Why the N64 Majora's Mask Could Not Be Made Today As a AAA Title

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Why the N64 Majora's Mask Could Not Be Made Today As a AAA Title

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was great for the Nintendo 64, but in today's development environment, could it have made it past the drawing board as a AAA first party game?

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I dunno. The whole craze is "Open World Games" now right? Even the next Zelda game is supposed to be open world.

Majora's Mask was the closest to an open world Zelda game that you had until now. Go wherever, do whatever, get your masks and stuff at your own pace discovering things mostly in whatever order you wanted. Non-linear story. Non-linear exploration, even more so than other games.

Some aspects of it might not have made the cut, but it resembles many of the latest AAA fads. Of course, there'd be waypoints on the map pointing you to where you're supposed to go....

"Could give a shit" ...?

Yahtzee, that use of vocabulary is beneath you! You are still British, right? We still say it the correct way round, by the way.
This one's for free, but any more, and i'll get my paddle...

HE IS BRITASH MATE

It might actually be able to hook people through Achievements; infinite loops means that you could come up with some crazy complicated sequences of events to unlock a given achievement, gathering all the tools/songs needed on a couple runthroughs and then making a mad dash to get certain story things done before the reset.

I'm not sure if it would get a AAA release, but I could definitely see it being something like Papers, Please or Braid where the audience obsesses over it and it wins tons of awards, sparking a bunch of cheap rip-offs of the mechanics in larger games.

I've never played it but from what I've heard it sounds kinda like Demon's Souls in the sense that you don't achieve anything except activate shortcuts through worlds that otherwise remain unchanged (I don't know how this works with boss fights, if there are any).

Like Jordan Mechner's The Last Express?

I have to admit, "Drops in the Ocean of Futility" is a much better description of Achievements.

Thanatos2k:
Majora's Mask was the closest to an open world Zelda game that you had until now. Go wherever, do whatever, get your masks and stuff at your own pace discovering things mostly in whatever order you wanted. Non-linear story. Non-linear exploration, even more so than other games.

In some ways you're right, but in others I disagree. With MM you were beholden to the clock on the bottom, especially in the N64 version. Yes, you could do an event largely when you wanted but to do it you had to be in specific spot at a very specific time or you would miss it and have to do the cycle over again. When you factor in with some stuff missing that mark meant having to do the ENTIRE chain again because it would reset in it's entirety it's not nearly as open ended as you think it is.

The dungeon order is where it's really restrictive as you do have to do those in a specific order because the puzzles require it. you have to have the fire arrows to do Great Bay Temple for example but that requires Snowhead to be finished. Considering that the temples don't permit you to do multiples of them in one cycle and the temples reset when you reset the clock there's no real incentive to get the item, leave, and do another temple.

It might seem like I feel the need to go on the defensive every time someone, horror of horrors, accuses me of liking Nintendo now. But it's not the accusation that annoys me; it's this implied notion that you can only ever like Nintendo and support everything they do, or be one of the ignorant outsiders who don't. Come to think of it, that's the false dichotomy that blights virtually all internet debating.

Why is it everytime he says something like this, he completely misses the point of why people attack him for hating Nintendo? Or at least why I attack him. It's not so much that you don't like Nintendo Yahtzee, it's that you have the most ignorant reasons to hate on one of their games that you call criticism. It's beyond what I would call cynical when you devote a good chunk of your Mario 3D World review, yes I'm bringing this up again, to just complaining about the Miiverse functionality as if you were forced to use it. The points you made on that are completely lost by the simple fact that it's optional! And that's just one example. Don't get me started on the 5 years of badmouthing the Wii simply because you couldn't get your controller to work.

It's not that I have a problem with people like Yahtzee not liking Nintendo's products so much that I expect them to be fair and rarely I get that from Yahtzee when he reviews Nintendo's games.

