The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Preview

Nintendo delivered on their promise to bring a full day of their newest Zelda game at E3 2016. Each stream featured a great amount of footage focusing on different aspects of the gameplay, from exploration to combat. Nintendo kicked off with a gorgeous trailer of the game. Read on to find out more about the new gameplay, enhanced equipment system, exciting combat, expansive map, puzzle-filled Shrines, special Rune powers, unique aesthetics, and amiibo support. I’ll also be examining other things such as the voice in the trailer, where this is in the world, the Sheikah technology, and where this could possibly fit on the timeline. Get ready for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!

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Promotional art for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Initial Gameplay Demo

The game demo begins with a female voice, speaking with full English voice acting! This is definitely an exciting change from all previous Zelda games, and will hopefully make the world feel richer. While she talks at the beginning and once another time to give Link a hint about where to go, she is generally quiet. There hasn’t been other voice acting so far besides Link’s usual grunts, and all other dialogue is displayed through the usual text boxes. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome change of pace to have real voice acting.

The voice tells Link to wake up, and we see a nearly naked Link submerged in a black tublike pod. It’s not clear where he is or why he was sleeping there, but he is told by the disembodied voice to activate a small obelisk, from which he gains the Sheikah Slate, an item resembling the Wii U GamePad that Link uses to look at maps and activate special powers.

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Eat your heart out, Shulk.

Following this, some important things happen that teach gamers some crucial mechanics. First of all, there are treasure chests with some clothes for our bare hero. Link can now equip different tops and bottoms that give him more defense, which is a stat that wasn’t present in older Zelda titles. In the official trailer, Link can be seen wearing knight armor and later streams show Link wearing the iconic blue tunic from initial trailers. There appears to be a variety of clothes that affect his defense as well as how warm or cold he is.

A second big mechanic is that Link can finally jump with the press of a button! This mostly comes into play when jumping onto cliffs to climb them or when trying to reach items in trees. Regardless, it’s a huge upgrade for the usually earthbound hero. Scaling cliffs is also a big part, allowing you to go past the boundaries of where you could reach before. There is a stamina meter, represented by a depleting green circle. Similar to Skyward Sword, stamina decreases as you run and climb. Naturally, this means that there is a limit to how high you can go. Hopefully, there is a way to eventually increase stamina.

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Intriguing, and yes, this part is voiced.

Link finally escapes the cave and runs towards a cliff. Accompanied by a beautiful piano track, Link reaches the edge of the cliff, and players are greeted with a wondrous view of the expansive environment. In the distance, you can see many mountains – a tribute to one of the original illustrations for The Legend of Zelda for the NES, in which Link stands on a cliff overlooking Hyrule. Other locations you can see in the distance include a vast forest, an old monastery, and what appears to be Death Mountain.

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The view is utterly breathtaking.

The screen shows you an old man walking towards a bonfire, then leaves you to your own desires. You could go to the old man, and the disembodied voice tells you that you might want to use your Sheikah Stone to find out where to go. But you are otherwise free to do whatever you want. Seriously. You can explore anywhere that you can see, and although the game demo is limited to the opening area, you may be able to go further in the full game. Even on the way to the old man, there are so many distractors, from trees and cliffs that you can climb to apples and mushrooms that sparkle, awaiting your attention.

This freedom is one of the best parts about Breath of the Wild. Like in the original NES LoZ, you can do anything. Of course, there is a path that you must ultimately follow to get through the game. Even then, like in the original and A Link Between Worlds, you can go at it in any order you like. Explore until you find a place of interest, then choose to conquer it now or wait until you’re better prepared. Additionally, you can play the game however you like, with a myriad of ways to solve puzzles or get through enemies. What items or abilities will you use to solve the puzzle? How far outside the box can you think using the resources you have? Do you sneak up on enemies, perform an all-out assault, or attack enemies from afar? Everything is your choice, and the wealth of actions you can perform in a single area is remarkable. And we’re only talking about the demo so far!

Finally, it’s amazing that the game does not start out with a proper tutorial as has been the recent trend with Zelda games. Instead, they give you an opening cave (without telling you what to do), and then throw you out into the world with vague hints about where you need to be. There is no partner like Navi or Midna, nor are there objectives constantly reminding you where to go. Just explore and figure it out yourself, because it’s a big world out there. This is just the injection of exploration this series needed, and I’m glad to see that the team is delivering on their promise to bring forth an expansive open-ended world!

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How will you fight?

Weapons and Items

Like in other open-world games, Link can now switch weapons with a few simple button presses. Different weapons have varying attack strengths, as to be expected. The bigger change is that Link can use a myriad of weapon types. Unlike in older Zelda games, these weapons are not subweapons, but rather a complete alternative to the sword. For example, Link can wield spears which have a longer reach and axes that can also chop down trees. He can throw certain weapons too, which can especially help if your weapons are on fire, in the case of flinging burning sticks.

As you use weapons, they eventually degrade, which is a bit unfortunate. However, weapons are quite plentiful in the world apparently, at least according to the demo. There are different weapons lying about in the many chests throughout the land, as well as swords just sitting on pedestals, awaiting your control.

Stealing enemies’ weapons is a mechanic that returns from The Wind Waker. Here, it’s as important as ever since you get to keep the dropped weapons. You can only keep a limited amount of weapons in your inventory. If your stock is full, you must drop or use up a weapon in order to pick up another. This constant item management may sound cumbersome, but it will likely become strategic and exciting as more new and exciting weapons open up.

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Hopefully Link’s cooking something that won’t give him the breath of the wild…

Hunting and foraging will also be important, as they may be one of the few ways to regain health. Cutting grass and defeating enemies appear to no longer drop hearts. Instead, you must eat the items you collect, such as acorns, mushrooms, peppers, and meat. Each item gives you a certain amount of health, which is indicated in the item description. Ingredients can eventually be mixed and cooked to create new dishes. Raw ingredients net you less hearts, while well-cooked items can give you more health back. Specific foods provide other bonuses such as cold resistance. Other foods may even temporarily increase your max health, indicated by yellow hearts extending past your current maximum health gauge. Although no Heart Containers or Pieces of Heart were obtained during the demos, the amount of hearts that can be regained on some foods exceed the initial 3. This implies that there will still be ways to increase your maximum health. On a final note regarding items, Rupees were not seen once during any of the gameplay streams, indicating that they might not be necessary in this game. It would be interesting if this were the first Zelda game to not include Rupees.

Two other pieces of equipment are your sailcloth paraglider (similar to Skyward Sword’s) and shields. Using your paraglider, you can float away to far distances. Shields also function similarly to weapons, and you can find stronger shields as you progress. The real treat of shields this time around is using them as snowboards! Sliding down ramps with an item intended for defense is a fun touch.

Combat and Enemies

Combat is similar to other titles, with the classic L-Targeting system returning. Arrows appear above enemies that you can target. Once your sights are set on an enemy, you can perform the typical L-Targeting attacks such as jump attacks and backflips (as seen in the trailer). Although this iteration takes away the motion control combat of Skyward Sword, Link still attacks enemies with different angles of sword slices. He can also perform the iconic Spin Attack.

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Combat will be as fun as ever.

If Link attacks an enemy with perfect timing, he will activate a Flurry Rush, in which the enemy slows down for a moment, allowing Link to counter with a barrage of attacks. It’s not clear exactly what perfect timing means, but it’ll probably become easier to do with experience.

Enemies seen throughout the demos include Bokoblins (very common), Chuchus of different colors, and one-eyed Keese. There are many ways to take them down besides regular attacks. You can use a bow and arrow to take them out from afar, or even target explosive barrels to annihilate a group of foes. You can even roll boulders down cliffs to smash enemies as seen in the trailer. Enemies have interesting AI this time around, and will readily respond accordingly to your actions. If you are quiet, they may not notice you at all, but if you slip and make a tiny sound, they will have a question mark appear above their heads and search for the noise. Exclamation marks notify players that enemies have found you and are ready to respond. They don’t just stand around either. Some enemies will immediately head towards you, while some will try to surround you, hoping that its partners will do likewise. There will be plenty of enemy groups in the forms of camps and tree forts, and it will be interesting to see how the battles will differ based on the groups. You can use the Shiekah Slate to see an enemy’s current and maximum hit points, which helps to gauge whether you should engage it or not.

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Guardians pose bigger threats to our hero.

There are also bigger enemies, which are much stronger and have more hit points than the typical enemy. Two big enemies shown were the Steppe Talus, the golem seen in the trailer (who also gave the Treehouse their first Game Over), and the Guardian. The latter is an interesting creature featured prominently in the trailer as a technological being that shoots lasers. When you initially encounter them, they appear to be turned off and in ruin. However, they eventually awaken and cause havoc with their lasers and long tentacles. One of the first Guardians that appear in the demo sports an impressive 500 HP. For comparison, a scanned Bokoblin only had 13 HP.

Maps and HUDs

The map alone reveals that this is a huge game and the biggest Zelda overworld yet! Getting around will require strategic use of the new Sheikah Slate, the GamePad-like item that Link finds at the beginning of the demo. Using the Sheikah Slate’s Scope, you can look in first-person and examine landmarks that you see in the distance. You can place a pin on anything that you find interesting, and it will be marked with a red symbol on your map. The world is so massive that just because you pin something that you can see, it doesn’t mean it’s anywhere close to you. At one point, Treehouse pinned a tower that ended up being way past the opening area. Important areas receive special blue pins that allow you to fast-travel to those locations.

You can also place different stamps wherever you want on the map to remind you of important things. For instance, you may want to put a skull stamp on a big enemy that you can’t defeat yet and a treasure stamp on an area where there are chests that you can’t quite reach yet.

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This is just a small part of a big world.

The demo only includes the Great Plateau (although Treehouse streamers did eventually start up games in areas outside of it). The Great Plateau alone looks bigger than Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule Field, and there are many more huge areas that can just barely be seen on what little of the world map they’ve shown us. This extraordinarily massive world should please any fan of exploration.

