What The Legend of Zelda could learn from Rogue Heroes

Breath of the wildcard.

Rogue Heroes, a procedurally-generated roguelike inspired by The Legend of Zelda, recently launched on Steam and the Nintendo Switch. Player’s can take on the game’s sprawling dungeons, explore the world or Tasos, and rebuild the game’s central village, alone or together in groups of four. We had a lot of fun with the game, which you can find out more about in our Rogue Heroes review.

While Rogue Heroes does borrow pretty liberally from the likes of Zelda: Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening, it brings a few original ideas to the table which I feel would compliment the Zelda series. This is purely my opinion of course, and in no way an indication of what Nintendo may do in the future.

Procedural generation   

Am I saying Nintendo should develop a procedurally-generated Zelda game? Absolutely not. But, I believe a procedural-generation system could be used within a future Zelda game to create interesting new dungeons or puzzles for players to solve. Each dungeon within Rogue Heroes is procedurally-generated, and I wouldn’t want Nintendo to follow this at all. What makes the dungeons in Zelda so special is how well they are meticulously crafted.

Read more: Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos – tips for beginners

We wouldn’t ever have seen the likes of The Water Temple from Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess’s Snowpeak Ruins or Turtle Rock from A Link to the Past if each dungeon had been designed with procedural-generation. With this in mind, there is one aspect of Rogue Heroes that I think would work wonderfully in any future Zelda dungeon.

Once you’ve conquered the main dungeons of Rogue Heroes, you unlock access to an infinite dungeon. The infinite dungeon is an amalgamation of all the previous dungeons, set in an endless assortment of floors which increase in difficulty. It’s a clever idea that not only extends the shelf-life of the title but also gives friends a reason to jump in and play together past the endgame.

I would love to see a future Zelda game implement something similar to this. A challenging end-game dungeon that procedurally-generates an infinite amount of obstacles and enemies for players to conquer.

Skill trees

Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos has a vast selection of upgradable skills for each one of the different classes. This allows players to slowly build their character and make them stronger, giving you a better chance in the game’s difficult dungeons. You can upgrade everything from strength to stamina, with specific upgrades across each area.

The Legend of Zelda has primarily focused on giving players upgrades via health, magic, and equipment. Each new piece of equipment both expands Link’s skill set and makes him more effective both in and out of battle, but I think a fully expanded skill tree like the one in Rogue Heroes would make a lot of sense in a Zelda game.

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It would empower players to upgrade and improve Link’s abilities to match their own play style. If you prefer ranged attacks, you could upgrade Link’s ability with the bow and arrow or the hookshot. Meanwhile, those who like to focus on melee could upgrade Link’s ability to use a sword and shield.

A new 2D Zelda 

If there’s one thing Rogue Heroes has got me thinking about, it’s the fact that Nintendo should absolutely develop a new mainline 2D Zelda title. With the focus on Nintendo Switch, it’s unlikely that we are going to see anything which isn’t 3D, which is a real shame.

The 2D Zelda games remain some of the best experiences in the series, offering unique concepts and stellar dungeon design, To this day, Link’s Awakening (which was remade for Switch in 2019) remains one of my favourite video games of all time, which is why it’s quite sad that we’ll never get a new original 2D Zelda adventure.