Zelda: Breath of the Wild Analysis part 2

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Perhaps the pillars are what were keeping him in check until he grows strong enough to overpower them completely? Regardless of their exact purpose, the fact that there’s four of them might be hinting at something else–and that’s the fact that they might be tied into the game’s dungeons–of which we’ve heard from a reliable source that there’s 4 of them–making for 1 per pillar. So maybe Link needs to visit these dungeons in order to restore power to the pillars, thereby keeping Ganon in check? Okay, so we’ve discussed the towers, Calamity Ganon, and also Hyrule Castle–and yet there’s STILL more about this cutscene, because after all that, the camera zooms out providing an awesome view of the plateau itself–and we finally get a good sense of scale of just high this plateau really is–almost like a grounded version of Skyloft–which kind of makes thematically sense seeing as part of Skyloft now makes up this land, as we said earlier. And we’re pretty sure that’s by design. After all, from this vantage point, we can see that a massive stone wall runs around much of the plateau;s premier, and it stretches all the way to the ground. In part one.

And that wall wraps around much of the Plateau, with only occasional gaps due to age, which you can easily see by running around the edge of the Plateau yourself. But why is that wall there anyway? From a gameplay perspective, the answer’s simple: since Link can’t climb down it, it prevents him from leaving the Plateau until he gets the paraglider. But it’s the story perspective that has us more interested. Because the fact that there’s a wall there at all suggests the Plateau’s separation from the world isn’t entirely natural…or natural at all.The wall is clearly manmade after all, and it seems unlikely it was constructed around the plateau’s natural exterior, as that would imply the entire Plateau naturally had sheer cliffs before.

So does this mean the land around it was dug up to remove what might have been a more gradual slope to the rest of the world? This certainly seems the most plausible option. But then again, this is a world with some pretty impressive technology, so what if we think a little further outside of the box. As in we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of this entire section being artificially raised from below.

After all, we already know that the Sheikahs had no problem building elaborate shrines underground and towers that can mysteriously rise up from underground. So what if those walls are actually just the outer rim of a giant raised platform that sits beneath the plateau? And if that’s the case–which realistically, it probably isn’t–we can’t help but wonder if the entire Plateau might be able to rise–or lower–later in the game. Okay yeah, it’s a pretty wild idea, we’ll admit, but you never know… Now we should mention that, for as unnatural as the wall itself is, the topographical outline of the Plateau as revealed on the map doesn’t seem particularly artificial–so maybe the walls were constructed simply to prevent erosion or something? There’s really any number of ideas, and there’s clearly more to the story here. Taken altogether, it seems that the moniker of “The Isolated Plateau” is no accident–but why?

Were the builders trying to keep something out? Perhaps to protect Link from some outside danger–like Ganon? Or, in another wild idea, maybe it was done in preparation of a Great Flood–to keep the area safe from being the rising waters? Okay, yeah, it’s probably unlikely given other things we’ll explore about the timeline later–but hey, it’s Zelda, where anything’s possible…except for making the original release date. ZING. Anyways, after all this, the Old Man then draws Link’s attention to a nearby Shrine, which is just one of more than 100 in the game, according to Nintendo–and we ourselves have heard the final number is somewhere between that and 130.

Now according to the old man, the Shrine lit up the moment the towers rose from the ground. And we can see proof of this in this video from before the towers were activated, where we can see an unlit Shrine in the distance, which shows that they’re completely inaccessible until you activate the Tower here. But here’s a question–does this Tower only activate the Shrines in the same region, or every Shrine in the world?

Well, we think we have our answer since we can see other Shrines in the background lit in red, while their respective nearby Towers aren’t yet activated. So it would appear that this first Tower is the one that activates them all–so maybe that’s what the antenna are for, as in it wirelessly activated the Shrines? Regardless, the Shrine is predictably lit up in in red–like the other technology that’s yet to be fully activated by Link. So in order to gain access, Link will have to use his Sheikah Slate at a podium just outside to activate the lift, which then turns the Shrine blue–indicating it’s been activated. Which also makes it easy to see at a glance which Shrines Link has already and which he hasn’t, like with the Towers. And this is especially useful because it seems that you can visit the Shrines in whichever order you want–including the 4 in the Plateau here.

Now after riding the lift down in all 4 of the Plateau’s Shrines, , Link will find a Podium at the start that he can hold his Sheikah Slate to in order to download additional abilities, called Runes. And these Runes include the powers of Magnesis, Cryonis, Stasis, and Remote Bombs– but we’ll talk more about them later. And like map regions, the information for the Runes is downloaded to the Sheikah Slate via a droplet of water. Yeah, it’s a neat effect– but there’s just a little more meaning to it besides looking cool. Because you might have noticed the Sheikah Symbol on the stalactite above–but it’s only the top-half of the icon, as it’s missing the tear drop.

That is, until, the droplet forms, which represents the teardrop–which is made up of the information flowing down the stalactite to it–and thereby completing the symbol. But the teardrop only lingers for a second or two before dropping–which is also symbolic of the passing of knowledge from the Sheikah to Link. Neat stuff. At any rate, the Shrines in the Plateau basically act a tutorial for each of those runes. Now if any of this sounds familiar–yeah, Shrines are basically mini-dungeons, in that they contain a series of puzzles or obstacles for Link to get through. And some of those puzzles are even optional, because Nintendo has said they’ll often contain an out-of-the-way chest that you’ll have to figure out how to get to–and the goods inside should make it worth your while.

Now as we mentioned before, Nintendo has made it clear that these aren’t replacements for them–which makes sense given that dungeons usually take at least an hour to get through, whereas the shrines we’ve seen only take 5 to 10 minutes on average–although Nintendo has also stated some Shrines will be longer. Now that may not sound like much, but consider this: If we calculate the total time for the Shrines using even the most conservative figures, as in 5 minutes each for 100 Shrines, that still comes out to over 8 hours of gameplay. For just the Shrines alone! And if we assume that even half of those are actually 10 minutes in length, then we’re looking at over 12 hours. Yeah it’s kind of nuts.

Now although the exact contents of each shrine obviously differ, they are very similar in structure and appearance. After all, they’re all accessed via this distinctive-looking structure above, which leads to the Shrine itself, deep underground. And these shrines are all built out of a shiny metallic material that that Link is unable to climb, which requires Link to use his brains instead of his brawn to get around.

So it’s pretty dang obvious that there’s nothing natural about these Shrines, just like with the Shrine of Resurrection where Link awoke, and the Towers that popped out of the ground. Heck, even the single type of enemy we see here, being Mini Guardians, are obviously mechanical in nature. Which makes sense given the common theme all of this being Sheikah technology–at least based on their symbol being everywhere. But as artificial as these places may be, they’re not completely devoid of life…well sort of. Because it seems you’ll always meet a Monk at the end waiting inside a shrine of his own, who even introduces themselves as a “humble monk.” But they’re protected by a barrier made of energy, which Link is able to dispense with simply by touching it–perhaps this too is because of the Sheikah Slate?

Although the Slate itself doesn’t react at all–which might tie back into our theory of Link himself having a technology angle. After all, we can’t imagine just anyone can break through that barrier–because what would be the point of it otherwise? So something has to be triggering it, we’re just not sure what. Now each of those Monks has their own name, which is what the Shrine is also named after, and this first one is called Oman Au. But there’s also something pretty clever about that name. Because if you rearrange the letters, it actually says Aonuma–as in Eiji Aonuma, the game’s director.

So we have a feeling the other Shrines, with similarly peculiar names, might be following suit, featuring the rearranged letters of people from the development staff. So that’s pretty cool that they make an in-game cameo of sorts. Although there is a certain irony in using Monks, who are generally regarded as being wise, as one’s in-game representation when they also profess to being humble. ANYWAYS, even though the Monks all have different names, they all look remarkably similar, with an elderly body type and a Sheikah symbol on their head–which we’re guessing means they’re probably Sheikah. I know, I know, it’s that level of insight that only the analysis machine can provide.

But even ignoring that symbol, their body type and pose is extremely similar to Old Impa in Skyward Sword, who again, is also a Sheikah. And to back all of this up, even the Old Man tells you that “something of [the Sheikah might still remain hidden away in a shrine such as this,” perhaps in reference to those very same Monks. Oh, and that that Sheikah symbol is also likely symbolic of the “Third Eye” that has historically been represented as being on the forehead, which is of course a concept that suggests a level of perception beyond ordinary sight–which is something the Monks appear to have, given that they can communicate with Link the moment he enters the dungeon. Heck, the Monks even say themselves that they’ve been blessed with the sight of the Goddess Hylia, and then continue that they’re dedicated to helping those who seek to defeat Ganon, and that with Link’s arrival, their duty is now fulfilled. And finally, they award Link a Spirit Orb for finding them before evaporating into some kind of magical dust. But what are those Spirit Orbs for anyway?

Well, the Old Man does promise Link that if finds the “treasure” within four of the Plateau’s Shrines, he’ll, give Link a Paraglider–sweet! And by “treasure” we’re reasonably confident he means the Spirit Orbs. But what about all the other Shrines and their Spirit Orbs–after all, we know from Treehouse Live that the Monks outside of the Plateau still award Spirit Orbs too. And Nintendo has even said that the orbs will serve another–or different–purpose in the final game.

So we have a couple of ideas. For one, we think the Paradliger might be a clue–after all, it seems to be Link’s ticket off of the plateau, making the orbs essentially act as a gateway to further progression in the game. So maybe the rest of the orbs serve the same purpose–say by locking dungeons behind requiring a certain amount, like Star Doors in Mario. But then again, the game’s director has also suggested that you’ll be able to fight Ganon surprisingly early into the game, perhaps meaning there won’t be any progression-gates. So we have another idea: seeing as the Spirit Orbs are all absorbed into Link’s body–as in, they’re literally internalized–we think they may be used to upgrade something about himself–such as his stamina or his heart meter.

After all, Nintendo did confirm to us at E3 that you will be able to upgrade Link’s abilities in some way. They just didn’t tell us how Now even though all the Monks might look the same at first, there are actually very subtle differences between all 6 of ones we’ve seen. Take the four in the Plateau, for example–even though they’re dressed the same, they all have a slightly different pose, with their hands outstretched in varying ways. And though the two Monks in the Shrines beyond the Plateau share the same poses, they’re augmented visually with a cloth over their face–and one of them is made even more distinct with a circular decoration behind them. So it appears every Monk will be unique beyond just their name, but we also wonder if Monks in similar regions will have similar traits.

Such as how the ones in the Plateau all have the same physical appearance with only the pose changing, while the two outside the Plateau share the facecloth–could they both be from the same region? Now while the Monks have a physical presence and clearly communicate with Link, there’s something odd about them. Their mouths don’t move when they talk–in fact, they don’t move at all–not even a little bit–not even to breath. So we think it’s pretty clear that they exist in a more spiritual sense than as an actual physical one. Oh yeah, then there’s the fact that they just disintegrate into a green mist, which stands in stark contrast to the blue energy elsewhere in the game–which really does suggest its more spiritual–or magical at the least–as opposed to being technologically based.

Now all of this raises the question as to the exact purpose of these shrines? Were they built just to protect the monks? Perhaps until the arrival of a Hero? It’s impossible to say, though we do have another idea–that might just involve the Towers too. Okay, so we’ve already pointed out the various lighted circles connected by lines before–and we can see them plastered all over the walls of the Shrines, as well as on the sides of the Towers.

And we wonder if there might be even more to them. Because those circles and lines are also commonly used to represent computer networks. So could all these Shrines and Towers be linked in one giant network, like a Hylian Internet? Both the Towers and Shrines do seem to put an emphasis on the passing of knowledge after all–much like the very internet you’re on right now. So will something happen when you activate them all and complete the network? Could they perhaps be tied to those four pillars around Hyrule Castle as well?

And speaking of connections, after you finish your first Shrine, the old man mysteriously appears once again where he explains that the towers and Shrines are all connected to the Sheikah Slate, which in turn is connected to the Sheikah people who he says used to inhabit these lands and protect it using their power and wisdom. But hold up…Power and Wisdom huh? Why does that sound so familiar…oh right, because of the Triforce, which is made up of three parts, being The Triforce of Power, The Triforce of Wisdom, and The Triforce of Courage. And it’s that last word that’s missing from the Power and Wisdom the old man just mentioned.

