Oh, so that's why they call it "Skyward Sword."
Nintendo may have unleashed a ton of news at its E3 2011 press conference, but one thing that was strangely absent - other than a hinted release window - was the Wii's apparent grand finale, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
We did, however, get a glimpse at the game's new trailer. This game's incarnation of Link has been born and raised in Skyloft, a mystical group of islands that floats in the sky. Link and his friends, including a blonde girl who bears a probably-not-coincidental resemblance to the various incarnations of Princess Zelda, get around by flying on giant birds.
Then, things go wrong, Link's prospective love interest gets eaten by a giant monster a la Pinocchio, and our hero is saved by the power of the Skyward Sword. He suits up in the familiar green tunic, and we're off. We get a glimpse of the various environments and dungeons in the game, and they all seem like precisely what we'd expect from a Zelda game - but in a good way.
The trailer shows some free-form flying on the bird (I hope it won't be as mandatory or as dull as Wind Waker's sailing) and includes more of a pretty-boy (presumably-)villain, who will almost certainly serve as the game's chief antagonist before he inevitably gets hijacked by Ganon. It happened with Vaati, it happened with Aghanim, and it happened with Zant - like it won't happen here?
Fond snarking aside, though, this is a great trailer. Skyward Sword's art style strikes a perfect blend between the more realistic bent of Twilight Princess and the cartoonish, stylized graphics of Zelda games of yore. I'm not totally sold on how Link holds his sword as a result of the 1:1 MotionPlus swordplay, but otherwise it looks fantastic.
Skyward Sword is almost certainly going to be the Wii's last great hurrah before Nintendo switches to the Wii U, and for all its difficulties, it looks like the little white box may go out with a bang. In other words, shut up and take my Rupees, Nintendo.
This is going to wreak havoc on those fan-made timelines, isn't it?
Steve Butts is heading over to Nintendo tomorrow, so hopefully we'll have some in-person news on Skyward Sword ASAP - check back!