Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Backstory Discovered

Spoiler Warning!

Remember the map that Reggie showed at the Treehouse Livestream last week, which seemingly depicts the backstory of the game?

The Treehouse guy next to him was sure that you couldn't make much out with this, but as it turns out, you can translate the Sheikah texts on the border into Japanese and from there into English. Credit goes to Zeltik and his community, who put it all together:

This adds up nicely with the theories that we had so far, including the one about the 4 Giant Guardians. We have multiple races living together and an age of prosperity created by the Sheikah technology. The Sheikah then also sealed away Calamity Ganon with their technology, an army of Guardians led by four divine beasts. However, this army frightened the king so much that the Sheikah were banned. And a hundred years later it shows that it might have been right to fear this technology.

Anyhow, this is probably the backstory that you get told very early in the game, maybe even as an intro. It's still possible that a timeline merge will be part of the backstory and has led to this scenario as well, since it's not really explained, how Calamity Ganon (as opposed to the original Ganon) came to be. Also, the bird people really are the Rito, it would require an explanation, why they are existing together with the Zora.

We also know that Hylia will play an important role this time, where she might even be the one, who unified the timeline. Popular fan theories put her as the Goddess of Time from Majora's Mask and maybe it was her, who made this new Hyrule possible in the first place.

Breath of the Wild: Box Arts

As usual the covers between the North American and the European version of the new Zelda game differ. However, while usually I prefer the European version, this the rest of the world certainly has the better one. It just looks glorious and captures the classic "Link on a rock looking all over Hyrule" view perfectly:

The European version is much more vibrant and colorful, but the perspective is more limited and it doesn't have the same epic feel to it:

One more good reason to import the North American version. I just wish that the Master Edition wasn't as rare. Or Nintendo could bring back the dual covers...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Link and Zelda Claim the Master Sword Together

There's so much hidden stuff in the newest trailer, it's quite astonishing. Canyarion from ZeldaPodsmashers did some frame-by-frame inspections to assemble a scene, where Link and Zelda go out together to claim the legendary Master Sword. And this is even a scene, which we've seen before at E3 2016.

If you do a frame perfect snapshot at the end of the trailer, you can actually spot Zelda next to Link, who's pulling out the Master Sword:

Additionally you can spot Zelda fighting a Guardian with an orb of light to protect Link. You've certainly noticed the orb scene in the trailer, but it does a quick turnaround and if you pause at the right moment, you can see the Guardian and Link behind her:

You can also see the Guardian's red target beam during the rest. Anyhow, the same scene is very reminiscent of the ending of the trailer from E3 2016, where Link hides in some rubble and a Guardian climbs over him. And those might actually be connected, since the atmosphere is very similar with the rain and the sparks in the air.

It also might tie together with the scene, where Zelda cries in Link's arms. And also with the shot, where you can see her kneeling in front of the Deku Tree, but this appears to happen later on. Zelda is still dirty, but the sun shines again. But they might have taken a rest after their battle.

And after all this we might get to the moment, where they seemingly part ways, Zelda with the Sheikah Slate in her hands and Link with the Master Sword. It's just that they've somehow gotten clean uniforms in the meantime.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Playable Characters?

Here are some of the new artworks for Breath of the Wild, showing some of the more important characters in the game:

What do these artworks all have in common? They all look like they were made for Hyrule Warriors 2! With the reveal of Fire Emblem Warriors, I suggested that this new project is a good thing, because Koei Tecmo should wait for Breath of the Wild, before they start developing Hyrule Warriors 2, since the new Zelda epoch might deliver lots of good material for the sequel. And as it turns out, Nintendo is already playing fully into Koei Tecmo's hands with their character designs...

Look at them, everyone is holding a specific weapon fitting their characters. Zelda is equipped with the Sheikah Slate, the "Here it comes!!!" Goron has a some kind of hammer sword and the Zora girl uses a trident, probably stolen from King Neptun himself.

