Nintendo celebrates 25 years of Zelda

Nintendo has some big plans for The Legend of Zelda's 25th anniversary, including a touring symphony, further information about upcoming games, and more.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Nintendo commenced its E3 2011 press conference in grand fashion today, revealing many details about the future of the Zelda franchise. The Japanese video game company first showed off a four-minute video montage tribute, complete with a live symphony orchestra performing "The Legend of Zelda" theme song music to gameplay clips from 25 years of Zelda titles.

Shigeru Miyamoto (right) takes the stage with an interpreter at Nintendo's E3 press conference. Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn

Senior Managing Director Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage afterward and seemed downright giddy at the premise of a full orchestra before him. It wasn't long before he gleefully asked the instrumental ensemble to play various Zelda sounds, including: solving a puzzle, getting an item, and the melody from the Fairy Fountain. It was truly hilarious to watch Miyamoto act like Link picking up an item while the orchestra played the related sound.

He then thanked everyone "for remembering these 8-bit Zelda tunes in this age of high-end gaming machines." Miyamoto revealed later that a touring symphony, exclusively playing Zelda music, will come to U.S., Japan, and Europe in the fall.

During the press conference, Nintendo discussed upcoming Zelda games for each of its hardware devices and an upcoming special "The Legend of Zelda" 25th anniversary music CD.

Starting today, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening will be available to download for the Game Boy Color virtual console lineup (eShop). Miyamoto prefers this game for beginners as it helps one learn the "basics" of Zelda gameplay.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (E3 2011 trailer above) is "finally done," according to Miyamoto, and will arrive this Holiday season for the Nintendo Wii. A special gold Wii remote with a white Skyward Sword logo will be available as well.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS will launch on June 19, complete with touch screen and gyro sensor controls. An improved framefrate and updated graphics have been implemented in the remake of the classic Nintendo 64 game, according to Miyamoto. Additional content, such as help videos, a mirrored master quest mode, and a boss challenge mode are also included. An official soundtrack will be given as a gift for those first few players to register the game on Club Nintendo.

Slated for September, Nintendo DSi (via DS Ware) owners will have access to a four-player co-op Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords for free.

Miyomoto wrapped up the Zelda portion of the press conference by thanking 200 people who worked directly on the series and brought several key members of the Zelda team on stage to thank the fans who have played The Legend of Zelda series over the years.

Nintendo also teased in a short video what a Zelda game could look like on its upcoming Wii U console, which is set to debut in 2012. No further details about the game have been officially announced.

 

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