Thirty years ago (on this day), The Legend of Zelda was released.
One year ago, we “unveiled” our project: to faithfully reboot the original game in a 3D, fully playable first person perspective as an adventure map in Minecraft.
A few months later, we promised to update everyone on our progress on a more regular, weekly basis.
Every week since we said that we totally failed to deliver!
Every day we feel guilty about that…
However, every hour (lots of hours to go) brings us closer and closer to the release of this map!
We’re pleased to announce that the project is alive and well and still being developed!
Click here to see this gif in HD
Accuracy: Look closely for the comparison to the original map!
(No really – the actual game map is fading in and out of this gif)
The hope is to release it within or close to the halfway point of this year, which would close development out a year and change earlier than our jokingly cited three year to complete estimate. I don’t know why we said three years- I think we were just trying to cope with the enormity of the project in front of us, assuming we’d be vigilant enough to see it through at all…
Ironically, our original vision and scope was a bit smaller as well, even by the time we took Polygon on a tour of the project. Since then, the core idea of immersion and the integration of Minecraft-homages have both developed into something even more epic! Let us tell you about what’s new.
SELECT YOUR MODE!
First off, the game will now have two “modes” that you can select from before beginning:
CLASSIC MODE: This is the version you’ve known about. You start your game on the same “screen” that you do in the original. No fluff, just an immediate thrust into adventure and nostalgia!
STORY MODE: Here’s the new thing that we’ll explain. Now, in the instruction manual of the original LoZ game there is a backstory that explains how and why our brave hero Link is in the Hyrule wilderness on a quest. In most if not all of the following Zelda titles the events and story leading up to the main adventure are an actual part of the game. Therefore, Story Mode retroactively integrates the following immersive, now canon, world building elements to act as a brief prequel to the core quest: Link’s home, Hyrule kingdom itself & Link’s encounter with Impa and her assailants (this is the moment Link learns of Ganon and Zelda and sets off on his mission to save Hyrule). Conveniently, these geographic elements are accessible in either mode, but the encounter with Impa for example will only exist in Story Mode.
ANOTHER WHOLE QUEST ON THE SIDE
Secondly, a proprietary side quest has been added. Once I (Evan) started hiding Minecraft survival mode specific structures and scenes throughout the map for fun, I started allowing more and more exploration around them. Then, I didn’t want to neglect any structures from the Minecraft universe now that I’d added a handful as easter eggs. It reached a point where I was putting enough energy into this that we agreed we wanted to create incentive for the player to seek out every single one of these structures. Therefore, a side quest involving them was created, including a narrative complete with characters & items interwoven with Hyrule kingdom.
In Story Mode, the player will have the opportunity to learn about these characters and their stories (if they choose to explore) as they make their way to the main adventure. In classic mode, some backtracking will be necessary to understand the context, but all of the side quest’s elements are accessible either way.
DO I HAVE TO?
Ultimately, despite all this we are very careful to avoid interfering with the faithfully recreated flow of that classic adventure, meaning the prequel and side quest elements are tucked away strategically in order to be entirely, 100% optional! Hard work went into every bit but the level of interaction is completely up to the player.
Complete the adventure in the way YOU choose to! Do it in any order YOU please! Exploring is encouraged! This is the literal mission statement of the Legend of Zelda series since its inception!
SO… WHAT’S THE OVERALL STATUS?
Well, the entire map (Hyrule wilderness, side quest areas, dungeons, caves, kingdom, outer borders) is about 99% done. Finally. Little details here and there will most likely get tweaked for aesthetics perpetually until release and then-some.
On the programming side, there is a lot left to do. Reason being, we weren’t going to do a ton of development without a stable release of 1.9 ready. Fortunately, 1.9 comes out this Thursday! We will now be able to finish the rest of the enemies, bosses, items and interactive map elements with confidence on a finalized map with an official release. Jon has been working hard to get everything that was already established ready, namely the giant player tracker system he created. We’re looking forward to plowing ahead and getting this released as soon as possible!
ALL BY YOURSELVES?
Not exactly! We’ve been very lucky to have some really awesome contributions from a very talented pool of volunteers (when they’ve been able to find time). Thank you to everyone who has dedicated input, energy, time and enthusiasm in any capacity to this project so far: