Wind Waker Wii U: Will Nintendo Anger Zelda Fans…Again?

Nintendo dropped a bombshell on us today during their Wii U Direct presentation. Not only did we get our first hints about what we can expect from a new Zelda game on the Wii U, but Nintendo also unveiled an HD remake of Wind Waker for the system as well.

Initial response to the game have been largely positive, but I can’t help but shake the feeling that this revelation is a mirror of the game’s original debut. Wind Waker has, over time, earned its spot among the top Zelda titles, but the game wasn’t so well-received at first. Can it find new life on the Wii U, or will it suffer the same criticisms?

When the GameCube was still in development, Nintendo prepared a tech demo for the system and showed it off at Space World 2000. If you’re looking for a way to get Nintendo fans excited about what a new system can do graphically, the Zelda series makes a perfect candidate, and Nintendo took advantage of this. The Space World demo depicted a short scene of Link and Ganondorf in a sword fight, using “realistic” graphics, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

WiiU_ZeldaWindWaker_Scrn09That’s why fans were more than a little surprised when they got their first look at what Zelda would really look like on the GameCube. E3 2002 was the setting for the unveiling of Wind Waker, and the reaction, especially in the United States, was a pretty somber one. What was this cell-shaded cartoon look? Where were the realistic graphics shown off at Space World? The crowed was so stunned that some reports say Shigeru Miyamoto even questioned his staff, “Why are they not clapping?”

Many fans have warmed up to Wind Waker‘s style over time. Some hail it as the best artistic direction the series has taken, and most agree that it provides a certain timeless aspect that allows it to age well when other games from its time period so quickly begin to look obsolete. Still, for everyone who loves the style, there’s an equal amount of people who believe it made the game too childish, and many opted not to buy the game specifically because they couldn’t tolerate its look.

We recently conducted two polls here at GenGAME regarding the graphics of the Zelda series, and it’s clear that Wind Waker‘s style is still somewhat of a black sheep. When we asked our readers to vote on what graphical style they’d like to see Zelda Wii U utilize, Wind Waker‘s look only managed to get 9% of the vote, finishing second to last behind only a classic throwback to the 2D games. Later we posted videos of Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword all running in HD on the Dolphin emulator, and asked fans to vote on which style looked the best. Wind Waker took last again, managing only 13% of the vote.

Link HDFast forward from Wind Waker‘s original mixed reception to E3 2011. As with Space World, Nintendo had a new console in the works and was looking to show off what they could do with it graphically, so an HD Zelda tech demo with realistic graphics was unveiled, and the response was incredible. People loved it, and a large majority of Zelda fans were clamoring for an HD Zelda game on the Wii U in the style of the tech demo.

Despite all of this, Nintendo representatives have repeatedly said that Zelda on the Wii U is unlikely to be in the same style as the tech demo. Not only that, but the first HD Zelda game we’ll be getting is a remake of Wind Waker. If Nintendo received heavy criticism for showing off a realistic trailer and following it up with the toon-style Wind Waker on the GameCube, will they face the same kind of backlash on the Wii U?

Wind Waker was a beautiful and imaginative game on the GameCube, and it’s going to look even more amazing rebuilt with all new HD graphics on the Wii U, but will it be enough to make Zelda fans happy? Realistic graphics caught people’s attention back in 2000, and they still are now. Can Wind Waker in HD compete with that? We’ll find out this fall.

More GenGAME Articles on Wind Waker

Check out Zelda for Wii U at Zelda Dungeon:

  • zdog

    This sounds suprisingly similar to what I had to say when this was announced this morning. Couldn’t agree more though! They keeping giving out Wind Waker when no one is asking for it :) No complaints though it looks beautiful.



    • Erimgard

      Yeah, we took note of your comments. The staff had been discussing the same topic. Wherever tech demos go, WW follows haha.

      • Twister27

        You’re on the GenGAME staff? Do you write articles?

        • Erimgard

          Yes I do.

          • Twister27

            Oh, are you Ben Lamoreux?

            • Erimgard

              Yes sir!

      • zdog

        Man that straight up makes my day :) This is seriously a great gaming site, and whenever I bring up news that has broke at work and people ask where I found it I’m quick to say GenGame and then tell them to go check it out.

        • Erimgard

          Sorry for the late reply, but glad to hear you like the site, and we appreciate the support!

  • …………

    I think WWHD will be fine. The problem might be the actual Zelda WiiU. We have been hinted on two things, both of which do not please me.