And then it struck me: I already had the feeling that there are multiple Heroes of Hylia, where both Princess Zelda and the Rito, who's equipped with a bow, might be playable characters in the game. And this might be the case with other new characters here as well. Probably Zelda and all four protectors / riders of the Four Giant Guardians might accompany Link through parts of his adventures, especially if they explore the dungeons together that might be inside those Giant Guardians. We even already saw Link together with the Gerudo girl in front of the giant camel:

You would be able to switch between characters for some "coop" play, which isn't even a new thing. We already had this in the Wind Waker with both Medli and Makar, who were also playable characters at your side for the duration of one dungeon. And of course there was Phantom Zelda in Spirit Tracks or Gongoron in Phantom Hourglass. This simply might be the next evolution of the system, where an entirety of five additional characters is playable next to Link. At least they all look like they are ready for the part!

And with this Breath of the Wild would offer the ability to play as different races again, which is one of the coolest features of both Majora's Mask and Hyrule Warriors. They might also use this for some actual coop multiplayer, where a 2nd player can join via Wii U GamePad or something. But that's taking it maybe a little too far...

We'll see about this, in the very least it should be clear that these characters will play an important role in the story. But hopefully they will be more than just that!

Breath of the Wild: The King of the Merge

The history of the of the Royal Family of Hyrule is also the history of the Calamity Ganon, a primal evil that has endured over the ages...
- Impa

I think, you are now ready, ready to hear what happened 100 years ago...
- The King of Hyrule

The Triforce. The sacred triangles left behind by the Goddesses, after they created the world of Hyrule, will grant any wish to whoever touches it. However, if someone with an unbalanced heart touches it, it will split into three pieces. This is the Legend of the Hero of Time. After the evil thief Ganondorf entered the Sacred Realm and tried to conquer the world using the Triforce, it split and a battle over Hyrule unfolded. However, not only the Triforce was left split after this battle, but time itself.

The world of Hyrule kept existing in three different times, but each of them was haunted by the calamity that is Ganon. Because of this one Hyrule was reigned by darkness, another was flooded by the Goddesses and in the third a constant battle over the Triforce occurred over the ages. But the battles were ultimately won and the Triforce left in the possession of the Royal Family of Hyrule, where they could use its power to do good. The Sheikah, who protected the Royal Family since the early times, even were able to create new, magical technology to bring Hyrule to prosperity.

One king, however, learned that his prosperous kingdom is in fact just one piece of a broken world, broken in the veins of time ever since the Hero of Time fought Ganondorf. With all of them plagued by evil, the king decided to use the Triforce to reunite the worlds to form one new peaceful kingdom, guarded by the technology of the Sheikah. But this had its price. Not only were the worlds of Hyrule united into a gigantic new land, but also the Calamity of Ganon, forming a massive evil of unseen power. The Sheikah were able to banish this evil into Hyrule Castle with an army of Guardians made from their magical technology. But the new world of Hyrule ever since is at unrest.


This or something similar I could imagine as the backstory of Breath of the Wild, to put some more meat into my timeline merge theory from June. It would be quite the epic fan service to use Ocarina of Time and the Legends about the Hero of Time as the starting point, where the timeline split is in coherence with the split of the Triforce. The nice twist about this approach is that it was ultimately the king's fault that Calamity Ganon got created and now haunts Hyrule Castle.

There is even a scene from the trailer, which supports this theory somewhat, where Zelda looks at Hyrule Castle in what's clearly a flashback and you can see a glowing light coming from it:

This might be the king making his wish...

Breath of the Wild: The 4 Giant Guardians

Let's start digging a little bit deeper. Yesterday Nintendo showed us more glimpses at the story of Breath of the Wild and the "Legend of Calamity Ganon", where we can put certain things together to understand what the main goals of the game might might be. Some of the mysteries from last year could even be solved now.

For example we have seen this huge flying thing in the air and the big monster climbing over Death Mountain several times during E3. You can see both of them from a great distance and it now seems that these are in fact Giant Guardians... In the new trailer you can spot the one from Death Mountain:

Now, in the Treehouse Live stream Nintendo then showed the map that comes with the Master Edition of the game. And on the back of said map there is an interesting illustration that shows the "Legend of the Calamity Ganon":

Take a good look here. In the center, below Hyrule Castle, you can spot Ganon surrounded by dozens and dozens of Guardians (I wonder, if this represents the actual number in the game). In the corners you can see what appears to be four giant guardians: a bird, a gecko, an elephant and a camel. The bird we have also seen before in the Life in the Ruins trailer, where it is shown in both a blue and a purple red state. In the new trailer we can also spot the other three, you can see the feet of the moving elephant guardian, the camel guardian sunken in the desert and the "gecko" making a fiery climb through the mountains. They are all there.

