With the new footage of the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild premiering during the Nintendo Direct at E3 2021, here are five theories I have about the upcoming game.
So far, almost nobody knows what Nintendo has cooking up with the follow up to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That game is pretty straight forward in terms of its story, but I have a feeling the sequel will be a bit more complex and developed now that the creators already have most of the world established. This doesn’t mean there won’t be new areas to explore and so on, and that’s pretty evident in the latest trailer which concluded the Nintendo Direct at E3 2021. But, the foundation has already been laid with the first game, Nintendo is just expanding on that aspect.
With every new Zelda release, there’s always a huge batch of fans who begin to speculate on possible plot outcomes, or, to put it more lightly, theories. I happen to be one of those fans. What can I say? I can’t help it. I’m a massive Zelda nerd and I’m always anxious to see how Nintendo tops itself with each new installment, especially with the story. With that, here are my five theories about this sequel based on what I’ve seen so far.
5. We’ll be playing as a different Link in some segments of the game (or someone disguised as Link?)
Based on the trailer, there seems to be two iterations of Link in the game. One is the Link we know from the first game who has his hair tied up and is rocking the Champion’s tunic. There’s another one, however, whose hair is let down and doesn’t seem to be wearing any sort of armor or special costume, just civilian clothes, if you will. My guess is we’ll be playing as a totally different incarnation of Link set in another time, at least in some segments of the game. Of course, this could just be the same Link from Breath of the Wild prior to being placed in the healing chamber in the Shrine of Resurrection 100 years before.
It could also be some Link in the future since we aren’t sure where this sequel will be taking place. Another bizarre theory is it isn’t Link at all, but someone disguised as him or controlling him. It could possibly be Ganon or some other being taking control of Link and some footage in the trailer alludes to this theory when some being seems to be taking control of Link through a device on his arm. Notice how you never see Link’s face in the new trailer either. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. We won’t know for sure until we actually play the game, but it does make some sense if you really think about it. This leads me to my next point.
4. Link won’t be the only playable character
It’s hard to think of another game, other than the Super Smash Bros. series or the Hyrule Warriors series, where you can play as another Zelda character that isn’t Link. There have been instances in some of the games where you play as some secondary characters, but in a way, Link is still involved. The most obvious is Majora’s Mask, where you can transform into different beings by putting on different masks. You put on the Deku mask and your turn into a Deku Scrub. You can also turn into a Goron or a Zora by putting on their respective masks. There’s also playing as Wolf Link in Twilight Princess, where you can also control Cucco’s, and then there’s Spirit Tracks, where you can control possessed Phantoms. I’m sure there’s more examples, but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
Based on the trailer, and I’m not sure why, I get the feeling we’ll be able to play as another character besides Link, specifically Zelda. She seems to be accompanying Link in his adventure throughout the game, at least in the first trailer. Plus, playing as Zelda in a mainline Zelda game is long overdue and it seems like the perfect opportunity to utilize this kind of game-changing feature. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to play as Zelda and maybe we’ll finally get the chance to do so. There’s another character I think we’ll have the opportunity to play as.
3. A segment of the game will be played through Ganon’s perspective
I’m not sure how significant or lengthy this segment of the sequel will be, but I believe there’s a strong chance we play as the main antagonist of the entire series, Ganon (or Ganondorf). As mentioned earlier, I think the Link we’ll be playing as in certain parts of the game won’t be the same Link we know and love. However, I truly feel we may be able to play as Ganon here in some capacity. Based on the trailers, I’m not sure what we’ve seen of the villain in this game takes place in the past or the present, so what if we play through Ganon’s origin story here? It’s a possibility, right?
Breath of the Wild was all about breaking the conventions and tropes of how you play Zelda games. This mostly focused on how you play in the world of Hyrule, such as reaching every possible vantage point you can see and how you get there. There were also a number of newly added gameplay elements. I expect this to be the same in the sequel, but what if the creators are trying to break the convention of always and only playing as Link? I don’t think it’s crazy to think we’ll have options to play as different characters in certain segments of the game and a Ganon origin story has always intrigued me. I mean, technically, Demise in Skyward Sword is the origin story, but we’ve never experienced it first hand. Also, since we already know that story, I would love to see how Ganon comes into play after Demise is defeated. Speaking of Demise…
2. We’ll be returning to Skyloft (at least a different version of it)
In the new trailer, the part which caught my eye the most in terms of familiarity is Link skydiving. This instantly reminded me of Link diving through the clouds from Skyloft in the land below the clouds, that being Hyrule. Depending on when this game takes place in the whole timeline (which is overwhelmingly confusing), I can see a new iteration of Skyloft being introduced in the sequel. I mean, at this point, I’d be surprised if it isn’t since it’s pretty obvious, not only because Link is skydiving, but there are a bunch of floating islands in the sky. There’s also a floating Hyrule Castle, but too little is known about this detail and how it’ll affect everything.
Then again, this could just be something new entirely and not be related to Skyward Sword in any way. It wouldn’t be the first time some iteration of Link has traveled to a place in the sky (let’s remember City in the Sky from Twilight Princess for reference). I don’t think it’s a coincidence, though. I don’t think Skyloft solely exists to establish the world of Hyrule and how it came to be. I believe it has the potential to be revisited in a new and unique way and what better way than to do it in this new game?
1. Time travel will be incorporated in one way or another
This theory might debunk some of the other ones I have on this list. However, it’s probably the one that makes the most sense based on what I’ve seen in the trailer. For one, Link seems to be using a time travel ability similar to the Stasis ability he used in Breath of the Wild thanks to the Sheikah Slate. This one is a bit different, though. He’s using his arm here and he’s able to rewind time on a specific object. In this instance, it’s a spiked ball and he’s pushing it back up a mountain. What if he’s able to use this in a more expanded way in the game? This isn’t the only example hinting at time travel either.
Throughout the trailer, you also see fully formed buildings and structures in Hyrule, which could mean this takes place before one of the great calamities came and wrecked havoc on the land. Speaking about both Links, the different Link we see in the trailer could be a Link from a different time. Based on art you see from the first game, there have been some connections made between this Link in the trailer and the character depicted in the art. I can definitely see the resemblance. Lastly, the full trailer, if played backwards, plays the original theme of Breath of the Wild. This could mean this game will be going back in time.
At the end of the day, this could all be over speculation and all of these theories could be baseless. It is fun to think about though, especially when you consider all the hints and clues in the trailer and start to connect the dots.