‘Breath of the Wild’ sequel theories: time travel, possessed arms, and new haircuts

Long-awaited gameplay footage from the Breath of the Wild sequel has provided some insight into the upcoming Zelda title, while raising a whole lot more questions. Here’s your rundown of some of the popular fan theories that have been sparked by the trailer.

Nintendo’s first substantial reveal of gameplay footage from the Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a clear highlight of Nintendo’s E3 2021 presentation for many patient fans who have been waiting since the first look trailer in 2019. A glimpse into what’s waiting in Hyrule has finally arrived and with its presence, the fan theories have begun flowing.

Zelda enthusiasts have been taking to Twitter and Reddit en masse to speculate about the details of the trailer and what they could possibly mean for Link’s next adventure in the unnamed sequel. With a vague release window of 2022 also being confirmed during the segment, it seems that we’ll have plenty more time to theorise about the future of Hyrule as more information emerges, but it seems that our two initial glances at the game could already be hinting at some pretty big changes.

Breath of the Wild Sequel Screenshot
Image: Breath of the Wild Sequel / Nintendo

Time travel?

Those with a keen ear might have noticed some odd reversed music during the new trailer, which won’t come as a total surprise to dedicated fans of the franchise who know that the Skyward Sword theme is a backwards rearrangement of Zelda’s Lullaby.

Video game writer Mitch Dyer pointed out voices that sound like they’re in reverse at the end of the trailer, proceeding to reverse the segment in hope of finding a secret message of some nature. Instead, he found that the reversed audio sounded exactly the same, which is arguably even more curious.

In a since-deleted tweet, a fan has reversed the entire sequel trailer to reveal that the music is simply the Breath of the Wild theme in reverse. So what could it mean?

Possibly nothing. But many fans believe it’s a clue about what the game could really be about – time travel. The floating islands seen in the trailer are all too reminiscent of Skyward Sword, the first game in the Zelda timeline, so there’s a chance that we’re going back to where it all began.

It seems that there’s going to be gravity-play of some nature in the Breath of the Wild sequel, and possible some sort of time-play too. There’s even speculation that the weird arm from the first trailer could be Link’s own arm from the past, that could potentially possess him – it might be a stretch, but it plays into other theories too.

Two Links?

The Breath of the Wild subreddit is the birthplace of endless fan theories, and now the time has come for speculation about the sequel. One curious fan pointed out that every scene featuring the floating islands features a new design for Link with longer hair, whereas the scenes without them feature Link’s old Breath of the Wild design.

Some fans are theorising that the Link we see drifting through the skies is a much older version of the same character, potentially from the era of Skyward Sword. It’s possible, however, that the airborne character isn’t even Link at all – we never see the face of the newly designed Link during the trailer.

We’ll have to wait and see whether this is a different character entirely, two different versions of Link, or simply Link before or after some sort of transformation that occurs during his journey, but the first alternative does play into another popular theory.

Someone probably pointed this one out already but it’s interesting that every scene that features floating islands features the new Link desing (or the Hero from 10000 years ago, who knows) whereas every scene without a floating island features the old BotW Link design
byu/mariomeister inBreath_of_the_Wild

Playable Zelda?

Fans of the Zelda franchise have never really been able to play as the titular character herself, so what if now is the time that we finally get to fulfil that dream? The longer-haired, faceless Link could instead be the princess, who we do see falling through a hole during the trailer.

Those who reckon this is our shot at playing as Zelda have pointed to the aforementioned music reversal as a potential clue of the two inverse characters coming into play, potentially with Zelda being tied into the new gravity-shifting mechanic.

It’s very possible that Link’s just let his luscious locks grow out, but there’s still a glimmer of hope that it could finally be Zelda’s time to shine.

Link’s arm?

Remember that bombshell I dropped about Link potentially having a possessed arm? Let’s circle back to that for a second.

There’s clearly something going on with Link’s right arm in the Breath of the Wild sequel – corruption wraps around it in the trailer’s opening moments, and then it appears that our favourite hero can wield the Sheikah Slate’s powers with his hand alone. We see his arm glowing green as it’s covered in Sheikah technology, so new powers emerging from this arm are definitely possible.

Link also appears to use some sort of flamethrower in the gameplay footage, with it being hard to distinguish whether this ability is sourced from a tool or the power of his arm itself. The cause and implications of Link’s whack new arm remain a mystery, but there’s plenty of room for speculation.

Breath of the Wild Sequel Screenshot
Image: Breath of the Wild Sequel / Nintendo

Secret title?

Nintendo continues to stubbornly refer to the upcoming game simply as Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Apparently this is no mistake.

Nintendo Treehouse’s Bill Trinen revealed the motivation behind keeping the real name secret to IGN:

“As for why we’re holding back on the name, you’ll just have to stay tuned because, obviously, ‘Zelda’ names are important. Those subtitles… they start to give little bits of hints about maybe what’s going to happen.”

Nintendo’s not going to be mad if you keep calling it Breath of the Wild 2, which seems to be the community’s chosen placeholder title, but they’re also going to keep up their lengthy moniker and avoid revealing any key themes or items too soon.

Bets on the name including the word ‘time’ or revealing the involvement of the princess? Or maybe, in lieu of a certain long-awaited announcement that many fans expected at E3, it will be called The Legend of Zelda: Now in 4K on the Nintendo Switch Pro Coming in 2022. Definitely just as likely.

As patient as we’ve all been waiting for this gameplay footage, it’s clear that we’re going to need a whole lot more patience in the long wait for further answers before the game is released at some point in 2022.

Here’s to even more speculation in the meantime!