The Great Plateau includes a wide array of locations and terrains, for what is considered a “smaller” area. From the map and gameplay, you can see Mt. Hylia in the southwest corner (an icy area that includes the highest peak in the plateau), the Forest of Spirits in the north, the Hylia River that goes past the left side of the plateau, and the Temple of Time. In particular, the Temple of Time appears to be a ruinous area with overgrown vines and seemingly dead Guardians. The end of the trailer shows the iconic Master Sword, somewhat rusted and sitting on an old pedestal. At the moment, it is unknown if it is in the Temple of Time, but it can be assumed that you’ll be able to get it at some point.

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The Great Plateau is filled with different environments and terrains.

The heads-up display, or HUD, reveals some gameplay elements. On the lower right, there is a circular mini-map that shows where you’re going. An interesting change is that on the bottom of the map is the current in-game time. The game is heavily impacted by what time it is, such as a day/night cycle, temperature changes depending on what time it is, and enemies being asleep at certain times. The game follows a 24 hour day cycle, but 5 seconds of real time equate to 5 minutes of in-game time.

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The game will be epic. Also, notice the lower right corner.

Just left of that are two smaller circles. The top one is a temperature gauge that can inform players if it may be too cold or hot for Link. If it’s too cold, Link can put on clothes (which one Treehouse streamer refused to do because she preferred shirtless Link!), or eat certain foods like Spicy Peppers that increase his cold resistance. Below that is a purple sonograph that records how much sound you’re currently making. This is important for measuring how stealthy you are when approaching enemies. This will likely also come into play if BotW follows the trend of having an obligatory stealth area.

Shrines and Runes

Breath of the Wild features both dungeons and shrines. The former was never shown on a stream, but was mentioned as being more or less a typical Zelda dungeon experience. Shrines, on the other hand, are new mini-dungeons that test your mettle with a certain type of puzzle or ability. The first 4 Shrines are not too long and only took Treehouse streamers about 10-15 minutes each, but later shrines will be longer. There are over 100 of these mini-dungeons, ensuring no end to those seeking puzzle-room gameplay.

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These shrines are scattered throughout the world.

The first 4 Shrines are required to obtain the sailcloth from the old man, but they can be attempted in any order. Within these beginner shrines, Link is able to update the Sheikah Slate with a Rune, or special ability that can be activated at will. Think of Runes like apps that can be downloaded onto a smartphone. The runes we saw were remote bombs, magnetic powers, ice pillar creation, and stopping time. These Runes are more versatile than they seem. For instance, Magnesis can be used to pick up metal slabs on the floor, open doors, and pull treasure chests towards you. Remote Bombs come in both round and cube forms, forcing you to choose whichever one works for a given situation. Creating ice pillars is a fun throwback to the Cane of Somaria, which allowed players to create blocks out of nothing in A Link to the Past. Through the Cryonis Rune, you can make a climbable pillar of ice emerge from water without the need for Ice Arrows. Finally, you can stop time for a single item using the Stasis Rune. An obvious use is stopping moving platforms and gears. However, Treehouse showed an interesting use as well. By wailing on the item in stasis, you can build up force applied to it. Once stasis expires on the item, it will go flying. It’ll definitely be exciting to see how these Runes impact gameplay and promote further exploration and shenanigans!

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Behold the power of Magnesis!

Graphics and Sound

The graphics look incredibly gorgeous so far, showing off a gouache painting style, signified by its opaque watercolors. It resembles an even more realized version of Skyward Sword’s graphics. The game comes alive with each item fitting into the world, and yet standing out so beautifully. The Treehouse team likened it to an artform called open-air painting, as if the artists sat down in front of an object and painted it in a real-world setting. There is a lot of attention to detail as well, with particles of soot falling down from the mountaintop and Link’s clothes dripping wet when emerging from water.

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Beautiful.

On the music side, BotW distinctly lacks it. Most of the time, you will only hear sound effects. Occasionally, pieces of music will play like the beautiful piano piece heard when Link first stands on the cliff’s edge and a sweet piece while Link is floating with his sailcloth. Music will also play during enemy battles, but it’s not as loud as in previous titles. In fact, the music is sometimes not that noticeable when immersed in gameplay. It’s as if the music just flows naturally, coming and going. This choice was made to account for everyone’s unique experience with the game. Everyone will play in a different style, and the musical pieces that play will represent that. Music will play during key moments, likely evoking emotions in players. The Treehouse promises an aural experience with music that will resonate and stand out when juxtaposed with the overall lack of music. As a fan of Zelda music, I firmly hope this is true.

There will be voice acting, and it will be for more than the woman from the beginning. Not every character will be voiced, as seen through the old men who only communicates via text boxes. However, there will be more voices, most likely main characters. Link will remain silent as usual, only making grunting noises and shouts.

amiibo Support

Four amiibo were announced to be compatible with BotW. Three of them are brand new figurines created for the game and include “Archer Link,” “Rider Link,” and a “Guardian.” The Guardian will be the first amiibo to include posable parts (its tentacles). The functionality has not been revealed yet.

The 4th compatible amiibo is an already existing amiibo, Wolf Link. This amiibo originally came with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U. When scanned with BotW, Wolf Link will suddenly appear next to regular Link. In what is the cutest functionality of any amiibo, Wolf Link will fight alongside you, hunting for food while you run around. Your faithful wolf companion comes with 3 hearts, but you can increase that number based on how many hearts you have saved onto the amiibo when scanning it in Twilight Princess HD. Once Wolf Link dies, you must wait a full day in real life before scanning it again.

