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E3 2011: Legend of Zelda Wii U first look

Eyes on with Link's HD awakening!

Easily extracting the biggest gasp during the conference, our glimpse of Zelda Wii U HD is strictly a tech demo. Link, a spruced up Twilight Princess character model, creeps through a huge cathedral before fighting a giant spider.

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Typical Zelda stuff, in untypical HD. Certainly sexy: ornate wall carvings can be seen in startling clarity, dust-speckled light streams through the window and rippling water reflects and distorts the entire building. This is not two GameCubes taped together.

Interaction is limited to camera placement and day/night control. Switching to night reveals lip-wibbling lighting effects as torches cast long shadows and light up the underbelly of Link's arachnid attacker.

Click to view larger image
Streaming the game to the screen reveals how well the screen handles proper HD graphics. Not to knock New Super Mario Bros. Mii, but Zelda HD is pushing Wii U much harder and doesn't stutter, lag or struggle. If anything, condensing the visuals makes them look even prettier.

The demo raises an interesting question: what should an HD Nintendo game look like? Not to knock Wii's 480p, but Nintendo haven't had to massively reinterpret their beloved franchises since GameCube. Wii U demands that they do.

This demo? This is Twilight Princess multiplied by WOW. But do we want Nintendo simply building on the what they already have? Complete reinventions or shiny old favourites: what would you like HD Zelda to look like?

Legend of Zelda Wii U HD was revealed at this year's E3 2011. Click the link to keep up to date with all the E3 2011 news from the show.

Head here for all our other E3 hands-on impressions


28 comments so far...
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  1. pokemaster Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 06:17

    The Twilight Princess style does not get enough love. If we can have so many different versions of Link, why not a darker one? If Midna were to make an appearance in the future as well, I will be extremely happy.

  2. tomratboy Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 06:40

    Zelda has always been a bit unrealistic (apart form Twilight Princess), I think the style for skyward sword looks awesome and they should keep it

  3. Xikelle Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 07:36

    I certainly adore how awesome Twilight Princess looks, and if there were some kind of sequel, that would make so happy, I would probably throw myself at the wall in excitement! (It just happens) I know that within the last few days, I looked at the Zeldapedia, and on one of the articles, about the Mirror of Twilight, in the theories section, it was saying that "if voices for Midna to return grow loud enough that she may make another appearance".
    So... I can't help but feel hopeful.

  4. Redfish20 Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 07:55

    I'm hoping that there will still be the option to use a motion plus Wiimote to do 1:1 swordplay (I say still, we haven't even got Skyward yet!). Would one be able to hold the WiiU (Wiiu, Wii-U?) controller one handed while wielding a Wiimote of justice or is it to big for that? Maybe you could use the classic Wiimote/Nunchuck setup with the... UmoteTM on the table in front of you for items and such.

  5. LukeOSU Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 08:07

    I'm a huge fan of the 'mature' Link and Twilight Princess visuals. I would hope that the HD Zelda title builds on what we saw in the tech demo. It looked fantastic.

  6. Joe_Crow Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 10:36

    This looks fantastic. I think it's one thing almost every fan was hoping to see at E3. New, HD Zelda for the new system.

  7. Dragongirl Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 13:47

    That looks completely amazing XD
    I'd buy Wii U just for that.
    Loving the vamped up Twilight Princess style

  8. onmsam Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 15:06

    the graphics is absolutely amazing and i wish it was an actual title and that boss battle looks epic!!!

  9. allanironmaiden Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 15:12

    the demo looked simply stunning, though im with the side that say we shouldnt get TP should be a NEW zelda in HD.....the NEXT installment of the franchise

  10. Eragon Firesword Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 15:20

    Those water effects! That fire! The way the light behaves like real light! This is such a well-done game, and it's only a tech demo! Kudos times infinity!

    Ideas for this? Well, how about a game where Link in every form from any game comes into play at some point. I mean, see how lovely Link looks in that video? Now imagine that applied to Goron Link, or Dark Link, or Bunny Link, or Oni Link, or Wolf Link. Next, how about bringing back the magic spells that I sorely missed from Twilight Princess, and expanding on them? Like, maybe, Fire and Ice Rods, or a hammer that calls down lightning, or a plough that causes earthquakes, or a plant pot that can spawn vines that kill things or something like that? or different weapons as an alternative to the old longsword-and-shield style. I want to see Link dashing and jumping around with twin knives. That sort of thing.

