The upcoming Legend of Zelda 35th Anniversary could be an excellent opportunity for Nintendo to celebrate one of their most popular franchises. The first game debuted in 1986 in Japan and 87’ in the west. This means that 2021 will mark 35 years of one of gaming’s best adventure titles.
Recently, Nintendo has filed new trademarks for Zelda games and merchandise, just like they did a year before the big Super Mario 35th anniversary celebration. This has many wondering if there is a similar celebration in store for the upcoming anniversary of their other popular series. What can we expect to see if the series is honored? Let’s look at some things going on in the present to see if they can help us predict the future.
Zelda Themed Promotions Within Other Nintendo Titles
The thing we’re most likely to see is Zelda themed promotions popping up in Nintendo’s other popular games. As part of the Mario anniversary celebration, Nintendo has plans for cross promotion in some of their games. The announcement specifically mentioned a Mario themed competition in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and new Mario themed items coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. With little extra development time, and a far reaching audience of established Nintendo fans, these sort of celebrations should be simple to integrate into existing titles. I would expect, if cross promotion like this is planned for Zelda, it could take much the same form. A Smash Ultimate event with Legend of Zelda stages and characters is most likely. As for Animal Crossing, a champion’s tunic would be an excellent addition to our closets. I’d also love a chance to decorate my house with some Hyrulian furniture.
A Collector’s Set Of Legend Of Zelda Pins
A set of pins based on the series could give fans a more physical way to show their devotion. Another prediction I’m lifting from the Mario celebration is the inclusion of a set of pins based on the series. The Mario pin set features Mario in some of his more iconic looks through the years. But Mario’s not the only character who evolved over time. From his 8bit origins, Link has had many forms throughout the years. A pin set featuring the most iconic versions of Link would have something for any Zelda fan. We could see pins depicting young Link and Toon Link, as well as more realistic looking depictions featuring his different outfits, from his classic green tunic, all the way forward to his champion’s garb from Breath of the Wild.
Rewarding the set only to devoted fans could make the collection more meaningful for those who earn it. In order to get the Mario pin set, fans have to complete certain tasks. These are things like taking a Mario trivia quiz and purchasing certain games. If we see a Link pin set, the requirements would likely be the same. While most of the tasks are performed online, purchasing the game ensures that only fans who play the games get pins. If you’re the type of fan who would want a pin set, you’d probably purchase any upcoming games regardless. But if not, it might be time to start saving up.
Ocarina Of Time And Majora’s Mask Remaster
A new trademark filed for Ocarina of Time may hint at some extra love for the title in the future. While it’s not uncommon for companies to renew trademarks for their old properties on occasion, the timing here raises some eyebrows. Assuming that these trademarks are pointing towards a celebration, this new trademark for an old title might be as well. Both Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask have received remasters before on the 3DS. That tells us Nintendo considers these two games important to the series history. They were, after all, what took Zelda into the 3rd dimension, where the series has thrived ever since.
The new trademarks don’t mention Majora’s Mask, so the theory may not be completely sound. But the release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars supports the idea that The Legend of Zelda may receive the same treatment. Since Majora’s Mask is one of the only direct sequels in the series, it would be the perfect game to pair with Ocarina of Time in a remastered collection. In any case, if another remastered version of Ocarina of Time is announced, Majora’s Mask may not be far behind.
Breath Of The Wild 2
A big anniversary like this could be the perfect time to release the highly awaited next game in the series. Near the end of 2019, Nintendo announced a direct sequel to the latest Legend of Zelda title. Now considered a must have for Switch owners, Breath of the Wild is thought to be one of the greatest entries in the series to date. So it’s no surprise that fans were beyond thrilled by an unexpected trailer, announcing that the game was in development. But that’s still the only news we’ve heard on the game since its announcement. Recently, when announcing Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma said of the sequel:
. . .the team is working hard on development, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can provide more updates.
While waiting another year for the game isn’t ideal, the developers still need time to ensure that the game is up to fan’s standards. What Aonuma’s statement tells us is that the game isn’t finished yet. This might be why it will take more time to receive updates on the process. Many fans were hoping to see a 2020 release date for the title. While it seems that won’t be the case, I believe a 2021 release date may still be on the table. As such a highly awaited game, when the release finally comes, Nintendo can expect massive sales numbers. It’s possible that the release was intended to coincide with the 35th anniversary from the start. But even if it wasn’t the plan, doing so is sure to boost sales. The 35th anniversary would be the perfect time for release, if the team can finish it on time.
