The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
North American packaging artwork.
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD Group No. 3
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Daiki Iwamoto
Producer(s) Eiji Aonuma
Artist(s) Satoru Takizawa
  • Mitsuhiro Takano
  • Hajime Takahashi
  • Eiji Aonuma
Series The Legend of Zelda
Platform(s) Wii U
Release date(s) Digital
  • NA September 20, 2013[1]
  • JP September 26, 2013[2]
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, known in Japan as Zelda no Densetsu: Kaze no Takt HD (Japanese: ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト HD Hepburn: Zeruda no Densetsu Kaze no Takuto Eichi Dī?, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: Baton of Wind HD"), is a 2013 action-adventure video game in the The Legend of Zelda series for the Wii U video game console. Developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development and published by Nintendo, it is a remake[3][6][7] of the 2002 GameCube game The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

The Wind Waker HD expands on the original with updated 1080p-resolution graphics[8] and an alternative lighting engine, as well as new gameplay features and modifications. The release of the game marked the ten-year anniversary of the international release of the original, and is the first game in the The Legend of Zelda series released on the Wii U.


A screenshot of Link standing on Windfall Island.

The gameplay is largely the same as the original version of The Wind Waker on the GameCube. However, the game offers graphical modifications and various new features from the original.

The Wii U GamePad's touchscreen serves as a map and inventory, eliminating the need to toggle between gameplay and the menu interface. Players will be able to use motion controls to control the Wind Waker.[9] Some weapons, like the bow, can be aimed using the GamePad's gyroscope, as in Ocarina of Time 3D. The game offers Off-TV Play which enables the player to play the game solely on the Wii U GamePad. The game can also be played on the Wii U Pro Controller, a controller similar to the one used in the original game.[10]

The Tingle Tuner item (which utilized the Game Boy Advance as a peripheral to the GameCube) in the original has been replaced with an item called the Tingle Bottle. The Tingle Bottle is used to send messages to the game's Miiverse community if players are in need of help; players then receive replies containing hints as to current objectives. Using the Picto Box item in the game, players are able to take screenshots, including self-portraits, switching between happy, sad, and surprised facial expressions for Link. They can then post these screenshots to Miiverse for other players to see.[11]

The developers tuned the gameplay to make it less tedious. After completing the Dragon Roost Cavern dungeon, players are able to purchase the Swift Sail at the Auction House on Windfall Island. This red sail operates 50% more quickly than the regular sail.[12] The Swift Sail automatically changes the direction of the wind so the player can sail at full speed all the time, without doing so manually.[13] This is intended to make sailing to small islands and salvage points more enjoyable.[14] A shorter crane will speed up time digging for treasure.[9] Animations such as those for the grappling hook are quicker.[11]

The game features a streamlined version of the Triforce Quest, a controversial aspect of the original game.[11] Whereas in the original game players needed to collect a Triforce Chart for each shard of the Triforce of Courage, in the remake the player will be able to collect five Triforce of Courage shards directly from treasure chests and will only need three Triforce Charts to find shards hidden beneath the Great Sea.[11] Additionally, the player begins the game with the ability to carry 500 rupees instead of 200.[15]

Hero Mode, a modified difficulty setting first featured in 2011's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, is available from the beginning of Wind Waker HD.[16] In this mode there are certain differences in gameplay. Enemies do twice the regular damage and hearts will not appear anywhere in the game world (forcing players to use potions to heal). Hero Mode is available from the start of the game, not initially requiring the player to complete Normal Mode like in other titles of the series. It can also be toggled on or off at any point before entering the game.[17]


While Link is celebrating his 12th birthday, a gigantic bird flies overhead and drops a girl into Forest Of Fairies, a wooded area of Outset Island. Link rescues the girl from Bokoblins in the woods, but as he returns, his sister Aryll is kidnapped by the bird. The rescued girl introduces herself as the pirate captain Tetra, who reluctantly agrees to help Link rescue his sister. With Tetra and her pirate crew's assistance, Link finds Aryll on an island called the Forsaken Fortress, along with two other kidnapped girls named Maggie and Milla from Windfall Island. Before he can rescue them, he is captured by the giant bird known as the Helmaroc King. The bird then takes him to the top of the tower where a man in black stands. With a single shake of the head from the man in black, the bird flings Link far out into the sea.

Link is rescued on Windfall Island the next morning by a talking boat that calls himself the King of Red Lions. The boat tells Link that the giant bird is controlled by Ganon, the same evil from the ancient legend. He also says that Link needs to find the three Pearls of the Goddesses, Farore's Pearl, Din's Pearl and Nayru's Pearl, to gain the power he needs to rescue Aryll. Farore's Pearl is found in the Forest Haven, an island with a giant talking tree known as the Great Deku Tree. Din's Pearl is found on Dragon Roost Island, given to him by the lava spirit Valoo. Nayru's Pearl is found on Link's hometown island, Outset Island, inside a cave on one side of the island, and within this cave, a water spirit, Jabun hands over the final pearl. Once Link has all three pearls, the King of Red Lions leads him to the Tower of the Gods, where Link faces several trials before being taken deep beneath the ocean's surface to a castle, suspended in time, where he finds the Master Sword, the legendary Blade of Evil's Bane.

