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Topics - Jotari

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What if Zelda were an RPG is a question many people have asked since Super Mario RPG came out. Or maybe even earlier with Zelda II. RPG elements are things the series has played with here and there but a full on RPG is not something Nintendo has ever tried. There have been a few fan games with the idea, but none of the ones I've come across have felt like they're actually Zelda. More like Final Fantasy with a coat of Zelda paint. So about ten years ago I set out to make a Zelda RPG of my own. Ten years ago seems like a long time, but I haven't exactly been working on it continually all that time, more bursts of motivation followed by long periods of hiatus. And now I'm pretty much done. I do still need some help however, particularly in the art department. My talents do not lend themselves to artistic design. I can do a barely capable job of editing existing images and sprites, but creating something from scratch that looks good is pretty much impossible. So most of the assets are preexisting stuff. But if I'm asking you for help I should sell you on the game first.

So this game is filled to the brim with references to the series. I am a major Zelda fan and the whole idea was to express Zelda in an RPG medium. So there are references everywhere. I think probably the best way to illustrate is with the overall map.

-The overall shape of Hyrule is based on the first game on in the series, with a coast to the south and the east and Death Mountain to the North. I also have the peninsula located in the east (and yes, you can play Money Making Game there).

-From Ocarina of Time we have the Lost Woods being located in the south east with the Gerudo Desert being to the west and Lake Hylia being situated to the south of that. Not all locations are taken directly from Hyrule, as there is a swamp south of the Lost Woods based off of the Southern Swamp from Majora's Mask.

-Castle Town is in the centre like in Twilight Princess. Lon Lon Ranch is North of though that's more for convenience of layout as there are no ranches to the north in any of the games.

-Kakariko Village is situated in the North West like in A Link to the Past and is designed almost tile for tile after it's appearance there. North of it is the forest where you obtain the Master Sword. In A Link to the Past it's called the Lost Woods, but since I already have a Lost Woods I've lifted a name from Oracle of Ages and called this area the Forest of Time.

-In the east there's the Village of the Blue Maiden from Four Swords Adventures. Near the coast and the Eastern Temple just like in that game.

-At the Foot of Death Mountain is the Mountain Town of Darunia, a name lifted from Zelda II

-The last settlement is the Harbour Town of Mido, taken from Zelda II. Though it's just where it is to have a port town, not much is taken from the actual geography of Zelda II (well except being able to fight a Goriya and get a trophy like at the start of Zelda II).

-In the West of Hyrule we have Hytopia Fortress, taken from the Fortress in Tri Force Heroes. This game was actually released after I'd started working on the title (as was Breath of the Wild, which I'm happy to say has a fairly similar world layout to what I went with, only much, much, bigger). This lies in the Drab Lands on the border with the Gerudo Desert. Inside the Gerudo Desert there are various locations and dungeons from across the series, like the River of Sand, Arbiter's Grounds, Zuna Pyramid and Spirit Temple.

-Things don't stop at the Gerudo Desert and Hyrule though. You get to explore the Great Sea as well and also visit parts of Holodrum and Labrynna.

-I actually like Holodrum more than Labrynna, but due to the way I wanted the geography to be, I ended up using a lot more of Labrynna than Holodrum.

Of course the game isn't just a Hyrule exploration simulator. There's an actual plot with dungeons and stuff. The list of dungeons you'll need to face are as follows.

-Wooded Temple

-Deku Palace

-Eastern Temple

-Forest Temple

-Tower of Hera

-Dark Hyrule Castle

-Temple of Light

-Dark World

-Eldin Volcano

-Goron Mines

-Twilight Palace

-Arbiter's Grounds

-Desert Colossus

-Shadow Temple

-King's Tomb

-Water Temple

-Black Tower

-Zuna Pyramid

-Auros Ruins (ice temple)

-Ghost Ship

-Sky Palace

-Tarm Tower

-Ganon's Castle

In some dungeons you can find equipment which, when equipped to Link, let you do things in the overworld like cross gaps or destroy obstacles. So the flow of a dungeon can be pretty similar to actual Zelda games. The first thirteen have linear order of completion, but once you hit the Great Sea you have more freedom to tackle dungeons in any order. So, as you can see, there's a lot involved. According to my Steam Library I've spent 1,300 working on the game. Oh yeah, I guess I should mention it runs on RPG Maker XP, which was kind of dated even when I started, but it's always worked fine for me.