So we wonder if that missing word might be symbolic of how Link fits into all this, as he’s historically been the human embodiment of the Triforce of Courage. So could the fact that he might be the missing piece of the Sheikah people, perhaps also support the idea that he might be a Sheikah himself? At any rate, wisdom and power alone will only get you so far when protecting the world–and we think that might just be where The Guardians come into play. You know, those giant squid-like mechanical creatures that we first saw way back in the original E3 2014 trailer?

Now originally we were going to put these guys in the enemy section–but here’s the thing–even though they attack Link, they’re not *really* enemies, from a certain point of view Because unlike all the other enemies we’ve seen so far, these guys are mechanical, with Springs and Bolts flying out of them when destroyed. They also seem to be powered by the same blue energy we’ve seen elsewhere. And then there’s the fact they even share the same distinctive design pattern as other Sheikah-related objects,, like the Shrines, Towers, and even Link’s Shekah Slate… Which is to say that The Guardians aren’t just man-made, but probably Sheikah-made–as with seemingly everything else technology related so far.

This is further backed up by the fact that the Mini Guardians–which adorably only have three legs–are the only enemies we’ve seen appear inside Shrines, which makes sense since everything those them appears to be artificial and deliberately placed. Oh, and speaking of the Shrines, their entrances even share a similar shape with that of the Guardian’s heads, complete with similar rings on the side. And we can see a similar motif reflected INSIDE the Shrines, including on top of the lift Link rides, as well as the above the Monks. Yep, the Sheikah were consistent with their designs! And actually, those designs appear to be based on something in the real-world, as suggested to us by one of our fans on Twitter, @waimaguti.

Does this look familiar? It’s an example of ancient Japanese pottery. And if we turn it upside down–we can see it shares not only the same basic shape as the Guardian, but also the circular details as well–neat. Anyways, given the fact that they’re called Guardians, they’re very clearly designed to guard something…but what? Well we’re not entirely sure,, but the E3 Demo may offer a clue. Because as you probably know, there were quite a few Guardians to be found around the Plateau…except all of them are in various state of apparent disrepair–almost like they were frozen in time–and we think they may tell a story.

Because almost all of the Guardians in the Plateau appear to have congregated in the same general location, right outside the Temple of Time and the nearby ruins. It might suggest that they were trying to protect the Temple and the nearby structures from attack–It would explain why the Temple of Time isn’t just in a state of decay, but has clearly sustained heavy damage. So it would seem some kind of battle happened here–probably involving Ganon. Beyond the Temple of TIme, there is one more Guardian that can be found in the Plateau along the mountain river–but it too is near a destroyed building, suggesting it may also have been trying to defend it.

It almost makes you feel bad for the poor guys. And in the E3 trailer, we can see another area full of Guardian corpses–almost like a Guardian graveyard–but why are they here? It’s probably a safe bet that something important happened here–we’re just not sure what. Now even though most of the Guardian’s have clearly seen better days, there are a few exceptions, like this one in the Plateau that awakens when Link gets close.

And you can even see some rubble fall off of it as comes back to life, suggesting it’s been quite some time since it’s been active–maybe for the first time since the attack, But once awakened, it’s a force to be reckoned with, as it will attempt to lock on to Link with a lasersight from its eyeball, and if it maintains that lock for more than a few seconds without Link finding cover, it’ll open fire–and those blasts do a massive amount of damage. In fact, it’s strong enough to even blow apart the nearby wall here, which helpfully gives Link easy access to the Shrine just beyond it. See, Guardians aren’t always so bad! Now not only are their blasts strong, but they have an insane range too. In this video from IGN, we can see the Guardian is still able to target Link even after he runs up the hill a fair distance away.

Now if you think the Guardians are intimidating when stationary…what about when they aren’t stuck place? Well, Nintendo Treehouse Live revealed a short video of one that’s alive well, chasing Link around while he fights back from horseback–and it’s here that we can see just how frightening the Guardians can be. For one, they’re capable of moving AND aiming their head independently. Two, they’re *fast*–The one here has little trouble keeping up with Link, even while on horseback–which is something we also saw before back in the E3 2014 trailer, with a Guardian hot on Link’s and his horse’s tail.

Yep, the Guardians don’t seem to give up easily–and it doesn’t help that the music that plays during a Guardian encounter barely even qualifies as music–instead, it sounds more chaotic in nature. Perhaps a hint as to the unpredictability of Guardian battles. We can only imagine how frightening it must be to take on one without the aid of your horse–or maybe we don’t have to imagine it at all. Because we see Link doing exactly that in the E3 trailer, as he hides behind a pair of disabled Guardians while a third appears to be looking for him. And based on the intensity of the scene–with with all that smoke and fire–we’re guessing this is a pretty major battle–I mean, the Guardian on the right is even missing its head! And those Guardians do appear to be fresh kills– the one on the left is still sparking after all, and we can even see a glowing blue component at its base, as well as another on top of the fallen Guardian to the right, which stands in stark comparison to the unpowered guardians we’ve seen elsewhere.

So does this mean Link may have to battle 3–or more–at this point? It’s possible, but seeing as this appears to be an in-game cutscene as opposed to a dramatized gameplay moment, it might mean that something else took them out and Link just happened upon the scene. Especially because, the Guardian may not actually be looking for Link. Instead it appears to be looking past him–just before readying its laserbeam, suggesting it has something else in its sights. This might mean there’s another threat they’re defending against–we just wonder what it could be? Regardless, this scene also makes us wonder if stealth might play a role in some of the Guardian encounters.

Especially given the fact that in the E3 demo, they’re the only enemy that appears on the radar as a glowing dot that pulsates when they’re tracking you, but only when they’re active. Or at the very least, this should be a huge help when trying to escape. Although even that may be tricky given how dexterous their tentacles make them, such as how the one here clambers over his fallen brothers, suggesting small structures may barely register as hurdle to them.

Also, in a neat touch, did you notice how the guardians its stepping on shift under its weight? That’s pretty cool! Now even though the Guardians are strong, they’re not invincible–although it might seem like it given that they seem to have a ridiculous 500 HP going by the one in the Plateau. So how do you fight back? Well, very carefully. Hahaha.

Okay, well as you might have guessed–its giant blue glowing eye is key–and it seems a bullseye from your bow will inflict a decent amount of damage. But we also know it’s each to explosives too. And each time you land a hit, its head will recoil and rotate slightly, thus breaking its lock on Link buying him a precious few seconds to ready another shot or find cover. Furthermore, going by the field encounter, it looks like repeated hits with bomb-arrows can knock them off balance too, which appears to be what gives Link the chance to truly fight back and land a direct shot when it’s stationary, which also just so happens to be the finishing blow.

But was the Guardian just low on energy, or is the fact that Link switched to an arrow made of energy what finished him off? We’re thinking the latter, especially because it’s the same arrow we saw Link using against a Guardian back in the original reveal trailer. So we have a feeling these energized-arrows are especially powerful against the guardians–maybe all that extra energy overloads their circuits or something? Now when Link defeats a Guardian, they explode in a most spectacular manor, flinging all kinds of mechanical components everywhere–but while most of them disappear, we can see a few remain on the ground.

Could these be materials that Link can collect? It would seem so given that we can see one of those pieces starts to glimmer just before the video ends, just like other collectibles. And then there’s the fact that the Mini Guardians similarly drop Ancient Screws and Ancient Springs that Link can pick up. But what can you do with these components? They’re not food right? Can Link maybe use them in contraptions of his own?

Or maybe he can just sell them for money. Okay, so we’ve clearly seen a lot of dead Guardians, so what took them out? Well, the obvious answer would be Ganon, when he attacked 100 years ago sending the world into a state of ruin. But the fact that most of the Guardians seem to be mostly intact suggests that something may have deactivated them remotely.And what about the ones that survived and are still active–why were they spared when some of their brethren did not? Well, maybe they weren’t spared at all–what if they’re merely been reactivated or resurrected if you will–perhaps by Ganon. Again, it might explain their purple color as we touched on earlier, which matches that of Ganon.

Especially because Purple doesn’t appear to be the Guardian’s natural color, at least based on the Mini Guardians which are red instead–and we’re guessing the Mini ones were protected by the Shrines to avoid being taken over. Finally, there’s the fact that the Guardian in the field here doesn’t appear to care at all about the nearby Bokoblins and appears to be focusing solely on Link–you’d think they’d be slightly less discriminating if their purpose is to just defend something! So if we’re onto something here, with the guardians being either possessed or corrupted, we wonder if there might be a way for Link to restore them to their normal selves? Okay, so by now, it should be pretty clear that Breath of the WIld isn’t your typical Zelda game–even the game’s name strays from convention.

Instead of being named after a major item or character, it instead evokes an experience: one that’s rooted in nature and survival. Even the game’s logo represents this idea, having a simpler, more rustic appearance, with flat colors and is visibly aged, with imperfections throughout. Even the Master Sword–which has historically been portrayed as flawless–is rusted and worn down–clearly symbolic of the ruined state of the world.

And at the end of the trailer, we can see a flower sprout from the logo–perhaps a hint as to how the world’s slowly being reclaimed by nature. And the entire game seems to be built around this “wild” idea, featuring a giant world that Link can explore almost entirely seamlessly. And Nintendo really seems to be taking that that “seamless” angle to heart, such as how when Link exits the Shrine where he awakens for the first time, the game transitions from gameplay to a cutscene and back again, without any hard cuts. It’s a subtle effect, but one that further lends to the immersion that the developers are aiming for–a world–and experience–without seams or boundaries.

Now that cutscene shows Link looking out upon a vast landscape–which as Nintendo themselves pointed out during the Treehouse stream, is reminiscent of this artwork for the original Legend of Zelda, including how the pair of mountains here are the same shape as those in the original artwork–neat! And that’s clearly by design as this world is meant to evoke the feelings similar to those people experienced when playing the original Legend of Zelda for the first time, which is to say throwing you right into the world with little direction, where exploring and figuring things out for yourself is paramount And that’s pretty much the case here too…mostly. Because although you are entirely free to explore and tackle things in most any order, the game actually does provide some light guidance. In fact, our analysis up to this point has mostly been built around that exact series of events. So to recap: Link wakes up, follow directions to the tower, where after raising it, the Old Man will point you toward the first of four Shrines–and after you visit all 4, he promises to give you that Paraglider, which then allows you to escape the confines of the Plateau and explore the rest of the world, at which point the game presumably truly opens up.

And as part of this wild, open-ended adventure is the fact that Link has more options than ever before when it comes to getting around. Of course, he can run, swim, and jump at will for the first time in a 3D Zelda game, climb just about anything, ride a horse, ride a raft, go shield-surfing, glide with the Paraglider, and even quick-travel to any Shrine or Tower he’s visited before. Yep that’s a lot of options–and while most of them are self-explanatory–I mean, do you really need me to explain jumping? A few of them do warrant a closer look. Such as riding a horse…or more specifically, how you acquire a horse–in that Link may have to actually work for it this time around, instead of just being given one like in past Zelda games.

Because in the trailer, we can Link carefully sneak up on a wild horse to avoid spooking it before hopping on and going for a ride. And it seems Link will have his pick of the litter, as there are at least three horses to be found here–which is a neat detail in and of itself, because wild horses tend to travel only as packs in real-life, and that seems to be the case in Breath of the Wild too. Because between this scene and the footage from the 2014 Game Awards, every wild horse we’ve seen so far has been part of a pack–which means sneaking up one probably isn’t going to be easy, as alarming any of them will likely alert the others too–in fact, we can see that demonstrated here as soon as Link mounts the horse, because when it rears back, it spooks another horse just ahead. And in another realistic detail, the horses don’t all look the same. The horse Link mounts is dark with black hair, while the one in front is lighter with white hair.

And yet a third distinct horse can be seen in in the Guardian scene from Treehouse Live–this one being brown with a dark colored-snout, and a distinctive white patch that runs down the middle of its face. And as it turns out, this is the exact same horse we’ve seen in every one of the game’s trailers–including the latest from E3, where we see it crossing this bridge. Yep, even though this scene comes immediately after the one where Link acquires the horse–they’re not the same horse. How do we know? Because look at its legs–this one has the same colored hair as the rest of the body, while this one has white–which matches the Treehouse footage as well as the past trailers.

