Link Between Worlds: 21 Years in the Making


A sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past comes out in about a week, and I’m having a hard time getting excited about it.

A Link Between Worlds is set to hit the streets on Nov. 22 on the Nintendo 3DS. In theory, I should be stoked for any new Zelda release, let alone a sequel to the game that I consider to be the best in the entire series. But I’m not there yet. I get the feeling that come next week, I’ll have the game in my hands and I’ll be enjoying it, but…

Here’s the problem: A Link to the Past came out in 1992 in the U.S. I was 7 years old then. Now we have a sequel in our hands 21 years later. That’s an entire generation. I’d imagine there will be a depressingly high percentage of kids with a 3DS who have never heard of the original game, let alone actually played it. How can you build any momentum with a colossal time skip like that? Are we just banking on the “Zelda” name at this point, and the nostalgia factor for those in the audience old enough to have enjoyed Link Between Worlds’ predecessor?

I’m sure this shouldn’t bother me, but it does anyway. Consider the sad story of Duke Nukem Forever. Was DNF doomed to fail from the start? Probably — a 15-year gap in between titles will do that for you. It certainly didn’t help that Forever was a god-awful game in its own right, strapped down with outdated mechanics and tired humor.

Duke Nukem Forever is in nowhere near the same class as Link Between Worlds. I’m not making some kind of crazy analogy here. But I think we’re too far removed from Link to the Past for me to assign any meaning to its sequel — it’s been so long that this is a possibility I’d essentially given up on. Will that change once I have the game in my hands and can make Link as flat as a pancake? I certainly think it will, but the fact that I even have to question the successor of one of my all-time favorites is still a little odd, isn’t it?

4 thoughts on “Link Between Worlds: 21 Years in the Making

  1. I feel that way about Kingdom Hearts 3. The gap isn’t as long as between it and KH2, but the storyline is supposed to be direct, and who still cares at this point? lol

    1. I’ll admit, I’m still interested in Kingdom Hearts 3 despite the long layoff. And hell, considering the development time, it could still be a 20-year gap by the time KH3 actually comes out. lol

  2. Great article, but you still plan on buying the game? In that case, it seems then that Nintendo has reached its target audience (as you point out) – older players who enjoyed Link to the Past and who are curious to return to that universe, even if turns out to be no fun at all. While I can see recommending this game to my DS-wielding, 10 y.o. niece, I can’t imagine she’d even bat an eyelash in curiosity. And, again as you say, I can’t imagine that the word “Zelda” would mean much of anything to any pre-teen/teen gamer anywhere these days.

    1. I suppose that’s true. I guess the big question here is whether that marketing strategy can pay off — are there enough nostalgic gamers in their 20s and 30s willing to give this a shot on a relatively new system? Nintendo probably knows better than I do.

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