Nintendo closed out its Direct presentation yesterday with the biggest surprise of E3 2019 (depending on how you feel about Keanu Reeves cameos) when it revealed that a Breath of the Wild sequel is in the works. That would have been surprising enough, but it also showed a few moments from the game, effectively presenting a tantalizing tease.
We only got a tiny glimpse of what Breath of the Wild’s sequel is going to look like, but that’s not going to stop us from dissecting every second we got.
Zelda might be playable
There are a few signs pointing to a playable Zelda, and the biggest might be her new haircut. While we support Zelda’s choice to cut her hair as she pleases, there might be a mechanical reason for the new hairdo. Zelda’s flowing hair would be difficult to implement for a playable character. Nintendo may have given her a trim so she is easier for a player to control. If she is not playable, her shorter hair could also point to Zelda being an A.I. ally for Link throughout the game, serving as his companion like she did in Spirit Tracks. Either way, we think this new hairstyle means Zelda will be more active in the game, whether you play as her or not.
The mummy might be Ganondorf
For a while, the internet was fairly convinced the red-haired mummified creature seen in the teaser was Demise, the final antagonist from Skyward Sword. Demise is also the oldest chronological villain in Zelda’s chronology.
This is Demise as he appears in the final boss fight of Skyward Sword.
The internet has become more and more convinced, however, that we are likely seeing the return of the Gerudo king, Ganondorf. The most obvious pointers are the cape and earrings, both of which carry the Gerudo symbol. A cave painting at the start of the trailer shows a tall figure on a horse wielding a trident, a weapon that Ganondorf has used in the past. And if it wasn’t already certain, seven notes play when the camera pans over the corpse that sound awfully similar to a certain seven-note melody our green villain once played on an organ.
The question that logically follows, of course, is how is he still alive? While Nintendo could devise any sort of conceit, one possibility is that Ganondorf was somehow separated from his human form, becoming the Calamity version seen in Breath of the Wild. This would also explain why Ganondorf is a pile of bones and muscle, as part of his soul was literally destroyed, Voldemort-style.
The creepy backwards-choir might spell “game over” for our heroes
There are so many theories as to what the repeated chant was in the trailer, and it very well might be a wholly original theme. But Zelda composers love their callbacks, and this may just be one of them. When played in reverse, the theme somewhat resembles the original Legend of Zelda’s “game over” theme, especially if the latter is played at half speed.
This likely isn’t a reference to any plot, instead emphasizing how dire Link and Zelda’s situation is.
What’s that green hand?
In the teaser, there is a green hand placed against the mummified creature’s chest. It could be holding back Ganondorf’s malice (if it is him), but lets go and latches onto Link. Will Link now possess the same powers the hand did? If so, these powers could have as much gameplay importance as they do narrative significance. The hand appeared to be holding back the purple goop that represented Ganon’s malice in the first game. Maybe Link can harness this power in order to dispel malice throughout the world? The green wisps emanating from it also appear to form letters from the Gerudo alphabet, although they don’t seem to spell anything that we could figure out.
The trailer might be out of order
The teaser appears to take place over a short period of time, maybe with some extended travel in the beginning, but different scenes appear to cut back and forth in time. Here’s a guess a the chronology of events: Link and Zelda venture into a cave; they find the corpse, supposedly of Ganondorf, with the green hand holding his power at bay; there’s a cave-in, causing Zelda to fall, and Link reaches to catch her but also falls; the green hand releases its grasp on Ganondorf to catch both of them, unleashing Ganon; and at some point, the hand attaches itself to Link, granting him its power.
Hyrule Castle may relocate
Different viewers see different things when it comes to the shot of Hyrule Castle. Maybe it’s taking off into the sky like a spaceship, or maybe it is rising into the sky like the towers Link must activate in the beginning of Breath of the Wild, but I think the trailer’s final scene portrays Hyrule Castle sprouting theoretical legs and moving its location on the map. It’s possible that it may move to a new area, either somewhere familiar or somewhere outside of Breath of the Wild’s original map. In our interview with Eiji Aonuma about the sequel, he stated, “I wanted to revisit that Hyrule again and use that world again, while incorporating new gameplay and new story.” Because of this, it’s safe to assume we’ll revisit old locations from the game, although they’ll likely change and offer new experiences. We’re also hopeful for new locales as well.
Dungeons could be back
In a single shot from the trailer, there’s a new entrance to some sort of cave, resembling many past entrances to dungeons. The traditional dungeon experience was largely missing from Breath of the Wild, so a return to that structure would be exciting.
The overworld is a little different
Hyrule looks mostly unchanged, (sans mobile Hyrule Castle) but we spotted a couple differences. We couldn’t find any of Breath of the Wild’s signature towers in spots where they definitely should have been. What caused them to go away? Furthermore, there’s no steam erupting from Death Mountain. What caused it to stop, and does this mean you won’t catch on fire when you go there?
Link still has at least some of his stuff
Hyrule’s hero still has his Master Sword and Champion’s tunic, which seems odd if this is at the beginning of the game. We can’t imagine Link will have all his gear at the start, so either he loses his stuff, it loses its power, he forgot to bring it with him, or Zelda really is the playable character and you work as her to build up her arsenal.
That’s all we noticed from Tuesday’s trailer, but the internet is still actively dissecting it alongside us. Let us know if you found anything or have any theories of your own in the comments! For more on Zelda and everything else at E3, check out our E3 page.