Hot on the heels of the various Mario announcements, Nintendo has announced Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. And already, the hype is exploding around the internet. My initial thoughts were skeptical but I feel good about this game. I know there are plenty of people hoping for something like this and it makes sense for this part of the series.
Roots of the Dynasty Warriors Series
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a hack-and-slash title, drawing from the roots of the Dynasty Warriors series. In the core Dynasty Warriors games, you tend to play a famous samurai from the Sengoku Era of Japanese History. But there have been tons of spinoffs where the idea works: Gundam, Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest, all franchises where you’ve essentially got some form of a legendary hero taking on entire armies almost single-handedly.
So why would this work for Breath of the Wild specifically? Breath of the Wild takes place about a century after the ‘war to end all wars’ in the Zelda universe. The forces of evil decided that they were no longer kidding around and Calamity Ganon decided to drop the heavy end of the hammer on Hyrule. There were legendary heroes fighting the forces of evil. It was epic and we saw almost none of it.
We got second-hand accounts of the war from various pieces of lore and rumor picked up in-game. We heard about these other Champions but didn’t get to learn much firsthand. It is known to be the most significant war to ever happen in Zelda with all these people and events. Except, we don’t get to see it.
As good of a game as Breath of the Wild is, people felt cheated by this. They wanted to experience the big battle between good and evil. They wanted to meet all these characters, befriend them and feel the tragedy when they fall in battle. The Zelda formula is a the big, expanded game like Breath of the Wild. Zelda is all about exploring. While you’re battling evil and thwarting villains, it isn’t really in an army setting. It’s an adventure, not a war.
Prequel to Breath of the Wild
A Dynasty Warriors-style game sets up works perfectly for a prequel. With this, not only can you play as Link and see what he is doing in this war, but you can also play as the other Champions and see their contributions. Hack and Slash games aren’t about exploration. They don’t have that baggage tied to them. They’re all about kicking as much butt as possible.
Eiji Aonuma’s Zelda team has been working very closely with Omega Force (Hyrule Warriors) in order to ensure this game fits alongside the Breath of the Wild lore. And from what we’ve been shown thus far, it looks good.
While this isn’t what I was hoping the big holiday release would be, I’m definitely curious and am looking forward to the update on September 26. I know that I’m not the only one.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a game developed by Koei Tecmo and published by Nintendo, coming out November 20, 2020.