Release Date: Q2 2006
Alicia Ashby: It's the new Zelda game. What more needs to be said?
Well, okay, a little. Twilight Princess wowed audience when its trailer debuted at E3 2003, promising a shift away from the bright, cartoony graphics of Wind Waker in favor of a look that seemed downright inspired by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. Fanboys everywhere wept tears of joy as they saw Link returned to his badass adult form from the N64 days, and the promises of horseriding and sword-swinging action in the trailer were simply amazing. This game has been plagued by delays, but that only makes us want it more, especially since rumors of special Revolution features have begun swirling after the latest push-back.
Bill Lange: Hey Nintendo: please attempt to meet a release date when you promise one, would you? I've been aching to get my paws around Link's new adventure since it was announced, and the delay has sent me spiraling into withdrawal. Combat on horses? Were-Link transformations? Insanely gorgeous graphics? Link as a cowboy? Watch out, next-gen, because the current crop still has plenty of life left.
Hugh McHarg: While there are plenty of excellent reasons to keep my GameCube around, Wind Waker is what helped it earn a few inches of shelf in the first place. It remains one of the most engagingly conceived and executed titles on any console of the GameCube-Xbox-PS2 generation. Twilight Princess' visual style is less aggressively distinctive than Wind Waker's, but it looks every bit as atmospheric and enthralling as Link's adventure aboard the King of Red Lions. Even if the horseback fighting sequences and werewolfishness were to turn out to be wild dreams, the opportunity to meet a new crew of clever bosses and charming Hyruleans would be enough to keep Twilight Princess atop the 'Cube's most-anticipated list, no matter how long it takes to get here.
Brian "Katarani" Porbansky: It'll certainly be interesting to see if it's a death-throe attempt for the GCN like Majora's Mask was for the N64, or if it will be a phenomenal healthy system title like Link to the Past for the SNES. Here we have another of Nintendo's infuriating executive decisions - obviously not happy with the quality of Twilight Princess, the company has opted to sit on it and perfect it like Ocarina of Time, as opposed to rushing out what seems to be a half-finished and less-than-perfect Zelda title like Wind Waker. The hype is going to swell over this one, as it did with Ocarina of Time, but this is undeniably the LoZ game that every fan has been screaming, thrashing, and begging for since the preliminary shots. What I am interested in, in particular, is its release. It's slated to come out in the summer, right on the edge of the cliff that is the Nintendo Revolution's launch. Is Nintendo going to release it for the GameCube, much like they sent out Majora's Mask – leaving it on a floundering system to fend for itself while the new hardware takes center stage – or are they going to launch it for the Revolution, giving it a chance to show what can be done with the system much like we haven't seen from the series since A Link to the Past? Only time will tell, obviously.
Justin Raymond: After even Nintendo admitted Wind Waker was a little rushed to market, I knew they must have something really good cooking for Twilight Princess. When the new footage was released of Link as a wolf, any worries were alleviated. This is not going to be another rehash with fancy cel-shaded graphics. This is going to be the Zelda masterpiece we've been waiting for.
Thomas Wilde: Miyamoto pretty much had me on board with Twilight Princess at E3 2004, when he came out on stage during Nintendo's press conference waving a sword and grinning like a fool. While there weren't any problems at all with Wind Waker's gameplay – aside from the occasional maddening sidequest that would only reward you with a lousy Piece of Heart – the graphics were an acquired taste at best. Twilight Princess just needs to match the traditionally addictive Zelda gameplay with a new visual style to be one of the best games of 2006, and to be a fitting send-off for the underrated GameCube.
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