I’ll never forget playing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask as a kid, and playing as a Zora, Deku Scrub, and Goron was always more fun to me than actually progressing the story. I often forgot that these characters were different forms of our Hero of Time, Link. It got me thinking, even as a kid, that it would be cool to see a game where you get to permanently play as one of these cool races with different fighting styles. But would it actually work?
The Legend of Zelda games usually follow a formula. You explore the world, find a new dungeon, get a new item, and then use that item to finish the dungeon and start the next. From the top down games like Link’s Awakening or the 3-D games like The Ocarina of Time, this formula works and has proven fun, even after we’ve seen it again and again and again.
Recently, though, Nintendo’s spiced things up a bit when it comes to Zelda. Breath of the Wild focused almost entirely on exploration, and instead of having 7 or 8 dungeons, had 120 little dungeons and 4 enormous ones in the forms of Shrines and Divine Beasts. The game had less “items” that give you a new ability, and more challenges that could be solved a number of different ways, in nearly any order.
So, would a Zelda RPG work? Let’s take a look at some other games that I could see Nintendo borrowing from to make this type of game work.
My first idea of how this might work is a Tactical RPG, more after the style of Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. Link could be your main character, but you could recruit many of Link’s allies from across Hyrule, with these new fighters serving the same role as a new “item,” allowing new abilities and giving players the necessary options needed to progress. With so many neat ideas for characters in Zelda, such as the Ruto, Zora, Gorons, Minish, this would be the best way to include as many characters as possible.
Another possibility would be a game like Earthbound, focusing strictly on a small team of four fighters with a unique turn-based combat. This could be a Four Swords-like game, or could feature a team like the Champions of Breath of the Wild as they fight alongside Link and Zelda against the forces of evil. I definitely think a game like this would be perfect in the cartoon style of Link’s Awakening on Switch.
The last type of RPG I can see working would be to make a game like Xenoblade Chronicles, where you slowly develop and shuffle around a team of 6-8 characters. Combat would be more based on real-time, much like in traditional Zelda titles. I think a Zelda game in this variety could be similar in narrative to some of the most popular entries in the franchise, but offer a little something new for fans looking to spice things up.
Would you play an RPG set in Hyrule, or would you rather save your money for a “true” Zelda game? What other RPGs do you think Zelda could pull inspiration from in the future? Let us know in a comment down below, or join the conversation on the Discord!
Image Source: Zeldapedia