Nintendo's cross-generation The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is now playable on Xbox Series X. Originally released in 2006 for Nintendo's then soon-to-be-retired GameCube as well as the original Wii, Link's foray into the Twilight realm, like all of its predecessors (and successors), is a first-party exclusive developed in-house, so most fans probably didn't expect to see it on an Xbox console.
It's worth noting that the two platform holders have been on incredibly good terms as of late but whereas Microsoft been known to release first-party software on the Switch, the Big N has yet to respond in kind. It's without the latter's blessing that Twilight Princess has turned up on Xbox in fully playable form, then, with the process having being achieved instead with a specific app.
As showcased by Twitter user Simm, RetroArch, emulation software which allows the user to mimic the hardware and user interface of a 'foreign' machine, can be purchased and installed on Xbox Series X via direct download from the Xbox Store, allowing the console to run and execute files not officially supported, i.e. libreto cores. A well-known example of this is XMB, a clone of Sony's interface used for PlayStation 3 and Vita and it's something similar to this that Simm has used to make The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess compatible with non-native hardware.
While certainly, a novel method in which to experience Link's struggle to triumph over Ganondorf's endless scheming to conquer Hyrule, the inconsistency of Simm's gamepad inputs is noticeable, to say the least. The reasons for this disconnect, they reveal, is due to inputs requiring manual mapping and not being native, meaning to make the game control as expected, RetroArch users will have to individually assign camera/character movement and interaction buttons themselves. Simm also notes that this is but one available avenue of getting unofficial software running on Xbox Series X, though declines to offer any others.
As for concerns over legality, RetroArch is publicly available to purchase (approx. $20) and install on Xbox, making it an officially supported product. What users then decide to do with that is where things stray into a grey area. Nintendo has historically been incredibly protective of its intellectual property, with anyone found to be misusing it often being cracked down on hard, either with cease and desist orders or other legal action.
In this instance, it's unlikely anyone known to be playing The Legend of Zelda on Xbox Series X will face any repercussion, though it wouldn't at all be surprising, in light of this news, that Microsoft is prompted to reevaluate the RetroArch's availability on its platform. Until the time that Nintendo announces a port or remake of Twilight Princess, similar to that recently announced for 2011's chronological first entry, Skyward Sword, this will remain the most convenient option of reliving a classic without having to blow the dust off of a defunct console.
Last year marked the 35th anniversary of Super Mario. To celebrate, Nintendo brought some of their superstar's best adventures to the Switch, along with new games as well. Now that it's 2021, it is time for The Legend of Zelda fans to celebrate 35 years of this amazing franchise, and they can't wait to see what Nintendo has in store.
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