We have waited less than 24 hours since the newest Breath of the Wild trailer launch to take a bold stab at predicting the most epic Legend of Zelda story told to date. Consider this prediction one part analysis, one part intuition, and one part hope. Let us commence nit-picking.
The Newest Adventure
Our first observation indicates that Ganon is back and plays a major role in the destruction that Hyrule faces. This trailer rules out a discontinuation of the Skyward Sword styled “Ganon=Evil.” It seems clear that Nintendo is sticking with their most heart-breakingly nostalgic imbibed trio; Link, Zelda, and Ganon.
The most major question is not how the conflict begins, but when.
Everything we have seen so far in Breath of the Wild trailers has consisted mainly of Link in the wilderness. Now it appears that we have an answer of why that is, which runs in tandem with the title.
Last night we saw something different: civilizations and characters. The trailer begins with Link traveling the familiar landscapes that we have noted for months, but the mood shifts when we hear mention of an event that happened “100 years ago.” What happened 100 years ago?
Judging by the above scene and the subsequent crying, it seems that Zelda has failed her Hyrulian kingdom by allowing a devastation. Obviously, as in Twilight Princess, we are not to blame her but to join her in a counterattack against Ganon. Once again, we ask when this counterattack takes place?
By the looks of this trailer along with the wilderness footage from the last several months, that counterattack can either take place in the Wilderness Age of Link’s present or the Civilization Age of Zelda’s past, 100 years ago.
To be clear, the Breath of the Wild trailers all exhibit two time frames. The later, ruin filled, landscape that Link climbs through, and the one where Zelda is Princess of a civilization. This trailer gives us our first glimpse at the later.
The Deku Tree
The question remains, “How does this wilderness roaming Link incarnation get involved in the quest?” While there may or may not be a time portal present in the trailer, we see something that connects a few dots.
The Master Sword makes a few connections for us in our chronologies and trailer analysis. First of all, the Master Sword was our ticket to time travel in Ocarina of Time. In that title, Link pulls the sword and then wakes up in a different era. Could that be a factor in bringing him to Zelda’s endangered civilization realm in Breath of the Wild?
Either way, we see the Korok Sprites that we came to love in Wind Waker floating around the location of the Master Sword, which is set before a giant tree. Since the Deku Tree is a pretty timeless Hyrulian entity, that may be the link between wilderness roaming Link and old civilization Zelda. That predication fits well with the Switch’s target generation’s embedded memories of Deku Tree-as-Quest-Initiator in Ocarina of Time.
If Skyward sword did anything, it helped us to realize that we love Zelda. Not just the game, but the character. She is cool, sometimes funny, and can guide her own fate. She does not need to rely on Link alone for rescue. The final shot of the trailer indulges our love for Zelda’s excellent recent character developments.
While we can see that the branch patterns of the tree place Zelda at the location of the Master Sword, part of the predictions here might link her with the Deku Tree that communicates to Link.
In summation, Zelda tells the Deku Tree that civilization has fallen to Ganon (which makes sense with her dirty clothes above), The Deku Tree tells Link to go back in time to save Hyrule. That sounds like the time traveling Zelda story that we know and love, especially if the Master Sword is part of the portal that brings Link back.
Nintendo’s Listening Skills
Nintendo listens to its fans. We love time travel in Ocarina? They provide it throughout the series. We love the Deku Tree from there? We find it in Wind Waker. We love an empowered Twilight Princess Zelda? They give it to us. We want a stronger Link-Zelda connection? Enter Skyward Sword and apparently Breath of the Wild. We miss Epona? Looks like she’s back.
All of these elements find a place in the new trailer. That Link-Zelda connection is so strong that our hearts throb when a voice asks us to save the Zelda we have been introduced to only a minute before.
Do not miss the idea that Zelda’s father is involved in this story somehow. That idea remains a mystery but may be an aspect of Nintendo’s listening skills in effect. The Wind Waker has been one of the most beloved titles to date, and fans enjoyed immensely the induction of a new royal character: The King of Red Lions.
It seems clear that the King of Hyrule makes another appearance in Breath of the Wild, imploring Link to save his daughter again. This plot point could bridge an interesting gap, since players still debate about what happened to the King at the end of Wind Waker.
The induction of voice acting helps to place the voice captioned in the above pic with the final plea to “Save my daughter.”
Not expounded upon here is the induction of a plethora of familiar humanoids that Nintendo has recognized fans love. We predict that these characters will provide aid for Link in both the past and present.
While the above observations seem linked to the trailer and the upcoming title, we still do not know exactly how Link travels back in time to save Zelda. We also do not know if the King of Hyrule is involved from a Wind Waker chronology perspective, or if he’s a new (“incarnation”) character.
We also do not know if that tree is necessarily the Deku Tree — though that would make sense with Nintendo’s eye for tapping into our nostalgia. Not to mention the fact that a huge tree is surrounded by the Korok that we love from Wind Waker’s Deku Tree. Also, it would make sense if the ecological personification of Zelda was found in the title “Breath of the Wild.”
Whatever happens, we will know all on March 3, when the Switch releases. Until then, we can simply re-watch the new trailer dozens of times while waiting for another.