Nintendo has not revealed its plans for The Legend of Zelda's 35th anniversary yet. As Super Mario Bros. and even Fire Emblem received worthwhile celebrations for previous big anniversaries, Zelda fans are hoping the same is in store for 2021.
While nothing is officially confirmed yet, two new trademarks this week have fans theorizing that some Zelda games from the 2000s could get a re-release, similar to how Nintendo celebrated Mario's anniversary with Super Mario 3D All-Stars.
On Wednesday, Twitter user @KeliosFR discovered that new trademarks were filed in Australia for both "The Wind Waker" and "Phantom Hourglass." As the trademarks for these games apply to video games and were filed alongside trademarks for other official Nintendo Switch games, fans believe this signals a re-release in celebration of the series' 35th anniversary.
Nintendo pulled out all the stops for Super Mario Bros' 35th anniversary. Not only were there several merchandise collaborations with other brands, but it was all headlined by Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a re-release that contained Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Considering the fact that Zelda is on par with Mario in terms of prominence at Nintendo, it stands to reason that something like a "Zelda 3D All-Stars" is in the works.
Trademarks like these could directly indicate which games are included in the potential collection. Of course, it's possible that no collection is happening at all and Nintendo is only filing the trademarks to maintain the rights to the names.
Still, it is suspicious that the company would file these trademarks just before a major anniversary like this, especially with how notable both of these games are. Series fans will remember The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker as the GameCube's first major Zelda game that lets them explore a vast sea dotted with interesting islands via boat.
It was released in Japan back in 2002 but was remastered for Wii U in 2013. While it was divisive upon its release, Wind Waker is now considered one of the series' best games and would be a worthy addition to any Zelda collection. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a spiritual successor to Wind Waker that was released for the Nintendo DS back in 2007.
This game also lets players explore the sea like Wind Waker but was designed to take advantage of the system's touchscreen, mic, and portability. It would be a much more difficult game to port than Wind Waker for that reason.
Nintendo would need to find a way to make the dual-screen setup of the Nintendo DS work on Nintendo Switch. Phantom Hourglass came to Wii U in 2016, but that system's GamePad allowed for surprisingly fluid DS ports. The Nintendo Switch does not, so a successful port may be impossible.
The best workaround would be to use motion controls in docked mode and touch controls vertically in handheld mode if Nintendo doesn't plan to rework the game entirely. Fans would also likely prefer games like Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword in a collection over DS games like Phantom Hourglass.
While Phantom Hourglass has mechanics that make them hard to port to Nintendo Switch, these new trademarks suggest that Nintendo could have plans for some sort of re-release for it and The Wind Waker over the next year. To stop this rumor mill, Nintendo needs to reveal what celebrations are in store for the Zelda series as we approach its 35th anniversary on February 21, 2021.