Nintendo is Obsessed With Forcing Unpopular Art Styles in Zelda

If there’s anything that I can look to as a core reason for Wii U currently trending like a GameCube-style dud, it’s Nintendo’s strange emphasis on continuing failed franchise ideas from its worst-selling home console, and The Wind Waker HD stands out as one of the most direct examples of the bunch since it’s literally a remake of a GameCube game. Not only that, it’s a remake of one of the most controversial titles in Nintendo’s entire catalog.

Part of me wants to believe it’s a dignified effort to bring one of the only Zelda titles that’s unplayable on current Nintendo platforms to the next-generation, but as I peer closer and closer into Nintendo’s mentality, I can’t help but shake the feeling that Nintendo refuses to acknowledge that The Wind Waker‘s unique art style just didn’t click and wants to force it into future games…

When The Wind Waker was revealed in 2001, fans made sure to voice their disapproval of the game’s “kiddy” art direction. The new style was given the mocking title of “Celda” in order to express that it wasn’t really what people identified as “Zelda,” but rather a departure from the series’ core fantasy identity. Shigeru Miyamoto noticed the widespread criticism, and his response was as follows:

But I don’t really want to show it at this point because if you just look at the game without actually sitting down and playing it and getting a feel for it then really the topic of discussion becomes the graphics rather than the game itself. What I can say is that the game will be playable at E3 and I would like everybody to pick it up there and see what they think about it at that point and then form their opinions about the game.

13_06_12_ww02“Don’t judge it by its graphics, but by how it plays.” Fair enough. A game can look strange at first, but still delight in the end.

When people finally did play it, The Wind Waker didn’t totally flop, but it sure as heck didn’t do much for the franchise’s popularity or reputation. At GDC 2004, Eiji Aonuma announced the franchise’s LTD sales figures, and The Wind Waker was at the very bottom of the list (excluding remakes):

1987 NES Legend of Zelda 6.510
1988 NES Zelda II: The Adventure of Link 4.380
1992 SNES The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 4.610
1993 GB The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening 3.830
1998 N64 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TIme 7.600
1998 CGB The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX 2.220
2000 N64 The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3.360
2001 CGB The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons 3.960
2001 CGB The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages 3.960
2002 GBA The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / Four Swords 1.890
2003 GCN The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 3.070

In response to the declining sales, Nintendo scrapped their plans for The Wind Waker 2, which would have been a direct sequel to The Wind Waker, at the request of Nintendo of America. The advice the American subsidiary gave to the team was that the art style was detrimental to the series’ popularity, and that the next Zelda game should fall more closely in line with previous titles:

As some of you know, at E3 2004, we unveiled the game that would become Twilight Princess, the realistic Zelda game, and we announced that it was developed by the team that had been developing Wind Waker 2. Actually, there was a reason that that decision was made at the time. At one point, I had heard that even Wind Waker, which had reached the million mark in sales, had become sluggish in North America, where the market was much healthier than in Japan.

I asked NOA why this was. What I was told was that the toon-shading technique was, in fact, giving the impression that this Zelda was for a younger audience and that, for this reason, it alienated the upper teen audience that had represented the typical Zelda player. Having heard that, I began to worry about whether Wind Waker 2, which used a similar presentation, was something that would actually sell.

That’s when I decided that if we didn’t have an effective and immediate solution, the only thing we could do was to give the healthy North American market the Zelda that they wanted. So, at the end of 2003, I went to Miyamoto and said, “I want to make a realistic Zelda.”

tp-overworldWe all saw the results. Twilight Princess was one of the best-received Zelda titles in recent memory, both in terms of initial reactions to its reveal, critical review, and sales performance.

However, it’s clear that, even though they seemed to realize that the art style was unpopular, the people behind Zelda were in denial about the art style being the problem with The Wind Waker. Instead, the problem had to be with the lack of “new ideas” for core Zelda gameplay:

I was still convinced the reason the Wind Waker did not perform well was because of its toon-shaded graphics style. It was something that you either loved or hated, and there was nothing that we could have done about it.

I was thinking about what was happening to the market and what it could potentially mean. We hadn’t been able to add and truly new ideas to the core Zelda gameplay since the series made the jump to 3-D. This resulted in some seasoned gamers growing tired of the formula. In contrast, those who had never played a Zelda game were intimidated because they felt these games were too complicated.

These, Miyamoto felt, were the real reasons that the game did not sell well, so we started on a project that utilized Wind Waker assets and was based on the theme of creating a new style of gameplay.

Notice how Mr. Aonuma comes up with all kinds of other reasons apart from the art style that might have caused The Wind Waker to fail: a lack of new ideas, the complexity of 3D gameplay, and so on.

However, anyone who’s followed the series through its progression knows that this is utter nonsense. Ocarina of Time was by far the most “complex” Zelda game in its time, and was even the first Zelda title to introduce 3D, yet that didn’t impact its sales performance. Compared to The Wind Waker, which was chock full of “new ideas,” Twilight Princess was a relatively “safe” game that focused mostly on building on elements that were present in Ocarina of Time, yet it’s plain and obvious that this direction was actually more successful.

e3_WW_feature01The only factor that stacks up against reality is the art style. When Nintendo brought in a drastic shift in art style and introduced a less conventional fantasy setting and tons of “new ideas,” Zelda‘s sales suffered. When Nintendo changed the art style back to a more conventional one and ditched the focus on “new ideas” to focus instead on improving the core, Zelda started to pick up in sales.

Yet in the 10 years since The Wind Waker, a whopping five additional Zelda titles have incorporated the unpopular cel-shaded style. During the time since Twilight Princess, only two titles – one of them a spin-off that didn’t use the Legend of Zelda branding – have incorporated that style.

Apart from Twilight Princess, the only new Zelda to be introduced in the last decade that didn’t use The Wind Waker‘s style was Skyward Sword… and in that game Nintendo attempted to combine elements of the cel-shaded style with that of Twilight Princess. (Incidentally, Skyward Sword failed to meet sales expectations. I wonder why?)

Nintendo knows that people prefer the “realistic” style for Zelda. That’s why the major Zelda characters in the Smash Bros. games have always been presented in that style… and continue to be presented as such in the upcoming title for Wii U and 3DS. That’s why the first look at Zelda in HD back in 2011 was based on Twilight Princess. Eiji Aonuma even admits today that Twilight Princess succeeded at responding to fan feedback:

Hmm… I think the project that reflects our reaction to fan opinion is probably Twilight Princess. The incentive for us to create that different version of the Zelda universe was certainly as a result of The Wind Waker criticism that we received. Fans were saying that it wasn’t what they were looking for, it wasn’t what they were hoping for, so that’s why we went with this different graphic presentation. So I think that’s probably the one, the biggest change that we made.

I still remember eight years ago at E3 when we ran that first video of Twilight Princess. It was received very well; there was a standing ovation! So I still remember that moment very well.

zelda-2004-reactionYet, in spite of that knowledge, Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto have expressed that they’re committed to pushing different art styles instead of responding to that overwhelming fan feedback.

Eiji Aonuma implies he won’t use the “cartoony-realistic” look of Twilight Princess in the next game:

Aonuma: The thing about Zelda is we want everything to be unique, whether it’s the graphical presentation or the gameplay. It has to be something you can’t see anywhere else. We wouldn’t want it to be ultra-realistic because you can see that elsewhere. But I can’t say that it’s going to be cartoony-realistic like you mentioned, the fantastic presentation that we’ve already done in the past. It will be something new. (Source)

Shigeru Miyamoto wants to use the Wind Waker style in another game:

Miyamoto: Well, we’ve prepared The Wind Waker HD for Wii U, and because we’ve done this and brought the toon-shading of that game to Wii U, there’s a chance that we may use that toon-shading again with something else. (Source)

And here’s the most blatant example of all – Eiji Aonuma states that he knows fans didn’t want the Wind Waker style, but they’re revisiting it anyway:

It was certainly a new graphical presentation – the Zelda world with its toon-shading, and also the younger, smaller Link. We heard the opinions of those Zelda fans that were somewhat critical at that time. They were saying that they didn’t want it, quite frankly.

But now with the HD power, the shading, we’re hoping to really bring a new graphical presentation to this product that, yes, when it was released some were negative about. We hope to bring those people back. (Source)

WiiU_ZeldaWW_scrn07_E3Nintendo’s unflinching dedication to pushing failed art styles is almost absurd. No, it is absurd. This is not the behavior of a sane company, a company that wants to please people and maintain its fans. This is the behavior of a company that is more dedicated to its own selfish vanity than to doing good by its customers.

This is worse than Microsoft’s vanity with Xbox One, which I’ve already described as heinous enough to write them off as untrustworthy for at least the rest of the generation, because at least Microsoft hasn’t pulled another 180 and pushed the same products that consumers already rejected all over again… yet.

If Microsoft shouldn’t get a free pass, neither should Nintendo. The Zelda team needs to stop obsessively shoving their “creative art styles” down people’s throats and just give consumers what they want. If they won’t do this, then Wii U deserves to crash and burn in the most spectacular fashion possible.

  • lzaeys

    that thing with wind waker being at the bottom in sales terms was in 2004, the game was only out for a freaking year

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

      You’ll note that Eiji Aonuma says that the sales had significantly declined by that point. It wasn’t moving much further, hence they decided to cancel The Wind Waker 2.

      • lzaeys

        Oh ok sorry

    • juk

      AND it didn’t even have the lowest sales. Wind Waker was had 3.070mil sales. and four swords only had 1.89 mil sales. Link’s awakening had 2.22 mil sales. The list was by YEAR from earliest to latest

      • drnedaj

        I saw that too but I looked closer and as the author said he didn’t count remakes.

  • Charlie Cohn

    God forbid we let them try something new or creative. Wind Waker was fantastic and looked fantastic. I think the direction they took the game was brilliant and made the best of the GameCube’s hardware. Saying they should stop trying to innovate when it comes to the art direction is absolutely asinine.

    • Dadoong21

      Nobody is saying they shouldn’t try new things. What it is saying is that they shouldn’t be forcing their vision down the public’s throats, when it didn’t work out the first time.

      It looked fantastic, but it didn’t sell and at the end of the day, Zelda is a franchise that should be selling. So there was obviously a disconnect. This art style doesn’t work for Zelda, that’s all.

      • Aaron Lefebvre

        The game is vedry high rated, and a great game. They should be making games with their own vision, not what everyone else wants, because people do not know what they want. There are many great games this gen that didn’t sell well. because people want simplistic games like COD, and such. If COD didn’t exist, i promise there would be other games getting more sales, because people would be trying new things, and on new genres. To many casual gamers stick with what is comfortable with them, and doesn’t want change.. Which is why i think Nintendo is in the right by doing something new, and creative that nobody expects. Wind Waker is one of the highest rated games of all time, why should that game be changed? It didn’t sell well because there was biased against the Gamecube being a childs toy, which is why the PS2 sold extremely well, and the Xbox even sold a lot less. If every creator did what the masses wanted to, then all creativity would just vanish in this industry..

        • Daniel

          “They should be making games with their own vision, not what everyone else wants, because people do not know what they want.”

          Yes, that may be right. On the other hand, this are videogames – not music. They’re not in this because they enjoy it, or not only, but its a bussiness. They have to listen to the masses sometimes soy the company doesn’t crash onto Earth and burn financially. Obviously not always, but they have to bed ocasionally.

          • Aaron Lefebvre

            Yeah, but this is the Zelda franchise we are talking about.. The highest rated franchise in gaming, the very first franchise to be put in the Gaming Hall of Fame, and OOt is the highest rated game since 1998.. Not a franchise anybody should, ” bed occasionally” with..

            • Daniel

              Actually, if they listen to what people want they’ll make an awesome game (they always do somehow, no matter the idea they’re based on) and a best seller. Or something close to it. Not every game on the saga has to be innovative or unique from the others, as long as it has a great story, gameplay and perhaps graphics it’ll be an awesome game, worthy of being part of the saga.

              • Aaron Lefebvre

                Thats an assumption and a half.. Zelda does need to be innovated a bit.. And the creators know what they are doing. I trust them more than some whiny fans who are mad because they don’t get any say-so.

                • Daniel

                  Yes, they are more trustworthy, that’s right. But not every game has to be innovative, that’s the only thing I meant.

              • James Montgomery

                Wind Waker has a great story and great gameplay. And there was a large portion of the community who thought that the graphics were either perfectly fine or not bad enough to ruin the game. I’d say 2.5 out of three is pretty dang good.

      • Dillon Cupples

        They aren’t forcing anything, if the public doesn’t like the game they wont buy it. They are simply giving them an opportunity to revisit an amazing game.

    • Kyrushi

      It was THE most innovative game with their hardware actually. The technical aspects behind all of the little details is actually astounding for its time.

  • trogus

    this article was horrible. all the OP did was bash on nintendo and insult the art style of wind waker, which by the way was an amazing game.

    • jugglaj91

      He didn’t bash anything. He just showed that people do more a of judging a book by its cover with Zelda games instead of playing them and realizing that yes, it is still the same Zelda game play we all know and love.

      • Charlie Cohn

        “The Zelda team needs to stop obsessively shoving their “creative art styles” down people’s throats and just give consumers what they want. If they won’t do this, then Wii U deserves to crash and burn in the most spectacular fashion possible.”

        Yeah, okay.

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

          Microsoft needs to stop obsessively forcing their “digital-only” strategy down people’s throats and just give consumers what they want. If they won’t do this, then Xbox One deserves to crash and burn in the most spectacular way possible.

