by Carlos Gomez
With the release of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, I found myself pondering the Zelda storylines that exist on the fringes of each installment. Whether it is the ancient Imprisoning War leading up to A Link to the Past or the story of the Gerudo before swearing fealty to the royal family of Ocarina of Time, there is always a sense of something more in each release.
One storyline that I’ve wanted to explore above all others is that of Majora and the Fierce Deity. The entire story of Majora’s Mask revolves around the mysterious and powerful mask whose namesake is the game's title, a relic so powerful that it can even bring down the moon itself to destroy the world, yet little is truly shared about its origins. Even with the in-game dialogue and Hyrule Historia, a lot is left unsaid. There are a few sprinkled facts about Majora being of ancient origin or the fact that it lay trapped in the mask for ages. We know that at some point there was a tribe of witch doctors that wished to hijack Majora’s power, only to be led to their own destruction. This mystery only increases when we find out that the mask has a nemesis in the Fierce Deity, a being strong enough to rival the power of Majora that is also within a mask. So many loose threads, each one with juicy potential.
Perhaps Majora was once like Ganondorf and in its home world would be considered the ultimate evil power. Perhaps like when the ancient people of Hyrule tried to seal Ganon away, so, too, did the ancient tribe seal Majora in the mask. In the game it is said, “The ancient ones, fearing such catastrophe, sealed the mask in shadows.” This is similar to Ganon’s being sealed in the Twilight Realm. If we follow that thread further, we can see similarities in the helmet that Midna wears. One of the eyes carved in the mask looks strikingly similar to that of Majora’s.
If there is no true connection with the Twilight Princess game, what about the mask being featured in the “Downfall” timeline? Though the creators of A Link Between Worlds stated they hung it on the wall in Link’s house simply as an Easter egg, I would argue its mere presence fuels the fire for a story that is seen as not yet complete and is a direct admission of continued fan interest.
Another option of the mask's origin is with the Sheikah, who are also known as the “shadow people.” The artwork matches the better known Sheikah creations. They tend to use more rounded edges and have a great focus on the eye in their art. If you look at the Sheikah-made Mask of Truth, the art style does have a similar quality to it.
Although origins stories abound, what makes this backstory the most fascinating is the Fierce Deity. The Fierce Deity (trapped as a mask as well) obviously shared the same fate as Majora, and so it begs the question: Was the hero just as dangerous as the villain? Majora itself views the Fierce Deity as the “bad guy,” stating so clearly while asking Link to play a game of tag. Instead of tag, you dispatch and destroy Majora as the Fierce Deity with ease. Surely the upside-down Triforce piece on his uniform seems to imply something not quite heroic about him, and perhaps another clue is in the Japan release of the game, where it is referred to as the Oni Mask, which can be translated to "demon" or "ogre".
This is all to say that whatever direction Nintendo could want to explore for a backstory, the threads to weave it are there. None can argue that despite not being the most recognized title in the Zelda franchise, Majora's Mask surely has made a mark both thematically and culturally within the fandom. Whether it be a run-and-slash game like Hyrule Warriors or a Metroidvania-style game to reflect the darker mood of the source material, the story of Majora and the Fierce Deity begs to be told. Fans crave and hunger for more details and world building. We see this repeatedly with franchises like Star Wars or The Avengers. With the Star Wars television series The Mandalorian or the movie Rogue One, we find the audience has an appetite for an expansion to the story and appreciates the ability for the title to stand alone. A Majora’s Mask spin-off, much like Age of Calamity, could offer the same.
What do you think?! Is there a better fringe story that you feel needs to be explored? Is Majora’s Mask worthy of such a revisit in storytelling? Do I fanboy about Majora’s Mask too much? Please share your thoughts by reaching me @The_Lost_Hylian on Twitter, thelosthylian on Instagram, or check out my Facebook page, The Lost Hylian.