Age Of Calamity DLC
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity seems, at the moment, to be lacking when it comes to the number of playable characters, a problem which future DLC could easily fix. With Age of Calamity just recently being announced, it is admittedly too early to start thinking about DLC. But, by the time the anniversary date rolls around, the game will have been out long enough for fans to have completed it, and perhaps want a bit more. One thing that influenced my purchase of the original Hyrule Warriors was the huge roster of fan favorite Zelda characters to play as. Including 28 characters, the first Hyrule Warriors game represented the series’ whole history up to that point. This gave the team nearly 30 years of characters that they could include.
The only thing I didn’t like about the announcement of Age of Calamity was the drastic decrease in the confirmed roster size. The champions, Link, and Zelda, who are currently the only confirmed characters, are all perfect inclusions, but a roster that size hardly seems complete. With more announcements still to come, it’s likely we may have not seen the full roster yet. But since this game takes place in the Breath of the Wild version of Hyrule, there’s still only a limited number of memorable side characters to include.
Though Breath of the Wild 2 won’t arrive for some time, characters introduced in the sequel would fit well within the established world, and may provide a larger roster size. In the first Hyrule Warriors game, many characters were added as DLC after the game’s initial release. This is the type of DLC I believe we could see in the future for Age of Calamity. While there may be a lack of memorable characters in Breath of the Wild’s world, the sequel might be able to change that. With the game still in development, and its secrets heavily guarded, there’s nothing we can guess about the game’s story.
But is it possible that Breath of the Wild 2 could introduce some new characters to the universe? If so, they would be prime candidates to be added to the upcoming Hyrule Warriors game. This would fill up the roster, while also providing fans who’ve already completed the game an opportunity to return. If Breath of the Wild 2 meets a release date alongside the 35th anniversary, DLC for Age of Calamity may not be far behind it.
Zelda Branded Toys
Nintendo has partnerships with several different toy and board game manufacturers, so it’s certainly possible that The Legend of Zelda may see more branded toys as part of an anniversary celebration. One part of the Mario anniversary is the announcement of new Mario themed toys by popular companies. Nintendo has a long standing partnership with Hasbro, leading to a few Nintendo themed versions of their more popular games. Along with the Mario anniversary, we can expect to see games like Monopoly and Jenga get a Mario themed coat of paint. Perhaps the more surprising partnership bringing us new Mario themes are the new interactive LEGO sets. These sets allow fans to build their own platforming courses inspired by the games. Outside of LEGO games being published for Nintendo systems, this is the first official partnership between the two companies, and I’m sure many fans hope it won’t be the last.
Though these outlets might give us some new Legend of Zelda merchandise, there are a few reasons I’m hesitant to believe they will. Nearly every company would love to add Mario merchandise to their shelves. Unfortunately, fewer companies seem to have a place for The Legend of Zelda. We’ve seen Zelda themed toys before, and Hasbro actually has a Zelda themed Monopoly out already. Which is why it seems unlikely that they would feel the need to make another one for an anniversary. If a Zelda theme didn’t sell well enough for companies to produce more the first time, it’s unlikely that an anniversary will boost sales enough for a second try.
As for LEGO, Zelda sets could offer an even more interesting interactive building structure. What fan of the series wouldn’t love to build their own dungeons for LEGO Link to traverse? The problem is that both LEGO and Nintendo can be picky about who they partner with. I sincerely hope their partnership can continue. But, without knowing the sales performance of the Mario sets yet, it’s difficult to predict if each company will see the value in making more sets.
Some evidence indicates that Nintendo is planning to celebrate The Legend of Zelda in the near future. Based on the Mario celebration this year, these are just a few things we might see to celebrate The Legend of Zelda‘s 35th anniversary. Nintendo loves surprising their fans, so they may throw something completely unpredictable at us, like they did with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. These kinds of surprises are what being a fan is all about. We can speculate until the end of time on what might be coming our way, but the unknown will always be more exciting than what we expect. So until the date rolls around, we never really know what might be waiting for us on The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary in 2021.
So smb game and watch is about to be released /delivery.
Would be a very cool idea to port the links awakening to game and watch.
If nintendo thought it would be good idea to port smb1, lost levels, and ball, I’d say fantastic idea. But I reckon doing this also for Mario kart when that hits 35 years for g&w. It is still very popular among retro gamers, and who knows some of this generation of youngsters would find it great too. Just hoping for the mighty Zelda.