With the promise of launching in 2022, but bringing new images that made everyone’s hype go through the roof. The sequel of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been Nintendo shining jewel in its E3 2021 Direct crown, featuring a trailer that shows a lot – although it reveals even more if you scan it with the Lens of Truth.
And that’s exactly what we have done. We have scrutinised every second of the new video to extract all the secrets hidden in Breath of the Wild 2’s new trailer — a deep analysis of everything Nintendo has shown, with some surprises and clues that you probably missed.
Hidden details in Breath of the Wild 2
What details have been concealed from us? Why is Link dressing like that? Does he have longer hair? From what we’ve seen, there’s a fair amount of continuity with respect to the first BOTW, but also many clues that suggest otherwise. Watch out, because there are a few hints regarding the plot of Zelda: BOTW2 in the new video, and we are explaining them, of course.
Reversing time: the new key mechanics
Something we got straight from the 90-second video is the fact that there are new main mechanics: reversing time. The truth is that Nintendo left the clue all along in front of our eyes, with those voices that seemed to be reversed in Breath of the Wild 2’s first teaser.
We were so excited to go back to Hyrule that we didn’t realise that the clue was there all the time. The Japanese didn’t want to reveal too much, but they showed how Link can go from the ground to the sky using this new skill, or how he can «rewind» certain elements and thus make them repeat their path.
We are looking forward to finding out what kind of puzzles are waiting for us with this new game mechanic.
Soaring into Hyrule’s skies as in Skyward Sword
Without Loftwing, but staring at that Skyward Sword HD coming this summer. They are getting sick of reminding us that the paraglider was first introduced with the Sailcloth in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, because they have dropped a lot of clues regarding this element of Breath of the Wild’s sequel.
Aonuma said that this game’s world would be “more immense if possible” but without revealing the trick. Nintendo played their cards right, because they led us to believe that we would be traveling to Hyrule’s underground when it was actually the opposite.
By the way, that’s not the only reference to Skyward Sword, because…
The main song is a remixed, reversed cover of Zelda’s BOTW theme
That’s right, another tribute to Skyward Sword, which fits perfectly in a game where time reversing seems to be the key for everything. If you play the trailer’s theme backwards, you will recognise some notes matching those from the song we heard when Zelda: Breath of the Wild revealed its name to the world.
It’s not something as cheeky as Koji Kondo’s trick with Skyward Sword and Zelda’s Lullaby, but it’s definitely a tribute to it, and more justified than ever. That lullaby is also back again in this game, but more about that later.
You can check it out here.
Who needs Sheikah Slates when you can have Sheikah Arms?
Link has lost his right arm because of Malice, although it seems that some ancient magic —perhaps precisely the Sheikah’s— has tried its best to provide him with a new one. Oddly enough, Nintendo has recovered one of the ideas that was ruled out for the first BOTW: Link with a prosthetic arm.
Such arm is perfectly seen when the main character is sporting some robes instead of the Champion’s Tunic. With half his chest and arm exposed, we can see him using skills reminiscent of those of the Sheikah Slate, like, for example returning a spiky metallic ball to take out enemies. Will the arm also feature a built-in camera?
Sky sanctuaries, the new Sheikah Towers? The new Sanctuaries?
Time reversing not only showed that Link no longer needs a Sheikah Slate thanks to that special arm of his. In a curious counter-parallelism of the Sheikah tears that fell on the Slate when Link placed it in Sheikah Towers to increase his map knowledge in the first BOTW, BOTW 2 just showed us what appears to be its simile in the sequel.
Because instead of seeing a drop fall, we saw one going up, and right after that we noticed the hero rising up to the sky to get into some sort of sanctuary by going through its ground. The fact that Nintendo has used this resource and this sequence seems a pretty clear clue that in this instalment there will be no towers, but sanctuaries in the sky, which we can reach thanks to the Hylian’s new powers. These may be the key points to trace the new map to explore.
It’s also possible that these are the new Sanctuaries or dungeons spread out all over the world. Other small palaces that appear at the beginning of the trailer should also be noted, meaning that there could be two different types of structures —one to serve as tower and another to serve as Sanctuary.
Paraglider’s new design emphasises the relevance of wind
We don’t know whether it’s a clue about an increased importance of the wind’s force and direction, but the change in the appearance of the paraglider is obvious. Perhaps Nintendo wants to give the players more customisation options —expanding what the first game offered—, or maybe they decided to add yet another weather condition to consider.
Because so far, we have had to be careful with rain, storms, cold and heat. But even though we could take advantage of it, the air movement factor was always left aside. The fact that the behaviour of the wind plays an important role fits perfectly in an episode where sailing through the skies is going to be a recurring mechanic. As a matter of fact, those hanging ribbons in the paraglider may be intended to know the wind’s direction and thus make a better use of it.
There are new enemies on the sky, and those on the ground will suffer some changes
Guardians are one of the most common and most characteristic enemies of BOTW. While there’s some secrets yet to be uncovered, we did spot a few in the trailer – and we think we’ve seen what might have been a Sky Guardian.