Furthermore, the horse here is also equipped with gear–we can see saddlebags and a tail bag–which also matches up with its appearance in all the other footage…so taken altogether, is there something special about this horse in particular, as opposed to the others? Or is it just a coincidence that it’s the only one Nintendo’s has shown as being fully decked out with gear? It’s impossible to say–but we can’t help but wonder if this might actually be Link’s main horse–with the wild ones only serving as temporary rides until he acquires the permanent one.

In fact, could this horse perhaps be Epona? Sure, it may not have Epona’s white hair, but it does share a similar distinctive similar mark on its face. And then there’s the fact that Nintendo referred to this same horse as Epona in the Game Awards footage, although since then, they’ve been a lot more coy on the matter. But regardless of whether it’s Epona or not, Nintendo did confirm in a video with Katie Wilson that you will be able to name the horse–which also doesn’t exclude the possibility of it being Epona, as you could change her name in Twilight Princess as well.

Regardless of whether that specific horse is Link’s main one or not, the fact that its outfitted with gear suggests there is indeed some way to obtain a “main horse,” perhaps by taming one of the wild ones you find? After all, it would kind of suck if a wild horse took off with all your gear, right? On top of that, could that gear serve an actual purpose beyond just looking cool? After all, we already know Link carry can carry a lot by himself, but could the horse’s bags expand Link’s inventory even further? As for for how riding itself works–well, it seems pretty similar to past games, in that you’re able to temporarily switch from a standard gallop into a full-out run, as we can see Link crouch down at various points and speed-lines appear around him. Similarly, Link can still aim his bow and arrow while on horseback independent of the horse’s movement–but check this out–we can see the horse turning slightly even while Link’s aiming, suggesting he can still control the horse’s with the control stick while aiming with the motion control.

We then see Link jump off the horse, before briefly using his glider, then pulling out the bow and arrow again to aim in slow motion. Now we saw something similar back in the Game Awards footage, with Link dismounting then aiming in slow-motion, suggesting this effect takes places as soon as you disengage from either the horse or the paraglider while pulling out your bow. In fact, we can see a Nintendo rep making expert use of this technique in this scene, by jumping off a cliff, pulling out the glider for just a fraction of a second before putting it away and immediately pulling out the bow, activating the slow-motion feature.

And we can also see here that the amount of time is limited by the Stamina gauge. But let’s get back to the horse, that old Game Awards footage might reveal a couple of features that weren’t touched on during E3, such as how we know Link will be able to swing his sword while riding too. And the developers also commented back then that the horse will actually be able to steer itself to some degree in order to automatically avoid hazards, like trees. Okay I think that covers it pretty well for the horse! So let’s move on to another major method in which Link will be getting around: climbing. Or more specifically, how Link can now pretty much climb anything, whether it’s a building, tower, or mountain.

And being such a major feature, the game elegantly teaches you at the very start, as the Shrine of Resurrection features a short wall that Link has to climb before he can escape. And climbing really is a game-changer–in that almost nothing is off-limits. Consider this: most games use mountains, buildings, and other structures as obstacles to form paths and direct your movement, but in this case, they can actually aid them, since Link can go right over or around them. Which makes the world here even more expansive than most “open world” games–and that’s nuts.

Now that doesn’t mean the sky’s the limit, as there are some limitations in place to prevent Link from getting around too easily–which is why the stamina meter introduced in Skyward Sword is back, which only allows Link to climb, and perform other special actions, like swimming, for as long as it holds out. And this can turn climbing into a bit of a puzzle all itself, as you may have to chart your path before starting a major climb to ensure you can find places to rest and regain your energy along the way. Alternatively, you can also eat certain foods that you’ve found or cooked to regain energy, such as the Stella Shroom. But even still, given Link’s stamina limitations and inventory-size, it seems some areas may be too tall for Link to climb–at least initially–forcing him to find another way around. And not only is climbing useful for getting around, but finding secrets too, such as climbing a random column or clambering along a mountain wall down to a hidden ledge for some chests. Oh and in a neat touch, did you notice how little bits of the mountain break off while Link’s climbing, and bounces realistically as they fall?

Ultimately, climbing might partly be why Nintendo has taken to referring to the game as “open air” instead of the usual “open world”–in that Link isn’t just confined to the ground, especially once he obtains the paraglider from the Old Man. And not only is this baby Link’s ticket off the Plateau, but it’ll allow him to reach far off areas much faster than he could ordinarily. Like in this scene where he effortlessly glides through a valley. Of course, being a glider, it doesn’t so much fly, as it does fall…with style.

However, there is a way to gain some lift–namely by catching upward drafts created by fires,, as demonstrated here in the Guardian battle. And according to Nintendo, the bigger the fire, the bigger the lift! But what goes up must come down, and that might be why Nintendo gave Link a new ability where he can ride his shield like a snowboard–and he doesn’t even have to be on snow to use it! Heck, he can even combine it with the parasail for some truly stylish gliding.

Now there’s a lot more to Breath of the Wild besides just getting around–after all, the journey’s half the adventure, right? And seeing as this game’s all about the “wild” side, it’s perhaps fitting that Link will have to forage for all kinds of things in order to survive, including food, materials, weapons, among other items. And we can’t overstae how big of a focus this is, as Link will find all kinds of things all over the place.

Now going off the inventory screen, we can see the game categorizes collectible into 7 different types. And we can even see how many of each type Link can hold going by the amount of slots on the inventory screen. And those 7 differents categories are: Weapons, of which Link can hold 8 different types Bows & Arrows, which which he can hold 6 Different types Shields of which which he can hold 4 Different types Armor and Materials of which which he can hold 20 Different types each Food of which which he can hold 20 Different types And finally Important Items, of which he can also hold 20 Taken altogether, Link can hold 98 different types of items at a time.

And not only that, he can actually hold onto multiples of any single item without eating up additional slots. So yeah, that’s quite a few things–and that’s for a good reason–he needs all thing things he can get! Because with the exception of Important Items and possibly Armor, everything else isn’t exactly built to last. Food and materials, for instance, are generally one-use only–whereas weapons, bows, and shields can be used multiple times, but degrade with use–eventually breaking apart in a spectacular fashion. Interestingly, arrows are a bit unique in that they’re technically one-use, if you can find where it landed, you can pick it up to reuse again–yep, Link knows how to recycle. So all of this ties back into the game’s “wild” nature, where Link’s in a constant state of survival, and needs to be on the lookout for new things to replace the stuff he’s currently using.

Especially because, for the first time ever, Link won’t find hearts to refill his health out in the environment. Instead, he can only regain health by consuming food. But luckily, he has quite a few options–at least in the plateau where food can be found everywhere–whether it’s a mushroom growing on a cave wall, or an Apple you steal from the old man– or even a heart-shaped Radish you find growing along a wall–okay, I guess you can find hearts out in the wild. I’ll spare you listing them all, because there’s a ton–and that’s just in the Plateau! We can only imagine what other delectables else might lie in the great beyond.

But Link isn’t just a forager–he’s a hunter too. And it seems all of the wildlife is fair game for Link’s stomach, such as boars, deer, or birds which instantly turns into a pile of collectible meat when killed–it’s convenient and mess free! Now while eating raw meat generally isn’t a great idea in real-life, Link has no such hang-ups. However, if you do take the time to cook it, by dropping it onto a fire and letting it simmer, it’ll actually increase the meat’s restorative properties. And get this–Nintendo even explained that if you kill an enemy with fire, the meat will automatically be cooked. Now that’s efficient!

But cooking can do far more than just heat meat, because Link can use a pot to mix and match up to 5 different ingredients to create dishes with enhanced properties. For example, if you cook a Steak with 3 Hearty Truffles, you’ll get the Hearty Meat & Mushroom Skewer, which not only fully restores Link’s health, but also temporarily increases Link’s maximum heart-count by 3, as represented here in yellow. Cooking really opens up a range of possibilities, allowing you to even mix in things that otherwise have no regenerative benefits on their own. For instance, cooking a Bokoblin Horn with a Restless Cricket–both of which are worthless by themselves–will yield an Energizing Elixir which restores your stamina.

Another example is the Spuicy Sautéed Peppers, created by mixing together 5 Spicey Peppers. Individually, they only restore a half-heart, but when combined, it restores 5 hearts, or double what they would have otherwise, plus makes Link cold-resistant for 10 minutes. Buuut not everything goes well together, which can result in a couple in couple of less than desirable dishes. One potential result is the Failed Experiment, which only restores a quarter heart of health, and another is the Dubious Food, which the game described as being too gross to even look at–which is probably why even the picture is censored. But hey, it’ll still restore a single heart. Now in order to go hunting, it might help if Link had some kind of weapon, right?

And thankfully, these too are in abundance in the Plateau, with at least 15 different types to find that range from Tree Branches, to a farmer’s Pitchfork, to Clubs, and even…Skeleton arms? Each weapon has a numerical rating denoting its attack Power, and whenever you collect one, it shows how it compares to your currently selected weapon. But not only can the weapon’s strength differ, but also its range, use, and durability. Heck, even Link’s animations will change, such as when swinging a heavy ax which takes a lot more effort.

Otherwise, weapons, such as swords, work pretty similar to past games, except there are a couple of new abilities. Such as how Link can now throw them his weapon for a long-range attack–and this will inflict double the damage as usual. But then again, it also leaves you unarmed–so it’s generally best to use this just before a weapon breaks as a final attack.

Another new ability is that Link can counterattack in slow-motion if he performs a well-timed dodge, which should come in useful Now even though almost all of the Weapons are for close-range attacks, there is at least one exception, being the Fire Rod, which shoots out bouncing balls of fire, igniting anything they touch. Now the Fire Rod is nothing new for Zelda, but historically, it’s been a major item found in dungeons, whereas here, it’s a throwaway item found inside a typical chest–which makes sense, since it is breakable. In fact, this item in so fragile, that it’ll break upon impact with anything–meaning it’s exclusively for long-range use. And like the other weapons, you can charge this one up too for a spin–attack, although in this case, it’ll shoot out 5 fireballs at once, which as you can see, is a pretty fast way to start a massive wildfire.

Now since the Fire Rod returns from past games, we wouldn’t be surprised if some other Zelda rods back too–or at the least, the Ice Rod, since that’s another element already represented in this game with Ice arrows, and Ice-based enemies.. Now as we mentioned before, the game actually treats Bows separately from Weapons–despite also being a weapon. And they too are assigned a strength which not only affects the Bow’s power, but also its range. Yep, range is now a factor, as arrows can now fall short of your target. Now not only do you have the choice of bows, but arrows too. And we know of four that you can find in the Plateau, including normal arrows, ice arrows which can freeze enemies in place, fire arrows–which are especially effective against cold-enemies, and bomb arrows. And though it may not be in the Plateau, we know there’s a 5th arrow type, being the energy-based one we discussed earlier.

And speaking of arrows, the amount of arrows in his quiver visibly drops as he starts to run out, which is a neat detail Next, we have armor. Of course, Link comes equipped with a Birthday Suit by default, but it won’t do much to protect him against the enemies…or even the elements. Hell, he can barely even open chests naked–as he’ll quickly discover how painful it can be to kick one open without shoes. Now armor comes in two forms: Shirts and Pants, which includes shoes, and Link can mix and match different sets together. And like weapons, each item comes with its own Strength rating that makes Link increasingly resistant to taking damage. But some clothing comes with other perks too.

In the case of the Quilted Shirt, it also makes Link more resistant to the cold. And then we have Shields–and like most everything else, they can be destroyed too–yes, even while using it as a snowboard…it’s almost like shields weren’t meant for riding or something. Now there’s not too much to say about shields, except that if you block an attack right before it lands, it’ll result in a Perfect Guard, temporarily throwing the enemy off-balance Okay, so clearly there’s quite a lot of things to collect, but you may have noticed one Zelda staple that seems to be missing besides hearts…Rupees. I mean, during Nintendo’s nearly 10-hour long demonstration, not even a single one appeared. What is this madness?!

Is Hyrule experiencing a own financial crisis?! BUT despite this, Rupees will actually appear in the game. After all, there is a counter on the inventory screen, plus some materials, like the Sapphire, even state in their description that they can be Sold for a High Price. Which also essentially confirms that Merchants will appear in the game–after all, you’ll need someone to sell to.

But as it turns out, there actually is at least one Rupee to be found in the E3 demo! If you search by this Guardian just outside the Temple of Time, check out what shows up: A Purple Rupee worth 50 smackers. So it seems you still will be able to find money lying around–it’ll just be a looot rarer than before.

