What is being added/changed
- Touch screen and stylus controls for Wind Waker wand - Fittingly, you can now use the stylus to control the titular Wind Waker (purists can still use the control sticks if they choose). Also of note, you can now equip items via the touch screen meaning you no longer have to pause the game and constantly enter a menu to switch between the games many items. This got to be a little irksome with the sail and Wind Waker often being switched in and out of you inventory way too frequently. Nintendo has corrected this by assigning these items to the directional pad on the left and keeping the item buttons (A, X, and Y) free for regular inventory.
- Gyro aiming - This may seem trivial but anyone who played Ocarina of Time 3DS will tell you how much more enjoyable aiming was in that game due to the gyro controls. The precision is on par with the Wii Remote and makes looking/aiming a much more enjoyable and immersive experience.
- New faster sail - At some point during the quest, you will gain access to a new sail which will allow you to sail at double speed. The original sailing speed was imposed due to hardware limitations of the GameCube but the Wii U renders the entire ocean overworld at once which lifts those limitations. This is a pretty exciting addition that is sure to improve game flow and eliminate complaints from fans who whined about the plodding pace of exploration.
- Tingle Bottle (Miiverse) - The Tingle Tuner has been completely removed from this version of the game and replaced with the Tingle Bottle. This new item integrates Miiverse in a way never before seen on any Wii U game. The item allows players to create a "message in a bottle" that is thrown out to sea (and in turn posted on Miiverse). You will also see bottles wash up on the shores of your game from other players around the world. It's an interesting feature that maintains the spirit of the Tingle Tuner while eliminating the expense (the Game Boy Advance and Link Cable). The only thing not known at this point is if the hidden Tingle Statues will remain in the game and how you would access them.
- HD remastered graphics - The remastered graphics is a key distinction in that this is not simply an upscaled version of Wind Waker, Nintendo actually went back and reworked everything including textures, shaders and lighting. The lighting is the most noteworthy improvement giving the world a sense of depth not seen in the GameCube original. The new 1080p HD visuals are gorgeous the increased resolution makes the world look massive when compared to the original.
- Off-TV play - One of the Wii U's best features will once again be available for Wind Waker HD. If you are in the middle of your epic quest and someone wants to use the TV, you can drop the game onto the Wii U Gamepad and continue playing. Microsoft can have their TV integration, this is the true game changer.
What is not being added/changed
- No new dungeons - It is well known that The Wind Waker had a few dungeons cut in order to meet its original release in 2003 and many hoped to see their return in the Wii U version. It has been confirmed that these dungeons will not be put into the game. It should be noted that while some may be disappointed by this, series head Eiji Aonuma went on record stating that these dungeons were not lost but instead used in later Zelda games. This means that any Zelda released between 2003 and 2013 potentially has parts of or these entire dungeons incorporated into their worlds. Knowing the fans, I expect to see many debates over the coming years over which games have these "lost dungeons".
- New content - If you are a hard core fan of the GameCube version, do not expect this title to stray far from what made the original a classic. Expect this game to basically take what you loved about the original and tweak the experience to near perfection much like what Nintendo did with Ocarina of Time for 3DS. The only thing that could change would be more modification to the games "second quest" which originally featured stuff like an outfit change and early access to the color camera. A mirror mode of the map is one such possibility.
What we don't know yet
- Triforce of Courage Quest - This quest which takes place late in the game ground things to a halt for many gamer's and has been one of the biggest things fans have asked to be changed. It has been confirmed that this quest has been tweaked to vastly improve the flow of the game but the details have not been revealed yet. I suspect one of the biggest tweaks will reduce or eliminate the massive monetary requirement for translating the Triforce Charts.
- Soundtrack - The trailer on display at E3 2013 featured the soundtrack from the GameCube original but Nintendo is notorious for using alternate music for their Zelda trailers leading many to speculate on potential music changes. While I doubt Nintendo will go for a fully orchestrated version of the soundtrack, we may hear a remastered version of the original in the same way Nintendo improved the sound quality of the Ocarina of Time soundtrack for the 3DS.
- Picto Box capacity - As mentioned before, the games Picto Box camera had an embarrassing low storage capacity making anything it was used for quite a chore. While an increased capacity has not been revealed, early rumors point to the new Picto Box being able to hold many more pictures before needing to be emptied.