What do we think of the sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild?
Source: Nintendo's YouTube Channel
It’s been a few weeks since the BotW 2 reveal, which means that my pulse and blood pressure have finally returned to normal. Like many of you, I have watched the video over and over. I have studied it frame by frame to glean any information that I could to understand what the storyline could be.
If we know anything about the Zelda storyline, it’s that the creators love ambiguity. The timeline itself is an example of this. As you very well know, the Zelda timeline is law--at least until it isn’t. In the frenzy to understand where BotW fits, there was huge controversy. Currently it’s stated on Nintendo Japan’s website that BotW resides at end of all of all time lines. Whether that stays true overtime remains to be seen. Basically, the Zelda timeline has been about as stable as Skyward Sword’s motion controls.
As we watch the video, we see Link and Zelda happen across the mummified body of what appears to be Ganondorf from Twilight Princess. As suddenly as it ended, the timeline mania that had gone dormant returns. If you recall, Ganondorf was stabbed in the chest right where the ghostly hand is placed on the mummy. The hair, the jewelry, and the wisps of green smoke in Gerudo writing all seems reminiscent of Twilight Princess.
Overall, this game feels darker then its predecessor, much in the way Majora’s Mask was to Ocarina of Time. I wonder if the game will take place in Hyrule proper or in the catacombs beneath. An opposite scenario strikes me at the end of the reveal. It’s the moment in which the castle begins to raise from the ground. For me it conjures thoughts of Skyloft. If you remember, only the Isle of the Goddess crashed into the ground while the rest remained in the clouds. The idea of revisiting the clouds if only to see the ruins would be interesting. Lastly I wonder if we will be able to play as Zelda for any length of time or if she will be immediately captured. The idea of having puzzles that must be solved at separate locations between the two would be interesting, as well as perhaps the two having different skill sets.
I’m sure as we move forward more will be revealed about Zelda, Link, and his magic blue hand. However, this much is clear; the trailer did what is was supposed to do: get everyone talking.
In other words, the hype train has started. Are you on board?
P.S.: Legit dungeons, please!
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Not to argue semantics, but I think this is more of a teaser trailer than a first look trailer... which isn't to say I don't love every second of it! I was initially struck by the resemblance to Twilight Princess and the curious vocal track that sounds as if it's being played backwards. Seeing Link and Zelda together is always a welcome sight, though nothing could prepare me for seeing Zelda riding an elephant. And I know there's a lot of discussion about Zelda being a playable character, though I don't think this trailer gives any strong indications of that being true. However, I do get a vibe that maybe we will get to explore a peaceful Hyrule before Ganon is resurrected. I admit this may be wishful thinking since I've always wanted the ability to explore and talk to people after the final Ganon battle and actually see a changed Hyrule. Is it 2020 yet?
See Kate May and I discuss our thoughts on this game at the Video Game Summit on July 13, 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGspKfGnEo4
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I cannot describe my own reaction in which I saw the sequel trailer to Breath of the Wild. I was at work while on break. It pains me to think if a person had walked by and unknowingly witnessed me in a moment of an altered state not caused by any vice other than a cinematic display to my favorite video game franchise. How I felt and how I still feel is one of hope and mystery.
As soon as the trailer was over, I put out a text to the Another Zelda Podcast team asking if anyone had just watched the ending of the Nintendo Direct. After responses of “not yet,” I couldn’t wait to read their reactions. I knew this would bring smiles to all my friends’ faces.
At lunch I watched the trailer multiple times, soaking up the visuals, studying the clues, and hypothesizing where this new adventure may lead. Questions spiraled through my mind like the Gerudo text spiraling down to the phantom arm gripping the skeletal remains of which can only be described as Ganondorf. What could be next in the Zelda series?
I do like what I saw and where the game seems to go so I made a list of what I want and what I could do without this time around in the land of Hyrule.
Wants or returns:
The Master Cycle. It was one of those cool but also quite useless bonuses that would have been better to have unlocked halfway through the game to get around quicker. This time around, let’s make use of it somehow during the adventure.
More open-world secret quests and hidden lore. I like the variation of secrets scattered throughout Hyrule. Finding Korok seeds was interesting and not particularly useful after a certain threshold, but the game should have plenty of Easter egg secrets and lore that can be discovered by roaming around.
Bring dungeons with exclusive items back. What I really enjoyed about previous titles was the dungeons that you explore and the items you obtain to progress within and eventually use to eliminate the dungeon boss.
Bring back an instrument. I would love to have a mechanic within the game that utilizes the various notes of an instrument. Could be as simple as luring in bad guys for the kill or animals for food.
Shrines (or at least not as many). I can see the appeal and use of the shrines to obtain orbs and use them the way you want, but at the same time, it seems unlikely we would see the same number of shrines.