          Same logic.

          • Charlie Cohn

            Except a “digital only” strategy could have been an advancement in gaming, something that’s not necessarily wanted now but could very possibly end up becoming a good thing later. Wind Waker, the game whose art style people didn’t like at first, lent part of it’s style to SS which ended up being a very impressive looking, great game.

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

              The advantages of Xbox One’s digital policies were actually pretty great and impressive.

          • Dadoong21

            Agreed. I’m a big Nintendo fan, but I’m not blind in the slightest. Nintendo’s strategy so far has been rubbish and if they do continue with it, they do deserve to fail.

            • Cillendor

              But your opinion about what makes a visually appealing game is different than someone else’s. Nintendo might alienate people with different tastes, but they aren’t implementing policies that restrict certain people from even purchasing the product.

          • HyruleKing

            So because people bash Microsoft with failed logic, it’s okay for you bash Zelda with the same failed logic?

            Are we trying to make a right out of two wrongs? I thought that didn’t work…

          • InfernalDinosaur

            Except games are an artform, and a console is simply a machine. Not quite the same. Yeah the goal is to sell the game, but it’s a creative form of expression for the development team as well. They should be able to have some room to create what they want and fulfill their vision, it’s why they are in this industry. It’s important to listen to the fans but they shouldn’t completely bend to them. The style of WW and Skyward Sword is something that’s needed in this industry, otherwise the games would look like everything else. And any zelda fan who has left the series simply because of the way it looks is not a fan.

            • Zach

              Finally, someone else who says it. Anyone that refuses to play a Zelda game based on visuals is no Zelda fan. People that act this way make me despise the direction the gaming norm has taken. Everything must look, feel, and play the same way, otherwise it won’t be popular and if it’s unpopular it isn’t “good”. While Alex Plant is being factual with sales figures, I do feel that he is enforcing this flawed logic. If we had more journalists actually stepping out of their comfort zone and pushing for what’s right, maybe we’d see a difference. I honestly want to see more from the opposing side of the argument just giving a blatant “fuck you” to graphic whores. I think that could help change the gaming industry without having another video game crash because everything is the same damn FPS now.

          • Cillendor

            Not really the same. Digital-only sales hurt consumers who have slow or no Internet connections. (Of course, they can always buy a 360. lol.) Also, not allowing any method of buyback/buying used games costs consumers a lot of money.

            Nintendo experimenting with new art styles might turn off some people, but not because it’s inaccessible to them. It’s just a matter of taste at that point. And when they’re done with the game, they can just sell it back and someone else can buy it used.

            Experimental art styles might turn some people off, but they don’t alienate entire segments of the population because of a physical limitation, which Microsoft’s policies did.

          • James Montgomery

            No one is saying they weren’t bashing on Xbox One. That thing is crap. :) But, I’ve never really cared for Microsoft’s attempts at gaming.

  • Matthew Wesley

    Here’s the thing, the gameplay engine of WW is the same one they used for twilight princess. If you like the finishing moves, and more acrobatic swordplay, then you have to realize that all came from WW. It might not have been as well received as other games in the franchise but it isn’t a bad game.

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

      That just goes to further prove that the problem with The Wind Waker was not gameplay, but style.

      I should think people would want Nintendo to realize this instead of trying to “fix” gameplay that wasn’t broken in the first place.

      • linkenski

        I get your point, and it was a shame to see how Wind Waker failed to leave a good first impression (by the sales) especially because I think the story in Wind Waker is just as mature on many levels as the story in Twilight Princess. Art-style only paints a surface-level picture of the game as a whole.

      • HyruleKing

        But the problem isn’t the gameplay OR the style. It’s the people who care more about graphics than gameplay, and overlook the game simply because it isn’t the style they wanted or the style they expected it to be. It’s the people ignoring the game and calling it crap because it doesn’t fit their perfect vision of a Zelda game.

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

          I don’t think the people who overlooked TWW “care more about graphics than gameplay.” I think they have become attached to the Zelda series as a medieval fantasy with familiar medieval fantasy tropes, images, etc. and rejected it when it no longer appealed to this core identity.

          • HyruleKing

            If that’s the case, then I still wouldn’t think the art style isn’t the problem. It’s the ocean setting. I for one can’t say I consider “ocean adventure” to be equal to “medieval fantasy”. However, I wouldn’t think cel-shading would be an issue in a medieval fantasy game. Not as far as I’d be concerned anyway.

            But I guess overall, this is still a matter of opinion. You consider The Wind Waker to be a failure (and others side with you), while some of us consider The Wind Waker (and its art style) to be great.

            • Cascador

              I think that’s a good point. I think people did complain about how it was very slow to sail on the ocean and how the traveling doesn’t offer much variety of course in what you see, where as in TP traveling on Epona offered lots of variety in landscape. I think that was also one of the issues that turned people off at that time. However Nintendo has said that sailing now is more seamless and much faster in the HD edition.

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

              I DO think the art style is great.

              What makes it a failure is that it lost a LOT of fans for the series.

              • Cillendor

                Who all returned for Twilight Princess in earnest.


    Also, you should be grateful the Zelda core experience never really left. It always feels familiar and it’s great in that aspect. Bashing on WW’s art style and wanting a more realistic one makes you sound like you want the exact same game over and over again.

  • Cameron Wade Hadley

    You are not the only one… I don’t understand why they are so harsh when they talk about this. It was a fantastic Zelda game and the graphics were wonderful and they fit the game perfectly!

    • Thomas Andrew Clay

      Exactly!!!! I love this art and Windwaker is my favorite game next to Ocarina and Majora’s Mask.

  • Guest


  • pixelilly

    No, I thought it was beautiful before I played it and after. Graphically it has held up better than OoT and TP. WW is by far my favorite game in the series. This Link is so expressive and brought a much needed dose of humor to the series.

    • Paul Lashomb

      “Expressive?” He’s not even supposed to have any expressions… He doesn’t even talk. That’s the whole point of creating a character who doesn’t talk. He’s supposed to be a “no name” hero that you control so it doesn’t feel like “Link’s story” but your story. That’s why it was such a great game. Half Life series did the same thing.

      • Brawlingwolf

        Huh. Then I guess the basic entirety of Skyward Sword was a lie.
        And anyway, I think Nintendo is making Link expressive to make him seem more human and relatable. It shows what gives him the drive to go on such dangerous journeys for whatever the reason of the game is. Especially in more recent titles, it would seem awkward to have your main character be completely emotionless while his world is being turned upside down or he loses someone that he had forged a bond of friendship (or more, depending on opinion) with. There’s a reason why Link panics and nearly runs off a cliff at the beginning of Wind Waker- what was he supposed to do? Stand there like he didn’t care while his sister was snatched away by a giant bird?

        And I’m pretty sure this isn’t Half Life.

        • Cameron Wade Hadley

          I do agree with Brawlingwolf.

      • India Partington

        He does talk. He talks in Wind Waker and (veering off into personal opinion) I think the whole reason they had him grunt and make sounds in the first place was to show that he has a voice. Mutes don’t have voices, that’s the whole point…
        He should have expressions. Of course he should have expressions. We want his character to be relatable. And it is “Link’s story”… you can just get over that part. If you can’t enjoy a game unless it is all about you, then I believe that is a personal problem.

        • Paul Lashomb

          Wow… just wow…

      • GameLogix

        What? i’m pretty sure that when you make a character not talk you have to do your best to express what they are doing, who they are and what role they have in the series. If you loved the game so much you would know that in many parts of the game Link shows his expressions, when Link was trying to get his sister back in the forsaken fortress he was showing the expressions of upset, bravery, courage and little of anxiety he also showed that he would do the best of his ability to get his beloved sister as would any family member would do in a real life situation.

      • CatHatGuy

        “COME ON!”
        -Link, 2003, The Wind Waker

  • Declan0u0

    “This is the behavior of a company that is more dedicated to its own selfish vanity than to doing good by its customers.”

    So its selfish to want to make the game YOU want to make?They don’t OWE us anything, and infact, if they were truly selfish, they’d do whatever sold the most, to get money for themselves, they wouldn’t be doing what they felt was best for the game instead.

    Game designers are artists, with passion for what they do, not soulless Ocarina of Time rehashes made to serve their audience’s immature desire for maturity.

    • Dadoong21

      Yeah, that’s great, but they aren’t artists to self serve their visions. They’re in a business to make money and sell games. Something they failed with by using this art style. It’s really not that hard to grasp.

      • talonmalon333

        He has a point, though. Nintendo aren’t just our slaves. If an artist doesn’t love what he or she is creating, then there is no point in creating it.

        Another fact to keep in mind is that developers taking risks like these is all a part of the growth of the medium. I applaud games like Wind Waker and Journey for charting new waters in terms of art direction. If games never go beyond the safe zone, gaming will go absolutely nowhere. Imagine if film stuck to this advice decades ago. Movies would be in a much, much worse and underdeveloped place now, because it was the “safe thing to do”.

        • Dadoong21

          I never said they were our slaves, but a company that doesn’t listen to it’s consumers wants or needs? Am… hello Microsoft, how are you today?

          I do too, I never said the style wasn’t nice. It was and yes, risks are sometimes needed, but this one didn’t work out, as most risks tend not to. Is that really such a big thing to say? It didn’t sell, it didn’t work.

          • David

            You’re contradicting yourself, you say that developers are in business to make money, then you bag on Microsoft for not listening to its consumers. Microsoft, however, makes loads of money compared to Nintendo, so why should they listen to their consumers when their strategy is working the way it is?

  • jugglaj91

    At first I thought the art style of WW was to try an attract younger gamers to Zelda games. It wasn’t until years later that I found out it was considered a bad art direction for a Zelda game.

    Eiji Aonuma implies he won’t use the “cartoony-realistic” look of Twilight Princess in the next game

    Shouldn’t that say Skyward Sword?

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

      The interview speaks of all the “realistic” Zelda games as still being kind of cartoony.

  • Tiffany Ratzman

    I’ve never played WW, but I LOVE the way it looks. I just got Twilight Princess (we just got a Wii for Christmas, we are more of PC gamers lol) and I’m working my way through Twilight Princess. WW is next!

  • Dadoong21

    All the butthurt WW fans here really need to stop. It wasn’t a success and it wasn’t revered. It’s art style is nice, but it didn’t work out. End of.

    • Matt

      Just because it didn’t sell very well doesn’t mean it wasn’t revered. The ratings for the game have always been outstanding. The only real criticism of it was the sailing aspect.

    • David

      You say it didn’t work as a selling point, Phantom Hourglass placed 5th in sales for the series. It used the same art style as Wind Waker. Majora’s Mask was more realistic, yet it sold a whole million and a half copies less.

  • HyruleKing

    The only reason SS and TWW failed to meet sales expectation and/or “failed horribly at selling” is not because of their art style alone. It’s because far too many people who call themselves “gamers” focus far too deeply on how “realistic” the graphics are, while ignoring gameplay.

    I for one LOVED The Wind Waker. In fact, it’s the first Zelda game I fully played and actually beat. It’s the game that got me hooked on the Zelda franchise.

    Given the game that The Wind Waker is, no other art style would have worked. If it was the “gritty”, darker, more realistic style of TP, it just wouldn’t have felt the same, I think. The art style suited the game. For the art style to be different, it would’ve needed to have been a completely different game.

    As a matter of fact, it’s not that the graphics were horrible or people didn’t like them. The same thing WILL happen with Zelda U if it doesn’t look like TP. Everyone saw the Gamecube tech demo. The scene of Link and Ganondorf fighting. The one that resembled OoT’s graphics, but a bit more fleshed out and realistic. TWW failed to have those graphics, and everyone was disappointed that it didn’t look like what they hoped for. That’s why people didn’t like it. But no one can admit it, so they just say it’s “too cartoony”.

    If Zelda U doesn’t look like the Twilight Princess-like tech demo we saw for the Wii U, people will have the same reaction.

    • Igos Du Ikana

      If you think that the art direction was the only problem in SS then you are sorely mistaken. Remember that core gameplay aspect that was so great about the series. Remember them trying to change up the game play because they thought that was the issue. Skyward Sword was hardly even a Zelda game in game play or atmosphere, and the innovative and awesome ideas were never even brought close to their full potential. The game stopped halfway with the difficulty and the combat quickly became stale once you got used to the pattern. You were never meant to be hurdled down a narrow hall way in a Zelda game. It should have never held your hand and been so linear. I have never been sicker with a company than with one that is more interested in appealing to new people or trying to make something easy to access when in reality they are alienating not only the fans but others as well.

      • HyruleKing

        “Remember that core gameplay aspect that was so great about the series. [...] Skyward Sword was hardly even a Zelda game in game play or atmosphere, and the innovative and awesome ideas were never even brought close to their full potential.”

        > Elaborate, please. How was it not a Zelda game? How was that core gameplay aspect missing?

        “The game stopped halfway with the difficulty and the combat quickly became stale once you got used to the pattern.”

        > That can be said of any Zelda game. Once you know the enemies you’re dealing with, you’re prepared for their attack patterns and it becomes second nature.

        “It should have never held your hand and been so linear.”

        > You’re right on that. SS did do too much hand holding. But you and I must have completely different definitions of “linear”. I feel most of the Zeldas since OoT/MM have been linear. With the exception of the odd dungeons that you could complete in your own order, or you could jump slightly out of order by half-completing a dungeon, getting the dungeon item, doing another part of the quest and then returning to the dungeon.

