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The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom screenshot

Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom – at least we know its name now (pic: Nintendo)

The Wednesday letters page compares failed predictions for the Nintendo Direct, as one reader enjoys Microsoft Flight Simulator.

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Legendary pressure
So now we know the next The Legend Of Zelda is called Tears Of The Kingdom and… not much else. Nintendo clearly weren’t interested in showing much more of the game but just giving us a name and a release date. That’s fine, I’ll take that. I’m sure there’s still a chance it could be delayed again but if Nintendo hasn’t earned people’s trust after all this time, I don’t know what to tell you.

If the game does hit its date though, it will have been over six years since Breath Of The Wild and that is a long time for what everyone assumed to be a Majora’s Mask style sequel, where most of the assets are reused from the previous game. A lot of the world does seem to be the same, but they also appear to have added a whole new floating world on top of it, or at least that’s my interpretation of what we’re seeing.

If the question is whether the game will be worth the wait though it’s basically impossible to tell at this point. What does strike me though is that while we know the name we don’t have any idea of the gimmick of the game. Is it just Breath Of The Wild with more magic abilities? I can’t believe it would be that simple, but until we have more information who knows.

If this is the longest gap ever between a Zelda game then that puts extra pressure on a game that’s already trying to follow-up what many consider to be one of the best games ever. Putting it that way it’s hard to see how anything can live up to that.

Good guess
I’m writing this early, before my hopes will no doubt be dashed by Nintendo and Sony during their respective streams, but my preferred reveals would be a more in-depth look at Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2, a reveal of what Nintendo are planning with the next Mario game, Bluepoint Games to show their next project (please be a collaboration with FromSoftware for Bloodborne 2), and Team Asobi to finally come out and say whether they’re working on a new Astro Bot game for PlayStation VR2.

Out of those four I’d imagine it’ll only be Breath Of The Wild 2 that’ll possibly be shown but as they’ve not given us anything of substance in terms of how close to completion it is I’d assume it’s going to be well into the second half of next year before it’s released. Feel free to ridicule my prediction GC, when they confirm that it’s out on March 21st to coincide with the PlayStation VR2 release. No doubt 19 other games on the 21st too, that’ll flop because as we know, companies have a habit of terrible release dates.

GC: Bluepoint and Bloodborne 2 was a longshot, but none of those predictions were silly. We are surprised Astro Bot hasn’t been mentioned again recently.

1 out of 8
Okay, so here are my predictions for today’s Nintendo Direct. Let’s see how many I get right…

Was I even close?

GC: Um…

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Sensibly sized
Got to say, I could not agree more with Sandwick’s recent article regarding the length of games and length it takes to make games. If I wanted a game that’s gonna take up my life for a month I’d play a role-playing game but why are first person shooters taking close to 20 hours to complete, despite having nothing stories. I wrote that sentence thinking of Halo Infinite’s campaign but even Doom Eternal is guilty of this.

However, I have noticed a new trend of quick to finish and cheap to buy games is emerging in the platform genre and hope this continues, as I do love a good platformer. Yes, a lot of these games are remakes, such as the recent Pac-man World and Klonoa, but some of these remakes have done so well they’ve lead to sequels, and I’m not just talking about Crash Bandicoot 4.

SpongeBob: Battle for Bikini Bottom is getting a sequel thanks to its remake and it’s only taken two years to make! So fear not Sandwick, while the push to 40 hour long games with no variation in gameplay goes ever onward the platformer at least has you covered for bite-sized experiences at an affordable price.

No sale
Disgusting to see Ubisoft raising the prices of their games, basically guaranteeing that everyone else will do the same. £70 for a new game is ridiculous and I struggle to understand who would ever pay that on day one, certainly not anyone I know.

Like it or loathe but moves like this are only going to drive even more people into the arms of Game Pass. It just doesn’t make sense to buy games any other way, not to me anyway. I cant afford that sort of money more than once a twice a year and even then I resent it so much I just wouldn’t pay it. Especially for a Ubisoft game.

I also agree 100% with the guy thinking that Skull And Bones doesn’t look great. The concept sounded boring and pointless when they announced, it looked the same way with the first trailer, and now the gameplay footage looks just as bad. I’m shocked it’s not only not free-to-play but £70. I am so far from ever spending money it I just can’t tell you.

