One night, I had a dream. It was about a brand new Zelda game, one with innovative ideas in both the story and gameplay departments. The thing is, only did I realize in the morning, that it was a Zelda game. I don't know why I had this dream. I hadn't thought about or played a Zelda game anytime recently.
As I was dreaming, I saw the character moving through some woods. Woods that were bright, yet seemed endless and filled with secrets in the shadows. The character moved through the woods, but he did not just run. No, he could dash! Keep in mind, this was before Skyward Sword had been revealed. His dashing was not human though. It seemed almost mechanical, more jet boots than Pegasus Boots. The character jumped, that were obstacles through out the environment that lent themselves to whimsical platforming. Things that shot him into the air, all manner of whirligigs and gizmos that caused spinning and jumping through the air, more in line with a Mario game than anything else. Finally, he arrived at a temple. Outside of the temple he met a strange man that he already knew. Imagine the Happy Mask Salesmen, only instead of masks, his ware was machines. It was clear that this man was the guide in this journey. At the temple, he placed his sword into a pedestal, and things changed much as they do in Ocarina of Time. He was younger, but the temple was not the same. It went from being a one or two room temple, to a full on dungeon, full of monsters. It seemed unreal, not in the sense that it was within a dream, but that even in the dream itself it seemed imaginary.
Of course, as soon as I awoke, I realized that the dream was of a Zelda game. If the other elements hadn't made it obvious, the temple had. Much like minds typically do, mine raced to piece the elements together and create an explanation. I had no control, my brain had to do it. My mind had to understand the truths of this imaginary world. My favorite Zelda game has always been Majora's Mask, with a Link to the Past a close second. This game would combine my favorite elements of those two games with elements of other favorites like Super Mario 64 and Shadow of the Colossus.
The story was obvious. After saving the land of Termina, Link returns to Hyrule. At least, he tries. As we know from Wind Waker, the hero never appears. Now I know why. Link returns to the Lost Woods. Of course, these are the same woods that breed insanity and turn men to monsters. Link, burdened by his experiences in Termina, all of his time travel, the splitting of the time line, and the Woods themselves, cannot make it through to Hyrule. He slowly loses his sanity, but retains his form due to the Triforce of Courage. Years pass. One day the strange man I mentioned earlier, let's call him the Merchant, finds Link sitting at the base of a tree. When he approaches him, Link becomes panicked and violent, but the man's strange presence allows him to calm Link down. The Merchant knows of the affects of the woods, and knows that Link must be special to retain his true form. The man crafts a mechanical mask for Link, and gives it to him. This mask gives Link, at least some, grip on his sanity.
The Merchant sends Link out on a task to find something in the Woods. He tells Link that he will look for something else while Link completes his mission, and that it will be something Link will find useful. When Link returns, the Merchant guides Link to a temple. Once Link enters and places his sword in the pedestal, he finds himself in a dungeon, in the past as his younger self. When he completes the dungeon and awakes, he finds that the Merchant has a mechanical enhancement for him: The boots I mentioned earlier.
The game play of the game went thusly: Link explores the Lost Woods, with a heavier emphasis on platforming and exploration than has ever been in the series. In these woods are all sort of new items, enemies, bosses, and power ups, some optional, some mandatory. After completing certain tasks, Link returns to the temple and the cycle continues.
Over time, Link regains and maintains his sanity. This causes him to be aware of the fact, that nothing about this temple makes sense. It reminds him of the Temple of Time, yet it is in the Lost Woods. Why does he become younger if he is simply going to places he has never seen or heard of before? None of it makes sense. He also has become more aware of the evil growing throughout the woods. Some people have entered into the woods in the hopes of escaping the evil that is gripping the world. But what is this evil? No one knows, and if they did, they no longer do after they are gripped by the insanity the Woods cause. Link grows paranoid of the Merchant. He knows he has his motives for helping Link, but does not know what they are. Link confronts the Merchant. The Merchant, backed into a corner, admits the truth about the Temple. It is a machine that he created to help Link regain his insanity, through the power of perceived time travel and dreams, as well as his mechanical changes he makes to Link while Link is unconscious. Everything is clear to Link now: The Merchant is the evil presence. Link defeats the Merchant, and confident that he has rid Hyrule of evil, sets off in search of a new land.
Alas, as history, would show, Link was wrong. The Merchant was simply trying to prepare Link to defeat the true evil: Ganon.