When drawing up a list of some of the best Legend of Zelda games around, it’s hard to overlook the charm and serenity of Wind Waker. The one Zelda game distinguishable by its art direction alone, Wind Waker divided fans with its cartoony cel-shaded aesthetic and ship exploration – two facets that were kept for the eventual sequel on the 3DS, The Phantom Hourglass (and its train-based fllow up). But before that Nintendo had plans for a more direct follow-up, and some of the ideas would’ve drastically changed it.
Wind Waker 2, as it was so aptly named when first revealed in 2004, would eventually go on to become Twilight Princess amid calls for a more realist Zelda adventure. Fans longed for the Ocarina of Time tone to return to the series, ultimately forcing Nintendo to scrap their plans for a direct sequel and pursue a brand new adventure altogether. Twilight Princess is still a good Zelda game, but it came at the expense of a more land-based Wind Waker 2 that could have been better – if not just as good.
In an interview (translated by Nintendo Everything) artist Satoru Takizawa, design manager and enemy designer of Wind Waker, explained that plans for a Wind Waker 2 primarily involved a game that took place more on land, and had little to no sailing. The game would allow Toon Link to get across land with Epona again, although this particular point become a sticking on when trying to work with his more abnormal proportions.
“But Link’s proportions in Wind Waker weren’t very well suited for riding on horseback, he was too short, and an adult version of Toon Link did not seem appropriate either. So, while we were stuck on those problems, we became aware of the greater demand for a more realistic, taller Link.”
It was this, coupled with the rise in popularity live-action fantasy films, that eventually convinced Nintendo to shift away from a Wind Waker sequel and eventually land on Twilight Princess. And as much as my heart yearns for another adventure in that portion of Zelda lore, I also don’t quite see how it would’ve worked on land. Part of Wind Waker’s appeal is taking to the open ocean with only the horizon in the distance. Trading that traditional land gameplay just, in my view, wouldn’t have worked.
Last Updated: December 6, 2016