Zelda: Breath of the Wild Analysis part 1

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T-then Derrick was here, it was like there was 10 hours of footage to analyze. I didn’t even know what he was talking about. Alright. I’m just going to go back to bed now. Back to bed like nothing ever happened.

Andre, wake up! Alright alright I’m up Derrick. Gosh. Can’t a man spend more than 2 months on an analysis in peace?! So needless to say, our analysis machine barely made it through it all the footage from E3. Between trailers, the Treehouse stream, and random footage, there was over 10 hours to get through.

And the poor Analysis Machine is running on fume! But we’re finally ready to present its findings–and as you might have guessed, there’s a loooot to go over. I mean, the moment you start start pulling at one thread, 5 different Zelda sweaters start to unravel–yeah I don’t get how that works either. So over the course of what is by far our longest analysis ever, we’ll explore the game’s setting, the story, the characters, the enemies, the guardians, origin stories, the gameplay, various secrets, and everything else about the world–both inside and outside the Plateau-and yet still tons and tons more somehow–and yes, we’ll even touch on some Timeline stuff too. So buckle up as we explore all the secrets, hidden meanings, and details that we found lurking in ALL of the footage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

So right off the bat, it’s pretty clear that Zelda: Breath of the Wild isn’t your father’s Legend of Zelda, in which Link explored a wide open world with little guidance, outside of a few words imparted by an old man…wait a second…Okay, so maybe Zelda: Breath of the WIld owes just a little more to its predecessors than it seems at first. But it’s this mixture of the old and the new that makes the game so damn interesting, as we can see elements from all over the Zelda timeline present here…which also complicates things a bit when it comes to the timeline. And rest assured that we’ll have more to say about that later in the video too. Now despite Breath of the Wild many departures from the series, the game online slots sa actually opens just like most other Zelda games…with Link…waking up.

But this time things are just a different than before…and it raises all kinds of questions! And our first question involves that strange woman who urges Link awake by asking him to “Open his eyes,” a statement which might be even meaningful than it seems at first glance. So who is this mysterious woman? While it’s impossible to say for sure, the incredibly obvious answer would be Zelda–especially given the fact that she’s awakened Link via telepathy before in A Link to the Past. We then see Link awaken in a bath of blue liquid–a color which matches that of the blue energy seen throughout the world, and it impressively illuminates Link from below, casting a shadow on his chest–which is just the first of several neat lighting touches.

Once the liquid recedes, Link begins to emerge from his bath–revealing the symbol of the Sheikah people on the floor of the bath directly underneath. And given that the Sheikah symbol is a tearful eye–it really makes Zelda’s “open your eyes” comment seem even more meaningful. Especially since he soon obtains the Sheikah Slate–which also has has the Sheikah eye on it–and essentially acts as Link’s third eye into this world with its map function and built-in telescope.Hmmm, we’m starting to notice a theme here… And speaking of the Sheikah–which is something I feel like I’ll be saying a lot during this analysis, did you notice that Link’s wearing boxer-briefs when he first awakens? Yep, even Link appreciates the need for comfort and support while adventuring.

But that’s not all, because their style is remarkably similar to the outfit that Impa’s wore in Ocarina of Time. You remember Impa, right, who happens to be a Sheikah. So Link awakens in a Sheikah shrine wearing what might be Sheikah clothes…so either he’s a Sheikah himself this time, or he was directly involved with them before being placed here. And that leads us to our next question: what is Link doing here in the first place? Nintendo’s been suspiciously vague about this and the only thing that we know for is that Link has been asleep for the past 100 years, at least according to the Old Man he’ll soon meet–and we have to say, for being over 100 years old, Link looks amazing for his age! That Hylian moisturizer must be something else!

But that only further raises the question of why Link was sleeping in the first place? Could it be something similar to Ocarina of Time where Link was too young to be the Hero and was put to sleep until he came of age? Maybe…but probably unlikely given the fact that Link visibly aged all 7 years in that case, whereas he very clearly hasn’t aged anywhere close to 100 years this time around. And because Link hasn’t visibly aged, it seems that calling it “sleep” might be a misnomer, when instead it appears to be closer to cryostasis, which makes sense given the apparent technology seen in this room. Hell, the domed portion above the bath seems as if it might fit perfectly over the lower portion, like a cap. It almost looks like something straight out of Star Wars–so perhaps Link was fully sealed within the rejuvenation pod before it opened, thus beginning the wake-up sequence?

Based on this, it seems possible that Link was put to “sleep” with the knowledge that he would be needed at some point in the future. After all, we’ll soon learn from the Old Man that Calamity Ganon appeared suddenly 100 years ago, before being locked away–that can’t just be coincidence, right?. But we’ll have more on him later.

