Nintendo just teased the next Zelda game. So now we get to get to dissect a minute-long video and speculate the heck out of it. I’ve been spending way to much time re-watching it and listening to others’ observations, so I may as well present my findings during this obsession. Not much has been confirmed. We don’t even have a title yet. However, a lot was squeezed into that teaser. It seems like they intended it to be very cryptic. It takes place in a crypt, there’s gibberish backwards chanting in a game that is safe to assume has actual voice lines, and it makes 14 cuts in about 7 seconds. Below, I’ve presented a few of my theories sorted from most to least likely.
Almost certainly true
The game takes place a few months or years after Breath of the Wild. It is obviously the same Link and Zelda. They do not appear to have aged significantly, but there are a few indicators that at least some time has passed. The biggest is probably Zelda’s haircut. Sure, she could have trimmed her hair immediately after the events of the last game; however, off-screen changes in hairstyle usually imply a time leap. A good, recent example is Avengers Endgame. My guess is that at least a year has passed, but probably no more than five. Either way, this would make Link and Zelda slightly older than they usually appear in games.
The map will be mostly the same. The part near the end of the clip where Hyrule Castle rises up confirms that Hyrule doesn’t look all that different. I opened up Breath of the Wild again just to make sure. That view is the same one from the opening scene in Breath of the Wild just after you leave the Shrine of Resurrection. The castle rising up seems like a callback to the events at the beginning of Breath of the Wild where you activate all the towers, which then rise out of the ground. It might also related to what Ganon does to the castle in Ocarina of Time, or the ascension of the Hylians in Skyward Sword, or the City in the Sky in Twilight Princess. The Zelda team must really like the idea of floating buildings. Whatever the reason, this would be a good excuse for the map to change dramatically enough to be interesting.
Hyrule will have new monsters and enemies that weren’t in Breath of the Wild. The teaser showed rats. Rats are a recurring enemy in the series, but they never appeared in Breath of the Wild. If nothing else, this new game will have rats. Based on the theme, there’s a good chance we’ll see some ReDeads as well. Maybe that black stuff that glows red is also something you can fight. It might just be more Malice, but it looks a bit different. The red actually forms a distinct, glowing outline, while the red in malice looks more like veins.
Zelda will play a bigger role in the adventure. Zelda, with her hood and short hair, appears ready to explore the secrets of Hyrule alongside Link. Maybe this teaser is actually the prologue right before Zelda gets trapped by that mummy in the castle again, but it seems weird to advertise a clip with Zelda herself so early on if that was the case. Some possibilities:
- Link gets trapped this time. You play as Zelda, who must rescue Link. It did seem from the teaser that Link’s hand got possessed by a monster, so maybe he’s not going to be helpful this time.
- You get the option of playing as either Link or Zelda, or even swapping out at various points in the game. Their screen time was about even.
- You stay in the same party and work co-cooperatively. The teaser briefly showed Link and Zelda grabbing each other’s hands. This could actually be a significant part of the game, working together as partners in this adventure. Maybe this would just mean switching who leads, or it could even be an opportunity for multiplayer.
Ganon/Ganondorf/Demise is involved once again. The most popular theory is that that zombie is Ganondorf, but there is support to suggest it might be one of the other two. The head jewelry makes him look like Twilight Princess Ganondorf, but Calamity Ganon also had a glowing forehead. The jewelry looks Gerudo, but it isn’t actually the same as what we see in Twilight Princess. The pointed teeth and the shadow look more like Demise, but Demise is more immaterial (his hair is made of fire). Finding a Ganondorf corpse would make more sense, but ultimately Ganon, Ganondorf, and Demise are really just three manifestations of the same dark entity, so it could just be referencing all three. Or all the speculation is totally off, and this is just an especially scary ReDead. It is also possible that, Ganondorf corpse or not, this is just a puppet at this point for whatever entity created (or broke?) this spell.
There will be time travel. The only thing I have to go off this time is the fact that the audio is reversed. This could just be for creepy effect or to hide a message, but it could also suggest that reversing time is part of the gameplay, much like Majora’s Mask, where you manipulated time by playing a song backward.
This game will explore a secret history in the games, connecting mysterious organizations like the Sheikah, the Interlopers, and the ancient tribe in Majora’s Mask. This one is a bit of a stretch, because references to other games are usually more Easter eggs than important plot points. While this specific theory might not be exactly confirmed by the teaser, there’s evidence to suggest the game might touch more on these subjects. The connections with Twilight Princess are particularly strong.
- The weird singing voice sounds a lot like the Twilight Princess warp sound if you speed it up.
- The Sheikah drawing on the wall shows someone holding a trident. Beast Ganon often wields a trident, but so does Midna when uses the Fused Shadows, which we know is Interloper magic.
- The style of the Sheikah drawings and language somewhat resembles the patterns on the Fused Shadows with its blocky spirals, symmetry, and obsession with eyes.
- Who else had a giant, glowing magic hand? Midna.
- The singing voice sounds like a creepier version of Fi, so that could be yet another connection to another game.
- The magic around the corpse and hand forms strange glowing symbols, similar to Sheikah technology/magic. However, the symbols are more curved and flow-y than the box-y Sheikah alphabet or the straight-lined constellation patterns in shrines. It is also green instead of blue. Ganon’s magic tends to be red or violet as well as chaotic like fire. This green magic is not only in the middle of the spectrum between the Sheikah blue and the Ganon red, but it is also a compromise between Sheikah order and Ganon chaos.
Well, that turned into a bit of a conspiracy theory. If I missed something let me know. I’m excited to see how off I am on this when we get more details about the game. It’s presented as a Breath of the Wild sequel, but the themes and nature of its development are setting it up as a spiritual sequel to Majora’s Mask, and if any of this speculation is close, an indirect sequel to Twilight Princess. Whatever it ends up being, I’m excited.