More often than not, the Legend of Zelda series is properly represented on Nintendo consoles. That is certainly the case with the Switch, having more than 10 games in the franchise that you can play on it thanks to the Switch Online service. That being said, there is one specific title that would be a golden opportunity for the company to visit again, and we believe it to be a misstep that it’s not already there. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords would be great to have on the Nintendo Switch.
When it was originally released, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure was a game that was built on the great concept of a multiplayer Zelda game, but failed in its execution. To get the “full” experience, you had to play with four people. To do this, you needed to have your copy of the game, a GameCube, four Game Boy Advances, and four GameCube to Game Boy Advance link cables. This was hundreds of dollars worth of equipment, as well as needing three others who owned the game and wanted to play. Needless to say, this was incredibly difficult to all come together in the early 2000s.
To give Nintendo a smidgen of credit, they did eventually re-release a version of the original GBA Four Swords game on the Nintendo DS. The Anniversary edition included a single-player mode so you weren’t required to have multiple people to experience it, and added local wireless play, although online was never added. Of course, being Nintendo, the company decided only to have the game available on the digital eShop for two limited times. Outside of that, the game was never available for sale or download.
We could sit here and talk about Nintendo’s odd business decisions all day, but let’s explore how perfect of a platform the Switch is for this game. When the console was revealed, Nintendo’s primary marketing push centered around how it could do a little bit of everything anywhere. They’ve lessened up on the joy-con love since then with all the drift issues, but what style of game lends itself to that simple, small controller better than a 2D Zelda?
From Press Space to Jump:
Do I have to play Breath of the Wild? What you need to know
So, how would Nintendo bring back The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords? The easiest way would be to bring that original Game Boy Advance title to the new Nintendo Switch Online library. If you have friends to play with, that infrastructure is set up to be the perfect way to experience that game the way it was initially intended. That all said, the true dream is a new original game and re-release of the Anniversary edition.
How could a new Four Swords game be handled? While we would love to see Toon Link make a comeback, we also enjoyed the “toy” Link aesthetic from the Link’s Awakening remake too much to let him go. With that in mind, we also want to bring back Grezzo to focus on this new title fully. Their remakes in the Zelda series have been frankly amazing, including the DSi re-release that was mentioned above. We would say the Legend of Zelda series is in a spot where there is no need for a full-on remake as they did for Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask currently, so we think it would be a great opportunity for them to show their creativity with a new Four Swords. They also assisted in developing the three-player co-op Triforce Heroes. That game wasn’t amazing, but we would be in favor of them giving co-op Zelda another try. While Eiji Aonuma is focused on 3D Zelda, let Grezzo focus on making new 2D games with input from him.
While the Zelda series is well-represented on the Switch, the lack of new 2D adventures is a bit disappointing. We got the Link’s Awakening remake, which is great, but with no full-on handheld console like the 3DS being present, it would appear Nintendo has ditched the idea of making something new in the 2D Zelda style. The last original game to fit this description was A Link Between Worlds in 2013. Of course, a big cause of that is the massive success of Breath of the Wild and the longer-than-expected development of Tears of the Kingdom, but it’s still disappointing to see no push in the 2D style anymore.
The Legend of Zelda series is known for implementing new ideas in almost every entry, so we think some brainstorming would need to be had to get the best game possible. Maybe, instead of having four Links, they could bring about a new cooperative idea that lets players play as four different characters. Fans are heavily pushing for more playable Zelda, so throw her in the party alongside two others and let them all have their unique abilities to get you through various trials. Link can be the swordsman, Zelda would be an archer, and you can develop more ideas for the others. Solo players might be put off by this idea, which is why a character-swapping mechanic would be the best idea. Something that lets you switch on the fly to account for whatever challenge is in front of you.
Regardless of how it was done, we think co-op Zelda has more potential than ever with the Nintendo Switch. The fact that Nintendo has completely ignored this area without at least some experimentation is a missed opportunity for them to revisit and reinvent ideas that might have been a little undercooked before and work on perfecting them with better ideas and technology.