I'll say this about Nintendo, despite all of the YouTube Let's Play controversy and other mistakes they've made lately, I would rather give them my money than any of the other two big names right now. (Seriously, what's this I hear about a guy getting his Sony hacked and losing $600 only for Sony to say they'll refund $150)

This article reminded me of a game that I wanted to make where your choices affected how the game plays out, but instead of accommodating the player, they subvert them, like you decide to become a scientist which triggers the potential end of the world as full hell's-open apocalypse, or you become a member of the clergy next playthrough and the potential end of the world disaster is a rogue planetoid collision, or something like that. Your actions not only affect the future, but your character's past. Make it a sort of timed visual novel sandbox to heighten the tension from "What am I doing wrong" to "what am I missing, I need to hurry." Then I remembered that I'll never make a game of that caliber because I'm too ambitious and the game would end up as another Fable 5 or Duke Nukem Forever, not for the hype, but because nothing would ever get finished.

Johnny Novgorod:
I've never played it but from what I've heard it sounds kinda like Demon's Souls in the sense that you don't achieve anything except activate shortcuts through worlds that otherwise remain unchanged (I don't know how this works with boss fights, if there are any).

Kind of true. Any shortcuts that may be activated are usually inactive when the days cycle back to the first day. However, you do get a song that lets you fly to any save point that you have activated. This is what is generally used to bypass a lot of the work the second time through an area. Of course, songs in general let you go to areas you otherwise couldn't have, as there are several that you need to do a lot of work to obtain; these let you access the dungeon area generally, which was closed off, or otherwise inaccessible.

As for bosses, if you defeat a boss, then you can warp straight back to them a stone plaque located in the dungeon's entrance. This of course makes things much easier if you are going after a specific goal that requires the boss to die after a second time through the area. Most notabley, beating the Snow Head Temple's boss and/or the Swamp Palace's boss will have a effect on the surrounding landscape outside of their respective dungeons. This will let you access events otherwise not possible to start or complete. Of course, you can always go back to boss with new gear and see how you fare as well.

You definitely have an impact on the world, but at Yatzee says, it is generally contributed to the masked form you took(which is generally a well known person of that area). Of course, this all gets erased when you turn back time, but you can always do it again if you so choose.

Make no mistake, you might be the one with the ocarina shoved in his gob but you're dancing to its tune, motherfucker.

That phrase kinda reminded me the part before the final mission in Mass Effect 2.

That futility aspect is what I like about the game, really. Because the game isn't just about futility itself, but how you face it. Every side-quest (and a few of the main ones, too) are little vignettes about how people deal with an inescapable pending doom. And every single character is unique. Well, almost every single character, a couple of the shopkeepers are sans-personality, but most of the characters you meet repeatedly are unique and fleshed out. The world of Majora's Mask felt smaller than the one in Ocarina of Time (or any of the following Zelda games that I've played), but none of those games felt as DEEP as Majora's Mask did.

What I want is a game that's just the Majora's Mask sidequests. Drop the whole "save the world" story and just make a game that focuses on all the people and what they do, and how your involvement in their actions changes the way they live their lives. That's a game I'd gladly put down money for.

Thanatos2k:

Majora's Mask was the closest to an open world Zelda game that you had until now. Go wherever, do whatever, get your masks and stuff at your own pace discovering things mostly in whatever order you wanted. Non-linear story. Non-linear exploration, even more so than other games.

I think that Windwaker has a few choice words for you, sir :P

Another example are the punishing Dead Rising games.
You really need to know what you do and execute perfectly, or there won't be no rescuing everybody you can nor fighting all the bosses... And that sucks to some extent. Maybe a time rewind mod would make it perfect?

LordTerminal:

It might seem like I feel the need to go on the defensive every time someone, horror of horrors, accuses me of liking Nintendo now. But it's not the accusation that annoys me; it's this implied notion that you can only ever like Nintendo and support everything they do, or be one of the ignorant outsiders who don't. Come to think of it, that's the false dichotomy that blights virtually all internet debating.

