In late 2020, Nintendo finally announced a huge wave of activity for Mario's 35th birthday - and now we're hoping that The Legend Of Zelda franchise could receive similar treatment when its 35th anniversary rolls around in 2021.
It's hard to undersell just how massive this year's Mario range is: as well as finally delivering long-sought game collections like Mario 3D All-Stars on Switch, Nintendo also launched physical products like Super Mario Bros: Game And Watch and Mario Kart Live. It's a great time to be a Mario fan, basically.
But this also raises questions of another iconic Nintendo IP; Zelda. With the 35th anniversary occurring next year for the series, one can’t help but wonder what could be occurring for the Switch with regards to past Zelda releases...
UPDATE: Nintendo registers trademark for The Phantom Hourglass
The trademark does not, however, give any indication as to what Nintendo's future plans are, although if it involves The Phantom Hourglass then we'd perhaps predict the Japanese company may launch a The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Collection.
With The Phantom Hourglass as a sequel to Wind Waker, this collection could include The Wind Waker, The Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.
However, this is Nintendo. It's possible they could have something completely different in store...
Zelda Master Sword Collection
When it comes to anniversaries, Nintendo bosses have been known to keep the cards close to their chests. Especially in the smaller details, with Mario 3D All-Stars having a limited 6-month availability until March, which is supposedly when the anniversary will conclude - that has been kept quite hush.
But that raises the question of Zelda. February 21st 1986 was the date of the first Zelda game launching back on the NES, which would make the release of Mario 3D World on the Switch all the more curious.
That game, with added content called ‘Bowser’s Fury’, launches on February 12th, just nine days before the actual 35th anniversary of Zelda. Imagine an event similar to the Mario Direct from September 2020, perhaps on Thursday, February the 18th, where re-releases of past Zelda games are announced, alongside merchandise and of course, Animal Crossing furniture.
In the grand scheme of things, it makes sense. Skyward Sword was announced as a Wii U Virtual Console release at the ‘Zelda 30th Anniversary Direct’, and that game is already rumoured to be coming to the Switch.
And so, we're holding out hope that we'll see a 'Zelda 35th Anniversary Direct' early next year, where could see Link and Zelda getting the same special treatment that Mario is receiving right now.
Wind Waker on Switch
People have been clamouring for more Zelda releases to appear on the Switch. Excluding the incoming Hyrule Warriors game, there are just five games from the Zelda series currently on the Switch system:
- Zelda I
- Zelda II: Adventure of Link
- Zelda: Link to the Past
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Zelda: Links Awakening Remake
Imagine a time where a Zelda-based ‘3D All-Stars’ appears in February 2021, compiling the N64 games and Wind Waker. Three games, each in their different gameplay styles, but called ‘Zelda: 3D Master Sword Edition’ to better reflect the series.
Whatever Nintendo wants to call it, a Switch bundle that brings together Wind Waker, Ocarina Of Time and Majora's Mask would surely fly off the shelves and please a lot of fans.
The Gamecube had something similar back in 2003, but it wasn’t to celebrate an anniversary, merely as a promotional release that had four different games from the series.
Yet that was also a limited release; it couldn’t be bought on its own, rather through points and even as a pre-order for Wind Waker in some territories.
Which brings me to think that a fabled ‘Master Sword Collection’ could also release at the end of February 2021, with another six month limited release, and it ends with Breath of the Wild 2 releasing in November next year.
The whole ‘Mario 35th Anniversary’ has, for me, said more about Nintendo's plans for other anniversaries coming very soon. The date of 3D World is very suspect to me, especially with the first Zelda’s original release being so close to that.
It’s exciting times to be a Nintendo fan, and as far as I’m concerned, the Zelda hype has only accelerated after the ‘3D All-Stars’ announcement. Watch this space, folks...
READ MORE: Will we see more Gamecube games on Switch?
For more articles like this, take a look at our Retro page.