Nearly 10 years ago, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker arrived on Nintendo's GameCube console. Shortly after its debut, CNET's sister site GameSpot reviewed the game, giving it an outstanding score of 9.3, and summarizing it like so: "The Wind Waker is a strong achievement in every way, from its stunning graphical presentation to its tight control and interesting storyline."
On January 23 of this year, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced a forthcoming high-definition remake of Wind Waker for the Wii U (due in autumn of this year), which surprised the gaming community. Unfortunately, the Nintendo boss didn't provide many details about the update, aside from upgraded graphics, and the addition of Off TV Play, MiiVerse integration, and gameplay adjustments. However, the revealed screenshots shown in the announcement video indicate that this remake may completely blow away what was originally seen on the GameCube -- or at least add a whole lotta dynamic lighting.
In collaboration with Reddit user Conker11, we present a gallery of screenshots from the upcoming Wind Waker HD alongside the same locations seen in the original version of the game. The screenshots of the original version of Wind Waker derive from Dolphin -- a Nintendo GameCube/Wii emulator for PC -- running at these settings: 1080p resolution (16:9 aspect ratio) and 16x anti-aliasing/anisotropic filtering. Please keep in mind that these screenshots of the GameCube version of Wind Waker actually look better than the original presentation of the game, since the console could only at best transmit through a 480p composite video connection to TV and could in no way offer those type of image enhancements. We resampled the enhanced GameCube images back to the original resolution (640x480).
It's clear that the original version of the game lacks the shadowing, detail, and color seen in the HD remake. Some gamers around the Web have voiced concern that the remake may contain too much dynamic lighting.
In comparison to the last image, pay extra attention to the colors, clouds, and water detail in this image captured from the Wind Waker HD remake. Maybe Nintendo should give Link some sunglasses to see in this ultra-bright environment.
This epic shot of the entire island in Wind Waker simply appears breathtaking, but does feature an outrageous amount of bloom and other dynamic lighting. Did Nintendo go too far? Regardless, the water and sky look absolutely beautiful.
Lower left: a screenshot of Link from the GameCube version of Wind Waker. The larger image comes from the updated HD version of the game, which indicates that character models may look similar in some regards (but remember that the lower-left version comes from a juiced-up emulator). So, basically, characters in Wind Waker HD should appear very good compared with the original. Plus, enhanced shadowing makes everything appear much more realistic.