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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a Wii U enhanced remaster of the Nintendo GameCube game, The Wind Waker. It was officially announced via a Nintendo Direct webcast on January 23, 2013. Further information on the game was revealed at E3 2013 and in subsequent Nintendo Directs.

The Wind Waker HD first became available on September 20, 2013 as a digital download from the North American Nintendo eShop.[2] Two limited edition bundles of the game—one a special edition Wii U Deluxe Set, the other including an exclusive figurine of Ganondorf—were also released in North America and Europe.

The remaster has more detailed graphics than the original, namely rendering at a higher resolution, a new lighting engine and higher resolution textures. Some changes to gameplay were also made, the most significant of which include new items—namely the Swift Sail, the Tingle Bottle, and an improved Picto Box—as well as the addition of a Hero Mode.

Changes and Additions[]



An official screenshot displaying the enhanced graphics of the remaster.

Being a game for the Wii U, The Wind Waker HD runs at 1080p, compared to the original game's 480p. The remaster uses an enhanced version of the original game's cel-shading, the soft-shading. It utilizes a full-fledged lighting and shadowing system that allows for more realistic and fuller lighting than the original.[8] The remaster also features bloom lighting to give a sense of "surreal realism".[9] In low-light areas, the cel-shading gives way to a softer, more realistic shading system. The lighting from torches and other point light sources is now much softer and more realistic, and objects now subtly reflect the color of nearby light sources. Other shaders are used to increase the expressivity of characters. The textures used are the original high-resolution ones created during development of the original game, which used scaled-down versions of the textures to match the GameCube's hardware capabilities. 2D elements such as icons and the HUD are completely redrawn to match the style of the game's promotional artwork.

Heat wave effects in Dragon Roost Cavern now only appear when the fire fountains are spouting. When Link uses a Warp Jar, the transition effect is a shrinking/growing circle instead of the fade-out in the original game.

The shallow water in the boss room for Puppet Ganon, which in the original game did not reflect Link and some other objects, now reflects everything within the room.

Though all other graphical elements were updated for high-definition display, the 3D models and character animations of the original game were left untouched in the remaster.


Music in The Wind Waker HD uses higher-quality instrument samples than the original game. The updated instruments are most noticeable in fanfares and some boss themes. Some music includes new instrumental tracks, creating a fuller sound. However, most sound effects are unchanged from the originals.

While the original game used Dolby (Surround) Pro Logic II, which encodes surround sound using analog stereo audio, the remaster uses true digital surround sound encoded for and sent through HDMI.

Gameplay Elements[]


The Swift Sail increases sailing speed.

The gameplay in The Wind Waker HD has been tuned up from the original to enhance the player experience. The Triforce Shard Quest has been shortened; five of the eight shards are now found directly without having to go through the process of decrypting a Triforce Chart. Certain item usage cutscenes, such as the cutscenes that play upon using the Grappling Hook to swing and salvage, have been shortened.

Some items, such as the Picto Box, have new and improved functions. The Picto Box can now store 12 pictographs as opposed to 3.[10] Link is now able to take self-portraits while making any of nine facial expressions.[10] Upon activating the Nintendo Gallery side quest, a mark appears in the upper left corner of pictographs that are eligible for figurine-making. In addition, Carlov can now sculpt up to 12 figurines per day, as opposed to only one. The gallery can thus be completed more rapidly and efficiently. All pictographs can be sent to other players in the Tingle Bottle. The receiving players can add the pictographs to their own Picto Boxes and use them to complete their Nintendo Gallery. Additionally, he no longer needs a Forest Firefly for the Deluxe Pictobox.

Sailing has also been improved with an upgrade to the sail, called the Swift Sail. The Swift Sail enables the King of Red Lions to sail faster by pressing the A button. In addition, it automatically changes the direction of the wind to the boat's heading. This replaces the function of the A button in the original game, which was used to stop the boat from sailing. The changed functions came about as a result of technical limitations in the original; the GameCube version loaded only a single "chunk" of ocean as Link traveled, requiring the slower sailing speed to mask loading times,[11] while the Wii U can and does load the entire Great Sea at once. This does, however, result in occasional framerate issues, particularly during rainfall.