    • Erimgard

      What’s displeasing you?

      • ………

        Nintendo seems to be implying that there would be some sort of co-op mode, or at least you won’t “play alone”. And the thing I look foward to in videogames (besides fun) is a great story, and nonlinear games don’t tend to have a great story that develops as the game progresses. Ever since ALttP, most Zelda games has had great story with some turning point; this usually requires that you go through certain dungeons before the story delves deeper and new dungeons appear. If we can go to different dungeons at whatever moment we want, there can’t be much story development in between.

        • Erimgard

          Well the multiplayer may not be for the main quest. We don’t know yet.

          As for the non-linearity, you can balance story and non-linearity. A Link to the Past did.

          • IgosDuIkana

            Comparing ALTTPs timeless integration with the garbage that EAD has been passing for zelda lately is just wrong. ALTTP was not linear to the point that it was painful (ss) (tp) lol ALTTP id what they need to base their games off of. WTH do people think that OoT worked so well. They took a formula that worked and added in a new story and a relatable topic to the rest of the series and inovated with new tech.

  • Twister27

    While I don’t think that Wind Waker HD is necessarily a bad thing, I don’t really see the point. The game looked great on the Gamecube. I think simply porting a 1080p version of the original game would make more sense than releasing a version in which many of the models are different, since it would take less work and since WW’s graphics are not bad by today’s standards (unlike OoT’s).

    Also, does anyone else think the graphics of this look somewhat strange? The characters look like collectible figurines, and the scenery looks like 2D textures stuck onto 3D models.

    • Erimgard

      I don’t have any problem with the scenery, but I agree that the character models look a little…odd.

      • CamBamWafflez

        You have to remember that the game isn’t finished yet.

        • Erimgard

          Agreed. There’s plenty of time for touchups.

          • IgosDuIkana

            my initial complaint with the original ww was the character models. the enviornment was great the ocean with the sun set and the storms… I loved it but I hated to see link and zelda perverted like that

  • fused_shadows

    I think this is a great idea. TWW looked great on the GameCube, and will probably look equal to or slightly better in HD. I will buy it, and have fun playing it.

    • gamer

      They look like toys.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eric.phillips.900 Eric Phillips

        instant buy rofl

    • Kravik

      I think you meant to say WW .. There is no TWW .. :p

      • Invader_Zim342

        I’m looking at the Gamecube version’s box right now, and the subtitle is “the Wind Waker”… although that means that the “t” in “the” is still lowercase, so perhaps your point still stands. Regardless, it’s not like these abbreviations are official. Either one is fine.

        • Kravik

          I thought the way one used abbreviations was decided by like the dictionary and stuff.. ;p *doh*

  • besson3c

    I think what will be more disappointing to me is not taking this opportunity to replace the triforce fetch quest with more thoughtful content, perhaps in the form of extra dungeons. Savage Labyrinth and many of the other parts of this quest were clearly the result of improvising to meet a deadline.

  • http://twitter.com/MK_Langley Adventurer of Hyrule

    I don’t think fans should be angry or will be angry. This is an HD remake of something they are already acquaintance of. The game is universally regarded as a timless beauty so… why should they be angry? Just because a certain American demographic likes things to be gritty and realistic?

    We should see things over the hump, and wind waker is one of the best games in the series, one of the most beautiful games ever too. As for the new Zelda after seeing Skyward Sword on its full dolphin glory is hard to imagine a game combining artistic and technological merits as well as it did. If the new game follows a similar style then its going to be very well received.

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      “The game is universally regarded as a timless beauty so… why should they be angry?”

      Because it’s more of the art style that’s been used in more Zelda games than any other and that Nintendo declared it was moving on from? And because it’s not the Zelda Wii U tech demo in a more refined form.

      • http://twitter.com/MK_Langley Adventurer of Hyrule

        Its a remake of an already existing game… how can zelda fans not know what they are getting into? And do you think we are that shallow? To dismiss one of the best games in the series because its not the demo we watched?

        You either like Wind Waker in the first place and are excited, or you never cared for it and you’re not. Its tough love but someone will always be disappointed with remakes because the ones we like the most not always get the spotlight.

        • Jon

          I agree with Adventurer, a remake is a remake. It wouldn’t be right if they change the game art style for an HD remake (interesting maybe, but not right).

          Now, with the Wii U Zelda.. After the E3 2011 Demo and positive response, if it ends up like a completely different thing, people will flip out for sure.

