This GDC was a big conference event, partly because of the rumors about Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata supposed announcment of a new Legend of Zelda game during his address. Representatives from game sites, magazines, and more gathered ’round listening to Iwata’s every word and updating their readers every couple minutes via their laptops. Perhaps Joystiq’s is the most forthcoming account of what finally happened; “10:10AM: Remember when they said there wouldn’t be a new Zelda game announced today? THEY LIED!” Priceless.
So just what is the new Zelda? It’s a new DS title currently being called, “The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks”. It’s the sequel to Phantom Hourglass, which was in turn the sequel to Windwaker, making Spirit Tracks the first third game in a sequence of games in Zelda history, for what it’s worth. But while both Windwaker and Phantom Hourglass were spent the majority of the time sailing the seas, Spirit Tracks solely takes place on land. And while in most Zelda games the main character, Link, would walk or ride a horse in order to traverse the landscape, the Link in Spirit Tracks takes a different approach by conducting a train.
Yes, you heard that right. Just know that it fits the visual style much better than you may imagine, even if Link has taken it upon himself to wear a conductor’s outfit and hat. It’s actually a very interesting idea that many fans had believed would be implemented in the next Zelda for Wii, though they didn’t imagine it would be a main focus. And actually, from what I can see of the game, it’s not exactly the main focus in Spirit Tracks, but rather just a fascinating new idea. It’s not like Link wears the conductor outfit all the time, and there are some other interesting concepts that appear to have been incorperated as well, one of which being a soldier’s statue that Link can manipulate and tell to attack enemies and press switches. Also, there is a bizarre fan-like item Link used in the trailer to produce wind and manipulate objects, rather in the manner of the wind boomerang in Twilight Princess. There are plenty of complex dungeons and epic boss fights in which these objects can be used, just like in any other Zelda game.
More information on Spirit Tracks should be available in the coming months. My guess is that Nintendo has planned to try and please us with this new DS game long enough to get to where they can properly announce their next Zelda game for Wii. Fine by me if they will take as much time as they need.