Which is a little more realistic, considering lawnkeepers could live like kings in past Zelda games. So clearly there’s quite a few things for Link to find in the world–and as with most Zelda games, Link can bring up the inventory screen to choose which ones he wants to equip. But the game also features a quick-select option that allows to easily equip Shields, Swords, and Runes by holding Left, Right, or Up respectively on the D-pad while using the Right-Control stick to scroll through them.

But what about bows and arrows? Actually, you can quick-select those too–you just have to pull out your bow first to change the Quick Select options to those instead–and putting it away will change them back And speaking of which, some people have theorized this quick-select option might hint at one of the NX’s rumored features, because of this patent discovered last year, which revealed Nintendo’s possible plans for scrollwheel Shoulder Buttons. So instead of holding using the D-Pad and Control Sticks, you would just have to spin the wheel to choose your Sword or Shield, for example.

So we’ve covered all the different types of things Link can find…except for one. Runes. As we’ve already mentioned, there are four of them in the E3 demo, one for each of the Shrines.

And they are: Stasis, Magnesis, Cryonis, and Remote Bomb. So let’s break these down real quick. And let’s start with Magnesis which gives Link control of a giant magnet. Once activated, the game will highlight any metallic objects within range–even if’s underwater, which also allows you to quickly see the depth of the lake. And once you latch on to something, you can move the object around by tilting the Gamepad OR bring it closer or push it away by using the D-Pad–you can really put quite some distance on it!

But since it can be tricky to gauge where exactly it is at those distances, there’s a Blue Marker directly beneath that shows exactly where the object will land once you let go. And along those lines, Magnesis can be a powerful weapon too–not only can you use it to drop heavy objects right onto enemies, but you can even swing it into them too. Hell, you can even drop your weapon, pick it up with Magnesis, and then swing it several meters away from Link. How awesome is that?! Next up is the Stasis Rune, which allows you to freeze a selected object in place for a limited amount of time–you can even see chains appear as you do so, locking it in place. So if you want to stop a giant machine, just freeze one of the gears, allowing Link to safely cross over.

But the catch is that you can only freeze a single object at a time–and even then, there’s a delay after the Stasis wears off before you can do it again, preventing you from freezing the same object in place over and over again. But wait, there’s more! Because you can actually use this ability to move things too–which doesn’t seem to make much sense at first.

But you see, while the object itself may be frozen, you can attack it to build up Kinetic energy that’ll be unleashed the moment that Stasis runs out. So the more you attack it the farther it’ll fly, as indicated by the arrow that appears which not only points in the direction the energy will be unleashed, but also signifies how far both by growing longer, while also turning red. Doing this, you can launch massive boulders around the world like they’re nothing. Then we have the Remote Bomb Rune–which technically is two Runes. One’s round and will roll along the terrain, while the other’s a cube bomb and will tend to stay where you place it.

But regardless of which one you use, you get to decide when it detonates with a tap of the L-Button. And once you have, you’ll have a brief wait while the meter refills before you can use it again. Which is a pretty big change from how bombs have worked before, which were inventory based, because now, you can’t run out of them!

Finally, we have Cryonis. Man, Link’s Sheikah Slate must be pretty powerful if it can run Cryonis! Anyways, this one lets you create pillars of ice from any body of water. Yay?

Okay, even though it might not sound that exciting, it actually can do some cool things. Now the most obvious use is that it can help Link reach otherwise inaccessible areas, which is especially useful in the Shrines where Link can’t climb the walls. Or he can use them as stepping stones to cross over an ice-cold lake that can deal damage.

But what’s even cooler is how you can use it for Physics-based puzzles, such as creating a Pillar to lift a closed gate, or tilting a platform on one side like a seesaw to create a ramp. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg–literally–when it comes to physics in Breath of the Wild…but we’ll have more on that in a sec. Now although we never see all 4 Runes collected at once in the E3 demo, we know they occupy 5 slots on the Rune screen–remember, the Remote Bombs takes up 2.

But there are actually 6 slots on the Rune screen–not counting the amiibo one, meaning there’s room for one more. And if we assume all Runes are only found within Shrines, that means the final one has to be found in a Shrine outside of the Plateau, making it the odd one out. Weird, right?

Of course, it’s also possible the 5th Rune isn’t attached to a Shrine at all, and instead has some other requirement. Regardless, it’s also surprising that Link found what appears to be the majority of his powers so early into the game. So we also can’t help but wonder if there may be more to them–such as being able to upgrade them in some way?

Maybe that’s what the Spirit Orbs are for. It would make sense if Link could eventually freeze objects for longer, or make bigger explosions. But we’re just just speculating.

Now what makes most of those runes possible–as well as much else about Breath of the Wild, is the game’s spiffy new physics engine…as in, it’s everywhere It introduces subtles and gameplay possibilities that Zelda fans have never had to think about before, such as how trees can now be used to solve puzzles. Whether it’s cutting one down and floating it down river to use as platform, or carefully chopping down another so that it falls across a gap, creating a bridge. But even then, the tree isn’t fully stable, so you’ll have to be careful that Link’s weight doesn’t cause it to roll away from underneath you. Oh, and if you screw up entirely, you might be out of luck–at least until those trees grow back, which Nintendo assured us they would at E3–they just didn’t specify how long that might take. Although we did notice that there might be a way to cheat the system, since the tree here came back immediately after Link got a Game Over.

I guess Link always has been one to manipulate time to his advantage. Another example of the physics shows up with the boulders you’ll occasionally find–often placed preciously on a ledge right over an enemy camp–but before you push it off , you’ll want to take into account how the terrain will affect the boulder’s path. And yeah, it’ll affect the round bombs too. And it’s not just terrain you’ll have to take into account, but wind too.

Now we haven’t seen too many examples of this yet, but there is an area of the Plateau that features a strong gust blowing at all times. And not only does it affect the foliage, like the grass here, but even the fire, AND its smoke too. And it’s not just for looks, as it’ll even affect Link, blowing a bomb right out of his hands!

Yeah, the wind here kind of…blows. Then we have fire physics. Now although you’ll find several throughout the Plateau, you can also make your own wherever you want…as long as you have firewood and flint.

Just drop the flint and strike it metal object, like a sword, to create a spark, and as long as some wood’s nearby, it’ll ignite! And that fire can spread onto nearby wooden things like sticks, bows, or even barrels, although they’ll take slightly longer to catch on fire. And if you’re carrying fire around with you, you can ignite bushes or grass too–though it tends to fizzle out quickly…unless you’re in an area with a lot of dry grass such as in that same windy area.

The conditions are perfect for the fire to spread, amounting in a mini wild forest fire. Which can be especially useful if you want to get some hang time with your glider You can even use the physics to create some rudimentary simple machines. For instance, as the guys over at Nintendo Sphere discovered, if you use position a plank over an object-like a chest– to use as a pivot, then place something on one side, like Link, and then drop a heavy object on the other, you just created yourself a catapult that can launch Link sky high.

Pretty impressive right? And we’re just scratching the surface of things you can do with the physics–we’re sure there will be many more crazy things you can do in the game–whether or not the developers intended for it. The physics really add yet another “wild” element to the game which makes it feel more real than ever before. And something else that helps make the world feel alive is the varying climate and weather patterns. Now in the E3 demo, we only really got a taste of the former, with falling snow found in the higher mountain elevations.

And as part of the game’s attention to realism, the temperature not only drops the higher up you go, but it’ll drop even further at night. In fact, temperature plays a rather large role in the game, as reflected in the fact it gets its own on-screen gauge–which visibly catches on fire if Link’s on fire, or freezes over when Link’s frozen Now there are a few ways to combat the cold–but the most effective method is to, of course, wear warm clothing. And articles that are especially cold resistant are marked on the inventory screen . But Beyond clothing, some food, such as the Spicy Elixir, will temporarily increase Link’s resistance to cold environments, which in this case, is for 9:50. But failing that, Link can also make a fire, which will keep him warm as long as he stays close. Now climates are one thing, but weather’s another.

What’s sunny one moment might be rainy the next. Now again, we didn’t see any examples of this in the E3 demo, but the trailer does show at least one example, with a scene of the Temple of Time on a dark and stormy night. It’s then followed by this scene of the nearby forest, where lightning strikes a tree and starts a fire–which seems like it may be another hazard Link may have to watch out for. And in another scene, we can see lightning strike a structure here, that it possibly destroys.

Now in both instances, the lightning appears to be striking taller objects, much like it does in real life. And like in real-life, the time of day changes too. Yeah, that really is the best transition I could think of–hey, I’ve been working on this for months, cut me some slack! Now granted, day & night cycles are nothing new for Zelda, but Breath of the Wild features one of the longest ones yet, clocking in at 24-minutes in total. Which is to say that for every 1 minute of real-time, 1 hour passes in Zelda.

And for the first time, the game displays the exact time digitally in the lower-right corner–albeit in 5 minute increments. But interestingly, that clock disappears when you enter a Shrine–buuut don’t let that fool you, because time still continues to pass at the exact same rate, yep we measured it. So Shrines are basically the casinos of Hyrule–in that they’re windowless and you have no time how much time has passed until you step back outside. And in case you did lose track of time, don’t worry, because you can always just stop at a campfire to fast forward time to either morning, noon, or night And in case you were wondering what a full day looked like, the Japanese website for Breath of the Wild actually revealed a full 24 minute video of the entire Day / Night cycle which we’ve sped up here. And it provides a wonderful look at how things change over the course of the day, such as the color of the sky, shadows that move with the sun’s position, mist that comes and goes–and even the clouds can be see changing directions with the wind. That’s attention to detail But this video has a couple of other interesting things about it.

For one, shortly after night falls, what appears to be a meteorite flies in and crashes into the ground, kicking up quite a lot of dirt in the process. And in a neat touch, you can even see it reflected in the water as it comes crashing in. But it seems this isn’t just for show, because a beacon of light shines at the impact point, suggesting there’s something there for Link to collect-perhaps some kind of valuable material. But interestingly, it seems Link may have a limited time, because that beacon disappears just a little over 5 and a half minutes later…so is it on a set time limit?

Or does its disappearance perhaps correlate with the rising sun, which happens moments later? Regardless, we wonder if the meteorite might possibly hint at a slightly greater celestial theme to the game. After all, those circle and line patterns we’ve talked about before also somewhat resemble constellation drawings. And going off that potentially wild idea, let’s look at the outside of the Shrines–where the base appears to be more earth-like in appearance, whereas we can see the constellation-like line pattern at the top, closer to the stars. And could the towers perhaps have been built as a way to get closer to star-filled sky, kind of like the biblical Tower of Babel? And speaking of celestial themes–did you notice the moon here?

Or rather, how it’s only a partial moon–waxing crescent to be specific. Well, we know the moon won’t always appear that way based on this scene in the trailer which appears to show one closer to a 3/4 moon–which means the moon phases from Wind Waker are back. Now back then, it affected various events, such as the location of the Ghost Ship–so we think it might have an effect on the gameplay this time too–we’re just not sure what. Okay, so clearly the world feels alive–again, tying into the “wildness” of it all.

And something else that helps with this is that it’s actually teeming with life, whether its the vast foliage, or all kinds of wildlife. You’ll find Squirrels squirreling up and down trees, fish in lakes, Boars and Deer in forests, and all kinds of birds. You’ll often find them flying around high in the sky in a V-Formation, which is a neat touch. And of course, you can hunt any of those if you so choose. You can even go bug hunting if you want, like in Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword Heck, even the enemies feel more natural than before, because they now feel like an actual part of the world. In the Plateau, Bokoblin are the most frequent antagonists–and they’re of course nothing new for Zelda.

But this time, they seem to actually exist as a part of this world, as you’ll mostly find them living as groups inside different types of encampments. It can be just a small camp with a fire roasting meat something as grandiose as setting up home inside a giant skull. By contextualizing their existence, it really makes this feel like more of a world–while also making the Bokoblins feel a little smarter than they typically have. In fact, they not only seem smarter, they actually ARE smarter.