TWWHD Miiverse
The Tingle Bottle allowed players to send messages through Miiverse

The Tingle Bottle, which allowed players to randomly send messages to other players, replaces the Tingle Tuner in the original game. The Tingle Bottle was used to send messages in bottles, which would subsequently appear on the shores of other players' islands.[12] The Tingle Statues, previously only accessible via the Tingle Tuner's Tingle Bombs, can now be obtained with regular Bombs. Knuckle now appears on Tingle Island after all five statues have been found.

Link's actions have been altered slightly. He is now capable of changing direction while swinging on a rope, without having to stop first. He can also move while in first-person view while aiming the Grappling Hook, Boomerang, Hero's Bow, and Hookshot. However, the shield button is no longer the "grab" button for draggable objects, and instead both the "grab" and "climb" commands are part of the primary action button, making block controls act like older games.

The game includes a higher-difficulty Hero Mode, but unlike other incarnations it has no unlocking requirements, and can be toggled on or off when starting a new game or when a save game is resumed.[10] Recovery Hearts do not appear in Hero Mode, forcing Link to use potions to regain health.[10] In addition, enemies deal double the amount of damage as in normal gameplay.[13]

The game supports GamePad-only play, allowing for play without a television, as well as control with the Wii U Pro Controller, for those who prefer a traditional control scheme. During use of the Pro Controller, the GamePad can still be used as a map.

Other altered gameplay elements include:[10]

  • The starting Wallet holds 500 Rupees instead of 200. As a result, obtaining a wallet upgrade is no longer mandatory to pay Tingle's fees and thus complete the game.
  • There are 5 additional Treasure Charts that replace the removed Triforce Charts.
  • The Hero's Charm is no longer obtained from Mrs. Marie. It is found at the bottom of the Savage Labyrinth. The Piece of Heart that was there in the original game was moved to an underwater chest, found via the new Treasure Chart #46.
  • Link does not get knocked out of the King of Red Lions when he takes damage at sea (aside from some exceptions, such as explosive barrels).
  • Enemies have less invincibility after being damaged, making it possible for certain sword swings to hit twice.
  • Conducting with the Wind Waker does not begin until a direction is input.
  • After being learned the first time, the preanimated version of Wind Waker melodies is only cued the first time the song is played since loading the game, with the main exception being during the critically important parts (using the Wind's Requiem on the symbols to make a Treasure Chest appear, or removing the stone tablets in the Earth Temple and Wind Temple by conducting Earth God's Lyric or Wind God's Aria when Medli or Makar are with Link).
  • While gliding, Deku Leaf shows a Tingle Tuner-like glowing symbol below Link's feet where he will land.
  • When using the Grappling Hook, you can now alter grapple swing direction while swinging.
  • While using the cannon, the projectile's trajectory is displayed on the screen, thereby making aiming the cannon much easier.
  • Once obtained the first time, a Fishman's advice can be read from the Sea Chart.
  • The Fishmen no longer change their location after feeding them bait.
  • Pots which previously contained 3 of an item now only contain 2.
  • Items dropped by enemies defeated at sea are automatically drawn towards Link.
  • Forest Water lasts for 30 minutes instead of 20.
  • The figurine of Knuckle is required to complete the Nintendo Gallery.
  • When a Big Octo's eye is destroyed, it glows blue instead of turning black.
  • Lenzo's Legendary Pictographs cost 150 Rupees instead of 50.
  • The chest that Treasure Chart 18 leads to contains 50 Rupees instead of one.
  • The Forest Firefly is no longer needed to get the Deluxe Picto Box from Lenzo. He gives Link a Joy Pendant for bringing him one.
  • Jump Attacking on top of the chest in the Ghost Ship no longer freezes the game.
  • There is now a northwest wind in Hyrule, as opposed to no wind.
  • The Boomerang no longer hits Kalle Demos through the bulb when it comes back to Link.
  • Molgera's tongue no longer extends and his tongue cannot be latched onto while he is flying towards Link.
  • The Octorok figurine no longer states that Octoroks are the "winners of the perfect attendance award", since they were absent from Twilight Princess.
  • The Goddess Pearls symbols now are always visible regardless of which direction they are facing.
  • Medli and Makar will follow Link through doors in the Earth and Wind Temples, instead of having to be carried through them.
  • A circle of light no longer appears around Link when he enters a dark area.
  • All-Purpose Bait now costs 30 Rupees when purchased from Beedle, as opposed to 10 Rupees.
  • Seagulls can no longer fly through the small tree saplings that are found throughout many different islands.
  • After clearing the Forbidden Woods, the Octoroks near the entrance to the Forest Haven will disappear.
  • Certain character animations that were repeated in the original game are now only used once.