Why is it everytime he says something like this, he completely misses the point of why people attack him for hating Nintendo? Or at least why I attack him. It's not so much that you don't like Nintendo Yahtzee, it's that you have the most ignorant reasons to hate on one of their games that you call criticism. It's beyond what I would call cynical when you devote a good chunk of your Mario 3D World review, yes I'm bringing this up again, to just complaining about the Miiverse functionality as if you were forced to use it. The points you made on that are completely lost by the simple fact that it's optional! And that's just one example. Don't get me started on the 5 years of badmouthing the Wii simply because you couldn't get your controller to work.

It's not that I have a problem with people like Yahtzee not liking Nintendo's products so much that I expect them to be fair and rarely I get that from Yahtzee when he reviews Nintendo's games.

This. Right here. And every time it's supposed to be okay that he comes up with these kinds of bullshit criticisms, because he's a "comedian" and not a reviewer. Seriously, if he ever tried to be a serious reviewer I doubt most people could take him seriously, especially after his look at Monster Hunter.

Halla Burrica:

LordTerminal:

It might seem like I feel the need to go on the defensive every time someone, horror of horrors, accuses me of liking Nintendo now. But it's not the accusation that annoys me; it's this implied notion that you can only ever like Nintendo and support everything they do, or be one of the ignorant outsiders who don't. Come to think of it, that's the false dichotomy that blights virtually all internet debating.

Why is it everytime he says something like this, he completely misses the point of why people attack him for hating Nintendo? Or at least why I attack him. It's not so much that you don't like Nintendo Yahtzee, it's that you have the most ignorant reasons to hate on one of their games that you call criticism. It's beyond what I would call cynical when you devote a good chunk of your Mario 3D World review, yes I'm bringing this up again, to just complaining about the Miiverse functionality as if you were forced to use it. The points you made on that are completely lost by the simple fact that it's optional! And that's just one example. Don't get me started on the 5 years of badmouthing the Wii simply because you couldn't get your controller to work.

It's not that I have a problem with people like Yahtzee not liking Nintendo's products so much that I expect them to be fair and rarely I get that from Yahtzee when he reviews Nintendo's games.

This. Right here. And every time it's supposed to be okay that he comes up with these kinds of bullshit criticisms, because he's a "comedian" and not a reviewer. Seriously, if he ever tried to be a serious reviewer I doubt most people could take him seriously, especially after his look at Monster Hunter.

Or his complete disregard and utter ignorance towards the fighting game genre. The amount of irrelevant nitpicks, research failure and downright lazy manner of approaching games and evaluating them is the reason why I stopped paying attention to his videos altogether throughout the years. He occasionally brings up some good points in his written articles, but then releases one like the Smash Bros. Wii u one that make you roll your eyes out of your skull.

^loving the Nintendo-knight h8 in this so far, keep it up guys! Just remember when Steam & Mobiles with their open style platform completely overtake all of your console's market share ... that Yahtzee tried to warn them while you (Sterling included) were too busy having a Pretentious-Off.

On-Topic:
Considering its polycount & dated graphics fidelity .... we could literally remake it right now as a Cooptional-Indie project with the access to mostly free development tools we now have. ....Minus the actual Gameplay-designing skill that only Triple-A designers seemed to have back then. Even those developers today seem to have completely lost their flare in actually making stuff FUN and challenging. It's almost like they have TOO MANY options to pursue now, therefore they are guaranteed to always deliver a bland POS that greatly pleases no one

Broderick:

Johnny Novgorod:
I've never played it but from what I've heard it sounds kinda like Demon's Souls in the sense that you don't achieve anything except activate shortcuts through worlds that otherwise remain unchanged (I don't know how this works with boss fights, if there are any).

Kind of true. Any shortcuts that may be activated are usually inactive when the days cycle back to the first day. However, you do get a song that lets you fly to any save point that you have activated. This is what is generally used to bypass a lot of the work the second time through an area. Of course, songs in general let you go to areas you otherwise couldn't have, as there are several that you need to do a lot of work to obtain; these let you access the dungeon area generally, which was closed off, or otherwise inaccessible.