(the Spirit Temple is probably the dungeon I'm most proud of, it has the whole mirrors and light puzzle which took ages to implement).

As for the plot, well it's not War and Peace or anything. It's mostly elements ripped from Zelda plot lines all tossed together. Byrne from Spirit Tracks plays an inordinately large role because that game was still pretty new when I first started and I thought he was pretty cool. Onox, Veran, Ganondorf and Twinrova show up as well (sorry Vaati fans, he's only an optional super boss). There's also a lengthy portion of the game set in the past which features Demise and Ghirahim along with some other enemies from the series.

As for gameplay, like I said, I didn't want it to just be Final Fantasy with a Zelda aesthetic, so I made sure the skills and abilities derived from the Zelda series. All the spells from Zelda II are featured, as well as the spells from Ocarina of Time and the Sheikah Slate and Champion abilities from Breath of the Wild (well, the practical ones, so, no camera).

Of course I can just say the skills come from those games, but you'll need some examples of how they actually function and bring Zelda's puzzle solving action into the gameplay. One example is that some enemies are marked as flying, meaning they can easily avoid attacks. To hit such enemies you can use a bow, hook shot, boomerang or some other long range weapon. You could also use Zelda II's jump spell to give the Jump status to a character letting them hit flying enemies with all attacks. Equipment like the Hover Boots or Roc's Feather grant the jump status to your characters automatically. Skills like the Up Thrust from Zelda II also deal more damage to flying enemies.

Another example is the armoured state that some enemies have, which heavily reduce the damage they receive. You can get around this by hitting them with a blunt weapon like a Hammer, using the Rock Breaker skill from The Minish Cap or by using bombs.

There are more ways in which Zelda abilities and mechanics are translated, but I'll let you figure them out for yourselves. Last thing to mention is the playable cast. There are ten main playable characters.

-Link, obviously. He's well rounded and can do pretty much anything.

-Zelda, also obvious

-Fado, a Kokiri that focuses on healing magic

-Deppi, a Deku Scrub who focuses on support abilities

-Zant, a Twilight Wolf who is fast and powerful, but can't equip a lot of armour and weapons

-Viscen, a Knight of Hyrule who focuses on skills

-Evan, a Zora who focuses on support and multi hitting attacks

-Aveil, a Gerudo who is a mixed physical/magical attacker with good speed

-Impa, a Sheikah who focuses on debilitating foes

-Darmani, a Goron who focuses on high HP and strength

-Kass, a Rito and an optional secret character

So, with all that said, I hope I've peaked your interest in my little project. The last thing to talk about is what I need from you, if you're willing to help me. Well, as I said, I can't do artwork myself. Some of the maps don't look as pretty as I'd like them to, but the only thing I really specifically feel I need is consistent artwork for the ten playable characters. As right now it's a mishmash of default RPG maker assets and official art from the series that don't match each other in styles.

If you're not an artist, then fear not, I also just generally need play testers to playthrough the game and tell me how it fairs. Specifically I want to know

-Which parts you find too easy

-Which parts you find too hard

-Which parts you find confusing about where to go or what to do next

-Odd collusion scenarios and walking around or other such glitches

-Spelling and grammar errors! I'm sure there are dozens and dozens of typos and mistakes scattered throughout the game, so do not hesitate to report anything of that nature.

-Any suggestions for ways it can be improved in general.

And that's it. As far as designing the game does I can do the remainder on my own (provided I don't lose interest again, but if I know there are actually people out there playing it I reckon my motivation will remain constant).

Here's the trailer, the download link is in the video description


If anyone is reading this having technical trouble making an account on this site like I did, then you can email me any questions or feedback at onidarkerlink@gmail.com

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