The following is an opinion article and contains speculation. You are allowed to disagree.
Recently, my friend IntelliHeath finished the Den of Trials! Talking to him about Triforce’s Heroes, I realized that the game never received any new maps, or word of further support. It’s been several months since the last updated for The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes came out, and it looks like it’s the end. This is pretty surprising as there is text within the game to support the idea that paid DLC was originally planned for this fabulous title. So what happened?
The costume multiplayer themed Zelda title was originally conceived in 2009 by Hiromasa Shikata while working on Spirit Tracks. The main inspiration was Zelda possessing the phantom for most of the game. During a the development of Link Between Worlds, the idea came up again and work was begun.
The costume dresser title was announced at E3, 2015 and released very shortly after. Compared to most Zelda titles, the timespan between announcement and release was relatively short. The game was released slightly before Halloween 2015 in most regions (Korea got the title in January 2016).
Right before release, there was an active Internet campaign with trailers, screenshots and a healthy amount of press coverage. Despite this, the game had a lukewarm reception, having only 73% on Metacritic, which is pretty low for a Zelda title. The lack of a good single player mode, Friendly Tokens effectively locking costumes, region locked multiplayer, the lack of voice chat, and matchmaking were the main complaints by most reviewers. Source Gaming even reviewed the title, giving it a four out of five.
Some of the complaints were addressed within the two updates for the game. Friendly Tokens were made available post game, matchmaking was improved considerably and added a new featured called Hero Points. The Den of Trials was added…and that was it. The game has not been updated since December 22nd, 2015.
I believe the main reason Triforce Heroes never got any paid DLC is because a combination of that lukewarm reception, and the lack of sales. The game barely passed the million mark by February 2016 (page 4), and was outsold by several older, more popular titles. Furthermore, the titles with dedicated DLC have had far better sales. Mario Kart 8 sold over 5 million and Super Smash Bros for 3DS sold over 7 million. DLC can be a hard pill to swallow for more players and only a portion of the player base will purchase DLC. When a game sells only 1 million, there will not be enough of a significant financial impact to justify keeping a team together to work on more content.
Triforce Heroes was also announced with several other titles that marked a departure from their respected series origins. amiibo Festival, Federation Force and later Color Splash are all Nintendo titles seen as a major change from their series. Despite Four Swords and Four Swords Adventure existing, many fans claimed that Triforce Heroes was too multiplayer focused for a Zelda title and that it was missing the series’ charm.
I think it’s a shame that the game never received any further updates. It’s one of my most played games on the 3DS, and I enjoyed the online experience (for the most part). It’s possible that the plan for additional DLC was dropped even before the Den of Trials was released, as Aonuma nor Nintendo have never commented on the game’s support. However, with the text in the game, I do believe the team left the option available for them. This is similar to how DLC might have been “planned” for Smash for Wii U and 3DS.
Arguably, if the game had a stronger single player experience it would have sold more to the Zelda fanbase. Zelda is known for its’ single player, and players look forward to immersing themselves into Link’s world with every installment. If the single player experience was more polished, then Hyrule Warriors might not have been slammed so hard when it was released.
It would’ve been nice to see an update to the game to correspond for Hyrule Warriors: Legends and Twilight Princess HD’s release (Maybe a Midna costume?). Netherless, this is a big year for the Zelda franchise, and there is a lot of Zelda related content coming out.
What do you guys think? What kind of DLC would you have liked to see in Triforce Heroes? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below!