Now interestingly, this setup is extremely similar to Crystalis on the NES, which also began with the hero reawakening 100 years later, following a major world-threatening event–in a day and age where technology’s been largely abandoned. Oh yeah, and he even emerges from a cave. It’s probably just a coincidence, as that game was developed by SNK…but there was that GameBoy Color remake which was in fact developed and published by Nintendo. Anyways, building on this is our final idea…maybe Link wasn’t really sleeping at all?

Or rather, not JUST sleeping. I mean, the room he awakens in is called the Resurrection Shrine…emphases on resurrection. It could be that Link was either wounded or perhaps even dead 100 years ago, and that he was brought here to be healed and/or resurrected–a process that evidently might take some time. The imagery certainly plays into this idea, with Link walking down a canal toward the light of the outside world, as if he’s been reborn. And given that the blue energy seems to be what brings life to the machines and electronics, it might just have been what gave life to Link too. And we have another wild idea related to that.

Because that blue color can be found all over Link himself. Both his earrings and hair band are blue–and even his eyes too. Now look, it’s probably just coincidence, or an intentional part of the art style, but maybe it hints at a deeper connection Link has with this technology, beyond just the present circumstances? Could there be a technological component to Link too? It would explain the rather digital-looking manner in which he gets torn apart when warping between locations–but again, it’s probably just the art style.

And on the subject of art style, there are a few common visual elements linking pretty much all of the technology together. Of course, there’s the blue energy that powers them–but another common trait includes are the lighted circles connected by lines, which can be seen on Podiums, Towers and Shrine Walls including this one. It’s a cool distinctive design–that also seems to be based on real-life computer chips. See? Yeah, it’s pretty clear we’re not dealing with your typical Indiana Jones temple technology here–we’re talking actual computers this time around. Now interestingly, Zelda’s new-found emphasis on technology may not actually be quite as “new” as it seems.

Okay, so we’ve already pointed out that Breath of the Wild’s open-endedness is similar to the original Legend of Zelda on the NES–and as it turns out, the technology-angle has roots in that game too. Because according to an interview the French publication GameKult had with Shigeru Miyamoto back in 2012, the original idea for The Legend of Zelda wasn’t based on fantasy at all–instead it was rooted in technology and sci-fi, with the Triforce pieces actually being computer chips that Link had to reunite instead. It’s certainly an interesting…link! At any rate, the technology angle is made apparent right from the get-go, from the machine that Link awakens in, to the fact that the entire cave here appears to be artificial, given that Link’s footsteps have a metallic twang to them–which of course, falls right in line with the other Shrines we see later in the game. Although this shrine is distinct from the others in that the entrance is a mere cave opening, albeit one that still looks artificial, opposed to the other Shrines’ more elaborate entrances.

Then there’s also the fact that the walls here are lined with orange and blue lights instead of the usual torches. And of course, there’s the nearby podium lit in blue that awards him the Sheikah Slate, which is basically Hyrule’s version of an eye-iPad–get it? Now the game describes the Sheikah Slate as a device that “You’ve never seen before, yet there’s something oddly familiar about it.” If we take the statement at face value, then while Link may not have seen the Slate itself before, it could still mean that he’s familiar with the technology in general.

Or it might mean that Link only *thinks* he hasn’t seen it before, which could be owed to the fact that he might have amnesia–it would explain his apparent unfamiliarity with this world–at least going off the words of the Old Man, who he’ll soon meet. Or maybe it’s Nintendo’s sly way of breaking the 4th wall, referencing the fact that it resembles the GamePad controller, and this it is familiar to you, the player. But the Sheikah Slate is much more than just a navigational device as it’s also how Link will interface with other technology of this world. We actually see it in use moments later when Link holds it up to a second podium in order to authenticate it, before a door opens to the outside. Yep, authentication–it seems like Hyrule Technology follows Apple‘s closed-ecosystem approach! Guess we won’t be able to buy any knockoff Sheikah Slates.

And did you notice that the podium, like other technology that Link can interact with, was lit with amber-colored lights, before turning blue after being activated, as if it were in a powered-down sleep mode state. Anyways, after exiting the room he woke up in, Link finds a pair of chests that contain an Old Shirt and Well-Worn Pants. Now seeing as these are the very articles that Link lacks, as well as the fact both items are described as old, these might just be the very clothes Link had on him when he was first brought to this shrine. However, both are described as being a “bit too short” which instead suggests they aren’t actually Link’s, and that they were placed here by someone else for him to discover when he wakes up.

