Zelda
Though the trailer for the "Breath of the Wild" sequel is short, it reveals many prospective hints for the highly-anticipated game. (Illustration by Jessica Shaklee, University of Georgia)
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Zelda

What does the future hold for Zelda and Link?

E3 introduced a host of new games, including the next installment in the “Legend of Zelda” series. The new game will be a direct sequel to “Breath of the Wild,” the long-awaited open-world game that combined modern technology with the old-school roots of the “Legend of Zelda” series. The new game is yet unnamed, but is mainly being referred to as “Breath of the Wild 2.”

The director and producer of the “Zelda” series, Eiji Aunuma, told IGN that the game would not be related to “Majora’s Mask” and that it would be “a little darker.” That’s a huge claim, as “Majora’s Mask” is considered the darkest “Zelda” game to date, and anything touted as darker would have to reach pretty far to get there.

The trailer is short, but covers a lot of ground. Link and Zelda explore the ruins of some underground civilization, following the trail of an unknown magic source. After coming across the body of what could be Ganondorf, the trailer runs through a montage of several clips, including a shot of Zelda and Link clasping hands and clouds of dust rising from Hyrule Castle.

With no release date in sight, no one is sure how long fans will have to wait to find out more. “Breath of the Wild” was first announced at E3 in 2014, and the game didn’t launch until 2017, so fans are buckling down for a long wait. In the meantime, theories are cropping up online, and who can blame them? That trailer raises a lot of questions about the future of “Breath of the Wild 2” and the “Legend of Zelda” series as a whole, such as:

1. Will Zelda finally be playable?

After Princess Zelda’s larger and more active role in “Breath of the Wild,” many fans wished she was a playable character. The series’s namesake character has often been relegated to less active roles and, even when she is a force on her own, her story is much less explored than Link’s own heroic journey.

At the end of “Breath of the Wild,” the pair is seen journeying together throughout Hyrule, and they are still together during the events of the trailer, placing Zelda near the center of the action. Fans also note that Zelda’s new haircut would make animation easier and might act as a clue indicating her playability in the upcoming game. It’s anyone’s guess as to what a playable Zelda would look like — would players switch between stories? Would they choose which hero to play as? Could the game feature a two-player option?

2. Whose body do Link and Zelda find, and whose hand is holding it in place?

Link and Zelda stumble across a clearly mummified body somewhere in the cavern, being held down by a floating white light in the shape of a hand. The mummy’s head twists around and its eyes are filled with a bright, red fire. It’s safe to say this character will be a major obstacle in the game, and no one is yet sure who it is. It wouldn’t quite be a “Zelda” game without Ganon, but Ganon’s reincarnation was supposed to be stopped, making this a questionable stance. The Gerudo symbol on the body does indicate Ganondorf, though — maybe a previous version? There’s some speculation that the body might be possessed by none other than the spirit of Demise himself, here to finish what he started in the game “Skyward Sword.” As for the hand, who’s strong enough to hold such a force in place? Could it be Hylia herself?

3. What are the caverns Link and Zelda spend most of the trailer in?

The caverns themselves offer their own questions. An underground setting is classic in the “Legend of Zelda” series, but these caves seem to be a strange mix of civilized and wild, with art on the walls and bridges in the background, but no signs of life other than an ill-fated rat. The underground setting coupled with the one shot of the cave entrance could point to the return of traditional dungeons.

4. Where is the Sheikah slate?

After “Breath of the Wild” introduced so much new technology in Hyrule, it all seems suspiciously absent in the new trailer. No signs of the Sheikah slate, nor of any Sheikah tech. Coupled with the cave drawings seen in one frame and the ancient appearance of the caverns, the possibility for time travel remains open. Several “Zelda” games have featured time travel mechanics in the past, so the choice would not be an unprecedented break from tradition, and might explain the existence of a possible Ganon even after he “gave up reincarnation” in “Breath of the Wild.”

5. What’s happening to Hyrule Castle?

In the wide shot overlooking Hyrule, dust rises from the castle and seems to propel it upward. Where is it going? Could Link and Zelda discover such advanced technology, launching the “Legend of Zelda” out of fantasy and into science fiction? The idea might not be as crazy as it sounds, considering the massive technology jump in “Breath of the Wild” and the existence of the Skyloft in “Skyward Sword.” Hopefully Link and Zelda aren’t separated in the event, in any case.

Did the haunting melody sound eerily familiar? That’s because it’s actually the theme music from the original “Legend of Zelda” game slowed down and played backwards. After “Breath of the Wild” so clearly returned to the roots of the series with its open-world gameplay format, the nod to the original game feels perfectly in sync with the direction the newer games are taking.

Even though the IGN interview confirmed that “Breath of the Wild 2” will have no connection to “Majora’s Mask,” it’s fascinating to note that both of these darker “Legend of Zelda” games come as direct sequels to lighter ones — ”Ocarina of Time” and, of course, “Breath of the Wild.”

It’s too early to say whether the two “Breath of the Wild” games will ever become the timeless classics “Ocarina of Time” and “Majora’s Mask” are known to be, but with the steps Nintendo is taking, that seems entirely possible. Whatever happens next in the “Legend of Zelda” series, it’s safe to say that the beloved series is in good hands, as always.

 

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