No one does More of the Same better than Nintendo

Image: Nintendo Life

Soapbox features allow our individual contributors and contributors to give their opinions on hot topics and random things they’ve discussed.

Todayin response to the frustration of some Zelda fans who (from what we’ve seen so far) think Tears of the Kingdom is too similar to BOTW, Alana looks back on some past occasions when Nintendo came back for a second pass…

Since the release of the first trailer, we have known that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is more like Breath of the Wild. It wasn’t said outright, but the similar visual style, combined with its very early title – The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (remember that?) – established that Nintendo knew it had captured the magic with the Switch. run headline and he wasn’t going to let go anytime soon.

And with every trailer since then, including yesterday’s, we’ve been shown something that looks exactly like this – more Breath of the Wild, with settings. Showcasing a small set of new abilities, as well as a world and overall gameplay that is unmistakably BOTW. Link’s new Fuse ability has already made me and many others fantasize about some kind of ridiculous weapon we can create. That little addition alone opened up a world of possibilities. Combat looks the same, recon looks much the same (but with a more vertical slant), and yes, weapons still break. But in the midst of all this, I can tie a mushroom to my shield and use it to create a cloud of spores and surprise my enemy.

Sequels don’t need to reinvent the wheel; they never had. And most people, at least in terms of Tears of the Kingdom, agree.

However, there is a part of the fans who are unhappy that “Tears of the Kingdom” is “more like”. Claims it should be a DLC for Breath of the Wild, or disappointment that a game that took six years to develop (despite a massive disruptive pandemic, of course) is “re-using assets”, though few, to be found easy, and it got me thinking about “iterative continuations”. Why does “iterative continuation” seem bad to some people?

Sharp turn or stay in the lane?

By their very nature, video game sequels are supposed to take what made the previous game great and improve upon them by ironing out the flaws while still maintaining the series’ identity. Games arguably do this better than any other medium, thanks to an ever-evolving knowledge pool and toolbox from a relatively young industry.

Nintendo is famous for innovation, especially when it comes to its consoles. But when I think about some of my favorite Nintendo games, it strikes me that the big N is also a master of repetition. Even in the very early days, Big N tried new things while developing familiar sequels.

Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2 (The Lost Levels) are pretty much identical, the last one has different levels and more. a lot of Stronger. On the other hand, The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are pretty darn different – the top-down adventure for a side-scrolling RPG is a pretty sharp left turn. Both of these sequels are controversial in their own way, but both are representative of Nintendo as a developer.

Currently, you can divide the Zelda and Mario series into 2D/top-down and 3D, but even within those limits, Nintendo manages to repeat and differentiate. For example, Super Mario Sunshine is “the one with the water bag” and Breath of the Wild is “open world,” but they also account for console generation jumps, even if Breath of the Wild was a cross-title gen.

More than one!?

Until later generations of consoles, we were often spoiled for choice. The Donkey Kong Country series was fully developed and released for the SNES, and each added new mechanics and new levels, but the core games were very similar to each other.

The same can be said for Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, two masterfully collectible 3D platformers. Kazui laid the foundations, and Tui just sticks with the bigger and bigger model (perhaps to his own detriment, although after over two decades of exploring complex 3D worlds, we strongly encourage you to reconsider).

We were getting entire series or sub-series on one console, and the wait times were often only a few years – just look at the early Kirby games, for example. These days, a direct sequel can take five or more years to come up with, develop, produce, sell, and so on. You usually have to wait for whole generations of consoles. And often this is followed by DLC.

Donkey Kong Country 2
Image: Zion Grassle/Nintendo Life

With bigger teams to manage, more powerful development hardware, and higher expectations, video games are getting expensive as hell. Not only to produce, but also to buy. Super Mario Odyssey gave Mario a new trick in Cappy, tons of incredible worlds, more collectibles than ever before, and a huge update for his Switch debut. And if people wanted a new 3D Mario on the Switch (other than Bowser’s Fury’s great temporary solution), chances are Mario Odyssey 2 would (be?) like that. Of course, Nintendo used some of the assets and developed what made Odyssey great, right?

We will most likely wait for the next console with more 3D Mario games, be it Odyssey 2 or not, and it will be something slightly different, though not wildly another.