Link returns to the Forsaken Fortress to rescue Aryll. He is soon joined by Tetra and pirates Gonzo and Senza who take Aryll, Maggie and Milla to safety while Link duels with the Helmaroc King. Link comes out victorious over the Helmaroc King, but Ganon easily overpowers Link. Tetra returns to help Link, but she is also overpowered. Ganon reveals that the Master Sword has lost its power to repel evil, and discovers that the necklace Tetra wears is a piece of the Triforce, being the Triforce of Wisdom, leading Ganon to conclude that Tetra is the previous owner of that sacred relic, Princess Zelda. Tetra denies it before she and Link are rescued by Prince Komali, lava spirit Valoo and Quill of the Rito tribe.

Link returns to the underwater castle with Tetra. There, the King of Red Lions reveals himself as Daphenes Nohanson Hyrule, the King of Hyrule, and that they are standing in Hyrule Castle, the seat of power in the ancient kingdom. The King explains that after Ganon had broken free of his seal, the gods ordered those chosen to take refuge on the mountaintops and subsequently flooded Hyrule, sealing it and Ganon under the Great Sea. The King confirms that Tetra is, indeed, Princess Zelda, the predestined protector of the Triforce of Wisdom.

Zelda is told to remain in the castle while Link and the King return to the surface to investigate why the Master Sword lost its power. They discover that two of the ancient sages that provided power for the Master Sword by prayer, being Fado, of the Kokiri tribe and Laruoto, of the Zora tribe, were killed by Ganon's forces. To restore the Master Sword's power, two new sages must be awakened. Link eventually finds the new sages among Medli, of the Rito and Makar, of the Koroks, and restores full power to the Master Sword. Soon after, the King of Hyrule learns that the Forsaken Fortress had been abandoned by Ganon, and begins to fear the worst. He then urges Link to seek out the eight pieces of the Triforce of Courage left behind by the ancient hero of legend, the Hero of Time.

Link accomplishes this task with Tingle's help, and returns to Hyrule to find that Ganon has found Zelda and kidnapped her. Link follows them to Ganon's Tower; there, Link kills Phantom Ganon and Puppet Ganon before the real Ganon overpowers Link and takes his piece of the Triforce, being the Triforce of Courage. His own piece of the Triforce, being the Triforce of Power combines with Link's and Zelda's pieces to form the complete Triforce, which grants the power to govern all. Before the Triforce can grant Ganon's evil wish, the King of Hyrule appears, lays his hand on the Triforce and wishes for Ganon and the rest of Hyrule to be washed away, and for Link and Zelda to be returned to the surface. Enraged, Ganon duels Link and Zelda as water begins to downpour over Hyrule. The battle ends with Link stabbing Ganon in the forehead with the Master Sword, turning him to stone. Link and Zelda then return to the surface, while the King decides to stay in Hyrule. Zelda returns to her old form as Tetra, Prince Komali, Medli, Makar and the pirates find them and Link is reunited with his sister, Aryll.

In a post-credits scene, after returning to Outset Island, Link, Tetra and the pirates decide to sail away in search of a new land to call Hyrule.


In a Nintendo Direct presentation released on January 23, 2013, a high-definition remaster of The Wind Waker was announced for the Wii U, then slated for release in the fall of 2013. The remaster came about as the development team experimented with art styles for the next main Zelda title, also in development for Wii U. HD remasters of the later Zelda games in the series, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, were also tested during the planning stages, but the development team considered The Wind Waker‍ '​s visuals to be the most improved.[18] The Wind Waker HD took six months to develop.[19] The soundtrack was updated by Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, Asuka Hayazaki, and Atsuko Asahi. While the game was developed in-house at EAD, high-resolution textures were produced with the help of a few external companies.[20]


A limited-edition console bundle that combines both a digital version of game and the Deluxe Wii U console was released on September 20, 2013, in North America. The black console features The Legend of Zelda styling; the GamePad includes gold lettering, a gold Hyrule Crest, and gold symbols from The Wind Waker HD. A redemption code for a digital copy of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia was also included.[1] A Ganondorf figurine was released with a special edition copy of the game, available exclusively through GameStop.[1]

The game was originally launched on the Nintendo eShop on September 20, 2013. Reggie Fils-Aime denied the early digital release as being part of any policy shift:

"We saw an opportunity given the value change to make sure we had a strong product offering for Zelda loyalists, and to get them firmly in the Wii U franchise. This is not a policy change or some grand signal by launching the digital version a few days earlier than the physical version."[21]

The Wind Waker HD was released in Japan on September 26, 2013;[2] in Europe and North America on October 4, 2013;[3] and in Australia on October 5, 2013.[5]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 91.08%[22]
Metacritic 90/100[23]
Review scores
Publication Score
EGM 8.5/10[24]
Game Informer 9.25/10[25]
GameSpot 8.0/10[26]
GameTrailers 7.8/10[27]
IGN 9.8/10[28]
Nintendo World Report 10/10[29]
Polygon 9/10[30]


