Nintendo is well known for keeping its IPs close. For the most part, outside of a few games like The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, the Oracle of Ages, and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, it’s rare to see the company’s core franchises handled by anyone other than Nintendo.
That changed in a big way today.
In today’s Nindies Direct livestream, Nintendo revealed a new Zelda game. But it’s a Zelda game developed by an indie developer.
Brace Yourself Games, a Canadian studio known for the critically acclaimed Crypt of the Necrodancer, is releasing a mashup game called Cadence of Hyrule — Crypt of the Necrodancer featuring The Legend of Zelda this spring.
Necrodancer is a unique take on the roguelike dungeon crawler, where players must time their movements to the beat of the rhythm and learn how enemies move in relation to the music as well.
In a press release posted shortly after the livestream aired, Nintendo provided more information about Cadence of Hyrule:
As Link or Princess Zelda, players explore randomly generated overworld and dungeons on a quest to save Hyrule, and every beat of the 25 remixed Legend of Zelda tunes is a chance to move, attack, defend and more.
From modern-looking Lynels to the Hyrulean Soldiers of old, players must master the instinctive movements of each pixel-art enemy and strategically outstep them in rhythmic combat using an arsenal of iconic items from The Legend of Zelda, as well as the spells and weapons from Crypt of the NecroDancer
Of the many mold-breaking elements in this announcement, one, in particular, stands out: unlike the earlier games handled by different companies, this is the first time Nintendo, or any major developer, has entrusted its IP to an indie studio.
The other noteworthy info here is that players can choose Zelda as a playable character. It’s something fans have clamored for increasingly in recent years.
Perhaps, then, Nintendo entrusting Mario to Ubisoft wasn’t a one-off choice, and this sort of outsourcing will be the new normal — how Nintendo experiments with its franchises while the core games may or may not stay the same.