Dragon Quest‘s 4-5 were well received in North America and sold respectably, suggesting that an announcement of an overseas release is likely an inevitability. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.
Because I’m currently nearing the end of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and also recently completed The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the nth time, I’ve got Zelda on my mind. So, a gallery of some of my favourite Zelda-inspired fan art:
Where able, I’ve sourced the original artist. What are your favourite pieces of The Legend of Zelda fan art?
Anthony Jones, a concept artist and faculty member at Red Engine Studios, is the man behind these creepy (awesome) noir-ish portraits of that classic Mario characters we all know and love (well, I dunno whether I love Wario, but, yeah…)
Jones explains the project:
I’m developing a story for a spin off of Super Mario Bros! So far I’m calling it “Mario”
Mario – Is a beat down Plumber and leads a lonely but modest life. He can barely pay his rent and is coming off a drug called “Star.” little does he know that he is destined for great things
Peach – She is a successful actress/model and is working her way to the top! unfortunately most of her fame has been due to the help of mob boss Bowser, which leads her into some trouble later on down the road.
Luigi – Is the brother of Mario. They used to work together until something took a hold of Luigi. Although Mario was able to control his addiction to “Star” Luigi couldn’t. Now living in the streets lost and confused he has forgotten who he is and where he comes from! Always finding the next fix Luigi slowly deteriorates.
More of Jones’ artwork, including more Mario portraits and a lot of tremendous concept art (some of which is inspired by John Harris, one of my favourite Science Fiction painters), is available on Robot Pencil, his official website.
Oh victory, you taste so sweet.
Thanks to the fine folks at XSEED Games, North American gamers are going to have the chance to experience The Last Story, an action-based RPG from Mistwalker, a Japanese developer/publisher headed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the legendary Final Fantasy series. This is, of course, the result of much hard work from dedicated fans operating under the Operation Rainfall umbrella, which was already successful in convincing Nintendo of America to publish Xenoblade Chronicles in North America (though with a very limited release).
Of the game, NintendoLife, awarding the game an 8/10, said in their recent review:
The Last Story is, in many ways, a significant achievement on Wii. With gameplay that is both simplified and complex, solid controls, attractive presentation, online multiplayer and a touching, well-paced plot, this title can be considered as a definitive entry in its genre. Technical problems with the performance, in particular regular and punishing drops in frame rate, unfortunately drag the experience back. When the game engine performs it’s terrific, but too often it struggles and significantly impacts your ability to control the action. The Last Story’s many strengths, however, ensure that it’s a story that can’t be missed.
The Last Story was just released in Europe by Nintendo of Europe. The North American version will presumably use the European English translation and voice acting, with XSEED doing the heavy lifting in localizing the game to American English and publishing/distributing the game to its North American audience. No release date has been set, but expect The Last Story to land on North American soil sometime this year.