In an early preview, Audrey Drake IGN noted improved dynamic lighting and shading in the game's graphics engine.[7] However, a later preview noted qualms about the graphic style, stating "The new HD art and bloom lighting look impressive, but they subtract some of the cel-shaded magic that made Wind Waker feel like a playable cartoon."[11] Metro noted better shading, resulting in a "painterly quality", although it spotted some "rough edges" with some textures.[9] In its preview, IGN noted significant differences from the original, saying the remake is "much better, smoother, and feels as capable as a brand new game."[11]


The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD received critical acclaim upon release, with aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic giving the game's reception an average of 91.08% and 90/100 respectively.[22][23]

The improved graphics of the game from the original received positive commentary. Dan Ryckert of Game Informer noted that the upgrade was immediately apparent, and that "the vivid colors and crashing waves of the flooded Hyrule [look] fantastic."[25] IGN's Jose Otero stated that the game "looks great."[28] Andrew Fitch of Electronic Gaming Monthly claimed that the game "enhances the already excellent Wind Waker visuals with HD flair."[24]

The story of Wind Waker HD was met with positive reactions. Both Otero and Nintendo World Report's Neal Ronaghan stated that the story was memorable.[28][29] Marston Gaston of GameSpot said that the game is "filled with great moments".[26]

Wind Waker HD‍ '​s audio was met positively. Gaston called it "evocative",[26] and Ryckert said that it "keeps with the tradition of memorable Zelda tunes."[25] Michael Damiani of GameTrailers noted that the audio enhances the experience of the combat.[27]

The combat also received generally positive reactions. Ronaghan called it "simple yet fun",[29] while Otero called it the best feature of the game.[28] Damiani said that the combat is "fast and frantic."[27]


The game's first week sales in Japan were 30,000 physical copies.[31] In the week following the release of Wind Waker HD sales of the Wii U console increased by 685% in the UK.[32]

As of March 31, 2015, it has worldwide sales of 1.52 million units.[33]


  1. ^ a b c Mallory, Jordan (August 28, 2013). "Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Mario Party: Island Tour hit 3DS Nov. 22". Joystiq. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Earnings Release for the Three-Month Period Ended June 2013" (PDF). Nintendo Japan. July 31, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Phillips, Tom (August 28, 2013). "Nintendo names Zelda: The Wind Waker HD release date". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (August 28, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Confirmed for 4th October in North America". Nintendo Life. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "NINTENDO LAUNCHES ANIMAL CROSSING PLAZA ON Wii U". Nintendo Australia. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ Totilo, Stephen (June 14, 2013). "Streamlined Triforce Quest, No New Dungeons For Wind Waker Remake". Kotaku. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Drake, Audrey (January 23, 2013). "Zelda: Wind Waker Remake Headed to Wii U". IGN. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ Buckley, Sean (June 11, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker HD launches in October, boasts faster sailing". Engadget. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c GameCentral (July 11, 2013). "Zelda: The Wind Waker HD & Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hands-on preview – mostly new". Metro. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ "ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト HD:ソフト詳細 (English: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD: Soft Description)" (in Japanese). Nintendo Japan. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Otero, Jose (August 22, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD Offers a Definitive Experience". IGN. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for Nintendo Wii U". GameStop. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Reece (August 13, 2013). "Aonuma explains The Wind Waker HD’s "Swift Sail"". Zelda Universe. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ Aonuma, Eiji. "Miiverse – Aonuma's posts". Miiverse. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ ZeldaInformer (September 7, 2013). "Timeline Photos". Facebook. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ Otero, Jose (August 22, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD Offers a Definitive Experience". IGN. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  17. ^ Makuch, Eddie (August 23, 2013). "Wind Waker HD's hero mode detailed". Gamespot. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  18. ^ East, Thomas (July 4, 2013). "Nintendo tested Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword on Wii U". Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  19. ^ Rumphol-Janc, Nathanial (October 5, 2013). "An Interview with Eiji Aonuma – Wind Waker HD and the Future of Zelda Series: Part 1". Zelda Informer. Game Revolution. 
  20. ^ Iwata, Satoru (August 28, 2013). "Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD: Archeology". Nintendo. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ Totilo, Stephen (28 August 2013). "Wind Waker HD Releasing Early, If You're Willing To Download It". Kotaku. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for Wii U". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for Wii U Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Fitch, Andrew (September 18, 2013). "Come Sail Away". Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM Media. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c Ryckert, Dan (September 18, 2013). "Wind Waker HD Review – Even Better Than You Remember". Game Informer. GameStop Corporation. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c Gaston, Martin (September 17, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b c Damiani, Michael (September 17, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD – Review". GameTrailers. Viacom. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b c d Otero, Jose (September 17, 2013). "Smooth Sailing". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b c Ronaghan, Neal (September 18, 2013). "Waking the Winds Never Felt This Good". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  30. ^ Riendeau, Danielle (September 18, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Review: Sail Away". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on September 20, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  31. ^ "This Week In Sales: Zelda: Wind Waker HD Fails To Impress". Siliconera. October 2, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Wii U UK sales spike 685% on Zelda launch". MCV. October 11, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Top Selling Software Sales Units". Nintendo. March 31, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 

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