          • Vexoria

            People need to realize that Tech Demos are just Tech Demos. They mean nothing but to show off how powerful the next system’s graphics will be. It was also there to show off the way some of the mechanics worked. But in the end, it’s nothing but a Tech Demo. I also want to add that Wind Waker honestly looked better than the Tech Demo from Space World, many people didn’t notice because they were blinded by the art style.

            • Invader_Zim342

              Honestly, the Space World demo looked to me like a barely-upgraded OoT. Of course, I wasn’t following the series when it was first shown off, so I don’t have the context to comment on it from that perspective, but I agree that Wind Waker looks far superior. I’d also like to note that the Space World demo was an early demonstration of the Gamecube’s power, and the “realistic” Zelda game we got on that platform (TP) was leagues ahead of it. If the same can even remotely apply to the Wii U (in terms of potential, mind you, not strictly in the form of a realistic Zelda), then I think the future looks bright.

              • Skyward Schlong

                Absolutely, Nintendo will choose an art style that is more memorable than the Space World demo, and it will be technically more impressive.

      • http://www.facebook.com/NaruZeldaMaster Blake Meyers

        Define “refined”
        The Tech Demo was more a “Refined” Twilight Princess graphic style.
        Skyward Sword was a more “refined” wind waker style.
        The only thing they can really fuck up in a re-release is the controls. If every game element is improved for the new platform, then technically it’s a ‘new’ game. Just not a brand new title featuring a brand new story. This is the first time Nintendo has re-sold a game BESIDES OOT, you should be happy :3
        I’m waiting for Zelda U though, that’s surely going to be something amazing.
        Kind of hoping for a port of Okami HD too (Imagine what we could use the tablet functions for <3 ) but I highly doubt that's going to happen.

    • JenkPac Shakur

      “The game is universally regarded as a timless beauty”

      If Celda was what is considered gaming “beauty” you’d probably also find a dog’s as[shole to be beautiful.

  • http://twitter.com/AyaHuascA8 Carlos

    The only thing that “displeased” me is that they didn’t even mencioned a 3DS Zelda game. I really hope they saved it for E3.

    • HeroofTime123

      Well it was a strictly Wii U-based Nintendo Direct and Iwata said that they will talk about 3DS and 3rd party stuff in a future Nintendo Direct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/coolkangarooo Gabriel Gomez

    They need to make the models less made-out-of-clay looking.

  • Majora

    Wind waker huh? it will be fine. but yet, i still want Majora’s Mask.

  • Majora

    the picture looks a litle… rare

  • TurretGunZ

    The only way this can be bad is if the controls get fucked up or something. Wind
    Waker HD is going to be great, Possible Majoras Mask or ALTTP Sequel
    will be great and the New Zelda WiiU will be great OK everyone just stop
    your doubting. Everyone just answer yourself this question, WHEN HAS THEIR EVER BEEN A BAD OFFICIAL ZELDA GAME!? The
    Direct preview showed nothing but good things, maybe Nintendo has final
    released the mistakes they made in the past and is finally going back
    to the Loving friendly company they where when they first started, Its
    time that Nintendo had been forgiven! I dont even know the point of this ridicules GenGame Article.

    • ………

      I never exactly enjoyed the first 2 Zelda games…….

      • jugglaj91

        That doesnt make them bad games does it?

        • http://www.facebook.com/eric.phillips.900 Eric Phillips

          well you didn’t enjoy skyward sword, and that apperently makes it a “bad” game lol. every zelda has its problems, and they stand out lol

      • Kravik

        Get them on the 3DS .. I could never get myself to play them..

        Then I got them on the 3DS .. And COULD NOT STOP PLAYING them.. (Till I finished them, of course.)

        LOL! :D

      • halo444327 (not Halo)

        Well when you play next gen games and then play the classic retro version, you disown the game. That is merely WHY people don’t like it. They think, this is NOTHING of a Zelda title. But when you sit in my shoes as a kid playing it, it was the hardest than any of the zelda games. No hints no clues. Unless you were lucky with magazines. You couldn’t get a walkthrough like online and winning it was a reward. An honor.

        • IgosDuIkana

          AMEN I am no seasoned fan. But I have played every game. I am only 17 but even I apriciate the real quality of the older games.

