Zelda 3DS: What’s in a Name?

Nintendo gave their dedicated fans quite the pleasant surprise yesterday when they announced that a new Zelda game for 3DS is set to release later this year, and it’s a sequel of sorts to SNES classic A Link to the Past. The game has already received a name in Japan, but the same cannot be said for the western world. This may seem like a small detail at first, but a closer examination reveals that Nintendo’s hesitancy to settle on a name could hold some clues to the game’s plot.

A Link to the Past on the SNES was released in Japan first under the title “Triforce of the Gods.” This title suited the game well, as it was the first game to flesh out the backstory of the Triforce and thoroughly explain its importance to Hyrule. This name was changed when the game was translated to English – likely due to Nintendo wanting to avoid such direct religious connotations in a game title – and the name A Link to the Past was chosen. This title was equally fitting, as the SNES game served as a prequel to the two NES Zelda titles, and the game’s plot largely revolved around ancient events.

Fast forward to Link’s new adventure on 3DS, and Japan has opted for the simple and logical title of Triforce of the Gods 2, but the English-speaking world hasn’t settled on A Link to the Past 2. Why is Nintendo hesitant to commit to what seems like a logical title? One possibility is that the name wouldn’t fit with the game’s story and themes. A Link to the Past was a prequel that dealt with an ancient evil aiming to return, but Zelda 3DS looks to be a sequel of sorts, so the “past” theme doesn’t likely fit.

If this is the case, the next logical conclusion would be that the Japanese title, Triforce of the Gods 2, is still a fitting title. If Nintendo of Japan has no problem committing to a title in which the Triforce is so prominently situated, it’s safe to assume that the divine Power of Gold will likely be a major player in Zelda 3DS.

Recently-surfaced gameplay footage supports this idea as well, as Triforce symbols appear on loading screens. Of course, this could just be homage to a well-recognized piece of imagery in Zelda lore, but I’m willing to wager an Adult’s Wallet full of rupees that the Triforce will be a key component of the plot in Zelda 3DS.

Not counting ports, the Triforce has only been directly present in two handheld Zelda titles: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. Even in those titles it only played a small role, so Zelda 3DS could be the Triforce’s first chance to really shine on a handheld. A Link to the Past ended with Link using the power of the Triforce to destroy Ganon’s Dark World and undo the damage he caused to Hyrule. Where does the story go from there? We’ll find out this holiday season!