        I won’t argue that it was more linear than others, but your wording seems to imply that it was exclusively linear in comparison to other Zelda titles.

  • Guest

    When I eventually could stomach the graphics of WW I did enjoy the game. As in, the story, dungeons, monsters, etc. were interesting and, for the most part, new. There were some echoes back to some fun times in OOT. However, I must say that the graphics were extremely irritating, especially while having to stare at them, almost unmoving, during the hours of time watching Link’s back on his little sail boat. If they continue to try and force this style into Zelda, I’m just not going to buy the new ones. I am excited for the 3ds remakes and the Zelda u ideas, but anything beyond that is ignoring your customers and being haughty. The developers don’t decide what consumers SHOULD like, but instead take in what customers say they want and provide. These people are going to murder the Zelda franchise if they insist on reducing Zelda into a kiddie pool game.

    • Matt

      Yeah that’s great. Lets just have the same old style for every single game then huh? I could say the same thing to you that you are being haughty if you refuse to play a game series simply because it doesn’t look like something you want it to looks like.

      And you are completely right. The developers DO NOT decide what consumers should like. They never have done that and it is pretty much impossible for you them to tell YOU personally what you should like. But they are also free to make a game into whatever they want to to be just like you are free to chose to buy one game over another.

  • StaticChu

    This article just makes no sense.

    • Isaac Ness

      Yeah, the writer must be in a serious need of praise or attenton

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

        How? Nintendo were the ones to admit that the Wind Waker art style was bad for business, and that this is why they switched to the Twilight Princess art style. But if it was so bad for business, why did they push it in 5 out of the 7 games that have come out since TWW? This is just idiotic behavior.

        • KY_LOZ

          Well, the realistic cartoony style had been done to death not only in zelda’s, but in most other games in general at the time.

          With the handheld zeldas they could afford to take the risk with the style and it paid off as they sold really well for handheld zeldas based off WW style.

          As for SS, they’re always saying they want to do something unique so they blended TP and WW style together as a way of also appeasing both crowds while creating a never b4 seen style.

          They seem to be done with this style now bar WW HD with ALBW and the wii u tech demo zelda implying that we’ll get a more realistic stylized zelda and it’s been four years since spirit tracks that we’ve seen ww style zelda.

          There’s no way they’ll keep the style for zelda u given that WW HD is using it and even in this game they’ve toned down the cel shading a bit.

        • Isaac Ness

          Man, first of all, i don’t think that you see videogames as an art form, when you’re an artist, there is no point in following trends, or “doing what the people wants”, because in the end if you take the same route as everyone else, you’ll be unnoticed, nintendo is a big-seller company, and people like miyamoto, and aonuma had earned a lot from their past achievements, so they are free to take on any art-style they want, and loyal fans will buy it and enjoy it.

          • Isaac Ness

            Plus, the ds and gba games took this artstyle because of the system limitations, a low-res screen isn’t good for detailed textures, i also hope that the new wiiu zelda has an awesome artstyle, that doesn’t repeat any of the previous ones.

        • 1338h4x

          Because the realistic style doesn’t work well on low-res handhelds.

  • volkner4783

    Wind Waker is my favorite game in general not just for Legend of Zelda. Why does everyone hate it?

  • StaticChu

    The author of this article seems to enjoy stating their opinion as fact. “Nintendo’s unflinching dedication to pushing failed art styles is almost absurd. No, it is absurd”. No, what’s absurd is your style of writing.

    I for one LOVE cell shading in video games, and I know more people who liked Wind Waker’s art style than people who dislike it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a person outside of the internet who hated on it.

    • Kevin Johnson


    • Dadoong21

      No, that’s him stating his opinion as… his opinion. It’s not his fault you’re taking it so defensively.

      Good, you love it and you know people who love it. Now how do you explain it being the lowest selling Zelda game then?

      • Cascador

        Here’s a fact for you. It isn’t the lowest selling Zelda game. Four swords is and it outsold Majora’s Mask and Skyward Swords.

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

          Bad example. FS uses the TWW art style.

          • Cascador

            Yeah, but SS and Majora’s Mask don’t… I read what you said that isn’t a big feat for WW to beat those games in sales, but the fact remains that WW isn’t the lowest selling Zelda game as he claimed.

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

              MM also used a controversial ‘time limit’ system, and as I said in the article, SS tried to fuse elements of TWW’s style with TP’s, and people didn’t like the change.

              • Cascador

                People don’t like change in general. In was mostly prejuidice anyway. They were disappointed that the artstyle wasn’t the same when they first saw it, as TP. But when they actually played the game, again they liked it. That’s what people should do. Play the game first, then judge. And perhaps you should do the same, cause you only seem to appear to criticize these games by their graphics, considering the way you’re going on about it. You’re really desperate to try to prove your point. Point taken, now move on.

          • 1338h4x

            No it doesn’t. It uses sprites, with a very different style all its own.

      • HyruleKing

        It’s kinda hard to explain it being the lowest selling Zelda game since it’s not the lowest selling Zelda game…

      • Irishdragon5

        This is the part where someone (in this case, me) brings up the CDi games, only to be sniped that they don’t count. Also,

        “The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures” is technically the worst selling Zelda games, of those that “count,” that is.

      • Zzen

        It’s not the worst. it’s 5th best.

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

      That the Wind Waker art style is bad for sales is NOT MY OPINION. It is Nintendo’s opinion, based on sales data and I can only assume market research.

      My opinion is that because Nintendo believed it was bad enough for sales to ditch it with the next console game, but decided they liked it and would keep using it in other games anyway, they must not be interested in what’s good for Zelda and are instead interested in pushing the art style at every possible opportunity. And I’m using their own comments, which more or less say EXACTLY that (not that they aren’t interested in what’s good for Zelda, but that they’re using it even though they know it’s unpopular), to demonstrate this.

  • linkenski

    I think it’s just as good as OoT in many ways and i LOVED the artstyle. People saying that it’s for kids are not paying attention to the subtlety or substance that is actually present in the game. It’s more mature than Twilight Princess in many ways, i think. Twilight Princess is awesome by all means, but it’s story and artstyle mostly feels dark on a surface-level, while WInd Waker’s story reaches areas that are much darker than it’s visuals.

  • HyruleKing

    Not including remakes, The Wind Waker is the 7th best selling Zelda game. Including remakes, The Wind Waker is the 7th best selling Zelda game. In terms of Gamecube sales, The Wind Waker beat the GC version of Twilight Princess (by a margin of close to 3 million). Sure the Wii version beat it, but that’s because TP was a Wii launch title, and everyone expected more from it than they got, being a title on Nintendo’s brand new console complete with motion controls. I know I personally expected great sword controls for TP. Sword controls we didn’t get until 5 years later in Skyward Sword, as the Wii’s lifespan was ending.

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

      Let’s think about the games TWW beat, though:

      - Link’s Awakening (assuming the DX version doesn’t count which is dubious since it likely sold the game to a number of new customers)
      - Oracle of Seasons/Ages
      - Four Swords
      - Four Swords Adventures
      - The Minish Cap
      - Spirit Tracks
      - Skyward Sword

      Yeah, remind me how many of these use the more “popular” visual styles, again? Four of these games even use the TWW style.

      • HyruleKing

        Don’t forget Majora’s Mask. TWW beat MM, which, based on the general cries of Zelda fans online, seems one of the best Zelda games. I mean, it seems like a decent chunk of the Zelda community would sell their souls for a MM remake. Also, it used OoT’s visual style, which seems to be the fan favorite, other than TP.

        And I’m not trying to argue that it’s art style underperformed and didn’t live up to expectations, I’m just trying to defend it from being called a complete failure, because truthfully, it’s not. It sold. And it sold better than other Zelda titles with a different visual style.

        Regardless of all that, instead of the Zelda team needing to stop “forcing their creative visual styles down our throats”, maybe the fans need to open their minds to new visual styles and focus on story and gameplay rather than visual style.

        TWW didn’t have bad sales because people overlooked the visual style, bought it, hated it for other reasons and then discarded it. No, TWW had bad sales because people couldn’t get over their obsession with the “perfect Zelda art style” to look past the visual and focus on story and gameplay, and because of that, they didn’t even bother giving the game a chance, and it suffered because of it. It’s a good game, with good gameplay (aside from the Triforce quest and the tedious sailing) and a good storyline. And I personally like the visual style. Of course, I wouldn’t want it in another console Zelda. We’ve already seen that art style. Time to move on.

        And, by the way, a lot of Zelda games can count as a “creative visual style”. Adventure of Link’s visual style was different from LoZ. LttP’s was different than AoL’s. LA’s was different than all the others. OoT’s was vastly different from its predecessors. WW introduced a new visual style than previous games, as did Twilight Princess. Even SS gave us a new visual style, though some will argue that it’s a mix of TP and WW.

        If the Zelda team never “shoved their creative visual styles down our throats” as you call it, Zelda Wii U would look like a 27-year-old rehash of the original Legend of Zelda..

        Actually no. We wouldn’t have a Zelda Wii U game because the Zelda franchise probably would’ve died off from being too stale in terms of visuals.

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

          You’re right, I did forget MM…

          Which used a controversial time limit system and was presented as a side story that had nothing to do with the main Legend of Zelda. I wonder why it didn’t sell well?

          If anything, it just demonstrates that the point applies to more than just art style – it applies to other fundamentals of the series as well.

          • KY_LOZ

            As a side game, maybe less was spent on marketing it.

            I don’t see how people would be put off buying the game due to the time limit system espcially since many reviews praised it as one of the most inventive premises in games.

            Probably because it was seen as a side game though.

  • BlackRaven6695

    Aren’t we over the whole “nobody likes Wind Waker’s graphics” thing yet? Wasn’t Wind Waker HD more anticipated than X and Bayonetta 2 in the recent GenGAME poll? It’s been, what, 7 years since Twilight Princess came out? That game is nowhere near as popular as it was before and it was way over-hyped anyway. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison.

    That aside, if Zelda won’t deliver these creative styles, then who will? Realistic high-fantasy stuff is everywhere. I’m just glad that Nintendo is giving us something unique and not being money leeches that saturate the market with clones of other games.

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

      I would be amazed if a Zelda game didn’t do well in a poll targeted largely at a Zelda community (Zelda Dungeon)

      • Zzen

        Valid point.

  • Alex Hernandez

    I perfere the cell shade art style myself. It makes the world vibrant and noticable. MAny other games have used similar art style and have done amazing. Both Borderland games are cell shaded and honestly one of the most beautiful looking games ive ever played. The animations and emotions are so much more noticable with the vibrant colors. Dont get me wrong i like realistic looking game engines but honestly if i wanted something to look as good as the real deal id go watch a live action movie. I play games to get away from the real world and if funky bright color cell shades do it then ill gladly jump on that ship and sail with it )see what i did there :P)

  • Joshua Stovall

    I’m sensing a lot of butt-hurt fanboy feelings in this article…

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

      You’re sensing wrong. I actually love the TWW style… I just hate to watch the series crash and burn while other franchises grow.

      • zdog

        I have no shame in saying that I don’t love the style and am tired of seeing it over and over again. While I’m at it I think Majora’s Mask is overrated many in the Zelda Community like it simply because it is the ‘cool’ Zelda to like.

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

          I liked MM before it was cool.

        • Zzen

          MM my fav because it was the first Zelda I completed.

  • Link Slayer

    Great article. I feel the same way. This is exactly how I feel. I also wanted voice work with Twilight princess and I was for sure we would get it with SS because people were so upset about it on TP. But Nintendo dont seem to care what there fans want

    • CChaplin

      I’m not sure you realize how divided public opinion on voice acting in Zelda games is. If they were to include it there would likely be just as many people upset as there were when cel shading was introduced.

    • avalpsychicguy

      They need to ease voice acting into the series if they’re gonna do that. It’s a delicate subject, y’know? Here’s an example.

      When voice acting was introduced into the Metroid series with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, it was received very well, if I recall correctly. But one key thing about that was that Samus didn’t talk. Only NPCs did. In Other M, Samus joined in on the voice-acting fun, and some people were upset about that. In fact, they didn’t even like the quality of the voice acting overall.

      But there are 2 things wrong with those complaints:
      1. Samus isn’t a silent character like Link is. (I’ll address Link’s supposed silence in a little bit) Samus is the narrator in the prologue of Super Metroid, when she explains

  • ecylisis

    I thought Twilight Princess was the one with the bad art style.
    Too much bloom light, the colors were too desaturated, and it was too gritty.

  • HyruleKing

    “The Zelda team needs to stop obsessively shoving their “creative art styles” down people’s throats and just give consumers what they want. If they won’t do this, then Wii U deserves to crash and burn in the most spectacular fashion possible.”

    So, because of one franchise’s team making a bad decision in terms of art style, and then choosing to remake that game for Wii U, it suddenly blacks out every current good point about Wii U and negates every good point to come for Wii U?

    I don’t disagree that The Wind Waker wasn’t the greatest Zelda game (as much as I loved it) and it definitely could have sold better. But to say that the entire Wii U deserves to crash and burn because they chose to remake the game for it?

    “The writers at GenGAME need to stop obsessively forcing their “critical of Nintendo” opinions down gamers throats and write fact-based, gaming news articles. If they won’t do this, then GenGAME deserves to crash and burn in the most spectacular fashion possible.”

    ^ Sounds a bit harsh doesn’t it? Judging the fate of the whole site based on one article. Well, that’s basically what the article just did to the Wii U.

