By Steve Dixon
A lot of people are speculating that Gaiden will be Nintendo's undoing, and that it will result in the demise of the N64. Frankly, I get a kick out of this. But still, while Gaiden isn't the N64's last hope, it's still vital to Nintendo, which worries a lot of people. Quite frankly, I'm not worried in the least. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that Zelda: Gaiden will be better than Zelda 64, for three reasons.
1) Like I said, this is an important game to Nintendo. Failure here will probably kill the N64. So Nintendo does the logical thing and brings in the same group who made Zelda 64. Smart. And even though Miyamoto isn't directly involved in the development, he's definately lending a helping hand. Failure is not an option here. Nintendo can't afford to have a major title bomb.
2) The team is going to have much more time to get the game finished. They already have an engine to use, the storyline is finished, the gameplay elements are already in place, and to top it off, they still have a good 5 months to wrap it up. The many glitches found in Z64 will be ironed out, and the game will be tweaked to death.
3) And my biggest reason for expecting a hit is very simple, more stuff to do! There are at least three new minigames, 30 or so masks, and a branching storyline. We're looking at an epic here. Multiple branches in the storyline will result in tons of replay, and it'll be fun to just walk around using the different masks.
Now the downside, NOA will have about 4 months to gut and redesign the game and remove all of the quirky elements like they did with Z64. But who knows, Nintendo may decide not to touch it. It's hard to say. In conclusion, we can draw no conclusions. The game is still miles away, and there's a lot of waiting left to do. About 10 months of it...