Welcome to the Dark Side, Nintendo

With the surprise announcement of Nintendo’s current work-in-progress, the sequel to the modern classic Switch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the internet has been abuzz with speculations and theories. Within hours, social media platforms were flooded. 

The minute-and-a-half glimpse fans received at E3 2019 is packed with a multitude of little details that have been thoroughly picked apart and analyzed. It is dark, tense, and eerie—words that have not been used to describe a Zelda game since the Nintendo64 classic Majora’s Mask and the aesthetically haunting Twilight Princess.

Fans have been fed and are savouring the taste of anticipation, broadcasting what they speculate and hope for in the next game no matter how outlandish, far-fetched, or even credible their theories are.

However, Nintendo normally shies away from such dark themes in order to advertise content to younger audiences. Even Twilight Princess, arguably the series most mature and thematically somber release, is relatively tame in nature compared to other T-rated video games for other platforms. And it’s still a game targeted towards children despite the rating.

So for Nintendo to present a mummified corpse in a twisted and tortured fashion was quite a statement for the company of wholesome family entertainment.

What had happened to him? (screenshot taken directly from the trailer)

What had happened to him? (screenshot taken directly from the trailer)

So who is—was—this person? The body has all the trademarks of the series most prominent antagonist, Ganondorf, but producer and project manager Eiji Aonuma has yet to officially confirm this.

If the game’s development does indeed follow the theme of the trailer, this game is definitely going to be more sinister than any before in the Zelda franchise and I am here for it.

I, like many others, had grown up with The Legend of Zelda, cherishing it for its charm and sense of adventure. As a result, I had come to expect the standard, formulaic Zelda playthrough that the next storyline would be developed around. And while I still genuinely enjoy playing these titles—The Windwaker will forever be my favourite in the series—they no longer present much of a challenge. 

Perhaps this is just what happens when you play each game a hundred times over as a child. But I’m an adult now, with responsibilities and little time for such leisure. So when I sit down in front of my console, I want something that’s not only entertaining, but that’s going to stimulate my intellect.

Breath of the Wild was a welcome break from such a rigid structure and presented a huge leap for Nintendo.

Company developers have finally acknowledged that its audience does not need to be hand-held through the mechanics and presented the freedom for players to experience the game as they wished. And even though they tossed out the formula and major dungeon-progression system, it still feels like a Zelda title. 

Going back to the darker theme of the Breath of the Wild sequel trailer, what excites me is not the possibility of Nintendo creating a flagship game in the horror genre, but because it means the series is finally maturing. 

I grew up with this series, now show me how this series is going to grow and keep up with me. 

By presenting a darker Zelda possibility, it feels as though Nintendo has finally recognized that the children they created games for have grown up and can handle more mature content.

So throw me your mummified villain and all he represents, Nintendo. I am ready.

Michelle Bonga

Michelle is a wandering soul. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. She hopes she’s doing something right. She is a great person to talk to; doesn’t talk much herself. If you’re nice, she’ll haunt you forever. Or until she’s bored.

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