You may have noticed on other gaming blogs that yesterday (Feb 21st, 2006) was the 20th anniversary of the first release of The Legend of Zelda on the Famicom. I've been playing The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap this week by coincidence (an excellent game, by the way), and all this confluence of Zelda activity has gotten me thinking. Wouldn't it be awesome to play a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in the Zelda universe? Perhaps Nintendo could make a spiffy, slick 3D one with nice graphics for their upcoming Revolution console. If not, I'd be happy if some fans simply made a homebrew 2D, top-down MMORPG using A Link to the Past as a graphical framework. Either way, there would be some serious questions to address in such a game.
The most obvious question about a Zelda MMORPG is: who would you play as? Would the world have 1,000 Links running around? Or could you choose your race during character creation, kinda like World of Warcraft? You might choose to be Hylian, Kokiri, Goron, Zora, Deku, Rito, Minish, Fairy or even other races that have appeared in Zelda games. Each race would start out in their own zone with their own quests, etc., although they could obviously travel all over Hyrule. Another major question is: where would Link and Zelda be in all this? Would people just get frustrated (ala Star Wars Galaxies) if they couldn't play as the main characters? Another issue is gameplay: I think since the Zelda games are action-adventure games, that the gameplay of a Zelda MMORPG should be action-role-playing. That is, you swing your sword and do actions in real time, but you could build up experience and raise your stats over time. Also you could learn new skills and techniques (unique to each race) that could let you access new areas, or just simply let you have new abilities. And like other MMORPGs, there would be an in-world economy (but based on rupees, of course). You'll gain rupees based on killing monsters, and spend them by visiting shops and buying from other players. There are many possibilities in the universe of Zelda. I just wanted to write this article as a quick brainstorm to get started, but please feel free to continue and improve my train of thought on a new Zelda MMORPG. Good idea? Bad idea? Please discuss!