Interface Changes[]

Because The Wind Waker HD was developed for control with the Wii U GamePad, additional control methods have been added. The Inventory has been made accessible through the GamePad's touchscreen, with no need to pause the game. It is now possible to slide an item icon on the GamePad to one of the three slot icons at the top of the screen, allowing players to switch items quickly. The older style of item selection by pausing and using the d-pad and buttons must be used when playing the game with the Wii U Pro Controller, and may also still be used with the Wii U GamePad.

Some items, such as the Wind Waker, are permanently mapped to certain buttons as opposed to being equipped to the three item slots. This allows players to quickly and conveniently access these items, as they are key to playing the game.

First-person aiming of items is achieved through either the right analog stick or the GamePad's gyroscope, though there is an option to disable the gyroscope. Link can also move in first-person mode, though item usage is limited to ranged weapons such as the Hero's Bow.[10]

Other Changes[]

Some cutscenes where Link makes a facial expression silently have voices added to match the expressions. The ending cutscene and staff credits, which were prerendered in the original game, are now fully real-time cutscenes in the remaster. However, the smooth transition effects from the original cutscenes (the first part of the ending cutscene transitions with a fade effect to the credits, which then fade to the second part of the cutscene) have been replaced by fade-to-white effects, presumably due to the difficulty of implementing the original cutscenes' transitions in real-time rendering.

The intro cutscene, which plays upon the start of a new file, is skippable, but no other cutscenes are.


The game was officially announced on January 23, 2013, in which only a couple of screenshots featuring Windfall Island, Link, Tetra, and Sue-Belle were shown. The decisions to remaster the game came after the team decided to attempt to upscale the game's graphics to the Wii U's HD capabilities, after doing the same to the graphics of Twilight Princess in E3 2011. The game was also designed to decrease the gap in time between the release for Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild.[14]

Nintendo showed the first trailer for the game during its E3 Direct livestream on June 11, 2013, revealing the game in motion as well as some of the new features of the game.

Limited Editions[]

TWWHD-WiiU Bundle Console
Ganondorf figurine

The Ganondorf figurine with the dome

Wii U Deluxe Set Bundle[]

A limited edition The Wind Waker HD Wii U Deluxe Set was release in North America at a suggested retail price of $299.99.[15] The bundle included a black Deluxe Wii U console, a Zelda-themed GamePad, a download code for a digital copy of The Wind Waker HD, and a download code for a digital copy of Hyrule Historia.[16] The bundle was later released in Europe on the same day as the game's launch on October 4.[17]

Ganondorf Figurine Bundle[]

Another limited edition bundle, which included a physical copy of the game and an exclusive Ganondorf figurine, was also released on October 4 in North America and Europe. In North America, the bundle was sold exclusively by GameStop at a suggested retail price of $54.99.[18] In the United Kingdom, the bundle was a GAME exclusive.[19] The European Ganondorf figurine came with a plastic dome, feature that was not included in the North American version.

Speedrun Records[]

Main article: Speedrun Records
Category Runner Time Date
Any% mralberto23 45m 16s March 6, 2022
Any% (No Manual Super Swim) mralberto23 1h 6m 15s March 6, 2022
Any% (No Barrier Skip) mralberto23 2h 52m 8s Dcember 15, 2021
Any% (No Barrier Skip, No Manual Super Swim) mralberto23 3h 12m 56s December 18, 2021
Any% (Start at the Grappling Hook) mralberto23 27m 47s March 6, 2022
Any% (Glitchless) mralberto23 4h 26m 43s December 27, 2021
100% mralberto23 5h 52m 38m August 10, 2022
100% (Partial) mralberto23 4h 49m 2s December 8, 2021
100% (Partial, No Manual Super Swim) mralberto23 5h 11m December 14, 2021
100% (Partial, Glitchless) mralberto23 7h 9m 17s December 22, 2021
All Dungeons mralberto23 1h 59m 34s January 29, 2022
All Dungeons (No Manual Super Swim) mralberto23 2h 19m 29s April 24, 2022