And this plays into Breath of the Wild’s new-found emphasis on stealth, which we touched on earlier with the wild horses. Because Link now has ability to crouch to stay out of sight and an onscreen meter shows how much sound Link is making–both features which have never been in the series before. And if Link manages to sneak up on an enemy, sight unseen, he can perform a Sneak Strike that appears to be an instant kill–at least for the Bokoblins here. It’s a technique that’s especially useful at night, when you can sneak up on sleeping Bokoblins to take them down before before they even know what’s happening. But sneaking up on Bokoblins is easier said than done,because if Link’s not careful, he’ll arouse their suspicion, as indicated by the Question Marks that appear over their head, and they’ll begin to investigate. But you can use their intelligence against them too, such as by distracting them with the sound of a misplaced arrow or an exploding bomb to lure them away, giving Link a chance to get into a better position and pick them off.

And things get even trickier when you factor in the ones on the watchtowers who’ll sound their horn if they see you, instantly alerting the others to your presence. And speaking of which, if the Bokoblins actually see or discover Link at any point, then an exclamation mark will appear over their heads, showing that they’re in attack mode. And this is where we can see how clever Bokoblins really can be this time around. Because although they almost always start unarmed since they’re just chilling at camp. But as soon as they learn of a threat, they’ll actually run over to their weapon stash first and arm themselves, potentially including shields too–and some even go the extra mile of igniting their club by dipping it into fire, making them even more of a danger. Basically, the longer you take, the greater the potential threat they pose, which makes sneaking up on them and taking them out quickly all the more important.

Ultimately, the Bokoblins IQ bump really turns every camp into a mini puzzle of sorts giving you a ton of options. What angle should you approach from? Do you try and sneak up to take them down silently? Or do you try and steal or burn their weapons instead?

Or if there’s a beehive nearby, you can try shooting that down and let the bees have their fun. And that’s just a small amount of the possibilities. And it seems you’ll have plenty of opportunities to exercise your options, since Bokoblins appear to be a pretty common enemy even outside of the Plateau as well, since we can see they’ll also appear in desert settings, and in the field leading up to Hyrule Castle But even though they may be smart, the typical red ones aren’t terribly strong, but there is a rarer blue variety as well, who has a lot more HP, and is also equipped with better weapons–like a sword instead of a wooden club Now in Skyward Sword, the Bokoblins wore skulls as accessories–but this time, it’s a full-on obsession, as not only do they wear mini skulls around their neck, but they also use bones as support beams for their structures, with random piles of bones usually found nearby for good measure. Hell, they even live inside giant skulls at times too. And by the way–those skulls are huuuge. It makes us wonder what kind of creature it came from…and if they might still exist in this world?

Or are they too a relic of the past? And speaking of relics from the pasts, another enemy seen in The Plateau are the very Skeletons of the Bokoblins you’ve been fighting, called Skull Bokoblins. Huh, so maybe thus explains why the Bokoblins are so fascinated with skeletons. Now these guys only appear at night, burrowing up from the ground, meaning you have to keep on your toes since you never know when one might attack But given their fragile nature, they’ll actually fall apart as you battle them–they might lose an arm…or even their head! Yep, you could say Link…pulled ahead.

But even when detached, the body parts and bodies will attempt to reunite–and they’re not picky about whose body they reattach to. But if Link gets to one of those body parts first, he can even use them as weapons. The arm can be equipped like a sword–even as it creepily wiggles around. Or he can punt the head like a football to inflict some damage from a distance. Yeah, it’s a little messed up!

Now while Bokoblins and Skull Bokoblins will account for most of your enemy encounters, there are a couple of other dangerous creatures lurking out in the Plateau. Such as Churros–err, I mean, Chuchus, which can also suddenly pop up out from the ground, and then there’s Zelda’s famous bat enemy, Keese. Now both enemies are pretty weak normally, but they both do come in an ice variety found in the snowy mountain that can freeze Link on impact, making them just a bit more dangerous. And based on the Ice versions, we’d be very surprised if Fire variants of both didn’t show up too, especially for Keese since they’ve already appeared in that form in past games.

Now Chuchus always seem to drop Chuchu jelly after beating defeated, but the description for the normal one’s a bit interesting, because it says that “although it’s unusable in its current gelatinous state, applying electricity may change its form.” Which suggests Link may be able to come across sources of electricity in the environment, similar to fire and how it interacts with objects. And by electricity, do they mean the blue energy we’ve talked about already ad nauseam? If that’s the case, maybe Link could use his energized arrows to have the same effect?

Anyways, that covers it for all of the common enemies in the Plateau–but there’s one more enemy encounter we haven’t talked about yet–and it’s a big one. Although it may not seem like it at first, because he’s completely hidden. It’s only when you step into the clearing here that the rocks magically group together forming the a giant rock monster called The Steppe Talus–which is a rather fitting name, considering Steppe is defined as an extensive plain, especially one without trees, and Talus refers to a deposit formed by an accumulation of broken rock debris. At any rate, the game treats this as a major encounter–perhaps even a boss encounter, given that it’s the only enemy that has its name displayed on screen at all times, along with a giant health bar.

But being a giant rock monster, how do you attack it? After all, in the words of Tim Allen… But thankfully. this one actually does have a weak point–it’s that black rock on top of his head. It’s just getting to it that can be tricky, since Link needs to get close enough to climb up its body, while avoiding being pounded by its swinging fists–which it can even throw as projectiles. And it’s not like he’ll run out since he can just dig up another rock as a replacement.

There is a pretty cool trick though, because if you’re quick, you can actually hop aboard as he’s assembling himself at the start to get some easy hits in. Now you can also attack his weak point from afar with arrows–and bomb arrows seem especially effective in particular. And as a bonus, arrows will actually stun the creature momentarily, giving Link a chance to climb up him without fear.

But just be aware that he may toss off Link have a few direct hits. Now once you finally defeat him, Link will be rewarded with a bunch of amber, and a valuable Ruby. Alright and that covers it for all the creatures we can see in the Plateau–but what about those we can’t see?

Because there’s still one more left we haven’t talked about: The Koroks. And that’s for a good reason, because these guys are invisible until you happen across their hiding spot, at which point they’ll instantly materialize and express how surprised they are that Link can see them. Now Koroks, as a species, are nothing new, having previously appeared in The Wind Waker–but haven’t been seen since, And as it turns out, the Koroks this time around aren’t just any Koroks–they’re the exact same Koroks–or at least the 5 we’ve seen so far, which includes Oakin who’s in a pond, Hollo who’s hiding under a rock in the forest, Aldo who lurks on top of the Temple of Time, Olivio on top of Woodcutter’s Cabin, and Irch under this distinctive tree root in the forest. And their reappearance seems particularly apt in a game that’s all about nature, given that they’re made of wood, have leaves for faces and are collectively known as “the children of the woods” Now each time you find one, they’ll give Link a Korok Seed, and according to the game’s description, if gather a bunch of them, something might just happen…but what? Whatever it is, it has to be pretty important since we know the Seeds go into the “Important Items” category on your inventory screen.

And since they are well, seeds, we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to plant them and make something grow. And we have a feeling it might just be a tree, given that in The Wind Waker, the Koroks had an annual tradition of planting trees around the world. In fact…could it possibly grow into The Great Tree, who watched over the Koroks in the Wind Waker?

It’s probably far fetched but you never know Anyways, even though we only know of 5 Koroks in the Breath of the Wild, there were 10 of them in The Wind Waker–which means we’re pretty sure there’s at least 5 more to find in this game too. And we wouldn’t be surprised if they too are in the Plateau. After all 10’s a nice round number, don’t you think? And if that’s the case, we can’t help but wonder if there might be Koroks to find in every region?

It would seem weird if they’re mostly confined to the Plateau? So is it possible that you might be able to do something with the seeds for every 10 you find, or will you have to collect them all for them to be useful? Now one thing that’s missing from the Plateau–or really, most everywhere else that we’ve seen–is any sign of civilized life. I mean, the only actual humanoid character we see besides Link is the Old Man. Sure, there are hints of what used to be civilized life, with the buildings left in ruin, but that’s it.

Although there is one exception: the Woodcutter’s cabin. And not only is it in good condition, but it appears to be inhabited, based on the lit fire outside and the lantern near the entrance. So since there’s no one else around, could this be the Old Man’s primary residence?

He does carry a very similar looking lantern around with him, after all. Plus, we can even see him near the Cabin in the trailer, using an ax to chop down a tree. Heck, he may have even used that ax to build the cabin himself! Now despite the mysterious lack of characters so far, Nintendo has confirmed that towns do exist in the game. In fact, we may have seen proof of this way back in the original reveal trailer, where we not only see some intact buildings, but even several villagers out in the fields.

Now even though the game has probably changed to some degree since then, it’s possible we’ll see something along these lines On top of that, we’ve heard from a reliable source ourselves that one of those towns is likely to be a Goron city–which makes sense given that they’re rock creatures in a game with rock climbing. So we’d be very surprised if Link isn’t able to climb some of those Gorons and maybe get a free ride, especially given how big some of them can be! And of course, cities in most open-world games are generally ripe with sidequests, and we don’t expect Breath of the Wild will be any different. Especially based on the giant message that flashes on screen when Link learns of the objective to head to the tower–which then gets marked “COMPLETE” when he finishes it–why else would it do that unless more quests are to be expected?

Alright, so let’s see. We’ve covered the opening, Link, Zelda, Ganon, the Setting, Towers, Guardians, enemies, abilities, physics, and pretty much everything else in Breath of the Wild…I guess we’re done here! Except we haven’t really talked much about the world itself much. And there’s a looot to talk about. Now we’ve already covered the Plateau pretty well–and you’re probably sick of seeing it anyway–but I did want to draw special attention to the highest place in all of the Plateau, being the peak Mount Hylia–and it offers an amazing view of the world. But there’s something strange up here, as in that weird rock formation, with one giant rock in the middle held by some smaller ones surrounding it.. What the heck is this about?

We don’t know for sure, but we may do have one idea–because it did remind us of the State of the Goddess Hylia in the Temple of Time, which itself ia large structure, surrounded by several smaller ones. Is it possible this is some kind of ancient tribute to the Goddess? It would make sense seeing as this is the highest point in the Plateau, where it’d be closest to the heavens. And then there’s the fact that this is literally called Mount Hylia. Huh But despite how tall Mount Hylia is,Nintendo confirmed it’s not the highest point in the game–in fact, we can see that the nearby Mountains to the South are even taller.

So it got us wondering–how much taller could a mountain realistically get? Well, there’s no way for sure–but we may have some idea, and it’s all thanks to the Map. Because, the map is actually colored based on altitude, so the higher something is, the lighter it gets. We can see this with the dark brown edges of the Plateau, which are the lowest points, whereas Mount Hylias’s peak is considerably lighter. And we can use this information to get a general ideal of relative altitudes–as well as predict the possible tallest peak in the game.

Now to simplify things, we’ve converted the map into a black and white image, giving us only two colors to worry about–with pure black now representing the lowest possible altitude and pure white being the highest. And by using Photoshop’s Eyedropper tool, we can actually select different parts of the Region and immediately compare their relative altitudes by the color’s position on this line. So the edge of the Plateau is consistently–and predictably–on the low-end of the scale, with this being the lowest point–or only 21% of the way up.

Which is to say, it’s not at the bottom–which makes sense since the entire Plateau is higher than the surrounding terrain. So we think the bottom of the meter–being pure black–might represent sea level–which might also possibly be the elevation of the surrounding terrain. In which case, this would show us exactly how high up off the ground the lowest point of the Plateau is. Now on the opposite end of the spectrum,, if we select Mount Hylia’s peak, we can see how much higher it is, at just under halfway up the meter–or to be exact, 46% of the way to the top And since pure white would the highest possible point, that means it’s technically possible that there could be another mountain elsewhere in the game that’s just slightly over twice as high as Mount Hylia.

Now granted, we don’t think the developers will go quite that crazy–but hey, they might–and it shows the kind of scale we might be dealing with…at least vertically. But what about horizontally? After all, Nintendo has confirmed the Plateau itself makes up less than 2% of the world. But how big is that…really? I mean, it’s one thing to hear how big it is, and another to see how big it is.

Now you might be thinking we’ve already seen how big it is…on the Map Screen, which allows us to not only see the entire plateau, but the world beyond it as well. Buuut you can’t quite see the entire thing at once, even when fully zoomed out, so we went ahead and stitched it all together. Pretty huge right? But this image may not tell the full story for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s possible this map may not actually represent the full world. Because we can clearly see the region markers extending beyond the faded edges of the map.

