This morning at 9 AM EST, Satoru Iwata addressed the general public on the future of the Wii U. Along with a decent amount of news, we learned that a new Zelda that "rethinks conventions of Zelda" is in development. Also, an HD Wind Waker will come this Fall.
On the full page version of this article, you can see a direct transcript of the English translation of Zelda series director Eiji Aonuma's presentation, as well as Iwata's follow-up remarks.
Most notable of the details revealed are that the new Zelda will revisit ideas like linearity in dungeon completion and the idea of playing alone. If they're willing to make Zelda a multiplayer game (beyond, perhaps the extend of Four Swords), we may be in for something legitimately new. There is also some mention by Iwata that we will get to see some of the challenges the Zelda team will face soon, as in an Iwata Asks, though this could be a mistake of language.
As for the Wind Waker HD release, it sounds like the game will be adapted to the Wii U control scheme and potentially given a slightly-more-than-cosmetic overhaul on the level Ocarina of Time received with its 3DS release. My only fear is that the true beauty of Wind Waker may be lost behind bloom effects and soft lighting as seen in the released screenshots (which are not necessarily of the HD remake, but rather of a test case put together by the Zelda team while experimenting with Wii U hardware).
Transcript of Eiji Aonuma at Nintendo Direct
I felt like it hadn't been very long since we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of "The Legend of Zelda" with you.
But it has already been one year since then. Time sure flies, doesn't it?
Wii U launched at the end of last year, so I'd like to be able to talk soon about the new Zelda game we are preparing for you on Wii U // but since I have to wait until you can see actual game visuals to talk about it in detail // I will instead talk about the driving theme behind our development.
Our mission in developing this new Zelda game for Wii U is quite plainly to rethink the conventions of Zelda.
I'm referring to things such as the player is supposed to complete dungeons in a certain order. // That you are supposed to play by yourself, the things that we've come to take for granted recently.
We want to set aside these "conventions," get back to basics // to create a newborn Zelda so players today can enjoy the real essence of the franchise.
We had actually worked on this kind of challenge with Skyward Sword, but we weren't able to put efforts in changing the linear structure of the game.
I hope to be able to talk to you in more detail about how it will change after I see it come together a bit more.
Separately from that, there are some interesting images that have emerged from the development process for this new Wii U game that I'd like to show you.
If you're a Zelda series fan, you may know what this image is.
This is an image showing Windfall Island from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which was released 10 years ago on Nintendo GameCube. And it is now in HD on Wii U.
After the Zelda team showed the Wii U Zelda demo that we called the Zelda HD Experience at E3 2011 // we continued to experiment with converting past Zelda art styles into HD as we continued to consider graphical styles for the new game. // but in fact felt as if it had been transformed into something entirely new. [sic]
The reason I wanted to show you these pictures today is because our new Zelda title looks like it is going to take some time to complete // so I wanted to report that while you're waiting for that game to release // we intend to offer you The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, reborn on Wii U, to play in the meantime.
I hope you will look forward to both The Wind Waker and our all new Zelda title.
As you've seen, we are working on two The Legend of Zelda games for the Wii U — one remade title, and one completely new title. We are planning to release The Wind Waker by this Fall. Some Nintendo Direct viewers may not have had a chance to play this game, even though you had some interest in it, because Nintendo Gamecube didn't have a very big install base to reach to all of you. We also think The Wind Waker, with its whimsical and enduring cartoon style is the perfect for introducing first time players to the Zelda universe.
This time, we not only will be upgrading the graphics, but we'll also tune up the overall game experience. You will be able to play it on the TV, but you'll also be able to play it off-TV on the Wii U GamePad. You should be able to use Miiverse, this time, too. I think you will find this can add new elements of fun to this game.
As for the brand new Wii U Zelda game, since it is a bigger development project, it will take some time before we can make a more concrete announcement. But I hope you will look forward to our new challenges of revisiting every single detail in the Zelda series. Please stay tuned for updates on our new challenges.
Full gallery of HD Windfall images
Nintendo provided some fairly high resolution images alongside this video, which I've uploaded into an album here: imgur (outside link)