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

      The difference: GenGAME’s criticism is successful, while The Wind Waker’s art style wasn’t.

      • Regol

        In which manner is it successful?

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

          In what way can articles posted on the Internet be successful?

          I’ll give you a hint: it’s not that different from the way in which games can be successful.

          • Cascador

            I think the generalization is already a failure in the article itself. “The people want this, not that”. Clearly from the reaction you don’t know what people want. The chosen art style for the Wind Waker was a practical one. They chose one that was practical and would run well and look smooth on the gamecube. The artstyle of TP was good, but imo too soon for a Zelda game. It would have looked better in HD. I think that is why the artstyle of SS overall looks better and sharper, because it was a fusion between the artstyle of both TP and WW. It was also for practical reasons that they continued WW’s artstyle, because it at least would run well on handheld consoles.

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

              But Wind Waker HD is not a handheld game.

              And regardless of SS’s art style looking “sharper,” SS marked a sales decline for the series.

              The only way to measure what people actually want (not what they SAY they want but what their behavior demonstrates they want) is through sales. And the sales are almost perfectly correlated to art style shifts.

              • Regol

                And of course TWW HD means that every Zelda game in Nintendo’s future is going to have TWW’s style. I see your logic. Burn them!

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

                  That does seem to be what they’re going for:

                  “But now with the HD power, the shading, we’re hoping to really bring a new graphical presentation to this product that, yes, when it was released some were negative about. We hope to bring those people back. ”

                  “Well, we’ve prepared The Wind Waker HD for Wii U, and because we’ve done this and brought the toon-shading of that game to Wii U, there’s a chance that we may use that toon-shading again with something else.”

                  • Regol

                    They’ve stated in numerous occasions that they’re not striving to repeat any art style from older Zelda games, that they’re trying a whole new thing. For once I’m curious about it.

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

                      Except here they just stated that they want people to give the art style another chance and maybe use it in another game.

                    • Regol

                      Miyamoto said they wanted to use it in another game, he never said another Zelda. I’ve always thought they wanted to give it a try in another franchise, seeing their history in home consoles.

                    • HyruleKing

                      But that’s Miyamoto saying they may use the style in another game, not Aonuma. Sure, it’s a discussion about TWW/TWWHD, but Miyamoto is almost never clear on his intentions. He’s always very mysterious about what’s going on in his head. He could plan on trying the style with another franchise entirely, not necessarily with another installment in the Zelda franchise.

                  • Hans Fuerst

                    Guys, its just an art style. Every Zelda game is fun. Just buy em all not mattering in the art style.

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

                      How about “vote with your wallet before Nintendo decides that they can just do whatever they want because you’ll buy it anyway.”

                  • Cascador

                    Toonshading was also used in SS, yet it’s not the same artstyle as WW.

                  • Zzen

                    they don’t even specify zelda they may use toon- shading in a new IP

              • Hans Fuerst

                He never said it was and it’s a remake. why would they change the art style?

              • Cascador

                No, but they use the WW’s style today on handheld consoles, simply because they cannot match the speed of current gen consoles.

          • Guest

            And of course TWW HD means that Nintendo’s going to have just that art style in future Zelda games. Burn them!

      • HyruleKing

        But here’s the thing: The Wind Waker is still one of the 10 best selling Zelda games (not including remakes). It beats both SS and MM in terms of sales (as well as the GC edition of TP). And while many didn’t like it, there are just as many who didn’t, and many of them would also call it their favorite Zelda title, if not one of their favorite games. That’s evidenced clearly from the comments alone on this one article.

        Based on that, I would say that The Wind Waker was successful, even though yes, it wasn’t as successful as other Zelda titles.

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

          I don’t think it’s a particularly impressive feat to beat SS and MM – both similarly controversial Zelda games for fundamental gameplay reasons – or the GCN version of TP, which was obviously quickly eclipsed by the Wii version.

          Also, if a change in “art style” were to be “successful,” it would have to actually improve the franchise’s sales. Since the franchise’s sales actually diminished, the art style change alienated people rather than bringing them in. Ergo, it is a failed change.

          • Cascador

            I would say that it is an impressive feat to beat SS in sales, because SS is claimed to be the best Zelda by many.

          • HyruleKing

            True. But MM seems to be a big fan favorite in the Zelda community. And GCN TP didn’t bring much more to the table than Wii TP did in my opinion, other than sloppily tacked on motion controls. Controls that everyone expected more from. Controls we didn’t get until SS.

      • Zzen

        Dude read the comments, not that succesfull.

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

          The comments are EXACTLY why it’s successful ;)

  • Scott

    How anybody can prefer this Link over the TP Link is beyond me.

    • Isaac Ness

      WW link looks alive, TP link looks like a weird, androgynous mannequin

  • Tensei

    Twilight Princess was a very forgettable game. It gave the fans what they wanted and that is precisely why it missed the Zelda magic as far as I’m concerned.

    Infact, it is courageous that Nintendo gave us WW timeless art style despite sales. I would like to see the same courage again instead of giving us cookie cutter games like Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong, as oppose to Mario Galaxy and Metroid because the former titles sell more.

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

      If by “courageous” you mean “suicidal.” Nintendo said when Wii came out that if they had another console with GameCube-like sales, they would exit the hardware business.

      One generation later, and they’ve come out with another console that’s achieving WORSE than GameCube-like sales…and seem intent on emulating a GameCube-like strategy with a large portion of their lineup.

      • Tensei

        So what you want is for Nintendo to chase sales? When Nintendo starts putting sales above creativity is when they truly die for me.

        Sony have won hearts and minds this gen by creating games they know will fail. How many exclusives have they released that dont even break 1 mill sales. With their horrible balance sheet, I dont see why Nintendo cant do the same with their sizeable warchest.

        The E3 direct very much represents your frame of mind, of chasing sales. Yes, giving people what they want will sell. As Steve Jobs puts it give people what they never knew they wanted and it will sell itself. Sound familiar? Motion Control, no one asked for it but it sold 100m plus.

        The reason why the Wii U is tracking worst than WIi U is because they havent justified the gamepad in a ureka moment sought of way. And this E3 proves they dont know what to do with it.

        Back on topic, Zelda WW reminds me of My Neighbour Totoro in terms of art, whimsy and direction. Guess what…Ni No Kuni seems to be doing fine.

        If your point is they shouldnt have remade WW, I agree….new software would have been better. But if your point is they should play it safe with the art style/types of games they produce because consumers cant handle it…..well then I can direct you the XBO where you can ingratiate yourself to brown shooter land.

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

          People say “chase sales.”

          I say “deliver what people will actually get behind.”

          • Tensei

            “Well hey i’m digging the look of 3D Mario and Donkey Kong, but gosh darn it, I just can’t get behind that gamepad. Why do I need it?”

            They have bigger problems than art styles of games.

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

              Art styles were a symptom of the problem we’re now seeing with the GamePad.

      • HyruleKing

        “One generation later, and they’ve come out with another console that’s achieving WORSE than GameCube-like sales.”

        See, that’s what gets me about the gaming community. The console hasn’t been out for a year yet, and it’s already okay to call it a failure and compare it to a 12-year-old console, but yet, if someone says that the Xbox One is doomed, everyone jumps on them and says “Shut up and give it a chance.”

        In the Gamecube’s first 7 months, it sold 3.8 million units. The Wii U sold 3.45 in its first 4. While it’s true that the Wii U hasn’t outsold the Gamecube, their sales figures are hardly that far off from each other, especially given that we’re comparing 7-month sales to 4-month sales, and the 7-month sales are hardly that much higher.

        In truth, I don’t feel that a truly good comparison between sales of both consoles can be made until the end of November of this year, as that will be a year for the Wii U, then we can compare Wii U’s 1st year sales to Gamecube’s 1st year sales.

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

          Thing is, we have no idea how Xbox One will do.

          But judging by Wii U’s price (way higher than Nintendo fans are used to paying), the fact that no one’s catching on to its core concept (see: GBA-GCN connectivity), and the fact that even Super Mario Bros. can’t sell amazingly on the darn thing, it seems pretty clear that Wii U is struggling mightily.

    • Dampf

      Very forgettable game? LOL. You mean Skyward Sword.

  • Cascador

    I don’t agree with the article. People have become more appreciative about WW’s artstyle since it’s initial release and began to appreciate the game for what it was. A great Zelda game that isn’t ‘kiddy’ just because of its artstyle. That’s just childish to call it that. I think WW HD was a good idea, though I don’t want exactly the same artstyle for the new Zelda Wii U. I think the Wii U demo of Zelda looked fantastic, similar to Twilight Princess. However in saying that I’m not saying Twilight Princess was a better game than Wind Waker. But no one can deny that the art style of the Wii U demo was impressive and would be great for a new Zelda game.

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

      People are definitely more appreciative of the TWW art style.

      Doesn’t mean they want Nintendo to push it in future games.

      • Cascador

        And Nintendo never confirmed it for future games. They were still interested in the shading technique they used in WW. But it’s highly unlikely that they would use the same artstyle. They always go for a new style, except when it comes to handheld consoles. And most of those were WW-related. Another exception is Majora’s Mask, but that’s because it’s a direct sequel to OOT.

  • HylianBadger25

    Amen. If nintendo listened, the next game would be in the style of the Twilight Princess HD Tech Demo. Alas, it sounds like it’s not meant to be….

  • Fotis333

    I just want a realistic, bloody, brutal and hardcore Zelda game…
    It’s awesomr that they want to do different things but they have to hear the fans..

    • jugglaj91

      That would probably turn more people away than WW art style did. While it would probably be awesome it is highly unlikely to ever come out as you can find bloody brutal realistic games elsewhere.

      • Fotis333

        I understand what you saying but just imagine a Zelda game realistic like “The Last Of Us”! Pure Epicness

        • Zzen

          I’d have to disagree. thats not what zelda is and, probably never will be.

    • HyruleKing

      Call of Zelda: Link Warfare

      • Fotis333

        Too much… :p

        • HyruleKing

          But seriously, I can’t say I’d want a realistic Zelda game. The fantasy aspect of it is what really draws me to it. I think the same can be said for a lot of fans. Make it too realistic, even “The Last of Us” realistic, and it very well man turn a lot of people away. They need to find a good medium. Not quite TWW cartoony, but not “The Last of Us” realistic. Personally, for a good “realistic” style for Zelda, I think the Wii U tech demo we saw with TP’s art style is fantastic.

          • Fotis333

            You have a point here. Wii U demo was awesome!

  • Graham Gibson

    Hush your mouth. Wind Waker is my second favorite next to Ocarina. haha

  • Fotis333

    WW was awesome. In my opinion is the best Zelda game after OoT but something realistic would be great…

  • Leonel Penaloza

    same here

  • Leonel Penaloza

    The game wasn’t childish? even if it was i will like since it’s Zelda the texture were just simple thats all?

  • Julian Delarosa

    I’m going to be the minority here. But I wouldn’t mind seeing Nintendo start to release games in a “sprite art” format. and don’t tell me that can’t be in HD. Games like Mighty Switch Force would disagree with you there.

    • Zzen


  • Jack Frost

    I really don’t believe that the Wind Waker had a “failed” art style, it’s probably because most Americans just prefer the realistic look of games like Halo and etc. However, I loved all the new ideas Wind Waker had, and people should stop judging by the cover and actually try it.

    • Primus

      Just because people should doesn’t mean people will. Nintendo is a business, and it should take a clue that a realistic artstyle in Zelda sells well – instead of trying to innovate the art scheme.

  • Shadowking58

    Why do they have to trash the first Zelda game I ever played and the best Zelda game I have ever played?

  • Truth

    Alex Plant, while I do agree with some points here, I think you’re overreacting for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I never like the Wind Wakers style, but it looks better in the HD remake and even has a bit more of a fantasy glow to it. But, if you ask me, I think they should do a style that meets in between OOT3D and Twilight Princess. That would be a smart move for where Nintendo is right now, but I’m thinking we are gonna see a fantasy-realism theme in Zelda U, just wait until we see the first trailer of that before going on a rant

  • LoStranger

    Wind Waker’s art was disgusting it looks like a little kiddys program I could’t take it seriously at all

    • Zzen

      dude don’t don’t just troll thats what the whole articles about.

  • Aaron Lefebvre

    Actually this guys opinion is outnumbered.. VERY outnumbered.. At first before the game released it was controversial, and some people didn’t think it would be great, UNTIL they played it. Now its hard to find people who actually didn’t like the style of the game. I like Nintendo trying out different styles, and making their games unique, instead of listening to some people who just want their styles to be the same everytime.. The majority of people who played WW loved the game. You can go to user reviews, and everything to see that the scores are very high for both critics, and players scores.. I disagree completely with this article.

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

      “Actually this guys opinion is outnumbered.. VERY outnumbered by the people who actually played the game, if they didn’t play it then their opinion isn’t credible.”

      My opinion

      1) is quoted directly from Nintendo’s own opinion
      2) specifically is about TWW’s art style causing people not to play it

      • Aaron Lefebvre

        The Nintendo fans who actually played the game, disagree with you, and Nintendo then, which makes you guys outnumbered… If people are to insecure to play a beautiful game like WW then that is their own fault, but i am betting WW HD sells FAR more than the original, since everybody knows the scores, and how beloved the game is now, and the ones who missed out on it, and have a Wii-U will definitely buy it.