As of September 30 2021, The Wind Waker HD has sold 2.35 million copies worldwide.[20]

Fan Reception[]

WatchMojo staff member Aaron Brown chose The Wind Waker HD as his 5th favorite Legend of Zelda game as part of a "Top 5 Zelda Games (Showdown)" video over on MojoPlays, other staff member Johnny Reynolds also picked it as his 2nd favorite Legend of Zelda game.[21]


TMC Forest Minish Artwork Names in Other Regions TMC Jabber Nut Sprite
Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト HD (Zeruda no Densetsu Kaze no Takuto HD) The Legend of Zelda: Baton of Wind HD
Federal Republic of Germany German The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD


Related Articles[]

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Sound Selection

External Links[]


  1. 株式会社ヘキサドライブ on Twitter, Twitter, published 2013-9-26, retrieved 2015-05-16.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "The digital version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD will also launch on Sept. 20, while the packaged version launches Oct. 4 with distinctive gold-foil packaging, both at a suggested retail price of $49.99."Nintendo Offers Unrivaled Value and Variety This Holiday Season with Lower Wii U Price, Zelda Wii U Bundle and New Nintendo 2DS Portable, Nintendo, published 2013-08-28, retrieved 2013-08-29.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 7
  5. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Nintendo.co.uk.
  6. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 10
  7. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 256
  8. Wind Waker HD E3 2013 Trailer, .
  9. Wii U Developer Direct - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD @E3 2013, .
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 The Wind Waker HD changes list, Zelda Universe, published 2013-10-06, retrieved 2015-05-16.
  11. Developer Direct - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD @E3 2013 (Wii U), .
  12. "Players will also be able to post messages to Miiverse, which exist within the game world as notes in a bottle. Notes will then wash ashore in other players' games." — Andrew Goldfarb, E3 2013: Zelda Wind Waker HD Release Window Announced, IGN, published 2013-06-11, retrieved 2013-06-11.
  13. The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker HD Hero Mode Trailer, .
  14. "After the Zelda team showed the Wii U Zelda demo that we called the Zelda HD Experience at E3 2011, we continued to experiment with converting past Zelda styles into HD as we continued to consider graphical styles for the new game." —Eiji Aonuma (Wii U Direct)
  15. "A new limited-edition Wii U bundle featuring The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD launches on Sept. 20 at a suggested retail price of $299.99."[1], Nintendo Press Room, published 2013-08-28, retrieved 2013-08-29.
  16. "The bundle includes a black Deluxe Wii U console; a GamePad controller adorned with gold lettering, a gold Hyrule crest and gold symbols from the game; a download code for the digital version of Hyrule Historia . . . and a code that can be used to download The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD from the Nintendo eShop immediately at no additional cost."[2], Nintendo Press Room, published 2013-08-28, retrieved 2013-08-29.
  17. Zelda: Wind Waker HD Premium Pack confirmed for Europe, game also getting limited edition, Nintendo Everything, published 2013-08-28, retrieved 2013-10-05.
  18. "GameStop is also offering an exclusive Ganondorf figurine bundled with the packaged game at a suggested retail price of $54.99."[3], Nintendo Press Room, published 2013-08-28, retrieved 2013-08-29.
  19. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker GAME Exclusive Ganondorf Limited Edition, GAME, retrieved October 5, 2013.
  20. "The Legend of Zelda:
    The Wind Waker HD
    2.35 million pcs."
    — Nintendo, Top Selling Title Sales Units, Nintendo Co., Ltd.: Investor Relations Information, published November 4, 2021, retrieved December 7, 2021.
  21. Brown, A., & Reynolds, J. (2023). Top 5 BEST Zelda Games (Showdown). YouTube. MojoPlays (WatchMojo). Retrieved July 29, 2023, from https://youtu.be/F1yZsdJYGak.

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