Galaxy disguise

The two best Nintendo sequels are an iteration of its predecessors Majora’s Mask and Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Majora’s mask is admittedly quite different from Ocarina of Time – the mask mechanic is completely new, the outside world is completely new, the timer is a new stress addition, etc. – but it uses a lot of the same monsters, mechanics and weapons from Ocarina of Time .

Remixing and combining elements of Ocarina of Time in Termina – an unfamiliar but supernatural world – and Clock City is, in fact, genius. You are already familiar with Hyrule, but now you have to get to know the inhabitants of the city, help them and learn about their intricacies, patterns and movements. If you go back to Young Link’s place, it will take away some of that power from you, the Hero of Time who saved the world just a few months earlier. And the tone of Majora’s Mask takes some of the more unsettling parts of Ocarina of Time – The Forest Temple, Shadow Temple, Re-Deads, Likelikes, etc. – and bumps it up to 11. It’s one of the best “straight” sequels. there.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 takes this to the extreme – it’s “only” more Super Mario Galaxy and many more tutorials. The gameplay has been improved, Yoshi added, and there are more galaxies with more varied layouts, but it’s essentially the same, with more Green Star challenges and quests.

But heck, if more of the same means better galaxy hopping gameplay, then I want it all. It’s hard to say that Mario Galaxy 2 is just “DLC” for the Galaxy. This is a brand new game and more than worth the entrance fee. Super Mario Galaxy has a different core world and a deeper (albeit optional) focus on the story, but simply by adding Yoshi and a few new power-ups to Mario Galaxy 2, you’ll unlock the possibilities and potential for new puzzles and challenges. Yoshi in space is a dream concept anyway, how can that upset anyone?

New lick ink

Splatoon is a completely unique series in the Nintendo library. Splatoon 2 took everything that made the first great game, ported it to better hardware, and really improved the gaming experience. Five years later, Splatoon 3 did the same, but on Very the same equipment. This simplifies it a bit, but it stands out because it’s a sequel to a Switch game on Switch that very “simply” repeats what came before it.

But Splatoon 3 has cargo new things – new weapons, scenes, characters, everything we talked about, and a slightly different musical atmosphere thanks to Deep Cut. And it belongs to a different genre than many other Nintendo series. Pikmin and Pikmin 2 on the GameCube (and Pikmin 3, to be honest) aren’t much different either – one has a timer, the other doesn’t, and 2 has brand new types of Pikmin and enemies to fight, for example , but this unique real-time strategy series has a core that, if it were to change too much, as in the case of Splatoon, would not change. be platoon. The same can be said for fighting games and racing – perhaps that’s why Smash Bros. and Mario Kart usually only run one per console.

Platoon 3
Image: Nintendo

Tears to continue

Longer wait times between sequels, increased development costs, consumer spending, and the need to patch or update the game post-launch can make a non-tea-table-turning sequel a bitter pill for some. An all-new 3D Zelda game is an incredibly exciting prospect, but when you’re following it – and on the same console – where do you go?

Breath of the Wild is the best-selling Zelda game of all time – and it’s not even close. Generally considered one of the best video games ever made. The same thing happened with Ocarina of Time, and Nintendo acknowledged this and made an “iterative” sequel. Tears of the Kingdom seems to be following the Majora’s Mask template to some extent, changing enough things to keep it fresh, as well as changing the tone and mood, at least from the trailers. Hyrule looks familiar, but it’s also very different with all that verticality and those Sky Islands.

Kingdom Tears 3
Image: Nintendo

Something magical is captured in Breath of the Wild, and of course Nintendo wants to build on that. Not every Zelda game in the future will be “another breath of the wild,” but from what we’ve seen so far, it feels like Tears of the Kingdom. is that, to some extent. Iteration is extremely important in video games, whether they use the same formulas or take large parts of previous games and just tweak the mechanics. The space for innovation isn’t going anywhere, and very soon we’ll be back in a familiar realm with new tools that offer a fresh, exciting look at the places we thought we knew. What could be more “Zelda” than this?

And now I can make an extra long spear with a rake and a big stick, so be careful of moblins.

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