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The Legend of Zelda is definitely one of Nintendo’s core series, and it has seen major success in recent years, especially thanks to the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on both the Wii U and Switch. But something seems to be missing within the Zeldaverse, and I think I know what it is: a brand new top down adventure that is not connected to anything else.
Hear me out. The last original top down Zelda title we got was The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2013, but that title was not only in the same universe as A Link to the Past (SNES) but also shared the same map with only slight alterations.
That means the last original top down Zelda title was the Flagship and Capcom developed Minish Cap that released on the Game Boy Advance in 2004, so we are approaching 20 years without a fresh top down Zelda title and I think fans are starting to feel that.
Nintendo released an updated version of the Game Boy classic Link’s Awakening on the Switch in 2019, much to fans’ surprise. It wasn’t exactly what fans were looking for in an announcement, but I think the return to form, especially with a classic like Link’s Awakening, was a welcomed release on Switch. Nintendo actually sold well over 5 million units of the game on Switch. Compare that to the original, which had two versions, and the sales are almost identical.
This made me start thinking about other major Nintendo franchises that reverted back to the original forms for a modern audience, like Super Mario and Metroid. The Super Mario franchise found major success with the New series when New Super Mario Bros launched on the Wii back in 2009, and the title has gone on to sell over 30 million copies. It is no wonder that Nintendo started pumping out more New Super Mario games on the 3DS, Wii U, and even on the Switch. Despite the 3D Marios doing well on their own, there was and still is a major market for the 2D side-scrolling platformer.
Similarly, the Metroid series saw a revival last year with the long-anticipated Metroid Dread. The Metroid series has never been a major seller for Nintendo, but the hardcore fanbase and cult status of the franchise has kept it in the limelight. Metroid’s biggest sellers prior to Metroid Dread were the original title at 2.73 million units sold and the 3D classic Metroid Prime for the GameCube at 2 million. Those numbers pale in comparison to the Super Mario franchise, but considering that Metroid Dread returned the franchise to its roots and is now the best-selling Metroid title of all time (Nearly 3 million units sold), I think we do need to look at the Zelda franchise to do the same.
This does not mean that Nintendo needs to abandon Breath of the Wild 2 development. Quite the contrary, I think these three particular franchises need to work on both retro-style titles and 3D titles, because in the case for all three franchises, we see major sales figures for the classic styles. Mario is more popular than ever, and it is thanks to the New series bringing more attention to the platformer. Metroid has never felt more alive, and it is thanks to a return to form.
Back to A Link Between Worlds, which released on the 3DS back in 2013, we saw that same excitement and enthusiasm for that release. Although it was a new title in just about every way, it still relied heavily on A Link to the Past, so it felt like the title targeted older players for a nostalgia trip. The game is still brilliant and one of the better Zelda titles in recent memory, but I know I cannot be the only person longing for a brand new, original top down Zelda.
Link’s Awakening on Switch in 2019 was simply a reminder that this style can absolutely work in this day-and-age, and I am beyond confident the Zelda franchise and Nintendo will benefit tremendously working on both top down Zeldas and 3D Zeldas. It is a win-win, as we ultimately get more Zelda titles to love and play while Nintendo also feeds two different camps of fans.
Based on the sales numbers and the clear success in both the Mario and Metroid franchises, I think it is high time for the Zelda series to return to its roots, too, and I think the Nintendo Switch would be the perfect platform to experiment on. With the rumored GBA channel coming, one can only assume that titles like the Minish Cap will make their way to the hybrid console, but how much sweeter would it be to know that Breath of the Wild 2 and an original top down title are both on the horizon?
As a huge Zelda fan, both of those prospects would excite me, and you better believe I will be purchasing them both. I have a feeling, though, that I am not the only one, and I think that is something Nintendo really needs to understand.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link for all of your gaming news and updates! What do you think of this idea of the Zelda franchise returning to its roots? Do you want a new top down title in the series? Let us know in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.