Okay, this is hardly breaking news, but what the hell…

Back when Nintendo unveiled the first pictures of the new Zelda game for the Gamecube at SpaceWorld 2000, everyone was thoroughly impressed (myself included) with what they were seeing.  Judging by the preliminary footage, it looked as if Link had matured a little more since his N64 incarnations, and the promise of the most realistic Zelda game yet was very exciting.  However, the gaming public was in for a total surprise at Nintendo’s recent SpaceWorld 2001 convention.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

From a more mature looking Link on left...to the uber kid-friendly Link on the right. What in the hell happened?

After apparently spending the last few months playing Jet Grind Radio for the Sega Dreamcast and being greatly influenced by that game’s innovative use of cel-shading, Shigeru Miyamoto gleefully debuted the latest game footage of the new Zelda.  What everyone saw was something completely different than what had been presented months earlier.  Instead of the cool, realistic look that had been expected, the new Zelda game seems to take its visual presentation from Jet Grind Radio and PaRappa the Rapper.  The new look of Link and company is totally cartoonish, and doesn’t exactly seem to fall in line with the direction that previous installments of the series suggested.  The term “drastic change” is most definitely suitable.

Of course, all of this leads to a lot of pissing & moaning from the majority of old-school gamers, who find Link’s new appearance to be more or less hideous (a viewpoint that I admittedly share to a certain level).  However, even though Link looks like some kind of elven chibi with Downs Syndrome, I’m more than willing to give the game a chance.  The greatness of Miyamoto’s track record cannot be denied, so I’m sure that the game will be incredibly fun nonetheless.  Unless of course, Miyamoto-san decides to match the difficulty level of the game to the abilities of the common kindergartner (ala, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest).

There’s no way he would do that, though.  Right?  *gulp*