But perhaps it’s possible that Link actually did age and grow slightly during his long slumber. It’s also worth mentioning that in Skyward Sword, Scrapper did refer to Link as “Master Short Pants,” so it’s not like it’s anything new for Link, even if the situation isn’t quite the same. So this all raises our 3rd question: how did Link end up here anyway? Again, it’s impossible to say for sure right now, but we do have one suspect: The Old Man DUH DUH DUH.

After all, who’s standing at attention facing directly toward Link the moment he exists the cave? The Old Man. It’s as if he’s been expecting Link all this time–why else would be have set-up camp nearby? There’s not much else of interesting going on around here. And not only is he visibly old, but the game even describes him as as “Old” in the same manner it did the clothing, just to really drive that point home that this dude is oooold. So could he be the one to have put Link in the resurrection chamber?

And subsequently, the one who placed the clothes there for him to find? And maybe he’s been watching over him all this time? If it is, it would mean he’s well north of 100 years in age himself–which seems pretty old even by Zelda standards.. unless he’s a Sheikah. After all, Impa, who is most definitely a Sheikah, survived for hundreds of years while awaiting Link’s return in Skyward Sword. The Old Man also admits that he’s “lived here alone for quite some time” and that he can’t imagine their meeting being a “simple coincidence.” Somehow we’re thinking the Old Man knows a little more than he’s letting on.

Tell us what you know Old Man! Despite his curious coyness, he does provide us with the first concrete details about this world, specifying that the immediate area is called the Great Plateau, and that it’s the birthplace of the entire Kingdom of Hyrule. He then points to the Temple of Time and specifies that it used to be the “site of many sacred ceremonies” but “since the decline of the Kingdom, it now sits abandoned, in a state of decay.” Before we continue, he actually drop dropped some important info…if indirectly.

Because there’s a good reason the plateau is known as the birthplace of Hyrule, and it’s all due to the Temple of Time here. And yes, that is in fact the Temple of Time, as the name’s displayed when Link approaches. Now as you might recall from Skyward Sword, that game took place in a world before Hyrule, back when it was known as the “surface”–which of course confirms that this game comes after Skyward Sword. Now during the course of Skyward Sword, Skyloft’s Isle of the Goddess, which contained the Statue of the Goddess Hylia, returns to the ground at the sight of the Sealed Grounds.

The book Hyrule Historia then elaborates that the Ancient Sage, Rauru, built the Temple of Time over the sealed grounds–as in right here, presumably. And sure enough, if Link explores the Temple of Time in Breath of the Wild, he’ll find a Statue of the Goddess in the back–though this one’s just a wee bit smaller than before–and then there are the even smaller ones surrounding it. But it cements the connection that this is likely the same Temple of Time as the one seen in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. And speaking of the statue, we also know that you can interact with it and pray to the Goddess, although nothing much happens, as only a message appears saying The Goddess Smiles Upon You. However, in a short gameplay sequence released recently by Nintendo on Facebook, we can see the Statue of the Goddess actually glowing–which likely indicates that something important will happen when you interact with it this time. We’re just not sure what, or what caused it to start glowing/ Finally, the Temple of Time is hiding at least one more secret, because piano keys that play softly in the background aren’t just random notes.

Instead, if you speed it up, you might hear something a little familiar. Yep, that at least part of the Song of Time. Pretty cool right? And that’s of course the same song that played in the inside the Temple of Time in Ocarina of time. Anyways back to the Old Man, as he refers to the Temple of Time as “Yet another forgotten entity. A mere ghost of its former self.” Which is an interesting statement given its literally the only structure that he talks about, despite the implication that there’s more than one.

Now the immediate interpretation is that he’s speaking in a general sense–that its just one of many forgotten structures–after all, we can see plenty of evidence of this in the demo, with other structures in various states of disrepair. But what if he’s hinting at something else–perhaps something a little more introspective…like himself. He does refer to it an “entity” after all instead of just “building” or “structure” and he did state earlier that he’s been living alone–perhaps forgotten like the Temple has been, and is now also just a ghost of his former greatness.

Using this interpretation, he may play a much larger role in the story than just a mere guide. Which makes sense especially if he indeed is a Sheikah. It would help explain why he knew when Link would awake…and why he knows so much about him. Regardless, once you’re done talking with the Old Man, you’re free to explore–but there is one objective that’s heavily suggested for Link to do–and he’ll be continually reminded of it by that Mysterious Woman until he does–and that’s to follow the mark on your Sheikah Slate’s map. And that’s for good reason, because once there you’ll find another pedestal that you can activate with the Slate–and this one, in turn, activates the Sheikah Towers, which are also clearly marked with the Sheikah symbol. A cutscene then starts, showing one rising in Link’s current location, as well as several others around the world.