  • Tertiary

    Honestly, I didn’t mind the artwork of WW. It was an absorbing and graphically fascinating game. But I do wish that Nintendo would create a more realistic Zelda again, if only to showcase the Wii-U’s new HD feature. I hope they take the opportunity. I play cartoony Link, yes. But I would stand up and cheer (if not txt and email every person I know, and even tell strangers, “Hey, check out the new Zelda!!! Holy craaaappp! *squeak*). Never underestimate the power of free advertising.

    That said, I do agree with the author of this article on one point: Nintendo does have a baffling tendency of repeating old mistakes while ignoring their own successes. They keep releasing consoles with a slow initial line-up: no Zelda, no Mario, etc. a.k.a. The games that are uniquely Nintendo. But then they are disappiinted when console sales are not as high as they projected. Nintendo puts out a lot of innovative, genuinely engaging products but they seem to do terrible when it comes to marketing. I wish they would savvy up a bit on that, balance innovation with market-conscious releases. It’s as if they believe that we should but a product because they are Nintendo. I’m sorry Nintendo, I believe in you, but your a business asking for $200-$400 of my paycheck (game price not included). I’m not handing you my money until you create games for that fancy console that I want to play. Case in point: wouldn’t buy 3DS; OoT3D comes out? Okay now I’ll shell out the cash (eShop has made 3DS a surprisingly rewarding investment, btw).

  • Matthew Lee

    I personally loved Wind Waker’s art style. And loved Nintendo’s “obsession” with innovation. It’s what makes Nintendo so special from all the other companies. Those are mah words.

    Ciao~ :3

  • Ghabulous Ghoti

    Best game ever made.

  • Gabriel Gomez

    How was this article written? Was it written with the mindset of pointing fingers, or was it investigative? Who was this written by? A Zelda fan that was offended and scared for life when they saw the cel-shaded graphics at the E3 the WW was shown at, or was this written by a Microsoft fan-boy who hates everything Nintendo that managed to hack into this site and managed yo stay hacked-in long enough to write this article and wants the Wii U to “crash and burn.”? Or was this written by Alex Plant who was high and could not tell what the hell he was thinking when he posted this? “This article at all won’t get any backlash 100%!”

    I really don’t care too much what artstyle Nintendo throws at me with my Zelda, (although I prefet Twilight Princess’s realistic artsyle) as long as I get a fun-to-play game with cool gameplay mechanics.

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

      It’s investigative. I look at what Nintendo has said and point out how bizarre and contradictory they’re being.

      It’s written by a big Wind Waker fan, and a big Wii U fan.

  • Mr.Anonymous

    Actually I never gave much thought ot the look of WW before I heard criticisms on the internet..

  • Zeta

    I somewhat agree with this article, I know graphics aren’t everything but if you have an HD console might as well take advantage of the technology. From what I’ve seen and heard about wind waker HD, it’s going to be a really pointless remake. I loved the gamecube version and I think it actually looks better than the HD remake. The cell shading allowed the graphics to age well, why make an HD remake? They should focused their efforts on making another game or remaking twilight princess at least. Nintendo needs to be a little less stubborn in that regard. I’m a fan of wind waker but what the series needs the most right now is an installment that shows what the wiiU is capable of

    • Daniel Alexander Nichols

      Remaking TP would be nonsensical since you can still play TP on the Wii U.

    • Zzen

      They should remake majoras mask

    • HyruleKing

      Remaking TP would be nice, but you can pop you Wii TP disc into the Wii U and play it. It doesn’t need to be remade. Not as long as it’s still playable on the newest console. As for why they’re doing a remake and not a new game:

      1) They are doing a new game. We know that. They just haven’t shown it off yet.
      2) They’ve said they chose to do a remake of an old game so that the Zelda team can familiarize themselves with the Wii U’s hardware and its capabilities.

  • Aaron Reason

    I love the game. Give me any Zelda game and I will look past ANY FLAWS just b/c its a Zelda title. who cares what the art style was. As long as a game tells a great story, I could care less if it’s atari style. Graphics don’t make the game.

  • Grasshopper

    This article right here brings up whats been bugging me in the back of the head since that E3 direct, that the only reason this game is getting a remake, a pretty neutered remake mind you, is to give it another chance at being a success, 10 years after it came out. To me that is not only a waste of time that could’ve gone into speeding up the development of Zelda U, but also pointless because I don’t see enough changes in there that satisfy me enough to purchase it.
    Also I have to say I am honestly getting sick of the developers making excuses about how their recent games dipped in sales, weather its the gameplay or the dungeon formula etc, no that’s not the problem here Eiji, there is little wrong with the gameplay of Zelda overall, yes it could do with some changes now and then, but the gameplay is solid, why try to break what isn’t broken, did Twilight Princesses success not show you what the fans wanted? I strongly believe that this game might end up selling even worse then the original did, and certainly damper the momentum going for Zelda U, which I’m still hoping will be the game that gets the series back into the spotlight and on track again, but then again the last time that happened we got Skyward Sword from it.

    • Daniel Alexander Nichols

      Except it isn’t…….WW is being brought to Wii U for the same reasons OOT, MarioKart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land came to the 3DS. TWW is being used a placeholder until they can push out the true Wii U zelda just as OOT was. It makes sense because Zelda games will sell and often times sell consoles with them. More than this however is the Mariokart/ New Mario combo that helped the 3DS rejuvinate sales that is the same they are doing with Wii U. On top of this, TWW is being used almost as a training ground for the Nintendo Wii U devs to see how they can make things work on the Wii U and then find what should be implemented in the next title. As much as we are being told by people like Alex that did NOT do their research apparently, we are going to have peopl like you misled into believing “INTENDO ONLY DOES THINGS BECAUSE THEY ARE HERP DERP AND FEEL LIKE IT DUHHHH” wWhich is exactly the way this articlle sounds. Do your research before you go on a rant about Nintendo making poor choices for the reasons that never were the primary intention.

  • zdog

    Alex, there is nothing on the internet like your opinion articles. I love em’, and whole whole heartedly agree. Well, I guess not so much with the microsoft part, and I even wrote a huge reply to that article before thinking, eh whatever and moving on. All the same, this was brilliant. It takes some truly great writing and logic to make a Nintendo fanboy raise his metaphorical fist and cheer to the words “Wii U deserves to crash and burn in the most spectacular fashion possible.”

  • coatlesscarl

    You’re citing sales figures for a year after Wind Waker’s release, against lifetime sales for all the other installments. Everything I can find says WW sold closer to 4.6 million lifetime, about the same as A Link to the Past and significantly more than the realistic style Majora’s Mask.

    So if it didn’t fail commercially, and it definitely didn’t fail critically… what’s the point of this article again?

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

      Nintendo cited those figures, stating themselves that TWW was a bit of a dud commercially (see: lost customers).

      Did you even read the quotes I cited? I am not the one saying there’s something wrong with TWW. I actually like the game. It’s Nintendo’s market data that’s saying it. I’m just questioning their dedication to pushing the art style in other games, when going back to a more ‘traditional’ art style is far and away the better approach for their Zelda business (as demonstrated by every game since TWW that didn’t try to incorporate its style).

      • coatlesscarl

        Haha, admittedly, I get a little pissy whenever someone disparages Wind Waker. But still, the numbers you have are for a year after WW’s release, and your argument assumes that none or hardly any more copies were sold after GDC 2004. WW should have easily passed Majora’s Mask in lifetime sales. And as a ratio of unit sales to install base, WW beats Twilight Princess on Wii. Given a healthier host system, Wind Waker likely would have been much higher on the sales list. And I think Skyward Sword’s relative sales failure likely had more to do with the controls than art style.

        Also, it’s cool you read and respond to all these comments. I apologize for being so snide, perhaps I’ve represented myself and my thought process a bit better in this comment. Do you have any Nintendo validated numbers for WW lifetime sales?

  • K2L

    Alex, please. You have published this so many tim,es. We get your idea, we agree, but please. This rant and scream was heard too many times already….

    And just so you don’t think otherwise, I’m not looking forward to TWW HD. We all know neither are you, but please think of a more original article next time. You’re making me sleep.

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

      Nintendo obviously hasn’t gotten the message yet.

  • Marvel

    I’m glad that the cartoony art style is being preserved. Hopefully we don’t see it again for a while for the sake of preserving the Zelda series and to keep things interesting and unique, but I wouldn’t want to see it disappear forever.

    • Zzen

      I would love to continue seeing but I don’t want it to take over the franchise.

      • Marvel

        Exactly. Don’t ditch the art style, just take a good chunk of time to get away from it and move on to more unique things, then come back and use it so people can be like “I remember this!”

  • Juanito Shet

    Such a serious, negative article! I for one love the cell-shaded look of Wind Waker, Spirit Tracks, etc. I’ve never actually played Wind Waker myself, but I own Spirit Tracks, and I enjoyed that game despite the fact that all of it’s control falls on the stylus.

    In short, I have no problem with the art style of Wind Waker. I am a fan of it.

  • mZuzek

    “Yet in the 10 years since The Wind Waker, a whopping five additional Zelda titles have incorporated the unpopular cel-shaded style. During the time since Twilight Princess, only two titles – one of them a spin-off that didn’t use the Legend of Zelda branding – have incorporated that style.”

    Wow, seriously? First of all, if there were 5 since The Wind Waker and 2 since Twilight Princess, that means 3 before TP and 2 after it. Not such a great difference, huh?

    Also, you are very clearly talking about Nintendo, hence your article’s title. However, the 3 cartoon Zelda games between The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess were Four Swords, The Minish Cap and Four Swords Adventures. ALL of these were actually developed by Capcom, and not Nintendo. Plus, two of them were actual spin-offs, unlike this game you mentioned that came after Twilight Princess (I don’t even know what you’re talking about, since Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks were not spin-offs).

    Sorry, I just can’t take this seriously. Do you hate the cel-shaded, cartoony style? That’s okay, you’re far from being the only one. But that by no means it’s bad, and The Wind Waker was very well received critically AND commercially (despite not selling as much as Twilight Princess, it still sold a lot more than most Zelda games, and that’s considering it was on an unpopular console).

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

      “First of all, if there were 5 since The Wind Waker and 2 since Twilight Princess, that means 3 before TP and 2 after it. Not such a great difference, huh?”

      How does that make the difference any less great? Like, at all?

      • mZuzek

        It doesn’t make the difference less great, of course. However, you were really emphasizing the difference when you said FIVE since WW and just two since TP. You made the difference look enormous when really it never was.

  • InfernalDinosaur

    no i loved it.

  • InfernalDinosaur

    I personally thought Twilight Princess was an ugly game which didn’t innovate much gameplay-wise at all. SS was a major step up and WW was superior in every way. I think the art style may have been unpopular at the time… but i also think fans and gamers in general are a little more receptive and open minded now.

    • Dampf

      TP was much better than SwS. SwS was just a flat fun game, not a masterpiece like the Zeldas before. It had no real overworld, most of the NPCs are characterless, the world is only happy, lack of atmosphere, awful hand holding, easy dungeons and more…

      • InfernalDinosaur

        disagree – tp gave us a whole lot of filler when it game to content. The overworld, while large, always left me wanting. It was like they aimed for quantity over quality. In SS, he sky world was mostly disappointing, I’ll agree, but the world below ended up opening up in a very metroid-esque way and actually reasonably sized with plenty of quantity. It was dense. As far as characters go… I thought SS was oozing with character in comparision. Every single NPC in skyloft was memorable to me, and how could you forget Groose? It was incredible, but to each their own. At the end of the day I’d choose WW.

        • Dampf

          The overworld in SS had more quality, yes. But I like free openworlds much more than these linear ones in SS. Every NPCs was memoryable to you? Well, that’s because there aren’t many NPCs, lol. I have all faces in mind, yes but not their names or their purpose in this world, and this is what SS failed at, the world was just happy peppy unreal without any problems and such. In MM, every character had their own tragic story to tell, even in Wind Waker, OoT and TP there are way more really memoryable NPCs to me.

  • Jordan DeBono

    There are so many realistic games out.. why do we need yet ANOTHER ONE. Zelda is a fantasy RPG series, realistic graphics are not required for it. On the other hand, I’m not saying we use cel-shading for every Celda to come, but something like Skywards graphics are perfect to me. This guy, while he found all the true quotes, bent them to his will. He didn’t bring up all the great reception Skyward brought it with it. Skyward reached top scores, many more than Twilight did.

    Sure, it didn’t sell as well, but that’s just the timing they released it. At the beginning, Wii raped the vid game market, but at the end of its lifetime, most just sold it, lost it, or just couldn’t be bothered to plug it in again. That’s why Skyward didn’t sell as well. Not because of its art style. And Twilight could reach a bigger audience as it was for GameCube as well, right ? This guy obviously favours Sony and its first party franchises over anything else… Fanboyism level 180

    • Zzen

      not really RPG but whatever..,

  • DE4TH 0n S4LE

    i honestly didnt like the direction for the art style in wind waker, but the game was still one of the series best. i still like TP better tho…. sry

  • Mike Elwell

    What isn’t explored in this ridiculous, opinion-based article, is that the sales figures were more of a reflection of the circumstance of the console, rather than the game itself. Twilight Princess sold bucket loads due to it being a launch title – therefore achieving maximum sales – on one of the all time best selling home consoles. It was THE game to have on THE console to have, it also had been released on Gamecube months ealier. Skyward Sword came at the very end of the console’s life when interest had waned quite significantly. The Wind Waker was released months and months after the launch of one of the all time least selling home consoles.