This creature, of bluish tones and with several floating elements, is powered by the same magic Link has in his right arm. We can find Sky Guardians by one of the structures on the heavenly islands. The video showed several shrines, too – but we’ll come back to that later. We still don’t know what role Sky Guardians have, but we know they appear just before we meet certain enemies that look very familiar, so it may be safe to say that they’re not there to make friends.
Although the skies are now the centre of attention, there’s a whole Hyrule to explore down below – a place where we will have to face some threats that we’re all too familiar with by now. However, the studio still has some tricks up its sleeves, as it seems that enemies will be able to hide in BOTW 2. Apparently, the new horns Bokoblings’ have evolved -which look very similar to the ones Moblins are rocking- are not the only aspect that has been added to these characters. Bokoblins’ treehouses can now rise up, thus revealing Petraroks lying underneath them. It seems like a good strategy, as it allows Petraroks to cover their bases and hide their weaknesses.
Will BOTW 2 feature mobile structures? Will our enemies change locations? Will there be enemies ready to ambush us in any corner of this vast world?
Link lets his hair roam free up in the skies… or is it actually a playable Zelda?
Yes, we had to comment on Link’s amazing new hair. BOTW’s main character has got rid of his famous ponytail to let his hair loose. This gesture reminds us of the Ronin tradition – a detail about Japanese culture we must bear in mind when we get to the last paragraphs of this article. The similarities between the Ronin tradition and the changes in Link’s appearance shouldn’t come off as a surprise, especially given what happens to him and the role he has regarding the princess.
Oddly enough, the footage that we’ve seen so far has showed Link walking around Hyrule with his hair tied up. Is Nintendo messing up with the timelines? Will the new BOTW merge past and present events? Another theory revolves around the main character: What if the Link that runs around Hyrule is not the same Link as the one that flies up in the sky?
There’s a third possibility: Maybe Link’s hair just changes throughout the game, just like he changed clothes in the first title. This one may be the biggest bet, as said clothes have already made an appearance in the new title – just not from someone we would expect.
Update: There’s another theory. As this user points out on Twitter, the Link that flies through the sky may be a playable Zelda in disguise. During the scene that shows that Sheikah’s arm covered in green magic, we can spot a brown pair of trousers that belong to the princess (Link’s trousers are white…). Has Nintendo just played us again?
Yes, there’s better graphics
In terms of graphics, BOTW 2 may seem very similar to the first one. However, there’s a noticeable improvement in that regard.
Nintendo displayed an absolute mastery in this sense by using lighting as a key element in the art direction of Breath of the Wild. With this sequel, the studio aims to boost that factor even more. It’s clear that they’re going for an even better lighting if we just pay attention to the first scenes, where the hero of the story runs around the floating islands.
As this title will only be available for Nintendo Switch, better graphics were almost a given – especially now that the limitations of the Wii U are not dragging the team down. There’s no doubt that the physics will still be a key element in this sequel, and there’s already some noticeable improvements regarding graphics.
A flamethrower, new tools, and… Where’s the Master Sword?
A scene where Link fights a very angry worm gave it away – there’s a flamethrower coming to BOTW 2. It’s shaped like a dragon head, and it seems to be one of the many options available in the game.
There’s also a new shield, which features a design that reminded us of the Sheikah eye. However, the Master Sword seems to be nowhere in sight, so it’s safe to assume that there will be a huge variety of weapons and shields to choose from, we can also see a bow with a quiver. The flamethrower seems to be some of the new additions coming to the sequel. Where’s the Master Sword, though?
Ganondorf is back, and he has a lot in common with Link
It was hinted in the teaser released in 2019. However, it’s even clearer now. The villain that is held back by the hand that becomes Link’s new right arm seems to be Ganondorf, the villain behind the Calamity, an evil that we defeated in 2017. Calamity is the origin of the Malice heroes encounter while exploring the dungeons in the Hyrule Castle.
As we know, the villain awakens in BOTW 2, and he not only lets the Malice expand, but he also takes the castle up to the sky. He resembles a Nazgul, and -what’s more interesting- his clothes resemble the ones Link wears in the trailers, as he shows the right side of his torso, while his left side is covered by a tunic.
Are we being led to believe that the events that took place 10,000 years ago must happen again? If that’s the case, will we have to go back in time to stop them from happening so that we can put an end to so much evil once and for all? Oddly enough, our villain wears his hair loose – just like Link does in this new adventure.
Zelda sings her lullaby from captivity
Playing as Zelda is like a dream of every single fan of the series. However, Nintendo blew all the chances as they showed the princess free-falling into the depths of Hyrule. While her death is unlikely, she may end up as Ganondorf’s prisoner as a result. Or maybe not, as we pointed before.
The last clue pointing to her imprisonment? The lullaby that Zelda sings at the end of the trailer in a desperate, tired voice, featuring certain nuances of traditional Japanese music. Is Hyrule’s new monarch on her last breath? Do the changes in Link’s hair and appearance have anything to do with it?