So is it possible you’ll be able to explore even beyond what we can see? Well, we wouldn’t completely rule that idea out. After all, Aonuma does refer to the Plateau as “Central Hyrule” despite the Plateau quite clearly not being in the exact center; instead it’s about a Plateau’s distance away, to the southwest. Which might lend credence to the idea that there’s even more of the world beyond the boundaries of what we can see on the map–specifically to the southwest, thereby making the Plateau the Geographical center. But that is all assuming he wasn’t just one’s using the word “central” a bit liberally–which is the more likely option.

Especially since, as far as we can tell, there’s no reason for the world to extend any farther than it currently does–why would the game allow us to view such a massive part of the world we haven’t reached, yet hide even more beyond the boundary? And that leads us to our next point, because even at its current size, the full map actually allows for a world far bigger than it needs to be, based on the fact that the Plateau represents–at most–2% of it. In fact, based on our calculations, the map’s active area as shown here, is 125 times larger than the Plateau, which would then make the plateau a mere 0.8% of the total world. Or in other words, that would make the world itself possibly up to twice the size that Nintendo’s claiming, since the plateau would be making up less than 1% of it. Now granted, Nintendo did say that the Plateau represents less than 2% of the world making this technically possible–but we’ll get back to that in a moment.

Okay, but how do we know all this about the size stuff? Because we actually measured the damn thing. And this was a bit trickier than you might think, because even though the Map itself is obviously a rectangle and there’s even a grid overlay to help with measurements ,the Plateau itself isn’t squarish at all, so figuring out the size is a lot trickier than just counting how many grid squares it takes up. So what we did instead was count how many pixels made up the Plateau, as well as the amount of pixels in each grid space and then used some ancient Hylian magic to do the rest!

So let’s go over our findings. Okay, so at the maximum zoomed-out scale, the Plateau is roughly the area of 54 Grid Spaces, as represented here by the little blue box. And since we know that the Plateau represents 2% of the world at most, this means that world is conservatively 50-times bigger than the Plateau (or 2700 Grid Spaces. ), as represented here by the green box.

But again, Nintendo did said multiple times that the plateau represents less than 2%–and since they didn’t use 1% as their reference point, we’re guessing that means the plateau has to be somewhere between 1.1% and 1.9% of the total world–and we’re guessing it’s probably going to be closer to that latter figure. So let’s take a look at how much bigger the world could possibly be using that range. And first up is how the world would look assuming the Plateau represents 1.9% of it, or in other words, a world that’s 52.6x larger–as shown here with the yellow box. Yeah, it’s not much difference, so let’s step it up a notch, this time to what we think is likely its maximum possible size at the 1.5% figure–or a world that’s 66.6x larger than the Plateau, as displayed by the purple box But you know us–we like to explore all possible options at GameXplain, so let’s take a look at how big the world could be assuming the Plateau represents just 1.1% of a world that’s 91x bigger. Yep, now it’s getting ridiculous–but as you’ll note, it still fits within the confines of the existing map screen quite easily. Okay, now obviously the landmasses aren’t square-shaped, so here’s what that amount of land might look like in a more natural form, using the same shape as the Plateau as a guide.

Here’s it at 1.9%, 1.5%, and 1.1%. And once again we can see even in the unlikeliest case of the largest size, it still doesn’t fill the entirely of the map screen. Which of course means that this entire map can’t all be land–or at least, land that’s accessible. Which got us thinking about the various Regions that make of this world. So far we only know of one for sure, being the Plateau.

But the outlines on the map appear to reveal the others, and it would appear that there are may be 15 regions in total. But here’s the thing–it’s entirely possible some of those regions aren’t really regions at all–and are actually created by the negative space of actual regions. For instance, if this is a region, and this is a region, the ones inbetween may not be one at all–but only have the appearance of being one since it shares the same borders. So could something like this be the case?

Probably not. Because here’s the thing–we counted how many towers we can see from the Plateau–some of which can just barely be seen, and we came up with 13 of them, including the Plateau’s. We then went through a painstaking process of actually mapping out where in the world those 13 are –Trust me, it was a total pain in the keister.–and sure enough, it confirms our theory from earlier that each Tower is in a different region.

So that accounts for 13 of the 15 regions right there–leaving only these two left with towers we haven’t accounted. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, because we found at least one other tower–and possibly two–in the E3 trailer that we can’t match up with anywhere else. Which means it has to belong to one of those two regions, leaving at best a single region we can’t account for–even though we might be able to as well. And we’ll show you exactly what we’re talking about soon. So we’re pretty sure that means that all 15 of these regions are the real deal–meaning there’s 15 Towers to find too. In fact, we’ll even show you as best as we can where exactly you can expect to find most, if not all of those towers, among other landmarks in just a moment.

Okay, we’ve talked a lot about the regions–but there’s still one question left. What exactly ARE the regions? I mean, do their boundaries as outlined on the map correlate to anything? They do in the case of the Plateau, where the boundaries reflects the Plateau’s edge. But as far as we can tell, the rest of the world has no such clear boundaries between regions–it seems like one region may just blend into the next. In fact, each region’s boundaries–except for the Plateau–appear to be pretty dang arbitrary–check out this thin little section that hugs the plateau wall–what’s the reason for that?

So at this point, it seems the region’s may be mostly for mapping purposes–and maaaaybe the Korok seeds as we suggested earlier. But is that really it? Or could there possibly be another function to the regions? Well, we have one wild idea–and it involves our other wild idea from earlier where we proposed that the Plateau may be able to be raised or lowered? What if this applied to every region–as in, every single one could be raised or lowered independently. This could allow for some insane puzzles on a worldwide scale where you may have to lower one region in order to glide to it from another you raised.

And perhaps you could control all of this from the any of the towers…it would explain the antenna, if you can control them all remotely.Look, we know it’s a crazy idea–but Breath of the Wild is all about switching up the formula right? Okay, that’s enough about regions boundaries because let’s face it, outside of crazy ideas, region boundaries are booooring. Instead, there’s a GIANT world for us to explore out there. Now we’ve already covered the Plateau pretty dang well–but the thing about the Plateau is that it’s your entrypoint into the rest of the world, once you get the Paraglider, you can then glide from it in any direction you choose.

Yep, the world really is your oyster. So let’s take a look at what might be waiting for Link beyond the Plateau’s boundaries And let’s go ahead and start with the North and work our way around this world clockwise. And of course, the biggest point of interest to the North is Hyrule Castle, which we’ve already talked about a fair amount.

Now from this vantage point, it really doesn’t look like it’s all that far away. Buuut looks can be deceiving, because we know exactly how far away it is since we placed a pin on it during E3, showing its exact location on the map–and we measured that it’s roughly the distance of 2.5 plateaus away. So yeah, it’s pretty far. And that’s not even halfway to the edge of the visible map, which is about 120% of that same distance–again this is a big world. Now we’ve already discussed Hyrule Castle a fair amount, but there’s still more we haven’t touched on, which we can see even better if we enhance the contrast of the image. First, we can see that a path leads right up the castle, before winding up and to the left, presumably to the entrance itself.

–although there does appear to be a gap just as you get close–so could there be a moat surrounding it, like there often has in other games? We might just see a glimpse of what could be water in this zoomed out picture down here, and here. So we wonder if that gap might indicate that you won’t be able to reach the Castle–at least not right away.

But could he climb his way up to it? Maybe–but he might not be able to use those pillars if they’re made out of the same material as the shrines. And there doesn’t appear to be anything close by besides those pillars that could paraglide from either And speaking of gaps, in one of the more zoomed-out pictures released for the game, we can see what appears to be a gap in the castle itself, as if it’s perched above the ground, exposing the mountain behind it.

It could be a visual trick, but we can see the exact same thing in a picture at a different angle. In fact, the right side of the castle sure does look rather mountainous–it all looks very remote and intimidating-a bit more “wild” if you will. Especially with those weird spikes sticking out the sides–what’s going on there? Are they related to Ganon in some way? It might be–especially considering the entire castle appears to be purple Finally, we can course we can also see the hallmark spires of Hyrule Castle that top the towers, and what may be a bridge connecting them back to the castle Alright, and that’s it for Hyrule Castle itself–but what about everything that leading up to it from the Plateau?

Well, as it turns out, that’s exactly where this Guardian battle takes place. In fact, if we freeze it here, we can actually see the Plateau in the distance–there’s the Temple of Time, and there’s the Plateau’s tower. And speaking of Towers, we can see the one that belongs to this region close by–and it’s clearly already been activated by Link, as it’s blue, with the antenna like things are in the raised portion. So our guess is that the tower is somewhere around here on the map, with this scene taking place not too far east of it.

But besides that and some nearby trees, this area seems to be mostly open fields–which of course is perfect for the Guardian battle. But there is a branching path here that splits through the field–one’s heading east, another west, and we wonder if this one heading North might lead to the castle? We can also see a few flags around here too that appear to mark the trail’s path, perhaps making it easier to spot from a distance? And finally, there are some ruins not too far too–could this be where the Guardian came from? Now we can actually get a much better look at this area in this far-out view overlooking the Plateau–look, here’s the tower, and we think these might be the ruins here. And from this vantage point, we can really see how open the field really is here, with only the occasional patch of trees breaking it up–though it does seem to be much more heavily forested near the Plateau wall.

We can also partially see where that western path leads, bending south toward the Plateau, before possibly heading east again, over the hill. And that covers the Region Hyrule Castle’s in, but there’s another region behind it. Unfortunately, it’s too far to make out much of anything, besides some rolling hills dotted with trees, and some distant mountains behind them.

But we can at least see where that region’s tower is, behind and to the right of Hyrule Castle, which we’re guessing puts it somewhere around here on the map Alright, so that covers the North, so let’s turn our attention to the Northeast–where we can find a smoldering volcano; And you probably don’t need me to tell you that this is more than likely Death Mountain, just like nearly every other volcano in the Zelda series. And we actually put a peg on it too–revealing that this is its exact location on the map. Now this volcano looks especially menacing this time, with lava pouring down the sides and constantly spewing smoke into the air–and check out the jagged peaks that appear to surround it for quite some distance.

And while we’re on this shot, we can clearly see the location of two towers. The one just in front of it is the Tower for this same region–and although from this vantage point it appears to be left of the Volcano, we can see from the perspective of the Plateau, it’s actually to the right. And based on our measurements, we’re pretty sure it’ll be found right about here on the map.

Now that second Tower in the back belongs to the neighboring region to the east, which we get another look at from this angle. And thanks to an in-game Marker, we know it’s located precisely here on the map. Now generally, Death Mountain is as far North as you can go in most of the Zelda games, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here, as there’s not only tons of room beyond it on the map, but we can even see mountains extend even beyond it in-game. So we wouldn’t be surprised if there are multiple ways up Death Mountain this time. Now the terrain obviously does appear to get a bit rougher and more mountainous leading up to the volcano–but before that, we can see central Hyrule appears to still be mostly fields with the occasional patches of trees.

Although we can see a lake or small pond closer to the Plateau–and do you see that nearby ruined building there, with the window? We think that may just be where this scene of the ducks from the trailer took place, since we can see a similar looking structure there, also by a lake Now if we turn our attention even more a little more east-bound, we can spot another tower in the field. And we narrowed down to belonging to this region, somewhere around here.

Now just east of that tower, we can see a mass of clouds mysteriously obscuring part of the mountain–and those clouds seem to be there at all times of day. What exactly are those clouds hiding? Next up. let’s turn our attention Eastbound, where we can find the Twin Peaks–the same ones that were pointed out before as being based on the original Zelda game.

And we actually know their exact location on the map too, since we pegged them as well. Now the E3 trailer actually gives us a close-up look at–and sure enough…it’s a pair of mountains, with a thin gap separating them. And we can also see mossy ledges cover both, which should provide resting points for those wanting to climb it. And speaking of which, did you notice you can actually see Link doing just that in the E3 trailer–look, he’s right there!

And we actually get a better look at those ledges in this scene with Link flying between the two mountains, and we can that there’s actually a path on either side that that appears to wrap around to the front side of the mountains. But more interesting is the fantastic view we have here, because it gives us a rare glimpse of the world from a completely different angle. Look, there’s Hyrule Castle, and here’s the Plateau–see, there’s the Temple of Time and the nearby Tower. The most interesting detail is we can see what appears to be a river that runs between the two mountains here and out toward central Hyrule. And assuming that river is the same one as in these pictures, it seems it winds a fair ways inland, and might connect to the lake in the SouthEast–but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Anyways, this clip also gives us a close-up look at the 3 new Shrines being one in the valley between the mountains, another to the South, closer to the Plateau, and a third to the north. And then we also have the region’s tower, which we estimate to be on the map somewhere around here. Now, there’s yet another region behind those Twin Peaks–but they’re blocking the view!