    You could blame art direction I suppose, but only if you have negative feeling toward it, I don’t. I wouldn’t say it makes as much difference as this article suggests. Yeah, sure I’d like a realistic Zelda game, but I loved the toon-shaded games also. I thought Skyward Sword was a fantastic mesh of the two.

    Nintendo hasn’t always given us what we want: It’s given us what we’ve NEEDED.

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

      1) Game sales push console sales. Since Nintendo says this all the time, I’m surprised people keep trying to use console install base as an excuse for lower sales.

      2) Ocarina of Time had higher sales than TP, wasn’t a launch title, and was on the second worst-selling Nintendo home platform in history instead of the best-selling one.

      3) Being at the end of a console’s life doesn’t always mean significantly lower sales. (Ex. Super Mario Bros. 3, Final Fantasy XII)

      4) TWW’s art style being the reason for its sales is NOT MY IDEA. Nintendo’s market data says that’s the case, and their advice – to make a game like Twilight Princess – worked like a charm. I’m just saying that if TWW didn’t sell well because of the art style, then Nintendo continuing to use the art style is a dumb business decision. (Which is true; no sane business would keep re-using an unpopular product.)

      5) You thinking SS was a fantastic mesh doesn’t suddenly make more people like it.

      6) What we NEED from Nintendo is a game that actually addresses what we want, not that we buy like sheep because it’s Zelda.

      • Ryan

        Your opinion is what you want, not what “we” want. If the next Wii U Zelda is cel shaded I would buy it and play the hell out of it.

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

          It’s not what *I* want, it’s what millions of people want.

        • Sunblaze24

          “Your opinion is what you want, not what “we” want”.

          OoT: 7.6 mill

          Wind Waker: 4.6 mill

          • Ryan

            So, the majority of Ocarina of Time players bought the game then. 4.6 mil bought it, 3 mil didn’t.

            • Sunblaze24

              Yeah. Just 3 million. Who cares about 3 million Zelda fans.

              • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

                Just as everyone who didn’t buy it must have entirely based their decision on the artstyle? =P

                The Wind Waker is my least-favorite Zelda game and that has nothing whatsoever to do with its graphics.

                • Sunblaze24

                  It’s actually a pretty fair assessment, considering Nintendo themselves point to the style as the primary reason for the games disappointing sales.

                  I like Wind Waker, and I have a lot of games in the series I put under it. This isn’t about what you like, this is about the fact that Wind Waker has a controversial art style that Nintendo is still using despite criticism over it. It’s okay if -you- like Wind Wakers art style or have no problems with it, but it’s foolish of Nintendo from a business perspective to keep putting it out.

                  • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

                    You’re getting progressively harder to take seriously, because now you’re totally missing the point of me saying why The Wind Waker is my least-favorite; I was stressing the point that there are other reasons for disliking the game, to the point where there are entire arguments with tons of people who didn’t like the game for its sailing, or its difficulty, or other things.

                    It’s utterly foolish to think that the only thing that impacted The Wind Waker’s reception was its artstyle. That is a wholly obsessive point of view, which ignores COMMON complaints about its gameplay and even the fact that its system sold very poorly. Of course the easy response to that is to point at Twilight Princess’ success as a point of comparison, but Twilight Princess differed from The Wind Waker in gameplay just as much as it did in artstyle, so you still have no room to stand on your assumptions here.

                    It may be Nintendo’s argument, but that doesn’t make it a good one, and I find it curious you seem to think Nintendo is being so stupid for reusing the style while also asserting that they were smart enough to know WHY it undersold. Maybe it was the primary reason, but your suggestion that the only reason people didn’t buy it was because of its art is completely presumptuous and furthermore very ignorant of many of the arguments out there.

                    • Sunblaze24

                      I didn’t miss the point, I simply didn’t address it directly. I said this isn’t about what you like or don’t like, which can be for -any- reason. The primary subject is this: Why is Nintendo doing -anything- controversial for the sales and risking -any- amount of sales? Wind Wakers art style is the primary controversy, and Nintendo themselves think it’s the main reason it sold worse, and they have data as a company to know this well enough. It doesn’t have to be the only reason Wind Waker sold worse.

                      It is utterly foolish for a company to use a tactic that they know doesn’t work, especially in a time where they need better sales for their new home console. Wind Waker was a bad choice to remake from the perspective of sales. It’s good to be able to play Wind Waker on the Wii U, but that doesn’t change the sales argument.

                      Don’t put words in my mouth. From the very beginning with the “realism” argument, and now suggesting I said Wind Waker -only- sold worse due to its graphics. These are your words, not mine.

                    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

                      And again you’re ignoring the point, because they have not risked or lost any sales, and the resulting games HAVE worked. I just explained to you that the SMALL RELEASES that continued to use the style performed alright, particularly Phantom Hourglass which did as well as previous handheld titles did. And a remake on the Wii U was a bad idea period, but I don’t think there’s a good argument to say why The Wind Waker would have been any worse than another title. And regardless, a remake of this sort is still a small release. All major releases have departed from The Wind Waker’s style very heavily, so there is no bad tactic they are using. They are in fact listening.

                      The realism comment was a misunderstanding but had I understood what you’d been saying better it would not have impacted my comment significantly, as I explained in my reply to that part of the conversation. You did suggest that The Wind Waker only sold worse because of the artstyle:

                      Me: “Just as everyone who didn’t buy it must have entirely based their decision on the artstyle? =P”

                      ^ not an assumption of your claim, pointing out something

                      You: “It’s actually a pretty fair assessment, considering Nintendo themselves point to the style as the primary reason for the games disappointing sales.”

                      ^ “a pretty fair assessment” being “everyone who didn’t buy it must have entirely based their decision on the artstyle”. If you misspoke, fine, but don’t accuse me of putting words in your mouth.

          • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

            Ocarina of Time is not a realistic game by any means.

            • Sunblaze24

              Ocarina of Time is not a Wind Waker-styled game by any means.

              • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

                No, but if you’ll pay attention to the article, The Wind Waker’s toon style was not the only component of the discussion, just the primary example used. Skyward Sword’s artstyle was also stated to be a supposed part of the problem, whereas Skyward Sword is a stylized game that takes after Ocarina of Time’s style in a big way (while of course introducing its own artistic elements like the impressionism stuff).

                The toon style is not the only form of stylization that the Zelda series has used, and the issue is much bigger than The Wind Waker. But as soon as people use Ocarina of Time as an example as to why we need realistic Zelda games, you’ve destroyed your argument because Ocarina of Time is pretty damn far from realistic.

                • Sunblaze24

                  You’re making the argument shallow, as if its a “realistic” vs “toon” debate. No, it’s not about realism, it’s about Nintendo using a style that doesn’t work for the series from a sales perspective, over a style that has been proven to work.

                  A Link To The Past isn’t realistic either, and no one had any problems with it. Ocarina of Time is looked at exactly the same way.

                  The point of the article is primarily questioning why Nintendo chooses to go in a direction that a lot of Zelda fans don’t like, when its been proven to be unhealthy for the franchise.

                  Nintendo is stubborn, based off their actions and words, in getting people to “appreciate” Wind Wakers style.

                  • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

                    I’m making nothing shallow. I don’t know why you assumed my /comments/ were a blanket statement encompassing the entire issue. If I were to respond to the entire issue it would be an article in itself.

                    I did however address this angle in my first comment on the article. The fact is that Nintendo has not pushed it AT ALL. They’ve acknowledged it was unsuccessful, made a game that was the exact opposite, then made a game that wasn’t the exact opposite but was more like Ocarina of Time. The only times they’ve reused the toon style — which does in fact work, just not as well — were in handheld and 2D releases like the DS games and Four Swords, where realism was not approachable. And these games’ sales were respectable given that they were handheld releases, and Phantom Hourglass, the one that stuck to the style the closest — whereas TMC and ST differed due to being sprite-based and having the steampunk style additions — had sales pretty much on-par with the rest of the series’ handheld releases. After that, the only game using the style is a remake of The Wind Waker, and it’s mostly just a graphics update and one they’re not pouring much of their resources into.

                    So where do we get this idea that Nintendo’s pushing the style? Where exactly have they done this since The Wind Waker where it was not a small release and therefore successful for what it was?

                    • Sunblaze24

                      Nintendo has released 4 games with Wind Wakers exact style: Wind Waker twice, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. (this isn’t about new games, this is about releases). If you don’t want to count Skyward Sword, then fine. I won’t talk about MC or FS/FSA, and those did not sell well anyway.

                      That’s 4 releases. Nintendo should have stopped from the very first one. The most successful game with Wind Waker’s art style is Phantom Hourglass, and that’s because of the touch screen controls and the install base of the DS, which far outclassed even the Wii. People -still- did not like it’s graphics, and it didn’t do anything special in the US (where the art style is the least popular compared to everywhere else). Phantom Hourglass could have sold -even- better if it had less controversial graphics, so why did Nintendo go that route? You say its because of hardware limitations; that realism isn’t approachable on DS. Why again with the “realistic” argument? For the last time, -it does not have to be realistic-, it has to not be Wind Wakers art style.

                    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

                      The Wind Waker’s artstyle wasn’t exactly distinguishable from A Link to the Past’s when it was put into sprite form in Four Swords and The Minish Cap, so it’s not a valid criticism to put to those… granted you did exclude them.

                      However, with regards to Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, both sold alright. Spirit Tracks’ sales were mediocre whereas Phantom Hourglass sold pretty well. Now you can argue it’s the touch controls… but I only see those get criticized. You can argue it’s the install base… but then what of Spirit Tracks or other DS games that actually sold poorly?

                      I’ve never heard anyone criticize the toon style in Phantom Hourglass ever. I’ve heard people criticize the graphic quality — and conversely I’ve seen Spirit Tracks get praised for its slightly better graphics — but never the style. So I’ve seen none of this continued style backlash you claim. That only surrounds The Wind Waker. The style performed fine on the DS. And meanwhile, every console release has departed from The Wind Waker’s style heavily.

                      So again, explain to me where this toxic trend of Nintendo not listening is. What, exactly, is there that they are not listening to? Phantom Hourglass changed a lot of things that The Wind Waker “got wrong”, EXCEPT FOR ITS ARTSTYLE, and comparatively outsold The Wind Waker dramatically given the success rate of the handheld Zelda games vs. console games.

      • KY_LOZ

        I think you could’ve empasised point number 4 more in the article since a lot of commenters here seemed to have misunderstood that you seem to hate the style.

        Either that, or they can’t read properly. Probably the latter since i understood you article fine.

        • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

          It’s a bit of both. I’ve learned through writing articles myself that there are always going to be people who will totally misconstrue your argument and make tons of assumptions about you that you already clarified regardless of how clear you are. You can minimize it by clarifying things carefully, but it’s still always going to happen.

          • KY_LOZ

            Agreed. I come across this very frequently.

            Many zelda fans in particular on zelda sites come across as very..sensitive whenever they think something negative is said about games that they love. Nothing wrong with being passionate but as you mentioned this occasionally leads them to interpret arguments differently to how the author intended, missing his main points and choosing to argue something completely different.

    • Sunblaze24

      Install base isn’t an excuse for Wind Waker. OoT was on a system barely better than the Gamecube, and it still sold 7.6 million.

  • Kyrushi

    I stopped reading the moment you starting saying the art didn’t click. Windwaker looks gorgeous and has an art style that will never age. Ever. “Realism” ages and looks ugly over time. That’s a given fact. Cell shading has a unique effect that always look fresh and pretty.

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

      “Didn’t click” = “turned many people off.”

    • Erik I

      No. That’s not a given fact. Wind Waker doing poorly is a fact. Even Nintendo has admit it.

      • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

        It is actually true that realistic visuals look worse over time regardless of how good they are, because better visuals always come along. Of course, the only exception will be when we eventually have perfectly and exactly lifelike graphics. Until then, realistic games will look bad by the time the next generation comes around, whereas the more stylized something is, the less susceptible it generally is to that.

        Of course it depends on art design, but as a general rule games like The Wind Waker still look great while games like Twilight Princess look very dated now.

  • Guest

    1987NESLegend of Zelda6.511988NESZelda II: Adventure of Link4.381992SNESThe Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past4.611993GBThe Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening6.051998N64The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time7.601998GBCThe Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX ??2000N64The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask3.362001GBCThe Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons3.962001GBCThe Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages3.962002GBAThe Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / Four Swords2.022003GCThe Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker4.62004GCThe Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures0.3772004GBAThe Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap1.02006Wii / GCThe Legend of Zelda: Twilight PrincessWii: 5.82
    GC: 1.32
    Total: 7.142007DSThe Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass4.132007WiiLink’s Crossbow Training4.82009DSThe Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks2.620113DSThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D2.612011DSThe Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition2011WiiThe Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword3.52

    Wind Waker is the 5th best selling LoZ game, your argument (and this WHOLE FUCKING ARTICLE) is invalid

    • Sunblaze24

      After the success of OoT, Wind Wakers sales drop is that much worse. OoT brought in new people, and Wind Waker lost 3 million of them. That’s the way you should look at it, not “5th best selling Zelda title”

      It took the series in a direction that could have killed it with a few more console games.

    • Erik I

      LoZ, aLttP, LA, OoT, TP, LCT, and PH outsold it. It’s the 8th best selling. Improve your math before arguing.

