Is Zelda becoming too main-stream?

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zelda mainstream

The Legend of Zelda series has always been popular. There is no doubt about that, however is it turning into a money cow to save Nintendo? In the past, Zelda games included a lot of puzzles and you had to figure things out without hints.

In order to reach a wider audience, Nintendo started to change that with Fi. Fi has become somewhat of a controversial figure on several Zelda forums. Personally I think she is great for complete beginners, but more of an annoyance for the “Pro” Zelda players. OoT 3DS has introduced a better hint system so that players have an easier time, this was clearly intentional.

With Zelda games getting good hype, a lot of people are starting to look into them. This is a good thing for Nintendo and the franchise. My only concern is that Nintendo will start using Zelda games as their way to make up for bad sales, or to make more money in general.

When you look at other RPG’s such as Final Fantasy, you can see what happens when you try appealing to too wide of an audience. The content in the storyline starts to suffer, the actual challenge in the gameplay becomes too easy. These are things to be concerned about with the future of Zelda games.

Some may argue that Zelda games have always been easy, if that were true then a lot more people would be playing Zelda games right now. Mario games have always been geared towards a wider audience, because they’re fun and easy. I don’t think Zelda fans want to see their franchise ruined.

Nintendo has done a great job at trying to keep a happy medium, but with the latest sales figures for this holiday season my concerns have begun. Nintendo had a great black Friday this year. They sold a lot of Wii’s and copies of our latest Zelda story.

I hope that the fans in the Zelda community start to put the pressure on Nintendo to avoid ruining the series. I would strongly encourage people to write them emails and we can look forward to new innovations without ruining what made the series great.


So what do you think? Agree or disagree with this article? Let us know in the comments.


About Author

Noah Glaser is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati where he majored in Information Technology with a minor in awesome. Noah has worked in web marketing for over 5 years and has built a reputation that has followed him both professionally and independently. He is the founder and lead content contributor for The Hidden Triforce.In the 5th grade he bought Link’s Awakening for his brother as a Christmas gift. Since stealing it back, he has been hooked to the Zelda series and has never looked back. In his spare time you can find Noah frolicking with his Porygon and Kiwi Birds. He dislikes chocolate, cheese, and bacon.

  • Jarkes

    A few Zelda games ARE easy, however. Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, and others are fairly easy. Well, at least after you've beaten them a few times anyway. I'd have to disagree with you about Mario games being easy, though. Three words: Green. Power. Stars. Two more: 8. Crown.

    Also, I have a task for you: define "main-stream." You don't really say what you mean by "main-stream" (which should not be hyphenated, BTW) in the article itself. "Mainstream" doesn't mean "A company's cash cow franchise that they use to make up for bad sales." "Mainstream" means "popular with the general public, and not just the community that it's geared towards." Also, "putting pressure" on Nintendo to "avoid ruining the series" sounds to me like, "ZOMG, if Nintendo does this or this, the franchise will be RUINED FOREVER! We must send angry letters to prevent this!" And, for the record, Zelda has ALWAYS been a cash cow. There is NOTHING, nothing WHATSOEVER, wrong with the fact that it's making a lot of money, because it always has, and the franchise hasn't been ruined yet. In fact, most of Nintendo's franchises are cash cows: Mario, Pokemon, Metroid… ESPECIALLY Pokemon.

    What I'm trying to say is… There's really no need to be worried.

  • Jarkes

    Also, what the HELL is wrong with appealing towards a wider audience? …Oh, god, you're one of the "casual sucks, lulz" people, aren't you?

  • Megamansteve

    @Jarkes if you like casual games then go and play your shitty mini-game collections and Kinect games and leave us alone.

    • somecrazyguy

      your logic makes no sense. if he likes casual games, then he shouldn't play zelda? just becuase someone likes a different genre of games, doesnt mean he can't like others as well.

      • Jarkes

        THANK YOU. And for the record, I DON'T like most casual games. I'm only saying that not ALL of them are necessarily bad.

        • Lapin

          Same. Come to think of it, weren't Mario Party and Mario Kart developed with a casual audience in mind? I know I loved those as a kid. P;

  • Lapin

    There are problems inherent in appealing to the "hardcore" audience, too. If you only target the same people, then you wind up making the same game over and over again… I'm not saying that Zelda should become completely different in order to appeal to everybody, but fear of change is no good either.