    • bigevilworldwide

      Skyward Sword wasn’t too spectacular in retrospect…Was actually probably one of the worst next to Zelda 2…..3 boring areas/dungeons repeated over and over again, worst side quests, Iffy controls…

      • http://www.facebook.com/eric.phillips.900 Eric Phillips

        really? I thought it was one of the best Zelda games to date, only surpassed by TP.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Proganthony Anthony Farshaw

          Opinions aren’t facts. What’s good for one person can be bad for another. Personally I think that while some Zelda games were very good, there hasn’t been a really GREAT Zelda-game after Majora’s Mask. And yes, I agree with bigevilworldwide that SS was the worst Zeldagame since Zelda II.

          • http://www.facebook.com/eric.phillips.900 Eric Phillips

            even so, the worst Zelda game is still one of the best games out there.

        • Skyward Schlong

          I agree with you, Eric Phillips, except I liked it better than TP.

      • IgosDuIkana

        I agree, although for a second I though you were including Zelda 3 in
        there. I was about to lose my shit over bashing alttp, but thankfully
        that was not the case. Zelda has not really released a game of the same quality as its first 6 (8) titles in over 10 years. The series has become linear and it is driving me insane. But I did appriciate Zelda 2 most people just can not handle that game. Wind Waker ironically was the last zelda that, to me retained the series standard even though I disliked the character portrails

  • Minis

    I don’t care about the aesthetics as long as the game has a great story.

    • JenkPac Shakur

      If you don’t care about aesthetics you should still be playing Atari.

      • http://rjhorst.blogspot.com/ Reuben Horst

        Which Atari games have great stories?

        • Erimgard

          E.T. :P

  • http://twitter.com/BartekGabis Bartosz Gabiś

    Ocarina of Time 3D is better than original one, so why not Wind Waker ;)?

    • IgosDuIkana

      OoT 3d in my opinion was nothing like the original in terms of art direction. THe characters were completely off proportion from the original charaters. Link looked way younger than he should have as an adult in Oot 3d as well as many mood breaking moments where the new style ruined the experiance. Higher pixle count does not necissarly mean it is better

      • somecrazyguy

        … link looked too old? you do realize that in the game he was only about 16-17 right? how did he look too young in OoT 3D? if anything, he looks closer to his actual age!

    • JenkPac Shakur

      Why not slitting your own throat? Why not letting a dog bite off your testicles?? Why not drinking a whole pitcher of bleach???

  • K2L

    My only disappointment is that they’re wasting time with remakes. This is why I don’t care about MM3D either. Nintendo needs NEW SOFTWARE, but both them and the fans keep acting retardedly nostalgic about past glories. *sigh*

    • K2L

      Why the negative votes, fanboys?

      • Jon

        Shut up Bitch.

    • Erimgard

      They do need new software, but if they can put this together relatively quick/cheap then I’m all for it. Helps with the wait.

  • Nick

    We should all know that Nintendo does not aim at the highest graphics per say. Remember, they kept themselves in the dark to improve graphics farther beyond than the PS3 and Xbox 360′s expectations. It did. It blown us even though we kind of expected PS2 and Xbox would make an HD console. I think the game will be a grateful thing but they will for sure want the new one which is expected. I hope perhaps they will fix bugs like some that the gamecube had.

    • bigevilworldwide

      You do know that so far nothing on the Wii U looks better than ps3/360 graphics right????Nothing….Is it possible in the future sure but by then it wont matter cause everyone will have their new consoles out by then…Lets not even get started on all the 3rd party games skipping the Wii U or coming with TBAs like Alien Colonial Marines the Wii U version has NO release date and the port isn’t even being done by gearbox….So far this seems more and more everyday like they rushed it out and now EVERYTHING is getting delayed but because they are making an HD WW were all supposed to forget about the countless delays

  • Error

    Cel Shading has seen a rise in popularity over the past few years, I don’t think this release is nearly as “controversial” as when it was originally announced

    • JenkPac Shakur

      Of course cell shading has gotten more popular of late. Of late there’s been a rise in autism as well scarf clad effeminate metrosexual hipsters in place of real men.

  • http://twitter.com/RPGFan2k Stealth

    people will buy it

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.briesch Charlie Briesch

    Well, I have the original Wind Waker, but I’m still getting the HD remake. I can’t wait for this and the next Zelda Wii U game, even though the official title for that Zelda game hasn’t been announced yet. But despite that, I’m still excited

  • http://www.facebook.com/kory.pelletier Kory Pelletier

    People bitched heavily about the art style in the original Wind Waker, now we have HD super polished models in a slightly different art style and everybody’s upset again. Why can’t gamers just learn to be happy with what they have instead of being greedy fucks for once?