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Wolf Link will be by your side.

Theories & Analysis

Here, I will present some quick thoughts on questions and speculations based on my analysis of the gameplay and trailers. The following represents possibilities based on what already exists, but does not necessarily indicate the truth of what’s going on, as we lack pretty much all story information and a full game. This makes talking about it even more exciting, though!

Mysterious Female Voice

Starting off, who is that mysterious female voice who tells Link to wake up? The most obvious speculation is that it’s Zelda. In A Link to the Past, the game begins with Zelda crying to Link for help through some telekinetic power. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the same is happening here. The disembodied voice also seems to know that Link is the special light in the world who will shine throughout Hyrule. It could still be any other female sage or maiden, as in other Zelda games, but Zelda herself would be the most likely and probably best choice. Also, it’s interesting that she calls him Link. That would imply that you can’t change the name, since it’s already been voiced so clearly.

Link’s Awakening

In fact, the bigger question is where is Link when he starts off the demo? Assuming this is also the start of the game, Link begins by opening his eyes. Lying nearly submerged in a black tub filled with water, it seems like he was sleeping for quite some time. Either that, or Link has some odd sleep habits. Link usually begins his games by waking up, but this is a unique case where he was sleeping inside of a cave. So why was he sleeping and how did he lock himself in that cave? Maybe he was put there, left in stasis until a certain time when he’d be needed. Perhaps this slumber was longer than a typical sleep. He may even be a Link from long ago (not necessarily from an older game, but a Link that was put to sleep until evil arose).  Either way, he was woken up by a voice telling him to open his eyes, so that might have been the magic trigger to summon the Hero of Time.

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Hmm, where is Link?

Where in the World is Link?

We know that the game begins in the Great Plateau. We also know that this place is indeed known as Hyrule, according to the first old man Link encounters. However, where is the Great Plateau exactly? Brief glimpses of the map indicate that this is part of an area known as Central Hyrule and that the Temple of Time is an area within it. In Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and The Wind Waker, the Temple of Time is indeed somewhere around the middle (not perfectly so). Depending on where this is in the timeline, this is likely that same area, based on the Temple of Time’s location alone. There are other interesting areas on the Great Plateau like Mt. Hylia that are not accounted for on a regular map, and we don’t know exactly what lies outside. The exception is a mysterious black castle surrounded by pink mist. This is probably Ganon’s Castle, though it’s very unclear. Interestingly enough, there is a shadow monster with pink mist in the trailer, so perhaps that’s related to this mysterious castle’s surroundings.

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Of course, Link could be in the world of Xenbolade Chronicles X.

Where does this fit on the timeline?

The Legend of Zelda timeline is extremely complicated, so this is written with the assumption that you know what the timeline looks like. Here are our big clues to figuring this out.

  1. There are old men that look very similar to the ones in the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.
  2. According to the old man, they are in Hyrule.
  3. Ganon, both the creature and the name, exist in this time.
  4. The Temple of Time is present, but in ruins.
  5. Guardians seem to represent old technology, similarly to the robots from Skyward Sword.
  6. The Sheikah Slate and symbol exist, representing technology again as well as the presence of the Sheikah.
  7. The Master Sword is in the trailer, and is rusted.
  8. A location that resembles Eldin Bridge appears in the trailer.
  9. Koroks, the cute leaf creatures from The Wind Waker,
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Is that Eldin Bridge?

The final clue alone is huge enough to narrow it down, but let’s look at the other clues as well. The old men in this game (and the fact that there is a reference to an original NES Zelda illustration within the first few minutes of the game) appear to be throwbacks to the original Legend of Zelda. It makes sense given the open-world gameplay of BotW and its insistence on making players feel like they’re playing a fully realized 3D version of the classic game. So although it feels like it could just be along the timeline of the original games, it’s hard to say judging just based on that.

Ganon exists in this timeline, so it is most likely after Ocarina of Time, since Ganon in his recognizable pig form (or thief form) has never been in a game before OoT in the timeline. This makes it complicated, since there are three alternate branches following OoT, but it helps to know that our favorite pigman is already well-known.

The Temple of Time’s presence helps confirm this, since it has also not been in a game preceding OoT. It has only been in the child and adult timeline branches so far, in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess (in ruins and in past form) respectively. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be in the timeline in which the hero dies. However, there are already so many games in that timeline without the Temple that it’s likely that Ganon destroyed it upon winning during Ocarina of Time. The Master Sword is rusted in the trailer. Although the Temple of Time is also in ruins and filled with overgrown vines in Twilight Princess, the Master Sword seemed pretty nice and pristine when Link picked it up in that game. In contrast, The Wind Waker had a world of ruin already, and there was no chance any regular Joe was going to get the Master Sword. This is due to the hero being forgotten, which I’ll come back to in a second.

