Thanks to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the world of Hyrule has never felt bigger. Yet, some players also felt that it was emptier too. Breath of the Wild was a game that focused on Link’s journey, and meeting other characters was only a small part of that. Zelda fans that wanted more character interactions or even the chance to play as other characters were left disappointed. But what if there were a way to interact with the world of Hyrule we love so dearly, while also fulfilling the fantasies of playing as a variety of Zelda characters and taking that journey on with others? What if the Legend of Zelda series could find success with the MMO genre?
(For the last part in this “what if” series, check out Super Mario as a roguelike.)
Massively multiplayer Hyrule
After a short but provocative opening CG cutscene that brings together characters and villains from across the entire Zelda series, this MMO would let you create your very own inhabitant of Hyrule. Character creation is an important part of the MMO experience, and it could be even more meaningful in a Zelda setting with fan-favorite races such as Gorons, Rito, Gerudo, and Zora all customizable options. Each race could have strengths and benefits befitting their characteristics. Gorons would specialize in strength, while Zora would be the fastest swimmers and so on.
To create the stats and build you strive for, you would need to consider both the race you select and how that choice benefits your chosen class. A Zora archer could be both agile and lethal around water, whereas a Goron mage would seem a little less effective than a Goron tank. You could mix and match races and classes to find your ideal build.
A Zelda MMO could provide context for this scenario with a story that brings together the disparate Zelda stories via multiverse shenanigans. For this hypothetical story, Ganondorf is tired of losing to Link and Zelda by his lonesome. In his desperation for a solution, he attempts to break the dimensional barrier and join forces with Ganondorfs from across time and space. By doing so, the characters and worlds of the entire series could collide, and the magnitude of this threat would need the biggest army of heroes that Hyrule has ever seen. This is where the players of this Zelda MMO come in. With mainstays like Zelda, Impa, and more providing story and acting as quest givers, this could be the tale of a grand battle on a scale the series has never seen before.
Quests could involve familiar gameplay such as solving puzzles, taking on enemy encampments, and collecting specific items for NPCs. However, the added twist of playing with a party of friends would put a fresh spin on these moments. Puzzles could scale depending on your party size, such that a specific number of players would be needed to tip a giant scale to open a secret door. Elsewhere, mini-bosses would reveal new attacks when a certain threshold of players in the area has been met.
MMOs are associated with live-service gameplay, and this is another wrinkle to consider. Seasonal events could take advantage of Zelda’s entire lineage by introducing time-limited experiences like the blood moon rising. The moon from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask could crash into Hyrule and alter the map unless a collective condition is met by all players, and there could be an event involving players time-traveling between two periods. Raids could involve elaborate dungeons where teams of players are pitted against villains like Ghirahim, Ganon, or dungeon bosses like Gohma and Vaati.
Timeline theorists that have longed to see connections and cohesion would be pleased, along with fans that have always wanted to play as the various races of the Zelda universe. In the context of a Zelda MMO, long-time fans could role-play their hearts out like never before, and Nintendo could provide an experience unlike anything else on its platform.
What would your raid team be against Ganon?