    • The Guy

      It’s because gamers have unsatisfiable standards in how they want games to be like. “This and this and this have to be perfect or I won’t buy it at all.” That was an example of an unsatisfiable gamer’s appetite. Well maybe that sounded a bit exaggerated but you get the idea.

  • jcl

    windwaker is the best :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Pit0030?feature=mhee Pit

    I so happy they are are making a remake of this! It would be good for people who always wanted to play this game and don’t have a gamecube.

  • Kravik

    So funny people got stunned.. Anyone remember the “tech demo” for the seasons games?

    LOL ..

    It was used as a commercial..

  • Kravik

    I wonder what they will do with the “tingle tuner” part of the game.. Only reason I wanted to replay it on the GC .. Now I will wait for WW HD! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.kee1 James Kee

    Wind Waker, to me, was a throw back to the older Zelda games, in terms of game play and art.
    A Link to the Past was not at all realistic and if a remake was done, I would expect it to be some what Anime like. I think that if you are a TRUE Zelda fan any installment will make you excited, and you will be open to any new and unforeseen experience Nintendo has to offer. I have great faith that the new Zelda will be every thing we could hope for.

    • IgosDuIkana

      Anime would be a great style for the series to follow, personally I would want a remake of ALTTP in full 3d like actually making the game 3d not the gimick bull. But there is a difference between surealism and making something completely ridiculous looking as some people feel offended by the art direction as if they are childish or are being looked over in favor of younger viewers by the company they support. sorry for misspelling I would like to be able to speak in a mature fassion with out having to stop and check my grammer which is slighlty difficult for me while I am typing and getting a point across quickly

  • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

    After the initial shock, I’ve always loved Wind Waker’s graphics, and I’m excited for this remake. However, I feel Wind Waker, of all the Zelda titles, was the LEAST demanding of a remake on the Wii U. Seriously, all that really needs to be done to “upgrade” the original Wind Waker to modern standards is widescreen presentation and 1080p resolution. It doesn’t need to be remade from the ground up.

    That said, the shots we’ve seen are gorgeous (though I think the character models area bit too shade-heavy).

  • BlackRaven6695

    I’d like to think the Nintendo community is a bit more a mature than it was 13 years ago. And even if you hate Wind Waker’s aesthetics, you can breathe a sigh of relief that the new Zelda game won’t have those graphics as Nintendo are unlikely to use the same art style twice in a row. You have no reason to hate Wind Waker HD.

  • Vexoria

    Hell yeah Wind Waker HD will be great. It’s enough for me to actually buy a Wii U. I actually made a specific statement that I wouldn’t buy a Wii U unless they remade Wind Waker on it and so Nintendo did. I’m gonna get a Wii U mainly just for this game. Wind Waker is my all time favorite of any game out there. The Wii U remake of it is definitely gonna be amazing in the end as the pictures already show the amazing side to it. In fact every feedback I’ve seen or heard so far about Wind Waker HD is tremendously positive. Honestly the worst Zelda title ever was Twilight Princess.
    Twilight Princess was dumbed down and made too easy to play and find items and collectibles. I couldn’t get into anything but the story of the game and the only other reason people loved it was the eye candy. Really, graphics are not what makes the game, you can’t just play a game, ignore everything in it and say “OH YEAH THAT IS THE BEST GAME EVER!!!!!!!” just because of the fact that it looks good… >.> Honestly, I hated almost every character and their perspective in the game and as I’ve said before, gameplay was dumbed down and made too easy, puzzles were nothing to get through, heart containers could be found with the use of the fortune teller . . . this list could go on forever. I did enjoy the story though, but still, even though story comes first in games for me, gameplay is just as important and this gameplay took a wide throw out the window to make it easy enough for even a one year old baby to play it.
    Those who complain about Skyward Sword being bad because it controlled bad . . . you were playing it wrong.

  • JenkPac Shakur

    Hope this Celda piece of crap bombs in sales again so that Nintendo finally gets the message that we don’t want any more of this BS out of them. If anything they SHOULD be remaking Ocarina Of Time or Link To the Past in HD. Celda was an utter embarassment and the greatest betrayal of a fanbase in gaming history and one of the most pathetic instances of a company pulling a bait and switch in history.

  • derrell love

    Hey, the legend of zelda, between world