Opinion: Nintendo Should Reconsider Locking Skyward Sword’s Fast Travel Behind An Amiibo

The Leg­end of Zel­da: Sky­ward Sword is releas­ing right around the cor­ner for the Switch in July. Nin­ten­do recent­ly revealed that the game is launch­ing the same day as a Zel­da Ami­i­bo fea­tur­ing the princess and her Loftwing. This fig­ure is a more detailed than pre­vi­ous fig­ures Nin­ten­do has released and it also has a steep­er price. How­ev­er, it’s not the price that is caus­ing irri­ta­tion among con­sumers and fans, it’s the Ami­i­bo’s function.

Nin­ten­do explained that the Zel­da & Loftwing Ami­i­bo allows you to fast trav­el between the sur­face world and the sky. Scan­ning the fig­ure while you’re on the sur­face, and you can return to the sky from any­where. This includes when dun­geon div­ing. Scan the fig­ure again while in the sky, and you’ll return to the same point on the surface.

This is quite an improve­ment to the orig­i­nal “fast trav­el” sys­tem, which would only allow you to trav­el between Loftwing statutes sit­u­at­ed in spe­cif­ic loca­tions around the world. Obvi­ous­ly, this is a lim­it­ed trav­el sys­tem, so the cost of the Ami­i­bo is not the real issue–it’s what it does.

How­ev­er, this isn’t the first time Nin­ten­do has set fea­tures behind an Ami­i­bo, but the com­pa­ny has always pressed itself right up against the bound­ary, but nev­er passed it. Until now. In the past, these Ami­i­bo fea­tures were pre­sent­ed as some­thing that enhanced the game, not a sim­ple qual­i­ty-of-life improve­ment that one would expect when a remas­ter is released.

For me, it’s the fact that Nin­ten­do just expects every­one to be thrilled about this. Sky­ward Sword is close to being ten-years-old, and this is the exact improve­ment one would hope for in a game this old. The fact there is a pay­wall for a basic upgrade, and it is extreme­ly con­cern­ing. It makes me wor­ry that com­pa­nies like Activi­sion, EA, and Take-Two will take note if this, espe­cial­ly if it works in Nin­ten­dos’ favor. We already pay an exor­bi­tant amount just to pur­chase a base game, if you add in any spe­cial edi­tions and DLC, you’re look­ing at a pos­si­ble $100-$150–or more.

The world is also com­ing off an unprece­dent­ed time for the mod­ern era. Coro­n­avirus has neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed the econ­o­my for over a year, and it is final­ly start­ing to sta­bi­lize (at least in the US). Those who have lost their jobs or can only afford three or four games a year may be more like­ly to pass on this remake. Nin­ten­do has made plen­ty of rev­enue over the past cou­ple of years, despite the pan­dem­ic, so where do they get the audac­i­ty charg­ing for some­thing that should be a given.

For me, it’s not the price of the Ami­i­bo, it’s what’s attached–but what’s not attached as well. Oth­er Ami­i­bos have come with small DLC as well, like skins for char­ac­ters. This is not the case, it’s just the fig­urine and this improvement.

I do under­stand fans who are look­ing to add to their col­lec­tions, I’m a col­lec­tor myself (not of Ami­i­bo though), so I can see the appeal of bring­ing one more piece to your col­lec­tion. How­ev­er, if you’re not into these formed pieces of plas­tic, it seems point­less for you to have it just to use a fea­ture. Plus, should­n’t Nin­ten­do be beyond the point of wast­ing resources and clog­ging the sys­tem with more use­less plas­tic junk?

Plain and sim­ple: this is cor­po­rate greed, unnec­es­sary greed. I would hope that enough fans, and poten­tial play­ers, would come to their sens­es and avoid pur­chas­ing the Ami­i­bo. Or the game alto­geth­er. Nin­ten­do needs to under­stand how dis­ap­point­ing a deci­sion this is for those who tru­ly enjoy all the Zel­da titles. I already know they won’t be chang­ing their stance, but I cer­tain­ly wish they would reconsider. 

I am a Platinum lover and an ex- Cod-aholic. I've been playing games since I was 5 years old and I refuse to quit, despite my mother's attempts to get me to. God of War and its successors are my all time favorite games.

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