A way too late analysis of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo /
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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo /


When I started this analysis, I found myself trying to figure out how the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would work. Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have notoriously only ever made one “sequel” in “The Cat Returns” and even that is more of a spinoff, so I could not look to them for inspiration. The Legend of Zelda has a few direct sequels in its history, most notably The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask but that title chose to abandon everything, including the world, of the first title, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and tell a completely different and new story. How does a mainline Zelda sequel work, assuming it chooses to stay in the same world and story as BOTW?

The more I analyzed BOTW, the harder this question became to answer, and that was unfortunate since I really started this analysis to help get fans excited for the next title. The reason why I felt this way finally came to me as I finished the piece about “Zelda’s Awakening” and made the idea of a sequel not just hard to analyze, but actually unsatisfying.

That is because The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is made like a finale. Do not believe me? Neither did I at first, but looking at the entirety of the title, it becomes apparent.

BOTW is placed at the very end of the Zelda timeline, so far past any other game in the series that it converges all three of the split timelines. All of the Zelda series staples are brought back for this game, even if they are a ghost of their past self: the Temple of Time, the Lost Woods and the Great Deku Tree, the Gorons and Mount Doom, the Zora, Lon Lon Ranch, Hyrule fields, Castle town. The story itself is about overcoming demons and relics of the past that do not benefit society and moving forward. Almost every time a song of the series past is used, it is to highlight how that thing world is gone and it is time to move on.

Ganon’s primal and emotional state suggests a state of desperation and need to lack of remaining power. Meanwhile, the existential threat that he poses to the world is quite honestly the most real and most dangerous yet in the series. His desperate and powerful forms represent a challenge that Link has never faced and will never face again.

Even “Zelda’s Awakening:” the song that I highlighted in “The sounds” section has a sense of finality to it. It reminds me more of the song “Portals” from “Avengers: Endgame” then any other song in media has. A highlight of the series theme used to highlight the courage power of a moment that proceeds the finale of a saga.

Loose ends are tied up, fan service is provided at almost every turn, the story is pretty self-contained, especially after the Champions’ Ballad DLC. There is not supposed to be a sequel.

And if we are being completely honest, is that such a terrible thing?

So many of the best series in media, whether it be film, television, or gaming, know when it is time to wrap it up, and the best writers and directors have the desired end in mind before even starting a series. Look at “Avengers: Endgame” “Gravity Falls” “Full Metal Alchemist” The Evil Within series; all series with definitive ends that very much feel the way that BOTW does.

Yes, The Legend of Zelda is a Nintendo series and Nintendo series does not get to have definitive endings. Mario will be jumping and abusing Yoshis up until the inevitable heat death of our universe. However, that does not mean that things can not be shaken up if it results in better art and more complete stories being told.

Maybe BOTW 2 proves me wrong, it could be a prequel, it could be the true finale that wraps up the reason for the triforce being missing in BOTW, it could finally have the hero of time put Demise away for good. But series that become bloated with entries do not usually make for great stories and are more likely to disappoint which is the last thing that I would want for a game as beautiful, inspired, and moving as this one is.

In the words of the always wise Miyazaki, “I do believe in the power of story. I believe that stories have an important role to play in the formation of human beings, that they can stimulate, amaze and inspire their listeners.”