Last week at Nintendo’s E3 booth, I committed some 800 acts of moblin murder during my hands-on time with Hyrule Warriors.
I killed so many of the dopey, low-level Zelda series enemy — along with a few dozen gorons — in my fifteen or so minutes with the game than I have in entire Zelda games past.
Nintendo and Tecmo Koei's upcoming Hyrule Warriors plays very much like a Dynasty Warriors game. It has the same sense of scale — I was fighting hundreds of enemies at once on massive battlefield environments that looked like Hyrulian versions of, well, the ancient Chinese battlefields that Dynasty Warriors titles play out on. It has the same sense of speed and flow as well — in both games, I played as a powerful character capable of mowing down those massive fields with the flick of a few buttons.
This is exactly what the teams at Nintendo and Tecmo Koei were going for, according to Yosuke Hayashi, development producer of Hyrule Warriors.
"We approached it as Dynasty Warriors action. That gameplay but with Zelda characters," he told Polygon.
With that said, the team peppered the game with little touches from the Zelda franchise. At one point, in the demo I threw bombs to clear out a pile of boulders blocking my access to a cave. The signature Zelda chime played out when I discovered a treasure chest, and I even fought a boss character &mdash none other than the infernal dinosaur, King Dodongo.
"We look[ed] for actions, Zelda-like actions or actions that players would know from Zelda games and figure out ways to put them into what they're doing within Hyrule Warriors," said Hayashi. "So they're not puzzles, but you still want to open up a treasure chest. You don't pick things up to take them to another place to solve a puzzle, but you can pick up a bomb and throw bombs. And we have the sounds that players are familiar with, little elements here and there that make it feel like a natural Zelda game, but gameplay-wise it still fits within the Dynasty Warriors franchise style."
I asked about Zelda herself, in the context of this E3's heated conversations about playable women characters. Hayashi appeared proud to have Zelda presented here as a capable fighter, as opposed to a damsel in distress.
"Regarding the look of Zelda herself, she is a ruler. So we want to make sure she is seen as a strong character in that she needs to look like a ruler, she needs to feel like a ruler," Hayashi said. "So, [she has] what you might consider a stronger look for the character."
"She is also a playable character here, so she needs to be able to go out and take out tons of enemies on her own. She needs to seem like a character they can do battle with."
"For us, seeing her take shape like that and seeing her develop in that way, it didn't feel strange, it felt really natural for her to, well of course she can fight like that," said Hayashi. "Of course she can do those things. So, we feel like maybe she always had that power, and now, with Hyrule Warriors, we're giving her the chance to show off the power that she always had. So, I personally like strong, fighting women, and we're happy to say there will be other characters like that, other strong female characters in the game."
Hyrule Warriors is slated for release on September 26, 2014, on the Wii U.