  • keenan

    Wind Waker sold 4.6 million copies world wide, and is the 5th best selling Legend of Zelda game up to date
    people loved the idea of a toon-like link, that’s why they put him in smash bro

    Alex Plant, you don’t deserve to have an article anywhere
    you’re argument is so invalid it hurts

    • Sunblaze24

      Actually, going by that chart, it’s the 6th-7th, depending on if you count Links Crossbow Training, and it’s the 7th-8th if you count the Oracles as one.

    • Erik I

      He’s quoting Aonuma at the time. No need to be such a butthurt fanboy.

    • Dampf

      butthurted fanboy

  • Ben Bustin

    At first I was reluctant to buy/play due to the style.
    But I had gotten over that. What killed the game for me was, spending more time looking for crap on the sea than actual dungeons and challenges. I started playing WW after TP. I couldnt find time to do the triforce hunt, so I put the game away. And didnt pick it up until the summer after i finished SS. WW in general was pretty good, at first the style and ocean threw me off. But it was alright.

  • Roberto Ramos

    Your article was good but the conclusion sucked.
    One of the great things about Nintendo is their commitment to making great games, despite whatpeople want. Wether you liked the art style of WW or not, you have to admit it is an awesome game.
    I hope they always continue that way, having new ideas and pursuing them, not bound to sales.

  • Daniel Alexander Nichols

    Just throwing this out there….WW came out in the height of the graphics console wars which I define as PS2, GC, and XBox when the consoles were trying to get the most realistc graphics first. It came at a time where games were only good if they looked realistic and honestly Nintendo if anything said “No you don’t have to have a realistic or game set in realism to have a good game, let’s do something different.” And so they did. If WW had not released we more than likely would not have seen game masterpieces such as Okami and with the idea of cel-shading comes where we are today here we are seeing cel-shading in loads of games, Kingdom Hearts 3, GTA 5 and let’s not forget Borderlands 2. You’re argument that Nintendo is crazy and more blind than MS with the Xbox One” or however you’d like to say it is total and complete nonsense. You may not agree with Nintendo’s choices, and that’s fine but dont think you can speak for all of us. Want to know a fun fact? Many people in the core Zelda players or even casual zelda players did not find TP to be a good Zelda game except for how it looked. Many people even refer to it as Ocarina of Time + because that’s what it is. It is a rescaled version of Ocarina of time with some new bells and whistles and an overworld too vast with nothing to fill it to be worth exploring. TP is a good game, but I do not in any way think it is the best Zelda game and while many people like the style they chose, there are also many people who don’t let the style they chose influence them as making a decision about it as a GAME.

  • Gabriel Shea

    I don’t really care about the graphics i buy each zelda game because im a fan.

  • Brawlingwolf

    Okay, seriously? There’s more to The Wind Waker than the graphics. Any other parts of that game stand out as good? The puzzles? The characters? The side quests? Yes, I’m a little sick of using cel-shading (though I still LOVED the painted look of Skyward Sword, even though I was skeptical about it at first sight). And I never had a problem with TWW- my issue is with the DS titles.
    This article comes across as awfully negative. There’s so much more to the LoZ series than just the art.
    And I’m confused- you say that the series has released five titles that used cel-shading. Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, which were both DIRECT SEQUELS to TWW, yes. Skyward Sword, yes, but it took it in a different direction. If you’re referring to Four Swords Adventures and The Minish Cap, I’m PRETTY sure that those were sprite-based, bird’s-eye games. Though the art had the “toon” look, they still used the “paper” effect from TWW and, again, the actual games were sprite-based. And, frankly, I loved The Minish Cap. Saying that “five titles have used cel-shading” is misleading/misrepresentative of what the case actually is.
    Do I wish Nintendo would cease with “Toon Link?” Yes. Do I think it’s worth all the negativity and basic ranting in this article? No.

  • DWraySweZ

    this editorial doesnt speak for everyone.

  • Ryan

    Wow, way to sound like a graphics snob. Wind Waker was fantastic and I love playing it. The visuals were and still are breathtaking. Zelda games are more than just the pictures. Anyone who dismisses the games purely on art direction is a fool and are missing out on fantastic games. I have never had a problem with any of the Zelda games or any game. Nintendo can keep doing what they want. If a future Zelda game or any game for that matter would be best presented in a cel shaded world I will be all for it.

    • Erik I

      It doesn’t matter. He didn’t say he had a problem with it, he said the general public had a problem with it…and it shows. Even Nintendo admits it was unpopular.

      • Ryan

        Well, the general public are idiots. I remember jumping into the King of Red Lions for the first time, opening up the sail and heading off on the adventure, then some seagulls swoop down to accompany you as you sailed with an amazing soundtrack. I used to sail around just taking in the visuals, listening to the music and loving it. Wind Waker had one of the best presentations of any Zelda game and if the general public are far too obsessed with realistic graphics, I am so glad that Nintendo doesn’t pander to them.

        • Erik I

          Sailing was another reason the game was unpopular…sitting around and doing nothing for the majority of the game is unforgivable.

          • Ryan

            Aww poor Call of Duty drones, not enough going bang bang? They are also the same people who didn’t like Skyward Sword because the controls were “hard”. I never had a problem with those controls. Nintendo, if there is any chance of you reading this, keep doing your thing and don’t sell out like so many other game developers.

  • India Partington

    Who doesn’t love Toon Link?? His little FEETS and his little HAT!! He’s so adorable and Wind Waker was so fun to play. I loved Wind Waker, what’s wrong with these people?

  • LewiiG

    Foolishness. The whole article. Wind Waker was one of the best games, but people were too stubborn to see it. The problem isn’t Nintendo. The problem is those people who judge a game based on its looks. I don’t view this as “kiddy” it is a unique, beautiful and expressive art style. Westeners are particularly guilty of this. Why do they all want gritty, dull realistic things? Games are meant aren’t meant to copy life, or be realistic. That’s pointless. They represent what is in people’s mind, what can not be represented in actual life.

    I loved twilight princess too. Why? Because it was another amazing game! Go forth Nintendo, push it! More people do need to realise that games don’t come down to realism. At all.

    • Sunblaze24

      You’re more interested in your own view on the game than you are in the business decision of putting out games with Wind Wakers art style out in the series. To you, to Nintendo, fans are just being “stubborn”, so they should continue releasing games with that art style over and over again and displease everyone who hates it, until they’re forced to accept it. Which they won’t, they’ll just go elsewhere.

      You should not go into business. You’re far too selfish for that.

      • LewiiG

        I just hate the fact that people look over a truly amazing game just because of how it looks. More people need to stop being so limited in this way. Nintendo are probably trying to push it because they know this. They want people to understand how amazing it is. Try and make people see. They are pretty much doing this with the Wii U with its current state. It probably is a bad business decision by looking at how people viewed WW, but it’s only bad because people are “stubborn.” Why give up an amazing art style and game just because some people almost childishly refuse its style?

        I just found “My Disqus” so sorry for the late reply xD

  • Sunblaze24

    Alex, few of the people here are interested in business. They only care about what they individually want, instead of pleasing the majority (which in turn would make Zelda a more healthy franchise).

    That’s okay, though. I doubt most of them are going into business anyway. It’s just sad that Nintendo’s own views echo the thoughts of fans who would rather please themselves with a product than have it sell as healthy as possible.

    • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

      Well do you consider video games art? or a commodity?

      That’s what it comes down to. Yeah business is all about pleasing people, just give them what they want to make them want your product. People like cats, so make sure you put cats in the next Zelda game to appeal to that group of people.

      Also you gotta make sure to have a dogs in the game too, or else you alienate people who only like dogs. Now don’t forget you got to have blood squirting out too, since a lot of people only want to play games with lots of blood shed. Yet you have to have it be an option, or else you cut off a younger player range from playing it as well.

      Lots of people enjoy sci-fi, so there needs to be some space ships in the game too…. to appeal to that group of people. We want them to want to play Zelda too…. also needs dinosaurs, so many kids love dinosaurs.

      So yeah, you want to be successful as a business, you got to make everyone happy. Appeal to everyone, ect. Then you just end up having games that try to do everything.

      But… if you view video games as art, then it isn’t necessarily about profit. It’s about artistic integrity. You create something that you as a creator can be proud of and happy with the end product. That you feel creatively challenged you, and that reflects what you wanted to create with a game. It may not what that large PUBLIC wants, but it is what that dedicated fan base appreciates and supports.

      As a fan of the series, I would rather have them continue to set an example and be creative with their art styles, and push the series, and experiment, because that’s what draws me to the games that Miyamoto makes, and what made me fall in love with the Zelda series as a whole. With out it I wouldn’t have one of my fave games, Majora’s Mask. Even if these choices aren’t that popular.

      To be honest the most disappointing Zelda game I ever played was Twilight Princess, and it was because it was so hollow and such a sell out of a game. It didn’t offer me anything refreshing.

      • Sunblaze24

        You could have saved yourself a lot of time by just replying with “I have no care, interest or understanding in business”.

  • Emma Neeson

    No, I loved the art style too and I don’t understand why it is so disliked. I’m glad other people share my opinion on the Wind Waker’s art style.

  • HerosShade

    funny that one of the most well-received zelda titles, TP, was simply because of the good graphics, while WW is now considered more classic than TP. this proves to show that real zelda fans know that it is not all about the graphics, but about the game play, story, and memories. i enjoyed TP, but the game was a let down because of the horribly anti-climatic ending that haphazardly threw Ganondorf back into the mix. not to mention, this title contains the majority of the franchises most forgettable characters; the only time they come to mind is when i’m looking for an example of a ridiculous, obnoxious, pointless person. sorry TP fans, but that is how i feel. all this is being said to make this point: nintendo is not “forcing” unpopular graphics because true zelda fans understand what a good game is truly all about.

  • rulqua

    Also, your mother is a fucking cumslut whore.

  • Erik I

    Finally someone gets it…thank you. The only thing I’d disagree with is saying that this is worse than MS’s previous plans with the Xbox One.

  • Kandou Erik

    Wind Waker is a better game than Twilight Princess (playing through it, right now) Awesome game, graphics are great – but depressing tone really does leave its mark, in a bad way. Thats why Skyward Sword is so darn impressive! And Wind Waker…. jezz – you are so biased against non-realistic art styles in games; I feel sorry for you, that you can’t look beyond that. Criticize the game for other reasons, fewer dungeons, long ocean traveling — but don’t point at the graphics, and assume everyone agrees with realism is better. It was a great game, and its place in people’s hearts in years past is proof that they made a wonderful game. Its stood the test of time.

    • Erik I

      He’s not the biased one. You are. He’s going by facts and real statistics, confessions made by Nintendo, whereas you go only by your own experience.

      • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

        Except that all of his arguments are weak as ever.

        For example financial success does not mean a product is nesseccarily well made or better. Lots of people can get caught up in the popularity of something and buy in.

        Look at a terrible string of movies called the Twilight Saga….
        extremely EXTREMELY successful. Yet considered to be absolutely mediocre
        at best. Yet it’s success is bench marked on a previously successful
        book series, and each sequel was more successful building momentum from
        the previous entry.

        In much the same way Twilight Princess was a
        success… it wasn’t successful because it was a well made game, or
        because it stayed close to “zelda core”. It was a success because it was
        directly appealing to Ocarina of Time’s success (and by extension it’s
        fan base). They gave Ocarina of Time fans everything they wanted, a
        horse to ride, similar visuals, and for the most part, a nearly
        identical experience.

        Another poor part of his argument is comparing a video game to video game
        hardware is also a poor argument. The two products are completely different. It would be like trying to compare the quality of a film to a Blu-Ray player.

        • Erik I

          You are blinded by your own opinion, not caring in the slightest about the series’ success. Yes, Twilight sucks…even the people who made the movies know that…why do they keep making them? Because they’re a business. A business does that makes them money and appeals with their customers.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            There are different kinds of success you know that right?

            Sometimes it isn’t about “financial” success. Sometimes success is in creative integrity, creating something well made and meaningful, even if it’s not “popular”.

            Look at the academy awards? Lots of movies that win those awards, and are recognized for being well made are not always financially successful movies. Yet they are still successful in their own right.

            Many musicians will never sell out to a label which could potentially make them more profit then they ever could on their own, but that is because they would be miserable having to create music meant to appeal to a mass audience. Since to appeal to a mass audience often means following a very predictable and formulaic system of music writing.

            For many musical artists, being successful isn’t about making money, but being recognized for the music they create. Even if it’s only appreciated by a smaller portion of the public.

            Personally I respect Nintendo because they don’t just pump out what they know will sell. That their game developers aren’t afraid to step outside that comfort zone. They aren’t concerned with popularity, or just following other developers in the industry. They want to make games their way.

            • Erik I

              Well here’s the major difference between OoT and TP and Twilight:

              Twilight sells really well, but when it comes to critical reception, it doesn’t do well at all and the movies are always in line for the Razzie awards.

              As for Zelda…OoT is the highest selling and TP is the 2nd highest selling. How about critical reception? Among Zelda titles, OoT is the highest ranked on Game Rankings and TP is the 2nd highest…and the inferior TP Wii Port is the 3rd highest.

              • Ryan

                Twilight Princess was a launch title for the Wii. How many people bought the Wii and Twilight Princess at launch? Almost everyone. Ocarina of Time was not only a fantastic game, it was the first Zelda game in five years and there was three years of hype behind it.

                I am a fan that loves Twilight Princess. Not for it’s graphics though, which are nice. No, I love it for it’s story telling. I do have a question for Alex though, there are a few upcoming games coming out soon that use cell shaded graphics such as the new Ninja Gaiden and was not criticised when cel shading was used in such titles as Team Fortress, XIII and Gravity Rush. Developers like using it, it is hardly unpopular.

                • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

                  Not to mention developers often chose art style they enjoy, as opposed to simply going with what is popular.

                  I mean look at Suda51, the guy behind Killer 7 and No More Heroes. He always goes for unique art styles, and has used cel shading in the past as well. He makes games he wants to play, and that really reflect his style. Even if it means his games aren’t always successful.

                  Still those people who enjoy the kinds of games he makes wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s making games for those people, the people who get bored with the average popular stuff.

                  • Ryan

                    What about the critically acclaimed Okami? Not only does it use cel shading (to an ever deeper degree than Wind Waker), the game takes many cues from the Zelda franchise. People loved that game.

              • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

                I think it’s funny that you chose Game Rankings as your source. Why not Metacritic?

                Cause on Metacritic even Wind Waker is actually tied score wise with Twilight Princess (GC version).

                Also both websites Metacritic and Game Rankings came long after older Zelda games released. Such as A LInk to the Past, LInk’s Awakening and even the original Legend of Zelda.

                So those games don’t even have scores (or accurate ones at that since they have been rated based on re-release versions and rated in comparison to modern games).

                Also there’s so many other factors in regards to those scores as well. I mean consider this….

                Ocarina of Time has the highest score of all time for a Zelda title…. but it’s based on only 28 reviews.

                Where as later entries in the series have been reviewed by normally 50+ credited reviewers. I mean Wind Waker was reviewed by 94 sources. That’s over triple the amount of reviews Ocarina of Time ever received.

                More people reviewing a game, the more varied it’s average will be. With a long running video game series like The Legend of Zelda, it’s been around even before meta-averaging sites even existed, lol.

                Sorry if I consider them to be reliable in weighing in the value of a game.

                • Erik I

                  Because metacritic isn’t nearly as precise. It rounds its scores. So unless you wanna sit here and manually do the math for metacritic, I’m taking Game Rankings.

                  What does it matter when the sites were made? Especially seeing as we aren’t even talking about those games.

                  28 reviews is a fair number. Which game gets the most reviews is irrelevant unless one of them starts falling in the single digits.

                  Regardless on how you feel about the sites, they’re far more credible than your lone opinion.

                • Erik I

                  Actually, since number of reviews seem to make a difference to you, let’s use metacritics user vote, which goes from 200-1000 votes

                  OoT: 9.3

                  TP: 9.2

                  MM: 9.0

                  tWW: 8.8

                  SS: 7.7

                  The only thing worth noting is MM’s popularity spike. Otherwise the results are the same.

      • Kandou Erik

        I disagree — he’s coming from a perspective that just because its cartoony, it’s thus not as good. Thats the definition of bias. My own experience, and why I loved Wind Waker, is simply that; my opinion. It makes it all the more clear how sad it is, that so many couldn’t enjoy this game because of the art, continually bashing it years after the fact. The HD revival brings the topic up again – but the same unreasonable hatred for the title shines through. And yeah – his facts do back him up; but, we’re ultimately talking about a piece of art here: opinion, and fan experience, is the real factor in judging wether a game is good.

        • Erik I

          Did he say it wasn’t as good? I don’t recall seeing that. It seemed more, to me, that he’s pointing out (directly from Nintendo) that Wind Waker’s style didn’t do well with the audience and even Nintendo saw the need to change the style (Twilight Princess) in order to win their customers back. And yet, despite this working for them, they go back to the cartoonish style anyway, which doesn’t make sense as a business.

        • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

          While I disagree vastly with the article for my own reasons, no he was not saying the cartoony style was actually inferior in any way, and in fact said in the comments that he loves The Wind Waker and if it were just him he’d like a lot of games like that.

  • Majora’s Mask

    wtf is he writting about ? ww is a superb zelda game both visually and gameplay i dont know whats all the fuss about. if you dont like it dont play it.And ww is a game which looks good even now with nowdays standards

  • Dampf

    I agree wirth the article

  • Linklunatic

    This is a very linear and shallow view of the market. “You didn’t like it 10 years ago, so you won’t like it now.” And the whole end being a rant to Nintendo for being absurd is absurd. If you could find at least 5 minutes to read and/or watch interviews with Aonuma and Miyamoto you’ll know that the whole point of the first Zelda game and the whole saga is to give the gamer that childhood-wonder feeling that Miyamoto felt in that cave when he was a child. So really WW’s style is the truest style of the whole saga.

  • Kyle Ring

    Can we get into the fact that you really don’t see that much hate for Wind Waker’s Art Style anymore? Plus, TP had a lot of hype, but I consider a bit “safer” in terms of the gameplay itself, compared to WW or MM coming off OoT.

    I think it’s less Nintendo forcing an “unpopular” art style and more a high profile title having an art style this writer isn’t particularly fond of.

  • Cyclone93

    Wind Waker is my favorite video game, and I adore its art style. I wish more games in the franchise would use it, especially for home console releases. I loved the way that Link’s eyes were used to be more expressive than his other counterparts. Plus from what I remember Wind Waker received better reviews than Twilight Princess did. Twilight Princess is still a great game of course. I’m incredibly excited for the remake of WW. It’s one of the main reasons I’m wanting to get a WiiU. Exploring the game world I adore with HD graphics will bring back many great memories…

  • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

    Interesting thoughts but I cannot agree with your conclusions. Like, I’m not trying to be rude but there’s a lot of convenient ignorance going on here. The evidence you USE points toward your conclusion but there’s other aspects to this.

    The Wind Waker’s sales were not amazing, but they were far from bad, either. It was a pretty successful game. And you’ve stated yourself that the GameCube was an under-selling console; you can’t ignore the impact that would have had on The Wind Waker’s sales. You say Nintendo has performed worse than Microsoft has by reusing a style fans have rejected again and again… but that’s a complete and utter exaggeration. Certainly the style is less popular but it’s far from “rejected”; again it saw good sales and there are many fans of the style. The only times the style got reused were on smaller releases, and in particular 2D and handheld games where realistic visuals weren’t even possible, so The Wind Waker is really the only game using the style that benefits your argument in any way.

    You’re also taking Aonuma’s quote about reusing the style out of context. It’s referring exclusively to the remake to start — not future titles per se — and even if you’re going to apply it to future games, you’re still ignoring his actual statement, in which he talks about people being critical at the time. The implication is it grew on people or more specifically he thinks it WILL grow on people when executed better. He may very well be wrong in that, but his statement is not “I know people don’t like it but I don’t care” as you said.

    It’s frankly a little bizarre to see you acknowledge that Nintendo reacted to the artstyle’s reception with Twilight Princess and their statements, yet claim that all of these small releases and remakes are somehow indicative of a toxic trend with the series when every major new console release has treated The Wind Waker as if it didn’t exist. You say Skyward Sword is along the same lines, and certainly it is in some respects, but the fact is that it’s much closer to Ocarina of Time’s ANIME LOOK with WEIRDLY PROPORTIONED ENEMIES AND CHARACTERS than Twilight Princess is.

  • AManWithoutAPlan

    I understand where you’re coming from by saying it sold badly, but regardless of that, I’ll bet my future children and grandchildren(hell, I’ll even bet on getting married) that more than half the people who played this game loved it, AND replayed it at some point(and are obviously looking forward to the remake). Sales don’t add up to a game’s greatness or weaknesses, and it certainly doesn’t constitute what you’re saying about how “The Wind Waker‘s unique art style just didn’t click and [Nintendo] wants to force it into future games…” And how can you say it’s a ” failed art style” if every other TLoZ game in the last decade WAS cel-shaded and cartoony and the Zelda franchise is doing just fine? Not to sound rude, but your facts sort of contradict what you’re saying.~

  • Brandon Smith

    Honestly, there’s a lot to be said about the bias in this article, as well. Especially the last passage. To compare Nintendo’s desire to push a failed art style to Microsoft’s ability to screw up an entire gaming platform, despite the fact that the games all still sell and people still buy them.
    People always fail to realize that a game is about play-ability, and graphics only play a minor role in that. I applaud Nintendo for going against the grain.

  • Ryan

    What I don’t get is why Alex only attacks Zelda and Nintendo for using this art style. There are plenty of developers out there that use it even the upcomming A Hat in Time which could easily be mistaken for Wind Waker 2. Okami is almost universally loved too. It makes me feel that this article is actually a disguised attack on the Wind Waker, not it’s art style.

  • Ryan

    I admit that from a sales point of view but there are other points of view to take into account. Fan reactions having played the game. Wind Waker and it’s sequels are some of the finest adventures in the series. It’s a shame that people put graphics first because they are missing out on fantastic games. Nintendo makes games for their customers and while they will sometimes throw the closed minded fans a bone, they continue to innovate with their titles and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

  • CB

    WW is my second favorite Zelda game, with Majora’s Mask holding first place.
    Wind Waker is charming, fun, gorgeous, and it has one of my favorite video game endings of all time.

  • Ryan

    If it wasn’t for the Spaceworld video, there wouldn’t have been an issue really.

  • 1Truth

    Fantastic article. I agree with all of it. They need to just keep the popular TP graphics and focus on creating fun and innovative gameplay.

  • Ernesto Palma

    HAHAHAHA love that ending XDDD Honestly, why don’t they just create another dev team and work simultaneously on the kind of Zelda their artistic hearts desire, as well as the kind of Zelda that THE FANS WANT. It’s not like they can make an excuse as far as funds, the Zelda franchise has made them plenty of cash.

  • Guest

    Jesus, Alex, EVERY Nintendo article you write is negative. Stop playing Nintendo’s games.

    GIVE CONSUMERS WHAT THEY WANT? So we get every single game on the market to look the same with the same color palette? How about some FUCKING CREATIVITY you ass-wipe

    You truly believe your opinion should be adopted by all

  • Daniel

    Dude… that’s precisely what he means. We don’t know if it’s gonna be “realistic HD” Zelda game after Wind Waker HD. It’s not confirmed, it could be a cel shaded once again, that’s the point of the article.

    • Dillon Cupples

      Whats wrong with that? It will be good no matter what right? Even a Okami or No More Heroes like direction would be amazing “given they were more refined obviously”.

      • Daniel

        There’s no wrong art direction as long as it fits the game.

  • Daniel

    Holy crap. People really took this personally… I wonder why… Alex never stated that he PERSONALLY hated TWW art style, just that it was bad for sales, which was actually proved. The best selling Zelda games have had realistic art styles. It’s no lie that TWW lost sales due to that.

    Companies have to sale. People say that they should not give in to popular opinion and keep doing what they think is best. They did it, once and again. And most of the times when they did, sales weren’t great. I’m not saying they shouldn’t do different stuff or that they shouldn’t be allowed to work creatively… but they should sometimes bend to popular opinion, and seems like it’s a good time for that.

  • Cameron Wade Hadley

    And all that is exactly why I also think Skyward Sword did well. The colours were bright and vibrant but the story had it’s moments where it took a little dark undertone from time to time and there was this feeling of sadness and struggle throughout the game. Wind Waker did it perfectly as well. Now, I have a place for every Zelda game in my heart, and I loved Twilight Princess for what it was. I do agree that the graphics of TP were a tad dull, but I also feel like that was what was intended. I do agree that dude-bro mentality should DEFINITELY not be a leading factor to deciding what art style Zelda should have.. Personally, The style used in Skyward Sword and Wind Waker really appeal to me. I just love the colours and the all together feel and look of the art styles used. Nintendo can keep doing what they’re doing, because they know what’s good.

  • RoboticLink

    People don’t understand that The Wind Waker’s artstyle is one of the nicest of all Zelda art styles. I mean the idea was that it didn’t look bad even after ten years, Ocarina of Time had a realistic design for the time but doesn’t look beautiful today (for some people), even though this version is in HD, their isn’t a huge graphical difference

  • Ben the Nerd

    The new Wind Waker HD is going to pwn the old Wind Waker in my opinion. I can’t wait to play it! And this guy who talked this way about Nintendo and the Legend of Zelda should really go fucking die! He spoke shit about the greatest company and game of all time!

  • What A Moron

    The realistic art styles in Zelda games are far too bland. You’re nuts.

  • Pingback: O adiamento, a expectativa e o fracasso: ecos do último Nintendo Direct | Loading Time

  • Dillon Cupples

    Nintendo Absurd? At times I cant help but agree, but to make it out like their decisions regarding the Zelda series are a bad thing is just lunacy. If you really did your home work you would know that the team remade stages from numerous Zelda title in HD to see how they panned out, and that WW really caught their eye. Enough so that they decided to re release it to help curb the gaming drought on the Wii U. It took them less than 6 months to port that game. Truth is its still amazing, and now a younger generation gets the opportunity to enjoy the same game I enjoyed when I was 13. Whether the Wii U Zelda chooses to appease the Bro nation and be Super Realistic or the team decides to go off onto a completely new tangent and make a completely fresh and initially publicly disliked masterpiece is a toss up. With the Wii U’s issues I tend to lean towards the first one. But one things for sure it will be at the very least an excellent game and I have no complaints.

  • Pingback: GenGAME Nintendo Should Not Just ‘Do Whatever it Wants’

  • Joel Nyström

    “Twilight Princess was one of the best-received Zelda titles in recent memory, both in terms of initial reactions to its reveal, critical review, and sales performance.” Yet it stands out as the worst miss-step in the entire franchise, and WW HD as a guiding light for hopefully the great things to come.

    • WarioForever

      How about no!?