Cry another Day
An announcement for GoldenEye 007 has been on the cards for ages, Microsoft and Nintendo getting into bed together, Achievement names leaked for the Xbox version, the constant leaks then denials – you didn’t need to be on Her Majesty’s Secret Service to see this one coming. However, upon reading the press release my heart sank. So the game is to be released on both the Xbox and Switch, but only the Xbox version gets the improved frame rate and only the Switch version comes with online multiplayer.

It looks as though these will be simply emulated versions of the original. This could mean no updated control schemes (which is one of the only things, along with improved frame rate that I feel this game truly needs to be accepted by modern audiences), no real graphical improvements, and we will probably see that the Switch multiplayer achieved through the emulator only – this means you will be able to see all of your opponent’s screens as you play.

Probably not a huge deal but would have been nice to see and I can’t imagine playing handheld on the Switch looking at only one quarter of the screen. The fact that it looks like it will only be available through the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service also means that you won’t even be allowed to own it and Nintendo could pull it whenever they feel like – not unheard of in this digital age.

The baffling part is that a full HD remake (remaster?) was pretty much finished though unreleased during the Xbox 360 era which looked fantastic – so why not use this instead? It’s not clear who is to blame for the situation. Is it Nintendo not wanting the Switch version to appear inferior to the Xbox version? Some rights issue from the Bond licence holder that the game can only be released as it was without edits? Or perhaps some sinister exec is behind all of this, out there somewhere laughing and stroking his cat?

I actually played the original on the original hardware just a couple years ago and after an initial adjustment period had a blast and I am still truly happy to see this finally getting released in some form. But this game deserves better. Now maybe I’m jumping the gun, as all of the details have yet to be confirmed, but the whole affair comes across as more Johnny English than James Bond.

Slow change
People talking about Nintendo sequels not being innovative, it reminds me that Pikmin 2 and 3 were both prime examples. They’re good games but the differences are Splatoon levels of trivial. So I’m glad to find out that the Pikmin 4 seems to be trying something a bit different.

I’m not yet convinced it’s anything more than changing the camera angle a bit, but at least there’s some attempt to not just make the same game for the fourth time in a row.

Quick flight
As someone that went into Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 unsure about how much the seemingly mundane experience would resonate with me, I was pleasantly surprised by how engrossing and relaxing the whole affair could be. Albeit when played in short-ish bursts, say half an hour at a time. I’ve even enjoyed my time becoming familiar with the more hands-on, esoteric mechanics of the aviation simulation.

It cannot be emphasised enough just how staggeringly impressive a technical achievement, both visually and in its attention to detail, Microsoft Flight Simulation remains two years after its arrival. I’ve had a few more goes on it since recently reactivating my Game Pass subscription and it never ceases to amaze me how extraordinarily accurate some of the places I’ve travelled to in the world are depicted here. Being able to fly over my street was a flabbergasting accommodation.

I look forward to trying out the new content when it lands later in the year, but I would love a more off-kilter, arcadey side to the series, sort of like what Forza Horizon is to the Forza Motorsport series, or more so the recent Hot Wheels DLC for Forza Horizon 5. Think Pilotwings-esque missions, perhaps even a few After Burner/Ace Combat/Desert Strike nods. Just a banquet of deliciously playful modes to really let the creative juices flowing. I think that would take this series to new altitudes of success!
Galvanised Gamer

Inbox also-rans
Watched to game-to-Netflix cartoons: Cuphead and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. Cuphead is too modern feeling for something supposed to be from the 40s so I couldn’t do more than one. Cyberpunk is very anime, almost reminds me of Ghost in the Shell. I’ll watch that one.

GoldenEye 007 coming to Switch and Xbox Game Pass! This is stupidly, fantastically, brilliant, brilliantly terrific news. Great stuff.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gooch, who asks what is your favourite fantasy video game?

To be clear, that means anything with at least a vaguely Tolkien-esque feel, as popularised by Lord of the Rings, as well as low fantasy settings such as Game of Thrones, so it doesn’t necessary have to have orcs and elves in it.

How appealing do you find these sort of fantasy settings and do they influence what games you’re interested in, regardless of their gameplay? What more do you feel could be done with the concept and what next gen fantasy games are you most looking forward to?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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