However, we may have a few clues as to what lies behind them. Because this scene from the trailer appears to be shot from the the Plateau side of the Twin Peaks, which we based on the two paths we mentioned earlier, as the higher path is now on the opposite side. Which means that everything we can see ahead the mountains is what lies beyond them…unfortunately, it’s not terrible exciting, being more tree-covered fields and a mountain or two just behind it. Now I don’t want to read into it too much since our viewpoint is so narrow, but we can’t see anything beyond those mountains, so could we be nearing land’s edge?

Might there be just ocean beyond? It would make sense given the river here. It does look like that might be the case based on the view from Mount Hylia–where we can see glimpses to the east and south of what might be ocean–either that, or the land’s reeeally flat. And speaking of that river, it might hint at a little more history to the twin peaks than might seem at first. As in, these peaks might not always have been twins…instead, we think it’s possible they may have been a single mountain at one time. After all, they are of similar heights–so the river that runs between them may have actually formed the very valley that Link’s flying through..

Although this theory does seem to be at odds with the fact that the twin peaks stand alone–as in, there’s no higher elevation from which the river could have flowed–unless of course, our wild idea that the regions can change elevations…holds water. Anyways, let’s continue our world tour, this time to the SouthEast, where we find a giant lake that runs almost right up to the edge of the Plateau. And based on its size, we think there’s a good chance this is Lake Hylia. And like its appearance in past games, we can see several islands within. There’s also a massive bridge here that allows passage across–and from what we can tell, it appears to be directed to the diagonally, from the Northwest to SouthEast. And we actually pegged this one down to on the map, and it can be found right here.

And while we’re mapping things, we can see the Region’s tower is nearby—in fact, we can see just how close that Tower really is to the bridge in this official artwork. And we can see that reflected on the map too, which we also pegged precisely as being right here. Now the bridge is too far away to see much detail from here, but thankfully, the Reveal Trailer gives us a close-up look at in this scene, with Link riding across it while westbound–see, there’s the Temple of Time on the Plateau again. Now if we take a look at the artwork again, we can see a river connects to the northern half of the lake, which is possibly the same one that runs between the Twin Peaks, as we speculated earlier. Of course, this isn’t the first bridge to cross a giant lake in Zelda, as Twilight Princess’s Lake Hylia also had one, called the Great Bridge of Hylia. In fact, they look remarkably similar, with both bridges featuring similarly shaped giant stone entranceways on either end, as well as damaged support columns–so could they be the same bridge?

Now the bridge in Breath of the Wild is in notable better shape overall. Besides the missing pillars, it’s only suffering from a few cosmetic cracks, as opposed to Twilight Princess’s crumbling entranceways. And it of course is visually more impressive too, being much longer, and now bearing the Hylian Crest–which would make sense as the Bridge of Hylia.

But it’s possible this is just a coincidence and the two aren’t connected at all. But as it turns out, this may not even be the first time we’ve seen this bridge–or at least one like it–in Breath of the Wild. Because back when the game was shown off during the Game Awards–you know, when it was still Zelda Wii U–we pointed out a very similar looking bridge, also book-ended by nearly identical stone entranceways, and even then noted its striking similarity to the Bridge of Hylia. But though it’s very similar, it’s not quite identical, such as how the actual entrance is now round instead of squarish.

So the question is, is this the same bridge, but just updated since we last saw it? Or are they two separate bridges? Or maybe the game’s been changed so much since then that it really doesn’t matter at all? It’s impossible to say for sure–but there is one interesting piece of evidence that may have some interesting implications…

Okay, do you remember this map, also from the Game Awards? Yeah, it looks quite a bit differently from how it does now. But look at this–do you see that large lake with the thin line running through it? Yeah, that’s what we originally pegged as being the Lake Hylia and that same bridge we just saw. Of course, we weren’t certain they were the same bridges then either But let’s take a close look at it’s shape–because the bridge appears to split the lake in almost the exact same way, with the majority of the water being found on the left side, and a smaller–but still sizable portion on the other. And look, you can even see the islands represented here too.

So it seems like the Lake Hylia portion might still be accurate…but what does this for the rest of the map? Well, if we overlap the old map with the new one, using Lake Hylia as our reference point–it doesn’t look like much as first…but wait. If you watched our original analysis, then you might remember that we pegged thus area as being Death Mountain–and sure enough, it lines up perfectly with where we know it is now. And then you see that snowy looking region over here? Yep, that lines up perfectly with this snowy peak which we’ll be talking about soon. And then we can even see the ocean is exactly where we predicted it, running from the northeast corner to the south.

And by the way, the light blue portion might indicate the explorable portion of it. And check this out. Do you see the river here? It matches up perfectly with the central region’s western border. It’s uncanny.

In fact, the similarities apply to the eastern side of that river too, matching up with the border of the easter region. So this is kind of awesome for a couple of reasons. One, it shows that not every border is completely arbitrary and actually follows the outline of rivers at points. And two, it might be able to tell us even more about the world than what we currently know. For instance, see that arrow there–that marks Link’s location in the first scene of the Game Awards–which as you might have noticed, overlaps with the region we know almost nothing about, being the region behind the Twin Peaks. So let’s take another look at that to see what might be waiting for us there.

And thankfully, the developers provided us with an awesome view by walking up to the cliff edge, showing a vast area surrounded by mountains. Now remember, this is taking place on the east side of the world, which would place the Plateau somewhere over there. Now back then, the developers even pointed out a mysterious looking tower–which yeah, is probably the Region’s true tower. And since they even put a peg on it, we can see that Tower should be somewhere around here on the map, which solves another one of our mysteries. Now unfortunately, we don’t have time to re-analyze this entire area, so make to watch our original one for the Game Awards footage for an indepth look at the area–especially because it seems as relevant as ever.

And beyond this area, we think we can figure out what’s on the other side of the Lake Hylia bridge too. Because that area is much too far away to really make out much in the E3 version, besides the typical mountains, trees, and fields. Even the close-up look from the trailer barely helps since Link starts just in front of the eastern side of the bridge.

But in the Game Awards footage, we get to see what might very well be our first real glimpse at the East side. But how do we know this is the Eastern side? Remember that tower on the hill just right of the bridge? Well if we back up the footage, we can see it in the Game Awards footage too, on a hill, just left of the bridge–and since it’s on the left here, that means Link has to be approaching it from the East. And in case there was any doubt, when Link turns to the right, we can see the Volcano aka Death Mountain off in the distance–which would only be possible from the East side.

So knowing this, that would place the Plateau somewhere over here–and here’s the scene from the trailer again for comparison. Which means everything we’re about to show you should be taking place right around here. Okay, so for reference, here’s the bridge and the tower–so let’s back up to the farthest point that we know is in this area. And that takes us to these two pillars, which one of the commentators in the original video, not only said were suspicious, but also said must be near a dungeon–which is the closest we’ve gotten to knowing where one might be located in the game.

Next, we can see a forest lies just beyond–though with a clearing that leads right up to the eastern side of the bridge. But before going up to it, Link turns and ventures through that same forest he just passed, encountering some wild horses. Could this be close to where Link finds a horse in the trailer?

We think so because of those mountains in the background which are found to the South. See, here are the mountains we’re talking about, which we think means that horse scene takes place somewhere around here. Finally, you may have noticed we can see another Tower from across Lake Hylia, and that one belongs to the Southeastern most region, which we pegged as this precise location on the map Alright and that covers it for the Lake and SouthEastern area, so let’s start turning our attention to the South. Where we can see a huuuuge mountain range, spanning from the Southeast and wrapping around the Plateau to the West. And not only is it big, but it’s tall. Like really tall, dwarfing even the tallest peak in the Plateau.

So what can we glean about this area? Well, not a whole lot, because the entire thing appears to be pretty barren–at least from this distance. But there’s a good reason why it appears to barren–because it looks to be a desert-like region. I mean, it has a dry, orange hue, and seems to lack any kind of vegetation, which is in stark contrast to the other terrain we’ve seen so far. Something else that sets it apart is how multi-layered it is–at least on the side facing the Plateau. We can see that it features multiple flat sections layered on top of each other leading up the mountain–it seems that this mountain was really made for climbing.

And it seems you’ll have to do quite a bit of climbing to reach the Tower at the top, which we also pegged precisely as being located right here, accounting for this region. Interestingly, if we zoom in at the tower’s base, we can see some kind of wall–more ruins perhaps? Now if we turn our attention to the west, we can see–you guessed it– even more of the mountain range–but this time, we can see a second peak that appears to be largely separated from the rest, though it appears that it may be connected to the other one via this. Now besides its color hewing closer to the red end of the spectrum, it otherwise appears to share the same desert-setting–with one major exception. If we look to the top, we can just barely see some Pine Trees, suggesting the climate is entirely different that high up But there’s something else unusual about the peak here, in that no matter when or where we view it from, it’s always obscured by clouds–which is the 2nd time we’ve seen something like this.

So what are these clouds hiding?! Maybe the mountain continues even higher than what we can see? Oh, and in case you were wondering where exactly this mountain is, we also pegged it precisely right here Now, besides the vast size of these mountains, there doesn’t seem to be much of interest from side of the mountains…but what about the other side? Well, while we can’t speak of the entire mountain range, we can for at least one portion, thanks to this scene of Link running along a sand dune, with what appears to be that same mountain range in the background.

And we know it has to take place behind them because of this Tower right here. Now I know what you’re thinking–isn’t this the same tower in the mountains we pointed out earlier? Nope–that one was quite clearly on top of the mountain with nothing taller surrounding it, whereas this one is surrounded by mountains on one side. And since this Tower isn’t visible from the Plateau, that means it has to be behind those mountains–look, we can even see the mysterious clouds from this side. And better yet, we know exactly which region this is in too.

Because, there’s only one region that shares that mountain range that we haven’t yet placed a tower for, being this one right here. So now that we know where roughly this takes place–probably–let’s see what more we can find out here. And obviously, it’s all desert–which might mean that the entire mountain ranges serves as the gateway to this portion of the world–potentially making the desert a MASSIVE area. But hey, Zelda is no stranger to large deserts We can also see the backside of that mountain range shares the same layered-approach as the other side, once again demonstrating that climbing is likely be a major part of this region.

But as we step back from the mountain, we can see a little more of what this area has to offer, including some rocky pillars down here, then sand–lots and lots of sand, culminating with the Sand dune that Link’s climbing here. But what about what’s behind the sand dune? Well, based on this scene–even more sand! And lots of it! But how we do know? Because we can see the Region’s tower in the background right there, confirming this takes place beyond even the sand dune.

And by the way–did you notice the massive ribcage here? Does it maybe belong to the same animal as those massive skulls in the Plateau? Now that’s everything we can glean from the trailer, but a video on Treehouse Live might reveal even more. In it, we can see Link parasailing through very similar terrain.And then there’s the fact that he actually starts his descent from atop a Tower, that sits on top of a high ledge–yep, just like the tower we were talking about before. So if they are in fact the same towers, that means Link’s flight path in that clip takes him somewhere along this path.

And assuming this is the same area, we can see the area further out from the mountains does appear to be mostly flat desert. But despite the similarities, we can’t be 100% sure this is the same area. Yeah, we’re pretty sure, but because the two vantage points are so different, we weren’t able to actually to match up any of the rocks here between the two clips.

At any rate, regardless of where exactly it takes place, there are still some interesting things to note here. First up: look, there’s water over here. Yeah, it’s not much, but it shows that this region isn’t completely dry–just mostly dry. And next to that is what appears to be some kind of tower, with something on top.

Is that a creature? It doesn’t appear to be moving, so it could be a chest or something. Next, we can see there actually is some plant life here–granted, not much, but it’s not completely barren either. After that, if we look close, we can see the the mountain wall here looks just a little too-straight-edged to be entirely natual–instead it appears it may have been carved out. And if we look down below, we can see a Shrine.

