The Secret of "Link's Awakening" Finally Revealed!
It turns out that the 1993 Game Boy classic, "Link's Awakening" was intended to be the first multiplayer Zelda game. This predates Four Swords (the first Zelda game to actually include multiplayer) by almost an entire decade!
Editor’s Note: Link’s Awakening would have been pretty cool with two-four players…even if the using three link cables could have made things a bit tangled. Although I think Nintendo may have been planning to make this a two-player (as opposed to 2+ player) game before ultimately deciding to make it single player only. But it's still a neat piece of trivia regardless.
While watching Screwattack's latest 24 hour live-stream, I decided to start casually reading through the Hyrule Historia, which had just come in the mail. Now, Link's Awakening was the very first Zelda game that I had ever seen, let alone played. So since it has such strong nostalgic value to me, I excitedly flipped over to the section dedicated to the game, hoping to find pages of goodies to offer insight into one of the most impactful games of my youth. To my dismay, all there was was a single page... Page 144. But that single page actually contained 7 pages of information scaled down to fit in the margins. As I studied it, suddenly, my mouth dropped at what I noticed... the words "What're we gonna do about 1P mode?" Shocked, I looked over to the accompanying picture to study it. Sure enough, it shows several Links attacking the same boss!
The implications here are huge. So many questions arise. Why was the plan dropped? How far along did they get? How would players differentiate from each other on the monochromatic Game Boy screen? Would it have been the same as the story mode? Does the game we have contain the assets that were originally designed for multiplayer? If this was already in place then why wasn't it included for the DX version? Why did it take a good 9 years for Nintendo to finally bring the idea into fruition?
Link's Awakening is good but it would have went down in history as something really special if this had happened. Although multiplayer has been included in Zelda titles since, no game in the series has the level of integration implied here. This is a game that plays perfectly as a single player game. If it also played just as well as a multiplayer game then its design would truly be the stuff of legend. But maybe that's just it. Maybe they couldn't strike the balance needed to meet the standards of the franchise. And maybe that's why the Four Swords games are so drastically different in design than the other titles in the series. But, oh man, if only they were able to actually pull it off! This timeless classic would surely be revered to this day as something extraordinary.
It would have been interesting if it had multiplayer but....it is fine without it, I think.
lol I have a friend who hates OOT. I remember when it first came out & all he could do was poo poo it. He steadily talked less & less about it as it's popularity grew & he realized he was in the minority XD
Thank you. That's exactely what I think, too!
Wait.. there was a terrible zelda game that wasen't on CD-I?
Im assuming you're leaving OOT off the terrible 3d list? Because that was a great game.
Link's awakening is actually my favorite legend of zelda. I'm glad it wasn't multiplayer
Glad LA *wasn't* multiplayer. Would have ruined one of the better Zelda games ever made, a game that outshines most of the terrible 3D entries and rivals even the NES/SNES ones.
i need this book. wish nintendo would have keap on going with the co op mood
Wow... I really want the book now. Some of the weird little features make more sense now. Like why the side scroller parts were so far back in zoom. Also I bet you were intended to be able to throw the shop items around to assist in stealing.
For the price you're paying, its definately worth it. I bought it mainly for the timeline and backstory parts and dont care too much about concept art, and I still consider it to be a great book.
There is a fair bit of content to read, particularly in the timeline section.
I didn't think about that. I bet you're right.
Most of it is concept art. There's commentary here and there but it usually isn't more than a paragraph or 2. Still, there are a couple interviews tucked in as well as an original manga. It's over 200 pages long so there's a lot of content to sink your teeth into. I'd say, if you're big into Zelda, it's worth it.
Its not just artwork and if your a zelda fan its well worth the money (its actually very cheap what it is)
Interesting tidbit. Also, as someone who is considering buying Hyrule Historia, is it just artwork, or is there stuff to read, because pictures don't do a ton for me.
Link's Awakening is my all time favourite Zelda game.
wow. and i just got this game. loving it. but i guess its due to ram limitations or something.
you should definitely check it out. i just downloaded it from the 3DS Virtual Console.
I still need to play this one seriously. I have it but just goof around for a while before stopping.
Also, this is a very interesting find. I wonder if this was what ended up starting the 4 swords as Lightning stated.
I too have fond memories of Link's Awakening. It's stunning to think that it may have had multiplayer at some point. It also has some strong implications about Four Swords. Maybe it's origins go back much farther than we originally thought. Thank you for bringing this our attention.