The Sheikah race exists, based on the fact that there is a key item known as the Sheikah Slate. The Sheikah race has always protected Princess Zelda, starting with Impa in Skyward Sword. However, we don’t regularly see Sheikah in games following Ocarina of Time. We do see Impa sometimes, but she is never confirmed to be a Sheikah in games following OoT. Based on the Sheikah Slate’s importance and the fact that everyone at Nintendo is wearing a shirt with the Sheikah symbol on it, they are probably important in the game, and we will likely learn more about it. Thus, it doesn’t help us at the moment to know about the Sheikah.

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There is some interesting technology in BotW.

What is more useful is the fact that both the Sheikah Slate and Guardians seem to represent old technology. We saw technology in Skyward Sword through the Ancient Robots, which could only be activated in the past. Even in the first confirmed game in the timeline, robots were considered ancient technology. What’s most mysterious is the fact that the Sheikah Slate and Guardians appear to be working in this point in time with seemingly no explanation. As established before, the game could not take place before Skyward Sword, so an explanation for this technology is unclear.

Our final two clues reflect two completely different timelines. The place resembling Eldin Bridge, from Twilight Princess is seen briefly in the trailer. Koroks, leaf creatures from The Wind Waker are seen throughout the livestream gameplay. It’s unclear whether it is the Eldin Bridge, and it wouldn’t be unheard of if something like the Eldin Bridge also existed in the Wind Waker timeline. Plus, Koroks are living forest spirits that were only in The Wind Waker, making somewhere in that timeline the probable answer.

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Koroks are back!

As to when exactly it takes place, there are two possibilities. It could be sometime following The Wind Waker/Phantom Hourglass saga, in a world where land has finally come back, ripe for exploring. There are 100 years that take place in-between PH and its sequel, Spirit Tracks, so it’s entirely possible we’re looking at the rebirth of Hyrule (you know, before they added trains). The name Breath of the Wild implies wild exploration and what’s wilder than venturing through an unknown land. My initial thought while watching the streams was that this could be directly following Skyward Sword in which a new Link is exploring the unknown land of Hyrule. However, that contradicts every paragraph before this, so this is the other land to pioneer.

BotW could also theoretically take place before The Wind Waker, highlighting the downfall of Hyrule before the water appears. This makes a little less sense to me since the reason Ganon took over the world in that timeline was because adult Link wasn’t there to stop him anymore. So unless BotW has a tragic end, this seems less likely. Plus Koroks already exist, and I assume that they and the Rito tribe (also from TWW) came to be after Hyrule was flooded.

One thing to note is that they have confirmed that there will be towns and people in the game, but that it would spoil the story. Perhaps it would be spoiled because these would all be upstart towns. It might reveal that people are just looking for places to inhabit. This is all theory, but this is why I believe the proper place in the timeline for Breath of the Wild is between Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks when the land of Hyrule returned to the world.

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Will we be able to get the fabled Master Sword? Find out in March 2017.

Conclusion

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is slated for March 2017 and will release for both the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo NX consoles. There are no indications that they will be different. By next year, many players will be able to experience this absolutely massive game, filled with the open-world that producer Eiji Aonuma has always promised. It is yet unknown how expansive the world will be, but given the map and the incredible length of the demo for a singular area, this game will be packed to the brim with content. And that content will be amazing, with lots of unique weapons, puzzle-filled shrines and dungeons, fun Runes that change the game, and a story that unfolds itself as you learn about the lore. Backed by gorgeous graphics and beautiful piano pieces, this game is already primed to be amazing.

Most importantly, the game looks fun! Everyone at Treehouse Live was just enjoying the game, whether using runes to make mischief or just doing wacky things on screen. The sky’s the limit for this game, and you can play it however you want. That’s the best part about it. I look forward to diving into this open world, speculating about this iteration of Hyrule, and experiencing the largest game in The Legend of Zelda franchise with you when the game finally releases!

Source: Nintendo YouTubeNintendo Twitch

What are your thoughts so far on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Are you looking forward to playing it? What is the best thing you’ve seen so far for it? If you’re at E3, have you played it and what do you think? What are your own theories and speculations regarding the game and what are your thoughts on my own theories? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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59 thoughts on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Comprehensive Preview and Analysis

  1. Reblogged this on The Unofficial News, Reviews & Personal Views Blog Site On Nintendo and commented:

    Hey everyone! Mr. Panda here! Nintendo just streamed nearly 7 hours of gameplay for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I watched every single minute of it and put together a comprehensive preview and analysis of all of the information that was shared. I even snuck in some theories and speculation on what’s happening in this world, what we can expect from the game, and when exactly BotW could take place in the official Zelda timeline! Please check out my preview and share any thoughts on how you feel about the game thus far, favorite parts, whether you’ll buy it day one, or any theories you may have regarding the game! I put my heart and soul into this post, so please read and enjoy!

