By Shane Kelley
The Legend of Zelda series includes several unique ways to traverse the lands: a drive-by “Uber” via a duck and a flute, a bird that lifts you into the air, a horse that reacts to a song and carrots, an ancient motorcycle, a blue light that whisks you away, and a medallion that brings you to a set location. These and countless other transportation methods bring interesting and unique traveling mechanisms to an already fleshed-out game series.
I want to discuss some methods of transportation that we already have used and experienced within the Zelda series, coupled with new potential methods that I would like to use to traverse areas in future games. I have categorized them into 4 categories: Land, Sea, Air, and Magic/Technology. Some, of course, can apply to multiple categories, but I placed them where I think they best fit.
Existing Transportation Methods
Land examples: horses (living and deceased), bears, deer, motorcycle, mine carts, train, sand seals, shield, snowboard, wagon, spinner
Land, especially in Breath of the Wild, is the main way Link will travel. We have seen countless methods of traversing the land, which is, of course, the largest type of terrain in the games.
Sea examples: Zora flippers, rafts, King of Red Lions (boat), Linebeck’s boat, canoe, Tetra’s pirate ship
Water can be a hindrance to traveling, so as soon as Link gets some method to traverse this liquid matter, Link has even more places to explore.
Air examples: Flying Duck (by playing the flute), cyclones, gale seeds, Loftwing, owl, flying monster in Twilight Princess, sail cloth, hang glider, Korok leaf, cannon
Airborne travel is usually always the best way to get a top-down view of the area and explore the digital beauty of the landscape.
Magic/Technology examples: travel medallion, blue light Sheikah tablet, warp pads, wolf teleportation, Farore’s Wind, various songs, Divine Beast, hover boots, Pegasus boots, Roc's feather, Temple of Time, wall drawing (A Link Between Worlds)
Magic and technology can bring fun and unique ways to get around. Usually it is a great way to travel far distances or difficult-to-reach locations.
What kinds of transportation would I like to see in each category?
Land: Dog sleds
Dog sleds? Hear me out. So, we saw that we can interact with dogs in Breath of the Wild, and it’s only natural to progress that relationship further. What if there were a quest that allows you to make friends with dogs all over Hyrule, and when you befriend enough of them, you can then assemble a team and craft a sled to traverse the snowy regions? You could use it to carry more items and maybe run errands for NPCs to unlock items for you, your dogs, or your sled. You could use the Wolf Link Amiibo to be the leader of your team if you wanted. The possibilities would bring even more innovative thinking to the Zelda formula.
Sea: Submarine or surfboard
One thing that is missing from Breath of the Wild is underwater exploration, so if we can climb the highest peaks in Hyrule, why not let us explore its lowest depths as well with a Sheikah-powered sub? You could either take a third-person or a first-person view while discovering treasure, fighting enemies, and taking on a dungeon and its boss. On top of the water, it would be extremely fun to surf, maybe utilizing lighter shields to allow for surfing or other water transportation besides the rafts that are already provided. Maybe we could surf with the hang glider to do some parasailing.
Sky: Hot air balloon
I think a hot air balloon would be not only useful and have beautiful views, but it would also allow you to travel into the sky and maybe find a city in the clouds, which would be, of course, a nod to past Zelda titles. You could control the balloon both manually for challenges and mini games as well as automatically if you just want to use your tablet to take some pictures of your surroundings while on autopilot.
Magic/Technology: Tank that fires bombs
A Sheikah tablet-controlled land tank that could take on more powerful enemies by firing bombs, taking down walls, or finding hidden caves or entrances in the side of mountains would be a new way to explore, fight enemies, and travel. It wouldn’t have to look like a traditional tank; perhaps you could modify and control a Guardian that you could upgrade with items or parts that are scavenged or bought from vendors or stores around Hyrule.
In conclusion, we can see plenty of ways in which Link could travel from place to place (or, in this case, shrine to dungeon). What are some of your favorite ways to travel in any Zelda game? What have I missed? What new traveling methods would you like to see in the future? What I am thankful for is the chance to travel with you on this Zelda journey.
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