Every Legend of Zelda fan has at least one game in the series they’d like to see made available on the Switch. While many were expecting Wind Waker HD to be the next game in the series to receive a Switch version, Nintendo surprised fans with an announcement that an HD remake of Link’s Awakening, originally released in 1993 for Game Boy, and later for Game Boy Color, was currently being developed.
Most impressive is the fact that the Japanese company is opting out from releasing a 1:1 port and has been quietly remaking the entire game from the ground up with new 3D assets. And although a reveal trailer provided us with a lot of information, there are still some burning questions that haven’t been addressed.
So we’re here to cover everything you need to know about the upcoming Link’s Awakening remake, including story and gameplay details, as well as popular theories circulating online. We’ll be updating this story in the future with new information, so make sure to check back.
Link’s Awakening Release Date
A remake of Link’s Awakening was revealed during a February 2019 Nintendo Direct where a trailer was shown and the game was given a ‘2019’ release window.
While Nintendo hasn’t provided any further details since then, taking a look at the company’s current release schedule for the rest of the year leads us to believe that Link’s Awakening will be a Holiday 2019 title and launch sometime between November and December.
The game will be available digitally via the Nintendo eShop but will also be available for purchase physically on cartridge via retailers.
Link’s Awakening Story
Since the Switch version of Link’s Awakening features some major changes from a graphical standpoint, we may see some minor story beats be reworked as well. However, we’re not expecting the remake to stray too far from the original’s story and will probably serve more as a retelling. That being said, let’s briefly go over the plot of Link’s Awakening for anyone who’s unfamiliar or just needs a refresher.
The game takes place after the events of A Link to the Past and sees series’ protagonist Link traveling by sea when a storm leaves him shipwrecked on Koholint Island, an isolated landmass located beyond the kingdom of Hyrule. After washing ashore, Link realizes he’s stranded on the island and will have to find a way to escape.
He soon learns that in order to leave, he’ll have to wake Koholint’s guardian, the magical Wind Fish, who’s currently resting inside a giant egg on the island’s peak. To do so, Link is tasked with finding the eight “Instruments of the Sirens”, which have the ability to awaken the Wind Fish. This quest leads him to explore a series of dungeons that reveal more about the Island and the Wind Fish’s mysterious origins as well as Link’s past.
Link’s Awakening is unique in that it is one of the few Zelda games not set in Hyrule and doesn’t feature Princess Zelda or the Triforce. We’re hoping Nintendo takes this remake as an opportunity to present the game’s interesting story in a new light, possibly adding cutscenes that can provide some more context.
Link’s Awakening Gameplay – What Could Be Changed?
The Switch remake will play similarly to the original with a few adjustments; for example, it includes a shift from the Game Boy’s 2D graphics and square ratio to a 3D perspective presented in widescreen. As a result, some parts of dungeons won’t completely fill the screen since certain puzzles and bossfights weren’t built with a larger screen ratio in mind. In addition, the game has adopted a new visual style that gives characters and environments a toy-like, plasticine appearance.
While a majority of the game is played in 3D, Link’s Awakening will feature 2D side-scrolling sections that serve as a callback to the original. Additionally, the Game Boy version included a variety of enemies from the Super Mario games, such as Goombas and Chain Chomps, which Nintendo has decided to retain for the remake.
Link’s Awakening is presented as an open world game, with dungeons scattered throughout the island containing puzzle sections and boss encounters. Unlike other top-down Zelda games, Link has the ability to jump over obstacles and onto platforms. Lastly, Nintendo has added tilt-shift camera controls which gives objects and characters a further sense of depth than was possible with the original 2D game.
The Final Word
Although Nintendo is no stranger to rereleasing or remaking games, fans were caught off guard by the announcement of Link’s Awakening being remade for Switch.
Upgrading a retro game for a modern console is no easy task, especially for a title that means so much to a lot of fans. However, Nintendo has shown how much thought and careful consideration has gone into this remake and we’re excited to see the final product.
If you’re excited for Link’s Awakening and own or are planning on picking up a Switch, make sure to check out our list for the Best Upcoming Switch Games to Play in 2019.