As for bosses, if you defeat a boss, then you can warp straight back to them a stone plaque located in the dungeon's entrance. This of course makes things much easier if you are going after a specific goal that requires the boss to die after a second time through the area. Most notabley, beating the Snow Head Temple's boss and/or the Swamp Palace's boss will have a effect on the surrounding landscape outside of their respective dungeons. This will let you access events otherwise not possible to start or complete. Of course, you can always go back to boss with new gear and see how you fare as well.

You definitely have an impact on the world, but at Yatzee says, it is generally contributed to the masked form you took(which is generally a well known person of that area). Of course, this all gets erased when you turn back time, but you can always do it again if you so choose.

I'd say what Yahtzee has been saying about it being futile is largely false overall. Sure, everything is reset after turning back time, but the player keeps any equipment, hearts, songs, and all masks they received in the meantime, which makes doing the same thing again much faster and easier. In fact, once the player has already done so once they can complete all dungeons and help everyone in a single cycle, it's just very difficult and requires making effective use of every available second but it can be done, and even if the player doesn't do that the ending shows everyone the player helped together and happy anyway. I don't even know where Yahtzee got the idea that nothing the player does matters or that the themes of the game were futility, indifference, and identity crisis from, especially the last one. The game has some pretty grim themes sure, but the people in it are definitely all trying to make the best of a really horrifying situation and get on with their lives, plenty are trying to do something but everybody but Link lacks the actual ability to do anything, and everybody else is dealing with their own pressing issues.

I like MM so much because the narrative is so many things to so many people.
Yahtzee sees an uncaring universe and struggling against it.
Others see it as a tale about loss and grieving.
Still more, you can see it as an early exploration of PTSD in gaming.

Hey look, "Games are art" was settled in the N64 era.

Ocarina of Time was sort of the prototype, while all the themes and heaviness that the game couldn't get around to before were fully explorable (OoT being just plain sad and mean to link while lighter on the introspection)

MM is also "how to make a sequel". After saving the world and timey-whimey stuff, there's no real way to make it bigger so the game brings it down to a more personal level.

See, I'm one of those weird people who couldn't get into Majora's Mask--despite owning it--because of the exact thing that Yahtzee loved. He said you could miss so much of the game, and that drove me insane. I was too terrified to do anything because I kept looking at that clock going, "What if I run out of time?" The pressure got to me and it sucked the fun out of the game for me. A few people tried to explain that you just start all over, but at the time I could not wrap my head around that. All I saw was the clock, and because of that, I kept feeling rushed.

Sniper Team 4:
See, I'm one of those weird people who couldn't get into Majora's Mask--despite owning it--because of the exact thing that Yahtzee loved. He said you could miss so much of the game, and that drove me insane. I was too terrified to do anything because I kept looking at that clock going, "What if I run out of time?" The pressure got to me and it sucked the fun out of the game for me. A few people tried to explain that you just start all over, but at the time I could not wrap my head around that. All I saw was the clock, and because of that, I kept feeling rushed.

It helps a lot with that if you've got a player's guide and if you know about the slowing Song of Time. I wouldn't say it necessarily needs a guide, but Majora's Mask is definitely one of those games in which you'll have a much much less tedious time finding and doing everything with one.

Halla Burrica:
I doubt most people could take him seriously, especially after his look at Monster Hunter.

To be fair, monster hunter Tri (wii) is NOT the best at introducing you to things, and I can REALLY understand him not liking it. It took me three tries to get into Tri before it finally clicked and I started to enjoy it.

