Aaron Diaz (of Dresden Codak fame) recently began a project to come up with a Zelda-centric Legend of Zelda game. As in, the main player is Zelda, not Link!
There are lots of cool details (and artwork, obviously), both in the storyline and the playing concept, but he’s still developing it, so we won’t see much for awhile longer.
Diaz did, however, share a picture on twitter of one major element—the Gauntlet of Gamelon:
Before I start, I should make two disclaimers:
- This is an offshoot, not an attempt to push my ideas into Diaz’s vision. (Diaz may have moved away from the courage/wisdom/power triad already.) I admire what he’s doing, and I can’t wait to see the final product whenever he posts it.
- Many of these spells didn’t originate with me. It started with a discussion online, then a phone conversation with my brother, and then some more daydreaming over the weekend. This is what we came up with so far!
Developing the Spells
First, the spells replace the function of Link’s tools. Diaz wants to differentiate Zelda from Link, but I also see this as a way to limit the amount of things the player has to keep track of.
Second, the spells have a variety of uses. Like Link’s tools, they may be useful in battle, but they can also help achieve other objectives.
Third, each spell must have a working game mechanic. This one’s my own personal rule. I don’t want to imagine a spell if I can’t visualize the “move” I’d use to activate it. There are plenty of cool ways to envision elemental powers—cue the Avatar montage—but it’s no use thinking of ideas if you can’t use them properly.
Fourth, the spells should reflect the themes of courage, wisdom, or power. Rather than have three random spells for each element, each one should be uniquely appropriate.
- Courage - spells you would clearly use in a confrontation. They can be offensive (Fireball, Bellows), defensive (Diamond), or both (Geyser). You can find other uses for them along the way, though.
- Wisdom - spells that encourage you to be creative. Whether used for battle or for other objectives, these spells expand your possible strategies in any given situation.
- Power - spells that may be too strong, and should be handled with care. Like dynamite, these could hurt you just as much as they help you.
Here are the spells I finally settled on. If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them!
This is one is pretty straightforward. You would target similar to Link’s slingshot (or bow), except instead of deku nuts (or arrows) you shoot flaming balls of fire. These would probably fire at the same speed as a Deku Scrub’s attack, giving quick enemies a chance to dodge.
An upgrade would either make this attack faster or more powerful.
In this game, some caverns are dark. You may need a light to find your way, and even then you can only see what’s nearby. (Here’s an example.) Some enemies, like Keese, can maneuver in the dark; walking into a cave without the lantern spell could be dangerous.
I see this, initially, as a static spell, like Link pulling out his shield and leaving it on. You can’t use any other spells at the same time, but it lasts indefinitely.
An upgrade would allow you to “float” your lantern away from you. (Like so.) This can help solve light/fire-based puzzles, or even create a diversion for enemies while you sneak in the shadows. Control-wise, you can operate the lantern or Zelda, but only one at a time.
Works like a flash grenade, except the flash emanates from your gauntlet. A blinding light radiates outward, stunning anything around you for a few moments. Useful when battling a horde of enemies.
Each power-themed spell has a potential danger, and this one is simple—it can blind you as well. The bright light will “white-out” the TV screen, so your eyes have to adjust quickly back to get your bearings, before your enemies do!
An upgrade could add fire to this effect. This would blind and hurt enemies, or it could let you light multiple things on fire at once! (See: Din’s Fire.) This creates risk though, as it would instantly explode any bombs around you. (I doubt it would set the room aflame, unless you had destructible environments.)
Another Ocarina of Time reference (Nayru’s Love), this one’s purely defensive. Diamond creates a small, indestructible(?) shell around you. However…you can’t move. So while this will help with major bosses, or give you a quick break from battle (and take a health potion?), it’s not as useful as it sounds.
I’m undecided on the upgrade. If this spell had a time limit, the upgrade could extend it longer. If the spell wasn’t indestructible to begin with, the upgrade could make it indestructible.
This clever little spell moves the ground at a particular spot, either sliding it or even rotating it in place. It also moves/rotates anything on top of that ground. Instead of pushing boxes, you “shift” the ground under them. Instead of dodging/fighting a Beamos, you rotate the ground underneath the statue, until the laser faces the wall. (This assumes the statue has limited range.)
An upgrade could allow you to not only shift ground, but also to create bridges (by shifting ground over a chasm).
Creates an earth-shaking wave, knocking down enemies or destabilizing weakly-built structures (like a pile of rocks or a cracked wall). However, if you start a shockwave near a strong wall, the wave will reflect and come back to hit you. Every power-themed spell carries risks.
The basic version sends a shockwave in a linear direction, whereas the upgraded version radiates a shockwave in all directions. Both versions have a limited range.
This spell sends a gust of wind in a particular direction. The wind can knock over light enemies, spin a fan, or move sand away. It’s similar to the Gust Bellows from Skyward Sword in strength (and the name is a nod), but it’s a larger-radius blast that can’t change direction.
This ability becomes even more useful when you get to airship levels (a Diaz idea). A gust could either help propel you, or you could push an enemy airship away. The upgraded version allows for a longer (indefinite?) gust, creating faster airship travel.
This spell creates a small, strong wind that can carry objects through the air at high-velocity. Like the beetle from Skyward Sword, you control the direction. (One example is that you could shoot the windstream past enemies, grab their items, and then use those items against them.)
The upgraded version allows you to pick up heavier objects, but otherwise it’s the same. I bet you could pull off some pretty clever pranks in the towns you visit.
Of course it’s a tornado! A whirling wind of destructive power, this takes out (or at least, sends flying) any enemies in your path. After a few seconds, though, it behaves erratically…it may turn towards you.
The upgraded version is more powerful, capable of taking out larger enemies and/or airships. (This spell is probably limited to open-air environments.)
This spell launches a fountain of water into the air. If an enemy is underneath the fountain when it erupts, they get launched up. If Zelda runs into the fountain (or launches it below her), she shoots up. This spell also allows her to reach high ledges, giving it some of the utility of the hook-shot.
I can’t decide on an upgrade for this one, aside from making it shoot higher.
This is my favorite spell - it produces fog, making it hard for enemies to see you. If an enemy archer spots you, the mist will make him unable to target you. If you activate the mist before being spotted at all, you can move undetected.
The upgraded version allows you to target enemies, enveloping them in fog but leaving you alone.
This one’s my least favorite, and I’m very open to suggestions on how to improve it (or replace it entirely). Even the name “bubble” is a misnomer!
Essentially you can manipulate water by gathering it into a ball, dragging that ball in the air, and throwing/dropping it wherever you want. Dropping a large enough water ball will hurt an enemy, and if you stand in the splash radius, it’ll hurt you as well. Also, getting attacked while levitating the water will cause you to lose control.
I suspect this spell will work best in puzzle-solving situations, but it could be useful against electric enemies. It could also (possibly) affect the clockwork soldiers (another Diaz idea), making them rust or something. My pet idea is that you could capture fish by pulling them out of the water in a “bubble” and dropping it on the ground.
Upgrade-wise, you would probably be able to pick up more water, making a massive bubble, but I could also see this working on snow and ice, if there were snow levels.
Despite the fact that this game will never see the light of day, I love these gameplay concepts. I could definitely see them work in a Zelda game, especially the version Diaz is creating.
Diaz has a ton of story and art to share—soon, hopefully—and if you love Zelda games, you’ll love what he’s developed.