    What about Wind Waker's art style? Obviously it's pretty cartoony, but because of that, it has more appeal to a wider range of people. If they had been too afraid of changing it and pissing off the "hardcore" fans we would've lost out on a unique-looking game. Same goes for motion controls; they're a supposedly "casual" thing but… I don't think Skyward Sword would've been better without them.

    Also, on Final Fantasy. I think the reason the stories have started to suffer is that their fans have become a little *too* accepting… not that a different audience is buying them. :/ No matter what kind of bad reputation XIII had, people bought it by the millions anyway because they were already fans of the series, or because the brand name itself is recognizable and respected.

    • Jarkes

      Not to mention, some people actually did like the story of Final Fantasy XIII. Others (like Spoony of the website, The Spoony Experiment) didn't. Final Fantasy XIII was a classic case of "You either love it, or you hate it."

      • Lapin

        Very true, at least if my friends are anything to go by. I was going more by the overall reaction to it; I don't remember any Final Fantasy game getting this much hate. Probably didn't help that it was delayed and hyped so much.

  • Bluestormz

    The author of this article does raise an interesting point, Zelda is getting more marketing from Nintendo than it did in the past. They had their best sales ever in the US for a Zelda launch. They're planning to work with a western company on the next one.

    • Jarkes

      Yeah, well if it is Retro Studios they plan on working with, Zelda's in good hands.

  • Erebea

    This is nothing more than "hardcore" gamers and veteran Zelda players being too paranoid about an expansion of one of their favorite series. The hint system in Skyward Sword wasn't at all bad, and it's extremely easy to ignore Fi or any helper for that matter, it's always been.

  • Bluestormz
  • Dan Kavic

    I apologize if Microsoft Word hadcorrected the word mainstream. Missing that was my mistake. The entire point of this article was to raise awareness for the future of Zelda raised on forums by Zelda veterans.

    • Not A Freak

      Zelda veterans? Nintendo has always developed consoles and games targeted toward kids and the young at heart. If you're panicking because you're a "veteran" and you don't want anything too "easy" then anything Nintendo probably isn't for you.

      As far as Zelda, trust that if they develop a flop game, they'll go back to the basics to make the next one better. It's not rocket science. Not every game is going to be the best game you ever played.

      • DrthGeek

        @ Not A Freak — good point! Does anyone remember the CD-i Zelda games? Most gaming sites and magazines, and probably Nintendo itself, would describe the two games on that system as utter failures, or flops…. but the persistence of the company gave us magnificent gems like Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time and this latest venture through the lands of Hyrule.

  • Ryan

    For a long time now I have been a Zelda fan. My father bought me the Ocarina of Time that Christmas it came out, and after that no Zelda has measured up to it in my opinion. Not enough dungeons, too cartoony, and so forth. Even Twilight Princess, with its vast world and massive story line, was only a close 2nd to OoT.

    That all changed the day Skyward Sword came out. True that Fi can be ignored if desired, but also recall that Link has always had a guide in his adventures since OoT. There’s also the addition of a Shiekah Stone that gives hints on how to pass certain difficult areas(which I personally only used to get passed that pesky eyeball lock in the Skyview Temple). But more importantly it can all be ignored to a certain extent.

    The reason I like this game better than its predecessors is that the game is difficult(without using your guide), you have an upgrade system for your weapons, potions, ect., and Beedle’s airshop actually gives a purpose to those endless amount of rupees you collect throughout the game. Also the motion controls gave a new dimention to defeating enemies.

    And if that’s not enough for the hardcore pros after you beat the game you can play the game again in Hero Mode, where you don’t get ANY hearts whatsoever. You can only restore life with potions or by sitting down where there’s a stump or chair to do so. A tip for anyone looking to take on Hero Mode(read only if you like), is your collection items(Treasures and Bugs) carry over to the next adventure. So before beating Demise I recommend stocking up on some of the most neaded items so you can upgrade things as soon as you get them, instead of waiting to unlock certain areas to collect tumbleweeds for example.

    Put all that together and this is the BEST Zelda adventure ever made. I don’t fear for one second that the series is in jeopardy. I will continue to buy every Zelda game just as soon as they come out.

  • Scott

    Unrelated, does anyone know what particular line of toys/figurines the link in the photo is from?

    • llamasdough

      i'm sure that it is from phantom hourglass, i saw it somewhere in the shops

  • cucco

    this is the 1st time ive seen it on a commercial, but it doesnt have an official website, just a nintendo page.