    Like

  2. What a great preview! Thanks for saving me from having to watch 7 hours of streaming to find out what’s in store. I’m very exited about an open world Zelda game! I think its biggest appeal is how beautiful it looks. I’m also very happy that Wolf Link from my favorite Zelda, Twilight Princess, will play the role of faithful companion. Good thoughts on the speculations part. I’m sure they’ve planned out where this falls in the convoluted timeline. I look forward to seeing the story unfold. I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t as much music in this game, but I guess that makes the musical parts even more memorable. Thanks for this fantastic article! I can tell you put a lot of work into your analysis. Great job! Can’t wait for March 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your awesome comments! It was definitely a long day, but thanks for noticing my effort! And Wolf Link is a great addition indeed! Of course, it makes very little sense how Wolf Link could appear in the world alongside regular Link, but whatever, haha. And thanks, I thought hard about where it could fit on the timeline. I think the story will give us some clues, and at the very least be quite interesting! It’s a little disappointing for sure that we won’t be hearing much music, but I believe Nintendo when they say the music will be emotional when we hear it. We’ll see. Thanks again! I appreciate it a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This game looks amazing! It seems that Nintendo always knows how to shake up the Zelda formula without deviating too far from it. That’s definitely a lesson that certain other video game developers can learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! It’s so weird. It doesn’t feel like a Zelda game with all of the new conventions, but then it still does. It’s as if they took the Zelda formula and injected it into an modern open-world game. And it works!

      I honestly had my doubts about a full day of Zelda. But man, there was so much to see, and it was enjoyable throughout! Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed reading this and you did an excellent job discussing how this game is going to be different (and it sounds like better!) than previous Zelda’s. Keep up the excellent work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That you very much for your kind comments! I’m very happy you enjoyed it! This game is definitely going to be different in a good way! They very much injected the Zelda formula into a modern open world game, and I think it’s going to work out for them. I haven’t been this excited for a new Zelda game since Twilight Princess! March 2017 can’t come soon enough! Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think your article and the trailer finally are making me see how Zelda can work well in an open-world setting and I’m optimistic that it can expand Zelda’s gameplay and world a bit further. It is also easy to see why the game has been delayed so much. It is taking an immense amount of work to make this game!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s awesome! It’s going to be a huge game. I think it will be one of those experiences where you can go in, do quite a bit of stuff, and feel accomplished. Yet, you’ll still somehow be only 1% done. I loved that about Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Zelda: BotW looks like it may be almost as big as that immense world. Frankly, I’m surprised that it isn’t taking them longer to finish this, but I’ll have faith in their March 2017 release date.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I agree and that is why I wasn’t upset about Nintendo delaying Zelda. They almost never put out rushed or unpolished games and know when they need more time to finish something. I would love to see Zelda have that much to do. I tend to enjoy those games and honestly, the side quests in Zelda are some of the most fun parts for me so my excitement level is getting higher and higher!

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      4. Hopefully! XBCX had a lot of sidequests. I think once we see more of the towns and people, we’ll see more actual sidequests. Some of the shrines may be sidequests too. Imagine some tougher shrines as “bonus mini-dungeons.” Even if this game didn’t “sidequests,” it feels like there are a lot of “go wild quests.” There’s so much to do, even if nobody is asking you to do it!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I may have to get XBCX. I have liked all of the Xeno games, but keep getting to the end of them and get stuck. I’ve played harder RPGs and not had that problem, but I’m scared to try any more Xeno games especially after spending 100 hours on the one for Wii and not being able to beat it right at the very end because I didn’t level a particular character while playing. I think all of what you’re describing here would be great. Even if it is just little diversions, it could add variety to Zelda and enhance replayability.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I haven’t beaten XBC yet but I don’t think XBCX had that problem. I grinded quite a bit though. Zelda: BotW will probably not have that luxury (aside from getting better equipment and more heart containers), so getting to the end will probably all depend on skill. It’s the same way that you can technically beat the original LoZ early on if you’re good enough with the minimal amount of power-ups. I’m sure there’ll be some nice rewards for exploration, like secret weapons! I spent about 100 hours on XBCX and hardly got through 40%. I feel like if I go for 100% here (which I like to do for most Zelda games), then it may take hundreds of hours!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. You raise a great point. I’ve never had trouble beating Zelda because of what you’ve described. You can do sidequests and play all the mini-games to upgrade Link or just beat the game without doing any of them. That is one of the great things about the series. It is crazy how long games are now and how much there is to do! I used to go for achievements on Steam (PC games) and I have given up because it is so time consuming and I want to be able to play as many great games as possible and you can’t do that if you try to fully complete very many games. I hope you’ll do a review of Xenoblade when you do get it finished. You might be able to persuade me further to buy it!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Exactly! BotW will be special in particular. According to Eiji Aonuma, you can beat the game without finishing the story. In other words, you can head straight to the end presumably as naked Link having done nothing. It’s not clear-cut that you’ll be able to beat a final boss like that. Rather, you will be able to find a route to beat the game without having finished the story. It’s similar to how you can beat NES LoZ very minimalistically if you’re good. Though I’m not certain that’s what he’s getting at…

        Aonuma is clearly being vague, but he’s probably implying that there are multiple paths to the end. I assume finishing the story means going to towns, getting lore and backstory, and beating the final boss. If you skip everything, then of course you won’t have learned any of that (in that playthrough). But perhaps what you learned from your previous playthrough will enlighten to find a new way of approaching endgame. I really want the game just to figure out everything that Aonuma’s mysteriously telling us!

