Why Link’s Awakening isn’t the Zelda remake Nintendo should have made

A new Zelda game is always a cause for celebration, even if it’s a remake. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is getting a brand new remake for the Nintendo Switch, complete with adorable chibi graphics that transform the game world. It’s beautiful and whimsical and I want to protect him. It’s so moving in fact, that I’m not afraid to say I cried. Just a little. But even when mired in a post-Direct glow, it’s hard not to acknowledge that Link’s Awakening isn’t the Zelda remake that Nintendo should be doing at this time.

On a personal note, I adore Link’s Awakening. It was the very first Zelda game I had ever owned, so it’s hard to deny the pangs of nostalgia the music and visuals give me. As a result, the Link’s Awakening remake will likely please fans like me immensely. But there are a few problems with going back to Link’s Awakening, a very old entry in the Zelda series at this point, having released back in 1993.

The first is the length. In 1993, handheld games were considerably smaller than their console equivalents, but now the Nintendo Switch is a unified hybrid game console. This means a game that can be played in a few hours like Link’s Awakening is going to be sat on the same console as Breath of the Wild, which will inevitably invite comparisons between the two. 2D and 3D Zelda are always very different and justify each existing separately, but when two games belonging to the same series are on the same system, but one offers a fraction of the content, it makes the value proposition questionable for some people who are into hour counts and dollar value.

Other problems can be ironed out. Older combat, map layout, dungeons design are all likely to be tweaked in minor or major ways, but it’s incredibly unlikely that anything massive will change with the content found in the game. After all, things can be moved around, but if this was going to be a significantly different game, it wouldn’t be a remake at all. And seeing how this is keeping a similar camera angle, it’s likely going to be pretty faithful to its roots.

Link’s Remakening

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch Remake

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages would be a better game to remake because it would give players a beefier amount of content. Alright sure that’s two games, but it’s justified. After all, the Oracle games are two sides of the same coin. In both games, Link is rescuing a girl named after one of the lore’s Golden Goddesses, Din and Nayru, and then sets out to seek eight magical items that will open the way to the final dungeon so he can save the day.

But there’s more than that as once the player has finished both games, a final ending is unlocked via password. This combined ending includes Zelda herself nearly being sacrificed to revive Ganon, before Link steps in and intervenes. It’s an ending few players will have seen, given not everyone would’ve had both games, let alone finished both. It might be the least known or seen ending of any canon Zelda game, excluding the CDi games, of course.

This gives Nintendo a big reason to remake the two games. They could finally be joined as a single release, offering two campaigns and sixteen dungeons for the player to complete. That’s hours of content, giving players much more to do than in the much shorter Link’s Awakening. But if Nintendo really wanted to, it could go beyond even that, and bring back a third game that was never released.

Missing Link

During development, Miyamoto told the team that he wanted to see a trilogy of Zelda games made, to be called the Triforce Series. These games were Mystical Seed of Power, Mystical Seed of Wisdom, and Mystical Seed of Courage and all named after the pieces of the Triforce. The third game would have, presumably, also included Farore, the name of the third Golden Goddess who did not appear in the Oracle games. Issues arose during development, and the team ultimately scaled back to two games, with Mystical Seed of Courage being canceled, and the other two games being reworked into the Oracle of Ages and Oracles of Seasons that we know now.

It’s likely that Oracle remakes didn’t happen because the original developer was not Nintendo, but Capcom — a team with a very different vision for what handheld Zelda could be. But just imagine how incredible it would’ve been if Nintendo had remade the Oracle games, complete with the unfinished third entry. It would’ve closed an incredible chapter in gaming history, probably even surpassing the delayed release of Star Fox 2. That’s not likely to ever happen, but in the meantime, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons in the new Link’s Awakening art style would be incredible. Link’s Awakening will almost assuredly be a great game, but perhaps not the best title Nintendo could have chosen.