  11. EtherealWings Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 15:46

    I would have hoped that Nintendo were focusing on the more imminent Zelda release rather than attempting to reinvent the graphics again. For me WW was the best so far, both for the visuals and the general experience; and SS still looks to be the closest yet to besting that.

  12. RobertK Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 17:04

    I also think the re-making of the Twilight Prncess style is a welcome idea on Nintendo's part.

    As long as the Wii U Zelda outing is steered in this direction I am a happy camper

  13. joeykaboom Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 17:14

    can anyone tell me if ill need a hd tv for wii u?

  14. Argetlam Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 17:38

    3DS gets Ocarina of Time.
    Whew gets Majora's Mask.

    That. Is. All.

  15. linkfinity Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 18:07


  16. Chaos Zero Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 18:12

    The graphics were gobsmackingly beautiful and I can only wonder how other Nintendo games will look on this masterpiece of a game console

  17. retrotoad Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 18:52

    I would be very happy to see a Zelda game in this style, but I'd also really like to see a cel-shaded Zelda game on U, I reckon it would look amazing. But a TP style game in HD would look incredible, and with the added memory, the contents could be so much more. Please make a stunning demo, a potentially stunning game, Nintendo! :)

  18. Kirby8 Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 21:37

    I quite like the darkness of Twilight Princess. The graphics in this video is just....stunning!

  19. noodle link Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 21:54

    Twilight Princess on GameCube is easily my favourite game of all time. As much as I love Skyward Sword's gorgeous visuals, a HD Zelda game in the style of TP would be astonishing to say the least. Do it Nintendo!

  20. ShrekGuy Wednesday 8th Jun 2011 at 23:17

    I can't wait to see the games featuring toon Link in HD.

  21. ItsPeterchu Thursday 9th Jun 2011 at 16:45

    I actually think it would be great if they made a sequel to twilight princess with the same graphics. Didn't they do that with ocarina of time and Majoras' mask (I think they did). Also, those graphics would suit the Wii u so well and the more dark style makes it seem extremely mature and may attract more older players.
    Also i just heard the song of time and i was like "what!" and i saw the ocarina of time advert! Aah, so exited!

  22. LiamGodOfFood Saturday 11th Jun 2011 at 15:40

    I like the cel-shaded styles of Zelda games, and the Skyward Sword style has certainly grown on me, but they aren't my preference for Zelda games. Twilight Princess is probably one of my favourite games of all time, and this is partly due to the superb art style and graphics. If they were this good on the Wii, I can't wait to see what it will look like on an HD console. Surely, that must be the art style of the first Zelda game on the Wii U... surely they would want to demonstrate the impressiveness of the console, and the graphics it can run? I literally cannot wait to see what beauties of games they can produce on this much more powerful console...

  23. zapper01 Sunday 12th Jun 2011 at 08:49

    Is this a brand new game? I thought it was just a tech demo. If it is, I'm hoping they make the game brighter than twilight princess. The twilight realm sections were as ugly as sin. I also hope Midna never returns. EVER.

  24. king of Games Monday 13th Jun 2011 at 11:04

    In response to onmsam the battle WAS NOT a Boss Battle but a Mini boss because if you look at bottom right of screen you will see a symbol of the small key of which there was 3 left so no way could that be a boss battle.

  25. Akira Tenshi Tuesday 14th Jun 2011 at 11:39

    Its The Final Fantasy VII tech demo all over again, people will think this is a real game now whatever you tell them. I can promise you this the real WiiU Zelda game will not look this good.

  26. DJ-Foy Friday 1st Jul 2011 at 22:14

    I think Zelda is pretty much split into two now, Cel-shaded, better suited to the hand held consoles, as it's more colourful and younger looking and the console games, which are now becoming more detail and graphic concious, especially with the next gen consoles being as powerful as they are!

    I hope a Wii-U Zelda doesn't pour everything into graphics at the cost of gameplay though!

  27. Ninjatoast96 Tuesday 5th Jul 2011 at 11:31

    I think it'd be awesome if when you buy the new HD Zelda WiiU game you got a strap for the WiiU controller and you could use it as a shield and use a Wii MotionPlus controller for proper 1:1 sword battles!

  28. Hams96 Friday 22nd Jul 2011 at 00:05

    that looks incredible. I want it.

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