The most recent Nintendo Direct gave us something that many fans were looking for: confirmation that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is coming to Switch. The Skyward Sword HD release date is later this summer, but this announcement has left many Nintendo fans scratching their heads. Is this all we’re going to see for the Zelda anniversary? Considering Nintendo isn’t finished celebrating the Super Mario anniversary until the end of March, this is unlikely. A company with as many world-renowned games as Nintendo won’t want to take attention away from one franchise to celebrate another. By spacing out the anniversaries, they’ll be able to generate hype throughout the entire year and ensure a steady stream of preorders quarter to quarter.
So that brings us to the main question: Are we going to get a Legend of Zelda collection on Switch, and what games will likely be included? Well to start, it’s worth looking at what Legend of Zelda titles are already available on the Nintendo home console.
The Switch Has Already Become an Impressive Zelda Console
If you’re subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online, you have access to an impressive library of NES and SNES games, including many classic Zelda titles. Both The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are available for NES online. Boot into the library of SNES games on Switch and you’ll find The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In 2020 we got a Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake, and of course players have access to the best-selling Zelda game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Plus, there are other options like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and Cadence of Hyrule, but even those seeking out mainline Zelda games are sure to find something that interests them on Switch.
When it comes to the other 3D Zelda titles, their absence has been palpable, but not unexpected. It took years for the Wii U to add both Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask to the Virtual Console, and though the 3DS received remasters of each of these games, we have yet to see a technical overhaul become available on a home console. If we get the 3D generation of Zelda titles on Switch, will they be direct ports, or remastered/remade in some way?
Zelda Ports vs. Zelda Remasters vs. Zelda Remakes
Few words are more convoluted in gaming nomenclature than trying to define ports, remakes, reboots, and remasters. Will Nintendo opt to increase the resolution to make the games look sharper and cleaner (remaster), will they build them from the ground up in a new engine (remake), or will they simply release the games as is on Nintendo Switch (port)?
Nintendo has always held their most popular titles closely, and almost never allowing games to transfer over from one console to another without paying a price. The Wii to Wii U transfer was an improvement, but still not perfect. When you look at Wii U releases like Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD, it stands to reason that remasters would be in the works for other titles like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. However, the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection simply compiled ports of existing Mario games, and that was one of the largest game launches of 2020 and quickly became one of the fastest-selling games on the Switch. The limited release of this title likely contributed to those feeling the pressure to get the game quickly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a similar tactic with a Legend of Zelda 3D Collection.
So what games will appear in a Zelda 3D collection? To answer this question, it’s actually very promising that Nintendo announced Skyward Sword HD at the last Nintendo Direct while refraining from sharing any other major Zelda news (apologies to those very excited about the Age of Calamity DLC).
What Games a Zelda 3D Collection Should Include
We’re four years into the Nintendo Switch lifecycle, and we’ve yet to see some of their most sought-after games arrive. From a business perspective, I can understand—the Switch continues to be the best-selling console month after month, and a steady stream of releases and teasers will benefit them more long-term than if they released everything in March 2017. But this benefits Nintendo, not their customer base. However, patience will likely be rewarded in 2021 as we look at what the company may have planned for a 35th anniversary collection.
Given Super Mario 3D All-Stars, many are expecting at least a trio of 3D Zelda games to be available later this year. With Skyward Sword HD getting its own remaster, that leaves us with four 3D Zelda titles that could end up in this collection:
- Ocarina of Time
- Majora’s Mask
- Wind Waker
- Twilight Princess
Wind Waker and Twilight Princess are the most clear choices as we have existing HD remasters of those on Wii U. Given how frequently Nintendo is porting Wii U games over to the Switch, it stands to reason that these titles must be next in line. A limited-released 3D collection with these four games would be the ideal scenario, but at what price point? Historically, Wii U ports come over to Switch at full price. Would Nintendo really include two Wii U remasters in one collection and sell it for $60? There’s also the possibility of a Wind Waker collection that also includes Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. All I can say for certain is Nintendo always operates in a way that’s surprising, so anything that I (or you) suspect will likely be partially correct with some kind of odd caveat. The only thing I can say with any certainty is we’re safe from the CDI Zelda games (for now…).
The 3D Zelda titles are certainly the most talked about, but don’t forget that Nintendo could have big plans for other games in the series. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got remakes of Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, or if we saw The Minish Cap return in some way. The Nintendo 3DS currently gives gamers the best access to The Legend of Zelda collection through their remasters and what’s available on the eShop. With sales continuing to move forward on Switch, the only logical course of action is to make the Nintendo Switch the place to play Zelda.
Nintendo has been against emulation for years because they want their exclusive games only playable on their consoles, but that also means they have a responsibility to make these titles available on their consoles. Now is the chance to take a leap forward and finally bring most (if not all) Legend of Zelda titles under one roof. As veteran fans of the series and newcomers alike await news of Breath of the Wild 2 (which Eiji Aonuma mentioned we’ll also learn more about later this year), rereleasing classic Zelda games is exactly what they need to keep the hype train going.
Which Zelda games do you most want to see on Switch? Would you pay for a Legend of Zelda 3D Collection or are you content playing these classic games on other platforms? Let us know in the comments!