Length of time used on weapons. For me, this can go either way. Having a weapon for a short period can be frustrating yet also tactical for the user, while having one for too long wouldn’t provide a challenge or encourage trying other types of weapons. It's mostly trial and error on finding that sweet spot, but if Nintendo allowed the user to upgrade weapons with materials to make them more durable and last longer, it would provide another mechanic for the players to customize.
Weather constraints. Though I found this to be quite a dynamic and beautiful feature in this game, the amount of time it would rain when I needed to scale a cliff was mostly annoying. I could do with less of this.
Blood moon. Though I see the purpose of this mechanic, I feel that my progress for an area should not bring back all the enemies. I personally did not enjoy doing something over again within the game. Having a variation or totally different way to do this type of mechanic in the game would be much appreciated.
Thanks for listening!
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My thoughts as I watched the trailer:
Green swirling lights forming what appear to be letters. What language is this?
A cyclone of an unfamiliar alphabet rising as a cacophony of backmasking begins. What song is this?
Is that Zelda riding on some sort of animal? Did she cut her hair? She’s with Link… does this mean we may have the chance to play as the princess? Oh, my, please don’t let anything hurt their pet…
Red and black mist… a corpse resembling an ancient Demise from Skyward Sword… It’s alive! What is happening to Hyrule Castle? Does Link have magic powers? Is he falling under some sort of curse?
The land appears peaceful and calm amidst the impending chaos within (or beneath) the central castle. How long after Breath of the Wild is this occurring?
I need this game now!
I don’t know whether Nintendo’s using the word “sequel” is a tease and this next installment in the series is actually a prequel to the events leading up to the disaster Link and the Champions faced, but based on Link’s memories and the overall story of BotW, I am inclined to believe this game does contain subsequent adventures.
One of my greatest desires upon completing BotW was to have a chance to see Hyrule return to its former glory: bustling towns, a beautifully restored castle, swells of crowds carrying on in their daily lives, and Zelda having a chance to witness the fruits of her labor after a century of despair and uncertainty.
Even with expansion packs and seemingly endless side quests, BotW left me craving more from a video game than I usually do. Typically I will feel a sense of accomplishment and bittersweet finality after defeating whatever plague a virtual land faces, but this Zelda game’s engaging and complex story left me wishing to see the beloved princess redeem herself and aid in the kingdom’s recovery.
Perhaps this is a side effect of playing a video game as an adult who has witnessed disasters and unsavory aspects of the real world: I want to celebrate accomplishments and a phoenix’s tale, a soaring victory from the ashes of hardship and loss.
I eagerly (and impatiently) await this next quest.
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It wasn’t until my second viewing of the BotW 2 trailer that I noticed the familiar gems and jewelry on the corpse that came to life by way of what seemed to be an infusion of malice. I was initially distracted by Zelda’s new haircut and Link’s new glowing hand. However, once I realized that the mummified body of Ganondorf would likely be the main antagonist for this story, I could barely contain my excitement.
Kate and I have been talking about how Ganondorf could exist in an open-world game like BotW since the fourth episode of our first season wherein she and I discussed how nice it would be to have a couple additional “classic” elements operating inside the engine. We knew that the sequel would use the same engine as BotW, but I’m personally pleased to see that it will also use the same overworld.
We know more “land” is being built for the sequel through Monolith Productions’ fairly public hiring of artists and engineers. The production company lent a large helping hand to Nintendo during the development of BotW when it was decided that Hyrule would exist inside a streaming, open-world engine. So, I’m excited about new areas to explore, but I also look forward to returning home, albeit a modified home, in the vein of Banjo-Tooie’s modified hub world.
I personally hope that we travel back in time to a pre-ruins Hyrule. I’d love to see the game start canonically after BotW’s DLC and then travel back to a time when all of the buildings and towns are intact and full of life. The thought occurs to me that if it took four to five years for the “wild” to be built, it might only take a couple of years for civilized areas to be modeled to replace all of the ruins that litter BotW’s Hyrule.
I also understand why Nintendo had to go with the Shrine mechanic in BotW. I’ve joked that the 120 shrines are kind of like 7 dungeons, broken apart room by room and scattershot all over the map. I feel that this choice was made to encourage, if not force, players to explore an open world. Coming off the back of slightly more straightforward games like Twilight Princess and even Skyward Sword, the players needed to be trained that exploring was worth it. Now that we have all grown accustomed to venturing into unknown valleys and around the back sides of mountains, I feel that a couple of traditional dungeons would be welcomed.
And that’s my take. I’m happy to be going back to Hyrule. I’m happy that I’ll be playing the same Link, it seems. Some of my favorite Zelda games, like Twilight Princess, Majora’s Mask, and Oracle of Ages, are the ones that reused an engine established by the game that preceded.
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What do you think of the trailer? What would you like to see in the sequel? Let us know!