They introduce the "free hunting/gathering" mode too early, which means you might spend too long grinding it for resources when you should be moving along with the quests instead (Happened to me), they don't give you enough weapon variety at the start (meaning you're likely to make the mistake of sticking with the sword and shield since it's the only reasonably fast weapon, and you're likely to make the HORRIBLE mistake of using a bone sword and shield which will bounce like crazy off even the Great Jaggi like happened to yatzee. ALSO made this mistake the first time), some of the beginner quests go on for a bit too long, and finally, AFTER you finally get to your first monster, immediately afterwards, you're told to capture it. Meaning you have to fight the SAME monster all over again, but this time you HAVE to make certain you don't kill it, and actually catch it, when you don't have your Shakalaka to tank/distract for you and they don't really explain capturing well enough. And they don't explain skills at all unless you get one easily skippable rare conversation with the smith.

And then I played monster hunter 4 like, a month after Tri finally clicked for me, and I went "Damn, I would have clicked with this one SO much faster."

Seriously, MH4 does a MUCH better job of getting you into the meat of the game and understanding it than 3. It's a good 4-6 Big Monster Hunts before you need to capture a monster, and they explain it better, AND you have your cat buddy to help tank for you.

So yeah. MH3 was NOT good at effectively drawing you in, and I can't blame yatzee for that, since I had issues with it too.

Kenjitsuka:
Another example are the punishing Dead Rising games.
You really need to know what you do and execute perfectly, or there won't be no rescuing everybody you can nor fighting all the bosses... And that sucks to some extent. Maybe a time rewind mod would make it perfect?

Came here to say this. Isn't this series classed as AAA?

Johnny Novgorod:
I've never played it but from what I've heard it sounds kinda like Demon's Souls in the sense that you don't achieve anything except activate shortcuts through worlds that otherwise remain unchanged (I don't know how this works with boss fights, if there are any).

Um.. if you've ever played a zelda game before... the world and dungeons you played through reset to the start, you just keep the tools which is really all you need, and each Giant you wake up remains awake, which is the point of going to dungeons and beating the boss.

The whole thing cheats out the depressing ending, by making every single side quest you did and every single dungeon you finish actually happen at the end, and you can see the outcome. It would be far more interesting if you could only see the outcome if you did it all in 1 SINGLE loop, now that would be a funny speedrun to watch, as you decide who gets to live and who dies. But it is still the darkest zelda, since many of the quests still leave lots of loose ends and unresolved problems such as one character who had his son turned to wood by the antagonist. The damage has been done and mended as well as it could have been.

The child protagonist certainly won't be done today, not when Nintendo needs to move units (and everyone feels the need to move units).

And Majora's Mask less accessibly than Dark Souls? Hah, it's just puzzles, not an entire OP game world.

aegix drakan:
So yeah. MH3 was NOT good at effectively drawing you in, and I can't blame yatzee for that, since I had issues with it too.

I can blame him for singing the praises of Dark Souls while simultaneously totally dismissing Monster Hunter, a completely more accessibly game with similar mechanics, just with a greater degree of polish. They both require perseverance, Monster Hunter just has less trash mobs.

Haru17:

aegix drakan:
So yeah. MH3 was NOT good at effectively drawing you in, and I can't blame yatzee for that, since I had issues with it too.

I can blame him for singing the praises of Dark Souls while simultaneously totally dismissing Monster Hunter, a completely more accessibly game with similar mechanics, just with a greater degree of polish. They both require perseverance, Monster Hunter just has less trash mobs.

Yeah, sure, I agree...

But the 3rd entry in the series isn't really rookie friendly, I feel. It makes a few minor mistakes that can mislead new players, and there's little "horizontal movement" (Changing weapon types, etc) that you can do when you hit a wall of some kind, and it feels like that first wall hits way too soon, content wise.

If you're a dedicated gamer who is willing to keep trying in the face of adversity, you'll keep going until you "Get it". If you're pre-dark Souls Yatzee, however, you're likely to go "this game is boring and hard and there's nothing I can do to change up things, it's teh dumb".

The 4th game is much better in that regard because they give you a wider variety of tasks and monsters to kill early on, with a huge variety of weapon types (AND a free starter weapon of each type so you can experiment at no extra cost).

