Good evening gamers! This is Jack Longman of Miketendo64 and today, I’m back with another editorial that is very close to my heart, Zelda and who should be allowed to work on the iconic series next!
Have you ever heard of a games developer by the name of Rain Games? Based in Norway, Rain Games is the developer that first released Teslagrad in 2013. If you never played it, Teslagrad is something of a 2D puzzle-platformer Metroidvania, set in a Steampunk-like world, with a Kingdom by the name of Elektropia. Teslagrad is a fantastic gem of a game that has a great flow of progression to it and if you’re suddenly finding yourself in need of playing it, it released on the Nintendo Switch in November for Japan, and December for Western audiences, but Teslagrad, was just the beginning.
Not to just be a one-hit wonder, Rain Games followed up on Teslagrad’s ever continuing success by developing and releasing a follow-up game by the name of World to the West. Although not a sequel, World to the West is set in the same universe as Teslagrad, but took a completely different turn. For starters, the graphics themselves used for the game aren’t that much different from the 2D Toon visuals seen in A Link Between Worlds and World to the West swapped 2D side-scrolling, for a 3D top-down perspective. Don’t worry though, the puzzles are still present and better than ever.
Now, although the Wii U release of World to the West has yet to happen, it will be out on Switch next month (January 18th) and review copies are in the hands of reviewers, including myself and the more I play it, the more I know for certain Rain Games would be perfect for working on a Zelda game. They are no stranger to puzzles, they’ve got the Toon look nailed down pretty well and given the kind of game they can develop with the budget they have, compared to the kind of a game they could make if they had the likes of Nintendo behind them, to back a Zelda game, what they would create would be nothing less than a near complete masterpiece.
I know that’s a big boast, but as a fan of what Rain Games have done in the past and what they have done with World to the West, there is no doubt in my mind that they would be perfect to at least work on a remaster of a Zelda game, such as one of the Oracle games. (I would say Link’s Awakening, but it’s rumoured one of those are in development already and releasing in 2018.) Still, just because I am convinced they’d be perfect for the role, the whole point of this isn’t to convince me, but to convince you to at least also think the European developer has what it takes, so let’s start talking facts. I know I’ve mentioned the art style, but mentioning is one thing, seeing is another, so here is Exhibit A:
Now let’s compare the graphics to A Link Between Worlds!
Yes, there is a noticeable difference between the two, but there are also a number of similarities between them. So should Nintendo allow Rain Games to make a Zelda game, odds are they’d be allowed access to the sprites and of course adjust them just enough, as to make sure they had both a touch of Nintendo and Rain Games to them and now onto Exhibit B! World to the West does have Zelda inspirations! Because this is something I would now love to see happen, I actually took to Twitter today to start a poll, to see who our followers would like to see make a Zelda game and you can see the poll for yourself here:
I realise pitting Rain Games against Ubisoft Milan’s Davide Soliani, is a bit unfair as that guy is practically a God right now. What he and his team did with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was fantastic and the concept photo of Davide’s proposal of a Wind Waker port, was incredible to learn about, but that’s still no reason to rule Rain Games out. I know the votes show them as the least liked candidate, as even a remaster of any of the Capcom games, has received more votes and whatever Davide Soliani could do with Zelda would be simply divine, but as stated before, World to the West takes inspiration from Zelda. (The Oracle games to be exact!)
Where am I taking that news from though? How about from Ole Ivar Rudi, of Rain Games, who has actually commented quite a bit on our poll? From discussing scrapped plans of a 3DS port, to why World to the West was given the design style it received, the World to the West designer does state Zelda does play a role in the inspiration and that Ole did toy with a remake of the Zelda 1 overworld to get familiar with the level editing tools for World to the West. More importantly though, although this design style is a little too much for the 3DS, as Ole has said a bigger budget would have been needed to get the game working on 3DS, despite having a dev kit for it, it means Rain Games have at least considered bringing a game to Nintendo’s handheld system in the past and now onto Exhibit C.
Exhibit C is none other than the biggest gimmick World to the West, has to offer, four protagonists. Although I personally would love to see Rain Games work on a remaster of the Oracle games with Nintendo’s blessing, I think they would be best suited for something like a Four Swords remaster. In World to the West, split characters was chosen as it allowed you to not need to play as a singular character and constantly go to a menu screen and select a specific item to progress like you do in Link’s Awakening. Were Rain Games were to work on a Four Swords game, whether playing local multiplayer or online multiplayer, where you can play through co-op stages with others, there could be a single player mode where you could easily swap between the 4 Links, (each of whom have a different number of uses because of the items they wield.) It wouldn’t be too different from what Rain Games have done before, or too different from some of the things we’ve seen from Zelda games themselves, but it would also address one of the things that went wrong in TriForce Heroes.
While it is true some players did want to play with you and work with you to solve puzzles, a lot of the players you would meet, just wanted to pick you up and throw you off the map (or was it just me who got that treatment?) The only thing is, although you might want to argue if Rain Games did do a Zelda game, it would have to be a 3DS game because of the Toon graphics, you would be wrong. In January 2019, Rain Games would have 2 great games on Switch, with World to the West being one of them, so they do how to get a game running on the console. But let’s not forget that with the Switch having the same portability of the 3DS and the likes of the Toon Zelda game The Wind Waker coming to the GameCube and Wii U as a HD remaster, Toon Zelda does work as a home console adventure, which of course brings us to Exhibit D.
The Wind Waker is a Zelda game, adored by series fans. It may not have been as popular when it first released, but it went on to become one of the most memorable games in the series, purely because of the way it handled itself and there’s the fact that Link literally drove the Master Sword into Ganondorf’s head and you actually got to see it stuck in there. Going by what I have experienced of World to the West already on Switch, Rain Games could recreate such an impactful Toon Zelda game, if given the chance and just in case you need more convincing, I have one last card up my sleeve.
Exhibit E, Rain Games and Nintendo do have a good relationship in place, as talks of a port of World to the West for the Nintendo Switch, was going on when we interviewed Rain Games, back in September of 2016. Back then, the Switch was just the NX, but like a number of other European developers, Rain Games was there, trying to get their foot in the door and their game on the console and Nintendo obviously complied because the game is out next month. The point I’m making here though, is that Nintendo know what Rain Games can do on their own merit, so were Rain Games to even attempt a bid to propose a Zelda game to Nintendo, I feel the big N would listen and if they don’t, the fans will. All it would take, is a single well put together concept art image of what a Rain Games developed Zelda game could look like and the fans would immediately lap it up. We’re not sheep by any means, but we know quality when we see it and quality is what the image will be, if Ole Ivar Rudi is the one who designs it.
Now, should after all this you remain unconvinced, I’m sorry to hear that, as this is everything I have to argue with at this time and if it’s not enough to convince you, then it’s a sad day indeed as Rain Games would be perfect. Sure they’re not Japanese and they’re indie, but I truly believe they would be perfect for a Zelda remaster and so should you. You are of course welcome to think and comment otherwise, even if the comment is “Davide Soliani should be given the chance” because you’re right. He’d be great for Zelda also. Most gamers would have a hard time disputing that one, but were Nintendo to back Rain Games, they would ultimately have the edge, which is exactly what they deserve.