Nintendo had plans for Wind Waker 2 in the mid-2000s. In fact, in 2004 it announced a sequel was coming. That didn’t happen, of course, but it was planned.
Even more interesting is that the game was set to ditch the water aspect of Wind Waker.
Nintendo Everything has a translated bit of text from The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts, a book that’s out in Japan now. That text references an interview with Wind Waker Design Manager and Enemy Designer Satoru Takisawa. It turns out they were, in fact, going with a land setting for Wind Waker 2.
“To tell you the truth, we had begun the initial steps towards creating Wind Waker 2 around that time. However, demand for a more Ocarina-like game was growing by the day. We did our very best with Wind Waker, and put everything we had into it…”
Back then, gamers at-large hated the cel shading in Wind Waker
To this day, I still think about how friends of mind and random internet goers were up in arms about the cartoony look of The Legends of Zelda: Wind Waker. The game was cel-shaded, a first for the franchise and something that was rare for the time. It was, and still is, beautiful.
Still, gamers wanted realism and grit, and Zelda didn’t offer it. So, Nintendo went back to the drawing board.
That lead to Twilight Princess. Here’s Takizawa again.
“But Link’s proportions in Wind Waker weren’t very well suited for riding on horseback, he was too short, and an adult version of Toon Link did not seem appropriate either. So, while we were stuck on those problems, we became aware of the greater demand for a more realistic, taller Link. High-budget live-action fantasy movies were also huge at the time, so with all things considered, we decided to have at it. I was on board with the project as art director, and started off by bringing [Yusuke] Nakano on to do the design for Link.”
For what it’s worth, I continue to love the look of Wind Waker.