It’s 2016, and Zelda Wii U still hasn’t been given a definite release date. For the time being, here is a convenient summary of everything Nintendo has seen fit to tell us for sure about the game, and a few things we’re still trying to fill in.
Link is the main character. To date, there have been two Zelda titles that haven’t featured him as the hero, and those were CD-i games (i.e. they don’t count). The Links in Tri-Force Heroes are debatable, but they’re close enough.
Open world. This is one of, if not the primary goal in Zelda Wii U’s development. The brief demo (below) shows how exploration and goal-setting is a central concept behind the gameplay.
Nintendo wants this game to be not just a single player experience. This by no means indicates true multiplayer, and it was also stated that the development team is taking inspiration from Hyrule Warriors. Remember how in Adventure Mode you could find and help other players’ “Network Links?” In all likelihood, this game will utilize a similar concept.
The Wolf Link Amiibo for Twilight Princess HD will carry some kind of data over to Zelda Wii U. What role it will play exactly has not been explained.
Those are the known facts. Not much to go on, is there? Nintendo seems utterly terrified that if fans know anything about the game, they’ll all decide not to buy it or something. One question yet to be answered is where in the timeline Zelda Wii U fits. Answering that one, or even taking a guess, will be impossible without having the game’s full story.
What about the art style? There hasn’t been one single “realistic”-looking Zelda title (aside from spinoff Hyrule Warriors) since Twilight Princess, despite fans clamoring for it. The gameplay trailer we were given also suggests another cel-shaded iteration. While that may have been purely for demo purposes, the idea of making one art style for a demo and another for the release is silly. Bottom line: don’t expect a realistic Zelda anytime soon.
Playing as a female Link. This was brought on by Link’s look in the trailer and re-ignited by Hyrule Warriors Legends’ Linkle character. There is absolutely no factual statement from any representative of Zelda Wii U that gender choice will or will not be an option. Period.
To summarize, what we know for sure is that Zelda Wii U will star Link in an open-world experience that can utilize data from TPHD with some degree of connectivity with other players. Very broad and very vague. But I’m confident that Nintendo will definitely deliver on their goal to make this the biggest Zelda game ever, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.