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The Legend of Zelda: one of the most successful video game sagas in history

Facing the 35th anniversary of this iconic franchise, we decided to review the past, present and future of Link and company .

Still from the video game 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild'

This is the first game in chronological order in the series, which will include much more precise controls and a renewed appearance. Photo: YT-Nintendo

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: The Legend of Zelda: claves del éxito de una de las sagas de videojuegos más exitosas de la historia

This year is the 35th anniversary of the creation of  Zelda. It is a saga that, year after year and delivery after delivery, managed to change the video game industry, to the point where it constantly seems to be revolutionizing this entertainment sector, with unique mechanics and compelling stories.

To celebrate, Nintendo announced that The Legend Zelda Skyward Sword HD will come to the Nintendo Switch through a remaster. From Extra Life they indicate that it is the first game in chronological order in the saga, which will include much more precise controls and a renewed appearance while maintaining the essence that made the franchise so popular.

Precisely, one of the strongest points that explain why The Legend of Zelda is one of the most important titles in all of history is this essence. As it is one of the company's most iconic brands, Nintendo knows that they must take care of even the smallest detail so as not to lose their fans ... something they have always achieved and will surely continue to achieve. Let's see why.

The secret of Zelda's success

The first thing to say is that each Zelda installment is one of a kind. No two games will be the same, even if the mechanics are similar. This makes the games feel non-repetitive at all, but not experimental enough to drastically modify the "soul" of the game.

Precisely, since its first installment in 1986, we met a hero, known as Link, who would undertake a dangerous journey through a fantastic world. There he had to recover fragments of the Triforce in order to rescue Princess Zelda.

By implementing RPG action in a medieval world, a result was achieved that would later be the inspiration for many video games. Basically, Zelda generated the legacy of exploration and adventure, where each sector could have a secret to discover, while the story also manages to trap, being immersed in a halo of mystery and bravery.

Each game generated a challenge for users, as they had to enter unique dungeons, with powerful enemies, which generated epic and very varied battles. At the same time, the adventure and exploration factor is one of the keys to each of its video games, since players who dare to investigate each corner of the world are always rewarded.

All this results in the generation of a unique harmony between trials, challenges and enemies, in addition to an exciting plot and an incredible world to discover, which manages to convey unique sensations. Each player is free to live his own adventure and knows that there will always be a discovery that will be waiting for him, which, when found, is a personal achievement.

Furthermore, its own basic premise is based on what is known as the "hero's journey." It is a narrative structure, used in novels, series and films, where the protagonist goes through different stages of discovering a world with thousands of possibilities. Precisely, although the hero will be represented by Link, he will be embodied by us, who will live through him all the emotions of this call to adventure.

Also read: The most important news of Nintendo Direct 2021 (part 2)

To a greater or lesser extent, almost all Zelda games enjoy a relatively open world, where curiosity, courage, and cunning are the pillars on which the entire saga is built. This experience, at the time, managed to be completely revolutionary, to the point where its first installment managed to sell more than a million copies,  which was madness for its time.

However, as we have seen, it did not end there. On the contrary: they found an essence that they kept, although reinventing themselves to adapt to new generations of players. That is to say, at no time did the saga stagnate on a console, but instead it managed to evolve with different titles, especially when jumping from 2D to 3D environments on the Nintendo 64, as happened with Ocarina of Time, perhaps one of the most popular games in history.

The last of the games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, released in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch, became a true masterpiece and showed that the saga still has a lot of potential to squeeze. Obviously, respecting the foundations that made it great, but also adding enough mechanics to innovate game by game.

This can be explained by the fact that it became the best-selling game in the franchise, with some 21.45 million copies sold. Perhaps that is why, 35 years later and with about 18 games in its entire saga, Zelda continues to be one of the undisputed leaders of the video game industry, something that it will hope to continue maintaining by following the same formula that made it so successful.