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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS - PreviewThe sudden annoucement of Ocarina of Time 3DS was quite a shock to the gaming world, especially given that this is the first time Nintendo has issued a proper remake of a Legend of Zelda game. Many questions have been raised. Firstly, what kind of remake is Ocarina of Time 3DS (or perhaps the right question is, what kind of remake should it be)? Secondly, how will Nintendo re-tune the controls of Ocarina of Time so it can be played on the DS?
Remaking Ocarina of Time for the DS is probably going to be a fantastic move for Nintendo commercially speaking, but they have also taken a large risk. There will always be fans who oppose change, and incessantly harken back to the 'good old days' of Zelda gaming (and gaming in general), but this is not the same issue as we encountered back when The Wind Waker's controversial graphical style was revealed. It's always risky to mess with a winning formula, and in the case of Ocarina of Time 3DS, Nintendo certainly has a lot to lose. Ocarina of Time is consistently named as one of the greatest video games of all time, and there are millions who, having played it as a child, hold it dear. If there are any major screw-ups with Ocarina of Time 3DS, they are not going to be taken well to say at the least.
It seems plenty of people have confidence that Nintendo will deliver a great remake, and I am almost certain that Nintendo is only too aware of the legacy of the game they are dealing with. Nintendo should definately aim to maintain the integrity of Ocarina of Time, but hopefully they recognise that there is plenty of room for improvement too.
Obviously, the graphics of the original Ocarina of Time are now vastly outdated, and the capabilities of the DS look very promising. The screenshots have not revealed much about the game so far, though we can clearly see that the models of Link and Epona have been updated and vastly improved. The graphical style also looks very in line with the original Ocarina of Time. Even though the DS is only a handheld, it can produce some powerful graphics and it's great to think what Nintendo might come up with. Obviously there will be improved textures, advanced lighting effects, and so on. Yet modern graphical capabilities could also improve the atmosphere of the game immensely. Imagine darker nights, realistic rain and fog, and so on. Getting rid of the pre-rendered backgrounds (such as in the Hyrule Market Town) and rendering environments completely in 3D would also do so much for the game. Character interactions will hopefully be vastly improved - for instance, with Link showing emotions through facial expressions.
In terms of the controls, obviously the DS has less buttons than the N64 controller. The DS also lacks a thumbstick. Z-targeting will probably remain (except you would simply use another button to activate it), though the development of the camera might be problematic. Nintendo might have to just make sure the camera is fluid, doesn't get positioned at annoying angles, and can be manipulated by a button press or two (for example, pressing a button to bring the camera forward). The menu system may not necessarily have to change, a similar menu system was handled easily enough in other Zelda games, such as in Orcale of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. What they could do, though, is place the menu on the bottom screen at all times and have the top screen entirely dedicated to showing the gameplay.
Altering the story is probably a no-go area, but adding some new content to the game definately wouldn't hurt. Nintendo could add a few side quests, secret caves and passages, and so on. A whole new dungeon could be added, like in Link's Awakening DX. Maybe they could make the cameo portraits of Mario and co. in Hyrule Castle easier to look at. Either way, adding some new content that isn't related to the main storyline wouldn't go amiss and it wouldn't anger those who want the Ocarina of Time lore to go completely unchanged. Nintendo could possibly use the DS Station to offer updates and fixes for the game - imagine downloading a new patch to see a new mini game open up in the Hyrule Castle Town! It's difficult to organise downloadable content for handhelds, but it would be an amazing addition.