The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (ゼルダの伝説 スカイウォードソード, Zeruda no Densetsu Sukaiwōdo Sōdo) is an action-adventure game currently in development by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development, and the sixteenth installment in the Legend of Zelda series. Scheduled for 2011, it will be released for the Wii console and will heavily use the Wii MotionPlus peripheral for sword-fighting, with a revised Wii Remote pointing system used for targeting.
The gameplay of Skyward Sword will depart from the traditional flow of alternating overworld and dungeon exploration. The controls will also be revised, with swordplay based on Wii MotionPlus, allowing one-to-one motion control between the Wii Remote and the in-game sword. In contrast to earlier installments, battles will not be based solely on timing attacks, but also on their location, such as the direction in which enemies are hit. In addition to the sword, there will be items like a mechanical flying beetle to grab items from a distance and drop them, a whip as seen in Spirit Tracks, and series staples such as bombs, a slingshot, and a bow, which can also be controlled with the Wii MotionPlus. A stamina meter will allow for sprinting and running up walls. Drinking potions does not interrupt the gameplay anymore and the maps will be easier to read, making it harder to get lost in the game. The HUD within the demo shown at E3 is subject to change, and the player will be able to turn it off.
Skyward Sword is a prequel to Ocarina of Time. The Link appearing in the game was born and raised in Skyloft, a group of islands floating above the clouds. Leading an ordinary life there, he one day discovers the Skyward Sword, which leads him to another, previously unknown land beneath, ruled by evil forces. Using the sword to travel back and forth between the two worlds, the mystery of why they became separated is gradually revealed to Link. The Skyward Sword will turn into the Master Sword at some point in the game, and while giving Link advice, it will assume the form of the female figure in the concept art shown at E3 2009.
At Nintendo's coinciding press conference in June 2010, it was announced that the subtitle was Skyward Sword, and that the game would be delayed until 2011, though the team is still aiming for a release early that year. The presentation also revealed a hybrid of graphics from Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker, resulting in a style resembling a painting come to life, inspired by French artist Paul Cézanne, and Miyamoto's love for impressionist art. One of the reasons the fully realistic visuals were dropped is to allow for more exaggerated character designs, pointing the player to the enemies' attacks and weaknesses. In concordance with Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, staff members have expressed their wish to include orchestral music in Skyward Sword, though the matter has not been thoroughly discussed and decided upon yet.
Source: Wikipedia, "Skyward sword", available under the CC-BY-SA License.