But what’s the point of these towers? Well, in this specific one’s case, climbing to the top allows Link to access a terminal that will download a full map of the local region directly to his slate. And presumably the others will do the same for their respective regions. Which would suggest that there’s only one tower per region. But since assumptions aren’t good enough for us. So, we actually spent hours mapping out the locations of all the other towers we can see in the world–which was a giant pain in the ass btw–and it backs that up–one tower per region.

But that can’t be all the towers are good for, right? I mean, these towers seem to be little too extravagant to serve as just glorified map kiosks, doncha think? Now of course, from a gameplay perspective, the Towers serve multiple purposes. For one, you can see them from afar, acting as weenie to draw you to each region, like the Castle in Disneyland.

Especially since it’s easy to see which ones you have, or haven’t yet visited, being lit in red or blue respectively. And then, once you gain access to the Paraglider, they’ll probably come in useful as launching off points to reach other areas of the world–especially because Link can instantly teleport to any Tower he’s activated, which he can do with the Shrines too. So that’s all well and good…but we still think there’s more to them. For instance, we noticed that after the tower rises, the final step in its activation involves these three metallic beams flipping upwards before locking in place, with an audible thunk–and it’s only then that the tower turns blue, indicating its active state. And sure enough, the other towers we can see in the distance have those same metallic structures, only in the lowered position since they haven’t yet been activated.

And we have a feeling those 3 metallic beams are for more than just decoration. We think they might be antennas, making the entire tower more of a radio tower? So maybe the towers can communicate between each other–or to something else? Now there’s a lot more that happens at this point than just just the rising towers, because immediately after Link hears the mysterious woman again asking him to “Remember,” before reminding him that he’s been asleep for 100 years. This both reinforces the idea that Link has no memory from before his sleep–but also that whatever happened back in the day was probably of some significance, after all, why else would the woman wants him to remember it?

She then draws his attention to a distant castle–where we see a dark energy begin to take shape around it, which she refers to as “the Beast,” And though she’s light on details, we’ll quickly learn a bit more from the Old Man who appears the moment Link that descends the tower, clarifying that it is, in fact Hyrule Castle, and that “The Beast” is known as the Calamity Ganon. And we can quickly see the dark energy actually take his “pig-like” shape, with two glowing eyes, a pair of horns, and what appears to be his mouth opening and closing. The Old Man goes on to explain that Ganon appeared suddenly 100 years ago, destroying everything in its path and leaving the Kingdom of Hyrule in a state of ruin, which explains the Calamity moniker, since Calamity refers to an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress. The Old Man continues that Hyrule Castle–has just barely been able to contain the evil–but that it won’t be able to for much longer given that Gaon’s increasing his strength until the moment it will unleash its blight upon the land once again. And that that moment is “fast approaching.” Okay, so there’s a lot to unpack here. For one, up until this very moment, there was no visible dark energy surrounding the castle at all.

Look, there’s nothing there when Link exits the cave–and now there is. Was Ganon just biding his time until this very moment now? I guess he really does have a habit of making sudden appearances, doesn’t he? Though in this case, his appearance immediately followed the rise of the towers.

Now it’s likely this is just a contrivance for the sake of the story–but maybe they truly are connected in some way? This is called the Resurrection Tower after all–maaaybe Link’s not the only one who’s being resurrected here. Although that title could just be referring to the fact that enabling this Tower is what brought the others to life as well, so it’s likely just a coincidence–especially given the fact that the Old Man doesn’t seem terribly surprised by Ganon’s appearance Next, we know that Ganon’s currently being contained by Hyrule Castle, which the Old Man refers to as the kingdom’s purest symbol, but how is it containing him? Well, just before Ganon appears, we can see a bright light shining from the castle’s tower–is this a symbol of Hyrule Castle’s purity? And related to that…could it be Princess Zelda herself, or a representation thereof, who of course is the incarnation of the Goddess Hylia?

The light’s appearance does coincide perfectly with the mysterious voice–who again, is probably Zelda–and it similarly fades away just as she finishes speaking. Zelda and “light” are kind of Linked (yep, I did it again), such as how she gives Link Light arrows in Ocarina of Time, which are pivotal in taking Ganon down. Regardless of whether Zelda’s involved here or not, we have a sneaking suspicious that something else might be–as in those four tilted pillars sticking out of the ground just outside Hyrule Castle. After all, we can see they share the circular marks of similar technology that we’ve already talked about.https://www.polygon.com/e3/2019/6/11/18661576/zelda-breath-of-the-wild-sequel-trailer-details-analysis-nintendo-direct-e3-2019-press-conference