        Also, as far as Xenoblade goes, I’ll think about it once I beat it as it’s been a while since I even touched it. Now XCBX, I did finish despite only getting 40%, though that game is so large that my number is actually pretty normal, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’m in the minority when it comes to this, but as long as the new Zelda isn’t as easy as A Link Between Worlds was. I didn’t dislike the game, but I didn’t enjoy that one much at all. The open structure made the game easy and less engaging for me. I have faith in them and like you, I can’t wait to learn more about BotW!

        I misunderstood and thought you were playing Xenoblade now! Nevermind then 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. No, no it’s ok. Xenoblade’s on my backlog, and I will definitely get back to it! I make it a point to keep track of my backlog so that no game goes missed. It’s just so long that I don’t know when exactly. I’ve put 50 hours into it already though so I think I’m halfway through. I’ll let you know when I get back on track with Xenoblade!

        I totally understand your opinions on A Link Between Worlds. I actually dislike Phantom Hourglass for the same reason you don’t like ALBW as much. PH was too easy puzzle-wise even with a linear structure. It’s interesting because I felt that it was one of the harder Zelda games in recent years. I had little to no problems whatsoever solving puzzles in TP and SS. Yet every time I went into a dungeon in ALBW, I actually had to leave sometimes just because I couldn’t figure out what to do. And I loved the fact that I could do that because you could inside any dungeons at any time.

        The open structure should hopefully not matter as long as the puzzles are good. The puzzles so far look interesting so far, because they seem to have multiple solutions. I think they’ll really make us think outside the box for some of these, forcing us to use our items wisely and have mastery of the Runes. I have faith based on these easier shrines from the demo that it can only get better and more challenging from there!

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Xenoblade is fun other than the repetitive voice samples. I’m impressed you can go back to it later on after 50 hours! The story is pretty simple in the game though and I don’t think you’ll have any trouble picking it back up.

        That’s interesting. A lot of people hate Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, but I enjoyed both games other than the repetitive dungeon with the knights in Hourglass. A Link Between Worlds did have an interesting structure. I think I used a Gamefaq to tell me what order to do the dungeons in, but I found the dungeons to be a breeze and didn’t need any assistance past that. Most of the bosses in the game were easy and I thought the story was kind of shallow even for a Zelda game though if I had beaten A Link to the Past, I might have felt differently too.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Great! I look forward to going back to it at some point!

        I didn’t like Phantom Hourglass at all, but I enjoyed Spirit Tracks. The harder puzzles using Phantom Zelda made it enjoyable for me. The main dungeon was better in ST because you actually moved up and did new things as opposed to going through the same stuff every time.

        Interesting you feel that way about ALBW though I’m sure there are others who don’t like it as much. I’ll be doing a review of that game sometime in the near future, so look forward to it!

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I definitely will look forward to your review. It is good to look at games that have been out for a little while and sometimes are perhaps overrated or underrated. I know that you’ll write an in-depth and comprehensive review when that time comes!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been saying for ages it’s to be set between PH and ST, but what if it is set after it all? That some how its at the end of the timelines and all games lead back to it, restoring said timeline. That would be insane!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! Then, you my friend have excellent ideas regarding the Zelda timeline! I’m very intrigued by it being set at the end of the timelines. Do you mean that the end of The Wind Waker timeline or a converging end where all 3 timelines somehow become one and then cycle around? That’s very interesting, and I never thought about that. It might explain the weird technology timeline if Skyward Sword’s Ancient Robots were actually part of the future, and it was just looped around for eternity. I get chills thinking about that now. Great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the one thing I don’t like as much as well. It’s funny, because Fire Emblem Fates took limited weapon durability away and seemingly passed it off to Zelda! I think it’ll be fine since it looks like weapons will be plentiful especially since you can steal them from enemies. I just don’t like the idea that I might need to stockpile some weapons to save them. Though, I’m not 100% certain that’s how the game will work, so we’ll see! I’m excited though. Thanks for your comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, you really went in depth here! I didn’t watch the stream because of work, but I feel like I watched it now. I still plan on watching it because… Well, who doesn’t want to watch Zelda? But you bring up excellent points, especially with the timeline. I love figuring out the timeline. I absolutely cannot wait for this game to come out. Everything about it looks gorgeous and fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot! Yes, I just decided to go all-in since 7 hours is a lot to summarize! I’m glad though, because I get to help people like you who couldn’t watch a full stream! Of course, I still recommend watching it, and I’m glad you’ll check it out! It looks wonderful so far, and I just want to explore everything now.

      And I’m glad you enjoyed the timeline speculation too! I love theorizing about this stuff, and this seems like it will be a game that is heavy on lore. I’m careful about saying story, though I’m sure this will have it in strides too. But this will have lore, and lore is perfect for figuring out the timeline. I look forward to seeing what lies ahead! Thanks so much for your great comments! I appreciate them!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nicely done analysis.

    I love it that, apparently, the game starts without telling players much about what is going on. It makes me think the story development here could be done in a hands-off kind of way, forcing players to go after the plot rather than feeding it to them.