And of course, there’s the pair of bridges allowing passage over the gulf here. And when Link flies closer, we can see some kind of creature walking around. At first, we thought we were viewing it from that front and that it might be wearing a mask, but if we back up to this angle, we think it’s actually facing away. Now we can’t tell for sure whether it’s friendly or foe, though it looks like it its back may be armored perhaps hinting at the latter. And it also seems to be carrying some kind of stick–but is it a beating stick or a walking stick?

Now as Link gets closer to the Shrine, we can see another one of those carved walls–but this one appears to be much taller than the one before. We can also see some kind of scaffolding-like thing right here, as well as a couple of walkways just above. And that’s pretty much everything in this clip, but this scene from that trailer might reveal a bit more. But before we continue, do you see the rock-wall there with the three openings? Well if we go back to the Paragliding clip, we can see those same 3 openings way off in the distance, showing where that scene takes place.

And that scene shows some wooden catwalks–complete with occasional awnings–lining the canyon walls. And for some reason there’s a ladder here that leads down to a platform from the catwalk–though we’re not quite sure why as it doesn’t appear to lead anywhere. And with that, we’re done covering the mountain range and the desert! So let’s now turn our worldview to the northwest, where we can first see a lumpy–but otherwise pleasant looking mountain, filled with grass and pine trees and gentle slopes. Now there’s isn’t too much more to say about this mountain–except that there’s a Shrine at the top.

Oh, and we can actually peg this mountain’s exact location on the map too. But what about this region’s tower? Well, this is where things get a bit trickier–because finding good footage is a lot tougher for these final 3 regions on this side of the world–plus I straight up ran out of time . So let’s knock them all out at once, because from the Top of the Mountain, we can just barely see the Red glow of all 3.

But it’s that farthest Tower that I want to talk about anyway, because it’s next to this extremely iconic mountain that looks like it has a piece bitten right out of it. Now it’s hard to tell much of anything else about it from here, but the trailer does provide a close-up, revealing it as a cold, snowy region–you can even see the track Link left in the snow. Now we’re not quite sure where he’s heading, though the flags here might indicate there’s a path to follow.

And that’s about it for this scene…except keep an eye on the wooden structure down here. Because it’s the exact same structure seen in the cutscene of the rising towers–yep, this is the same area. Look, there’s that flag we mentioned before.

And if we look in the background, we can see what might be frozen waterfall–or frozen something. Now if we take another look at that wooden structure down below–we can see something moving in both scene. What is that?

Well, another clip reveals exactly what it probably is: a new type of enemy. And between his large size, horn, and big club, he looks like he’ll be pretty menacing. And since this is the only place we’ve seen them, they might be native to this region. And speaking of new creatures–check this out. If we zoom in on the background, we can see some kind of giant creature–doing something…maybe picking up a tree by the looks of it. But if we look real close–it looks kind of like a Goron–who as we mentioned before, can be rather big, and do have a penchant for Mountains.

So this might just be our first glimpse of one! Now it’s this final scene that might give us an idea of the true scope of this mountain, showing Link paragliding across the hilly terrain for quite some distance. But how do we know this is the same area? Besides the obvious similarities? Well, it sure is awfully close to that floating island in the sky there…oh right, we haven’t mentioned that yet, have we? You see, there’s a freakin’ island just floating around–and it doesn’t just stay in place, but it moves too.

To where, or how far, we have no idea. But what we do know is that every time we’ve seen it, it’s been near the Northwest corner of the world–in fact, we even put a peg on it to see exactly where it was on the map–at least at that moment in time–and you can see just how close to that mountain it really is. So what’s this thing’s deal?

Does it have anything to do with Skyloft, which itself was a floating island? And how will you even get to it? Well, that’s one question we may be able to answer…because, we have a feeling its flight path might just take it by Death Mountain…which constantly spews out hot air. Yeah, you know where we’re going with this–we think you might be able to use the Paraglider to catch a lift from the volcano to reach the island.

That would be pretty awesome, don’t you think? Okay, I’m seriously running out of time before I have to wrap this up, so let’s do a speed round of everything I couldn’t cover yet! One, this from the trailer–where on Earth does it take place? Well, we can see the smoke of Death Mountain right there–but it’s obscured by a Mountain, which means we might just be behind it!

This is backed up by the snowy mountain we just covered being to the east. Next up is the fact that there’s something weird going on over at Death Mountain. Because if you keep a careful eye on it during the full-day video, you can see some creatures going up and down either side of it at various points in the day. What’s going on there? They must be pretty big if they can be seen from back here…might they have any relation to another oddity from the trailer, being this weird Skeleton guy skulking along the cliff?

Then there’s this cool looking armor we see Link wearing that wasn’t in the E3 demo. And then there’s the fact that he’s wearing a different hairstyle in this scene, suggesting you might be able to change his hair. God we really could go on forever… But before we wrap it up, there’s still one giant question left–and it’s a doozy. Where in the Zelda timeline does Breath of the Wild take place? So big in fact that I don’t even have time to cover it myself, so I’m gonna hand it off to Derrick for now.

Catch you on the flip side! Alright, leave it to me to handle the lore. Or at least try to pin it down. Because, like many of our questions, it’s impossible to say for sure when exactly Breath of the Wild takes place.. I mean, so far we have technology similar to that of Skyward Sword, Koroks which have roots in Wind Waker, and a potential Great Bridge of Eldin from Twilight Princess, among other possible connections that all seem to have roots in different branches of the official Zelda timeline.

So some people have proposed that maybe Breath of the Wild will finally bring all three branches together in what’s been branded as the convergence theory. It’s an interesting idea and certainly possible in the sense that anything is possible, but it would also be incredibly different from every other Zelda game before it–although that does seem to be the running theme of this game. To many, the convergence theory is regarded as the only way that the various elements of all the different timelines could possibly be rectified. However, we don’t necessarily think that’s the case. Let us explain by going over each point and showing how they can all help narrow down when Breath of the Wild takes place. Okay, so first up is the fact that we know that this is the land of Hyrule, which means Breath of the Wild has to take place after Skyward Sword, since Hyrule didn’t exist before that.

Now granted, that doesn’t help much since literally every other Zelda game takes place after Skyward Sword, but hey, it’s a start. The next piece of information though are the Koroks which seem to hint at its placement somewhere in the “Adult Link” Timeline. After all, up to this point, Koroks were only ever seen in The Wind Waker.

But it immediately becomes tricky thanks to the Old Man. He states that the Plateau is the birthplace of Hyrule, which would seem to indicate that Breath of the Wild has to take place sometime prior to the Wind Waker, before the world was flooded and Hyrule lost beneath the sea. But that’s not possible because the prologue of the Wind Waker clearly shows what happens after Adult Link returns to the past. Ganon returned and with the Hero of Time gone, the people prayed to the goddesses who instructed the people to head to the mountains before flooding the world and sealing Ganon and his minions within the flooded castle. There’s no way to slot Breath of the Wild into these events.

So maybe it takes place afterward, centuries after Spirit Tracks during a time when the Great Sea has receded to what it was before. This idea even seems to be supported thanks to the description for the “Rock Salt” item which references an “ancient sea.” But the time after Spirit Tracks seems to be unlikely as well. Spirit Tracks took place in New Hyrule, 100 years after the events of Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. But that’s the thing, this Hyrule is new.

Unlike the Hyrule in Breath of the Wild which appears to be the original, going by the Old Man’s words. Now we could say that the Plateau is where Link and Tetra first landed, but New Hyrule was so expansive that they used train tracks to visit the various towns. And there’s been no indication of the Spirit Tracks–or even trains– in Breath of the Wild at all. New Hyrule is also nearly impossible because of the mere presence of famous Hyrule landmarks like the Temple of Time and what seems to be Lake Hylia and Death Mountain. Now granted, it is possible that the people of New Hyrule returned to old Hyrule after the Sea receded, but it seems highly unlikely. Why would they return to that wasteland when New Hyrule is flourishing?

So for all of these reasons, we don’t believe that Breath of the Wild takes place in the “Adult Link” Timeline. So what about those Koroks? After all, they’ve only appeared in the Wind Waker and are explained to be the evolution–or at least the subsequent form–of the Kokiri from Ocarina of Time. But here’s the thing, just because Wind Waker was the only game so far to feature the Koroks, doesn’t mean that they can’t appear in the other timelines.

After all, we never saw them in Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks though that’s likely because those games took place beyond the Great Sea. Essentially, what we’re saying is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. The Koroks aren’t the only ones with limited appearances though.

After all, the Kokiri only ever appeared in Ocarina of Time. And in the “Child Link” Timeline of Twilight Princess, there isn’t even a hint of them which is pretty odd considering where Ordon Village is located in that game. I mean, it’s smack dab on top of where the Kokiri Forest once was. After all, Twilight Princess is supposed to be the same Hyrule as in Ocarina of Time, with some additions of course – one of which is the Bridge of Eldin that we think may be featured in Breath of the Wild as well. This could place the events during this timeline. But again, there are complications.

For one, the bridge appears to be mostly undamaged, which would indicate that Breath of the Wild takes place before Twilight Princess and after Majora’s Mask. Yet that’s not possible. According to Eiji Aonuma himself, Twilight Princess takes place a little over a hundred years after the events of Ocarina of Time. So there’s no way for Breath of the Wild to take place between these two games, given that the events of Breath of the Wild itself spans 100 years . Now it could be placed after Twilight Princess but it seems odd that something that was in ruins in that game, being the Bridge of Eldin, is evidently in better shape in a game where everything else is in ruins. So because of all of this, we don’t think Breath of the Wild takes place in the “Child Link” Timeline either.

So that leaves us with the “Defeated Hero” Timeline, an odd creation by Nintendo that posits that a third split was created because Link failed in Ocarina of Time, at least in one of the possibilities. But unlike the other two Timelines where Ganon was defeated, there’s a massive gap between Ocarina of Time and a Link to the Past. By that we mean that specific timeframes aren’t used at all which gives Nintendo a lot more room to work with. So let’s take a closer look. For one, this timeline has never featured the presence of Gorons or Sea Zoras within Hyrule itself. However, these two races did appear in the Oracle games which took place in the lands of Labrynna and Holodrum.

If Breath of the Wild took place between Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past, then it’s possible that the Gorons that are said to be featured in this game still lived in Hyrule at this time. Going off that idea, it’s not impossible to think that Koroks live in this Timeline too. After all, if Ganon succeeded in conquering Hyrule, then he likely destroyed the Kokiri Forest or at least forced the Kokiri to leave. What if the Kokiri once again evolved into the Koroks because of the influence of Ganon in this Timeline as well?

And since they don’t have a home and seem to be spread all throughout Hyrule, it makes sense that they’d give Link Seeds to maybe recreate their home. But that’s honestly just a guess since there’s been no indication yet as to what the Seeds do. Now that might explain the Koroks, but what of the Bridge of Eldin? Well, we’ve never seen the Bridge in this Timeline.

In fact, most of the games that do show Hyrule in this timeline don’t exactly have the largest areas to explore. Not in the same way as the 3D games at least. It may be a bit of a cheat, but we could see the Bridge of Eldin just existing off screen in those cases. Or maybe even just lost completely before the events of A Link to the Past. That still leaves the “Rock Salt” and its description referencing an “ancient sea.” But the Great Sea isn’t the only ocean that’s been featured in The Legend of Zelda.

In Skyward Sword, there was an entire section devoted to the Lanayru Sand Sea which used to be an ocean in the ancient past. It’s entirely possible that the Rock Salt is referencing this rather that the Great Sea from the Wind Waker Timeline. And this isn’t the only “ancient” reference. Upon defeating a Guardian, it’s possible for Link to find items called ancient screws and ancient spring.

We’ve noted the similarities of the technology to Skyward Sword before so this fits right in there with that. And, oh yeah, what were the robots called that helped you in the Lanayru Province? That’s right, Ancient Robots. I’m getting the feeling that this world is really old, aren’t you? What this all points to is the possibility that Breath of the Wild takes places sometime after Ocarina of Time in the “Defeated Hero” Timeline. It may even be possible that this Link is the same Link from Ocarina of Time.

Though he was defeated, he wasn’t killed by Ganon. Instead, the Sages came to his rescue to protect him while simultaneously sealing him away for a hundred years. In the meantime, they were somehow able to stop Ganon and seal him away within Hyrule Castle. In fact, we know the Sages stop Ganon at some point thanks to the Link to the Past prologue.