I honestly think he'd LIKE the 4th entry and say it's pretty good. It's mostly that the 3rd game was not very welcoming to rookies, IMO.

I want a Majora's Mask 2! I don't care if it's not AAA, just give me a sequel to my favourite game of all time!

Thunderous Cacophony:
It might actually be able to hook people through Achievements; infinite loops means that you could come up with some crazy complicated sequences of events to unlock a given achievement, gathering all the tools/songs needed on a couple runthroughs and then making a mad dash to get certain story things done before the reset.

I'm not sure if it would get a AAA release, but I could definitely see it being something like Papers, Please or Braid where the audience obsesses over it and it wins tons of awards, sparking a bunch of cheap rip-offs of the mechanics in larger games.

"This is why the concept of 'Achievements' was invented. And why they're called 'Achievements' as opposed to 'Drops in the ocean of futility'."

On the one hand, I can see some creative ways to use achievements. But on the other - and this is just my personal opinion and I fully understand that can others can disagree - every achievement and every little note related to it breaks the fourth wall, and just TEARS me out of the game. Games that pride themselves so on immersion have all these achievements that do the exact opposite of immerse. And I usually see them as content-padding to make a thing seem more interesting than it really is. Do others feel this way about achievements?

About the part of why they didn't make more games like Majora's Mask. I don't think it was until recently that it reached the level of popularity that it has now. I don't know how it sold comparatively to OoT, but I got the impression that people didn't like it as much. I can see that between sells possibly not being as good as OoT, and opinions of it being low, as well as Nintendo never using the same gimmick each Zelda game, that they didn't milk it.

Sight Unseen:

Thanatos2k:

Majora's Mask was the closest to an open world Zelda game that you had until now. Go wherever, do whatever, get your masks and stuff at your own pace discovering things mostly in whatever order you wanted. Non-linear story. Non-linear exploration, even more so than other games.

I think that Windwaker has a few choice words for you, sir :P

Wind Waker was more sandbox than open world. It was more linear than it seemed.....

LordTerminal:

It might seem like I feel the need to go on the defensive every time someone, horror of horrors, accuses me of liking Nintendo now. But it's not the accusation that annoys me; it's this implied notion that you can only ever like Nintendo and support everything they do, or be one of the ignorant outsiders who don't. Come to think of it, that's the false dichotomy that blights virtually all internet debating.

Why is it everytime he says something like this, he completely misses the point of why people attack him for hating Nintendo? Or at least why I attack him. It's not so much that you don't like Nintendo Yahtzee, it's that you have the most ignorant reasons to hate on one of their games that you call criticism. It's beyond what I would call cynical when you devote a good chunk of your Mario 3D World review, yes I'm bringing this up again, to just complaining about the Miiverse functionality as if you were forced to use it. The points you made on that are completely lost by the simple fact that it's optional! And that's just one example. Don't get me started on the 5 years of badmouthing the Wii simply because you couldn't get your controller to work.

But are they really "ignorant" or just ignorant to you? Because whenever Yahtzee bashes the motion controls of the Wii I nod my head, as an owner of a Wii, knowing that the motion controls are terrible and rarely if ever add positive things to a game.

It's called.....*drumroll*.....an opinion! An Yahtzee is spot on with a lot of the Nintendo criticisms, but to those blinded by nostalgia/fanboyism they claim "ignorance."

I can see why it wouldn't be made today, even back before it was released I typed for it until I heard of the time mechanic and gave it a pass.

theuprising:
It would be far more interesting if you could only see the outcome if you did it all in 1 SINGLE loop, now that would be a funny speedrun to watch, as you decide who gets to live and who dies.

That actually is totally possible, but for one sidequest (if you recover the bomb bag for the bomb shop owners, you can't progress on the Anju/Kafei sidequest).

Hell, done a lesser version of that, myself. Defeating all four bosses and finishing the Anju/Kafei sidequest in one run before finishing the game is actually really satisfying.

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