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Nintendo drops another surprise, a new Zelda game where you can finally play the princess

By Jerome Taylor, Edward Szekeres and Kathleen Magramo, CNN

(CNN) — Nintendo has dropped a fresh surprise for fans – a new Zelda title where gamers will finally be able to play the titular princess from the legendary fantasy series.

Nintendo has racked up over 140 million sales of Zelda since the first edition title hit the shelves in 1986, making it one of the most successful franchises in gaming history and delighting generations of fans across multiple consoles.

The new game, “The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom,” will release on the Switch console on September 26, according to a statement from Nintendo.

The many iterations of the games usually revolve around the heroic elf Link, who spends most of his adventures trying to save Princess Zelda who, more often than not, has been kidnapped or mysteriously disappeared.

But this latest release will be female-led.

“This time around Link has vanished. Now it’s up to Princess Zelda to step into the protagonist’s role,” Eiji Aonuma, producer of the Zelda series, said in a video released by Nintendo.

Gameplay footage released by Nintendo shows “Echoes of Wisdom” looks similar in both style and substance to 2019’s “Link’s Awakening,” the top-down perspective puzzle-based platformer that boasted a cute cartoon design and was itself a reboot of the Game Boy classic from 1993.

Zelda teams up with Tri, a mysterious fairy, and together they use magical powers to create echoes, what Nintendo describes as “imitations of things found in the environment.”

“Recreate those echoes whenever you like to solve puzzles and defeat enemies,” Nintendo said in its announcement.

“Use echoes of water blocks to reach new heights, make bridges out of old beds, throw rocks at foes – or find your own creative combination of echoes to do things your way,” the company said.

The Zelda franchise has long been lauded for entertaining puzzle solving and ground-breaking gameplay that encourages players to both explore at leisure and tackle problems in different ways.

Open world gaming has become a major feature of more recent titles with 2017’s “Breath of the Wild” becoming one of Nintendo’s most successful and critically acclaimed titles.

The follow-up to that game, last year’s “Tears of the Kingdom,” sold 10 million copies in just three days.

The release of a new Zelda game is the second surprise announcement Nintendo has dropped in recent weeks.

In early May, Nintendo’s president Shuntaro Furukawa said the company plans to release a follow-up to its popular Switch console by March 2025.

The announcement was welcome news to fans who have been salivating for years over the prospect of a potential successor to the 7-year-old Switch.

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