Additionally, in the artwork they all have someone, who rides and commands them. Here it looks like the Sheikah technology was used to banish Calamity Ganon into Hyrule Castle and that makes a lot of sense from what we already know. But in the present the technology was corrupted by Ganon. You have the Guardians in their purple red state running around, wreaking havoc. And the four giant guardians also seem to be corrupted.

Link's mission probably will be to undo the corruption and bring them back into control of their riders. These riders will essentially be the "Seven Sages" of this game and we've potentially seen them all in the trailer. There is one of each race: the flying guardian is guided by the Rito, the gecko by the Gorons, the camel by the Gerudo and the elephant by the Zora.

It's still not sure, whether the new bird people really are the Rito, but looking at the new evolved Zora designs, it's entirely possible. There are Zora based on different species of fish (which is yet another thing that reminds me of One Piece next to Arms, because the new Zora seem a lot closer to the Fishmen from that saga) and similar there could be Rito based on different types of birds. Anyway, the "Bird Link" is guiding the flying guardian, we've even seen him fly up to it in the previous trailer, and the "Here it comes!!!" Goron guy is probably in charge of the gecko guardian.

And all this could relate to the rumors from last year that the game will have four main dungeons and one hundred minidungeons. The part about the minidungeons came true with the Sheikah shrines, but so far we haven't seen or heard anything about the other four dungeons.

Until now. Those four giant guardians might be the four main dungeons! It's not as apparent with the flying bird and the climbing gecko, because they don't look as big at first glance, but take a look at the scene from the new trailer, where Link and the Gerudo girl stand in front of what seems to be the entrance of a dungeon:

That's the camel giant!

So, this means that the game might offer four dungeons that are actually giant creatures moving through the world. That's quite impressive and it's certainly a lot more original than having yet another set of Forest, Fire, Water and Desert Temples.

Breath of the Wild: Return of the Gerudo

The Deku Tree isn't the only thing that will make a return from the GameCube times in Breath of the Wild. In fact this will be the first time since Four Swords Adventures, where the Gerudo tribe will make an appearance. One of them seems to even have a more important role similar to Nabooru from Ocarina of Time, where she accompanies Link in parts of his new adventure:

Of course it's not entirely clear that she's in fact a Gerudo, since she also shares some similarities to Din from the Oracle saga. But with these games Capcom took quite some design inspiration from the Nintendo 64 Zelda games and their characters, where Din was probably inspired by the Gerudo and Onox even has a Gerudo symbol on his chest and looks like an Iron Knuckle.

But there's additional proof that there will indeed be Gerudo in Breath of the Wild, because the new trailer showed us an entire Gerudo desert town and you can clearly see the Gerudo symbol above the entrance gate:

I wouldn't be surprised, if this town actually will be named "Nabooru", following my theory from last month about the Villages of the Sages. There could also be a Goron mountain town called "Darunia" and some Zora settlement called "Ruto". In the Treehouse Live footage from yesterday you can even spot them crossing a bridge named "Gleeock Bridge", so naming places after beings and things from past Zelda games might be really a convention in Breath of the Wild. But this is just a side note.

In any case, this town looks well crafted. I really like, how they are using the water streams that are coming from these giant goblet rocks. We have similar rock formations in my home area, just without the water streams, but I really like the design of the new town. I'm eager to explore it all and maybe again become a worthy male member in the all-female Gerudo clan.

It's also nice that the Gerudo are getting something that looks like a real desert town. The fortress in Ocarina of Time was pretty amazing as well, but it never felt like a real place to live in, it was just a series of dungeon tunnels. The same with the Pirate Fortress in Majora's Mask. In Four Swords Adventures the Gerudo had a small village made of tents, but this was really just a minor occurrence. So, it's good to see this tribe back and that it gets more fleshed out.

Also, the trailer had another part of the desert area with some water flows in the mountains:

At first this reminded me of the Diamond Steppe Island from the Wind Waker, just much larger. But it's also reminiscent of the waterfalls that you can see in the Gerudo town. It's not the same place, though.