Huge Zelda leak 'all true'

Details of all three E3 demos and loads more.

Nintendo is thought to be furious this morning after a Spanish games magazine revealed embargoed details of the new Legend of Zelda GameCube title ahead of next month's E3 trade event.

Scans appeared online late yesterday, posted and translated by GamesAreFun, and a source outside Nintendo but privy to the arrangement has since confirmed to this website that "it's all true".

The Spanish mag's preview reveals a number of key details of the game - though not its official title - and outlines what we can expect to see in the three demo sections cobbled together for people to play at E3 next month.

There are also new screenshots, which you'll presumably be able to see at the above link until someone gets legal.

According to the preview, Link begins the game aged 16 in a place called Toaru Village (without his iconic green tunic, interestingly) and then grows up (and gets changed) as the game plays out.

Although play mechanics are said to be similar to Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker (with Z-targeting returning using the left trigger and automatic jumping still in place), fighting on horseback will play a major part for the first time, cuccos are back and, according to director Eiji Aonuma, the transparent water we've seen Link swimming through in screenshots will also eventually open the door to a new "sub-aquatic world".

Aonuma also revealed that this will be one of the biggest Zelda games ever, apparently two or even three times the size of Ocarina of Time with the potential for more than 70 hours of gameplay. We're always sceptical about these "X hours" claims, and it's not really quantified in the text, but it's sure to be appreciated by Zelda aficionados - assuming most of those hours aren't spent sailing around aimlessly, eh?

Aonuma said that the game's graphics, despite the rendered look, would be taking a stylistic approach heavily influenced by Japanese shonen (boys) manga, and not simply aping the CG look of Square Enix's current-gen Final Fantasy RPGs.

The E3 demos, meanwhile, don't sound like they'll give us much of an impression of the dungeon design, but it sounds like we're in for some treats anyway. The first, set in Toaru Village, will be more of a tutorial than anything, while the second will see Link on horseback trying to guide cows into a stall on a ranch within a time limit - a bit like the old catching-chickens routine.

The third, however, sounds much more exciting. It sees Link on horseback tackling a horde of enemies led by a nasty fellow on an armoured boar. It all plays out on a huge battlefield, apparently, as Link uses his sword and bow (now with a limited range) to bring down his adversaries.

Elsewhere, there's also said to be a battle on a bridge with Link using his sword to joust, so to speak.

We'll bring you our own thoughts on the E3 showing once we're on the ground in LA. The show runs from May 18th to 20th, with a separate Nintendo event going on earlier in the week.

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