    The world looks absolutely stunning and it is indeed a huge step for the franchise (certainly the biggest one it has ever taken since Ocarina of Time). It is still early, but it is looking like it is a strong contender for best Zelda game ever. I am excited!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! I appreciate it! I like that there’s no backstory or people constantly telling you what’s going on. It would be great if you found the story through exploration, which is what it felt like watching the stream. It’d be very similar to the original Legend of Zelda, but with more opportunity to actively pepper in the true story. There will be towns and people in the full game, so I’m sure that they will be rich sources of actual story. Plus we will likely learn a lot about what’s going on in the BotW world. Until then, I wouldn’t mind learning bits and pieces from the world around the towns.

      I agree that it’s one of the biggest steps this franchise will make. My jaw dropped with how well the watercolor graphics and eastern music worked together in the trailer. I really hope it’s one of, if not the best Zelda game ever. It’s honestly been a while since I’ve played games that I would consider the best. If Zelda can bring the magic back in this extraordinary way, I will be pleased!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice write up! This is incredibly detailed! I only saw the trailer myself so this was very informative! Worried by the lack of Tingle, but it’s best to save the big stuff for later on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot! The trailer itself is amazing and speaks for the game very well! My goal was to have a compendium of knowledge for everything following the trailer to make it more clear. So it’s great that you liked it! Who knows about Tingle? Maybe he’s one of the old men! Either way, I hope he’s voiced in the game!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Definitive preview, really impressive stuff! Oh, and that videogame on-screen thingy is pretty cool too 😛 Seriously, I’m impressed by what a bold departure this is looking to be. I really enjoyed Skyward Sword for subverting a lot of elements in the Zelda series but this is a whole new level of subversive! I’ll be fascinated to see how well they pull off the open-world in the final product. Certainly encouraged though by everything I’ve seen and heard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot! I appreciate your comments! What video game on-screen thingy were you referring to? It really is going to be a bold departure. To be honest, Skyward Sword didn’t feel like that much of a departure even though it was great. It mixed environmental puzzles and dungeons, but lacked the exploration that made previous games shine. In contrast, BotW is full-on exploration, and that is going to make for a unique experience for everyone! We only saw a little bit during E3, but I can’t wait to see how far they go in building this massive world! Thanks so much for your comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This was a seriously impressive write up. The fact that you were able to get it wrote up so quick after the event too. Loved reading through it to recap on everything. Great work, Mr. Panda! I can’t wait for the game. I’ve never been this excited for a Zelda in a while. I have one big gripe about the game though, which I’ll be sharing in an article this weekend. Once again, top work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your incredibly kind comments! Yes! I spent the entire day watching the stream and writing this up so I could get it to readers on day one! I wanted a compendium where people could check on what was announced or recap everything that was said. Thanks for recognizing that!

      I’m so excited for this Zelda too! I look forward to seeing what your gripes are. I’m sure there’ll be some things that turn off fans, and it’s too early to tell about everything past the demo. But even if it was just the Great Plateau (which it is definitely not!), I would be sold on just messing around in the world. That there is a gigantic map beyond that fills me with excitement! Thanks again! I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem, I know how good it feels to get appriciation on something you’ve worked very hard at. So I just had to let you know. Hats off to you. I’ll certainly use it when I’m writing up my post. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, can’t wait for it and will get it Day one. The gripe I have is a worry of it not succeceding in a specific way. Which you’ll find out why when that comes to light this weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks again for your support and encouragement! And I look forward to reading it! And don’t worry, I figured you were shouting praises about the game and that one gripe wouldn’t stop you from getting it. I’m sure we’ll see more that we may dislike about it in the future, but for now, I’m still excited and riding the hype train!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your comments! Thank you! I’m so thrilled that handholding looks like it’s turned off for this entry. There wasn’t even a tutorial aside from the opening cave, which lasted all of 10 minutes, if even. I like that there isn’t really a partner either constantly telling you what to do. I counted one instance of the game suggesting you do something. But even then, you could completely ignore that and explore the immense world that they’ve laid out for you. I look forward for freedom and pure discovery. I’m giddy just thinking about it! Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great in-depth preview. I was really surprised and happy with what was shown at E3 having initial concerns about Nintendo’s approach. Now I can see why the game was pushed back till 2017 and I think that was absolutely the right decision.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot! I, as many others, were very concerned with Nintendo’s full day 1-game livestreaming strategy for E3. Zelda: BotW managed to exceed everyone’s expectations, and I can see why they were so confident in it. It’s really all they needed to show (although it was great to have a Day 2 plus more Pokemon Sun and Moon). And yes, it looks like it will be massive so I completely understand the delay!

      Like

  12. I have been avoiding reading anything at all on this game, but your screenshots and hooks drew me right in! I’m an enormous fan of this franchise, and I’m so happy that the WiiU will get another Zelda title before the release of the next generation console. Thank you for such a well-written analysis of the coming game. I’m looking forward to reading more of (and catching up on) some of your stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thank you so much! I’m flattered by your kind words! I’m very happy that you’re enjoying what you see of Zelda, and I’m also glad that I was able to help you learn more about the newest game! I’m super excited for this game too, and I can’t wait for March to get here! Thank you so much again! I appreciate it a lot!

      Like

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