So I want to share a little bit of reasoning/game design about that because removing the jump was not an easy decision to make and it might not even be final.
My game has a central theme and I want the theme to be reflected through gameplay, story, and music. The hand holding stuff is one of the central mechanics that really work in that respect. Jumping/platforming simply is not an extension of the theme, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be present in the game as a navigation tool. However, I can’t half-ass it, I don’t want to put a jump in because “it is expected of a game to have a jump button”. Having a single jump button is not enough to justify a platforming game. I need more depth, things like a high jump, a double jump, a wall jump, a long jump; anything really, as long as it gives something to the player so that they can master it.
The big problem with that is that this doesn’t really work well with the hand holding mechanic. To be more precise, I don’t feel like I could make it work because it is out of my league. Having multiple jump options would mean that they must work in tandem with the hand holding, meaning that both characters would behave logically when jumping together. This means that if I want the jump to be reactive, I can’t spare time for the second character to reposition herself. Since platforming is simply skill-based navigation, this case means that precise jumping would simply not work.
There are a few solutions to this. First, I could simply make it so most jumps are only available when the characters are played alone. Right away, this goes against the theme since I want the characters to have more options when they are together, not less. The other solution would be to transform this game into something more similar to Banjo-Tooie, where you can have the characters be alone or together, and they have more abilities together. To be honest, this is kind of my fallback option. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I set out to make a Zelda clone with humanoid characters and the Banjo-Tooie playstyle would not work with humanoid characters.
In the end, I’m really making a Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask clone, maybe to a fault. Platforming is a tool of navigation, not a gameplay goal, so this is why I opted to make jumping contextual. It’s still slightly skill-based, the same way it was in OoT/MM: you need to orient yourself correctly and time your jump (okay, not the most skill-based, but it is still possible to fail compared to a simple button prompt). This won’t be the only navigation tool, there will (hopefully) be items to find that will create both environment interactions and character interactions. With this design in mind, it feels more realistic to me to make most interactions contextual so that I can properly position both characters before such actions.
This is kind of an open letter to you dev people. If you have ideas or opinions about my current design, feel free to let me know.