Exploring the Legend – Remembering Skyward Sword’s Launch

So far for this Zelda series of posts, I’ve mostly written about Skyward Sword. I like that. And there is no better day to remember the Wii’s swan song than the release of its HD remaster.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword came out nearly a decade ago on November 20, 2011. I remember deciding to pre-order the collector’s edition maybe a few weeks before release. I literally counted up my change and strolled into the GameStop in the mall and pre-ordered it. That would never happen today. 

November 20 was a Sunday. A major Zelda release coming out on a Sunday – what? My friend and I weren’t allowed to skip church to go pick up the game and play all day. So after service let out at 12:30, we blitzed over to the mall and picked up out shiny gold boxes. We went back to his house and I watched him play the opening couple hours of the game. Just sat and watched, my own copy in my hands. I’m a sucker for prequels and was absorbed by the opening title sequence. Then I went home and played it for myself. I stood up and swung that gold Wii remote around the entire time I played the game.

Leading into the launch, Nintendo went all out celebrating the franchise’s 25th anniversary. The published Hyrule Historia with Dark Horse, which had concept art, design documents, and the highly requested timeline. This was (and still is) the kind of celebration and fan-service I love to see from Nintendo, whether or not you actually agree with the timeline’s existence. It makes me wish there was more being done for the 35th anniversary this year.

I also cannot forget that the Zelda orchestra debuted that year on a CD with the special edition. I still listen to it to this day; the rendition of Gerudo Valley is perfect

Skyward Sword’s impact really can’t be forgotten. It paved the way for what would become Breath of the Wild. On the surface, it introduced stamina and (very limited) climbing. There were upgradable items and crafting. It introduced and embraced RPG mechanics that translate beautifully to open-world action/adventure games. Even the post-launch negativity helped influence Breath of the Wild by pushing Nintendo toward open, systems-based gameplay that would fuel discovery and creativity. And who can deny the callbacks to Skyward Sword in the latest reveal of the sequel to Breath of the Wild.

I am eager to get my hands on Skyward Sword HD today. What a special game that I surely will never forget.