The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 E3 2021 Trailer: Theories, Breakdown, And More

Nintendo ended its E3 2021 Direct with the surprise reveal of a brand-new trailer for the upcoming sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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Nintendo has finally given us another look at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, with a new trailer debuting during its E3 2021 Direct. It's been two years since we first got a glimpse at Breath of the Wild's sequel, and we now have a loose release window of 2022.

But we have a lot more too. This trailer seems to further confirm that Breath of the Wild 2 will likely connect to older Legend of Zelda games in some way, specifically Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. So let's break down the new trailer, quickly recap my observations about the first one from E3 2019, and then craft some theories.

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Now Playing: 9 Things We Want In Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2

E3 2021 Trailer Breakdown

This trailer begins where the previous left off: Zelda falling into a pit while Link is grabbed by a shadowy presence and sees visions, though whether he's seeing the past or the future is unknown.

What's far more important is what happens next: The trailer invokes the imagery and sounds of Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess. We see Link falling through the sky, in a similar manner to Link jumping off into the sky in Skyward Sword. That Skyward Sword imagery never lets up--we see multiple islands floating amongst the clouds throughout the trailer, which is very reminiscent of Skyward Sword.

Link can be seen wearing a gauntlet that's adorned with symbols. This gauntlet allows Link to use some brand-new cool-looking powers, similar to the Sheikah Slate in Breath of the Wild. We see Link reverse the time of a rolling ball to send it back up a hill to crush some enemies and phase through a ceiling to reach the top of a tower. Both abilities suggest a capacity to control matter and time--useful, especially considering that Link doesn't seem to be wearing the Sheikah Slate and possibly doesn't have access to it.

There is magic capable of such a feat in The Legend of Zelda already. Though many magical items and spells have been able to control one or the other, the Twili have been the only race (besides the Golden Goddesses) to demonstrate the capacity to control both space and matter to vast degrees. Which would make sense--the whole reason the Twili's ancestors were banished from the world of light in the first place is that they wielded a forbidden power so great that the Goddesses had to seal them away to prevent them from stealing the Triforce.

The markings on the gauntlet resemble the same we see on Midna's helmet, the Fused Shadows, suggesting it could be Twili-based. Plus, it's worn in a way that resembles the hand and forearm markings on the arms of the Twili. The Twili seemingly use arm and hand movements to control their magic (Midna and Zant regularly wave their arms to cast spells), implying they channel their magic through their forearm.

Also during this moment, we see a puddle reverse in time, becoming a drop of rain again. At the same time, the music during the trailer momentarily changes, almost resembling the original Breath of the Wild's theme, just in reverse. It's not quite the same though. To me, that sounds a lot like a metaphor for traveling back in time and changing things just slightly enough that the present plays out similarly but slightly different. That's like the whole core gameplay wrinkle of Ocarina of Time (or, I guess, Majora's Mask but I'm thinking Ocarina is the more important game to mention).

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It's also worth pointing out that, at times, we don't see Link's face--it's all the shots of Link where his hair is longer. In these shots, he looks a lot like the paintings of the old hero seen in the original Breath of the Wild, the one seen fighting alongside Zelda with long hair. It's possible that this long-haired Link is a Link from the past, which could hint that--similar to Ocarina of Time--there's a time traversal mechanic in Breath of the Wild 2 where you're going back and forth between the past and the present, with Link awakening in his old body in the past prior to his death and reincarnation.

I'm calling out those three games in particular because they are the only three directly referenced within the first Breath of the Wild. In a flashback, we see Zelda knighting Link with the Master Sword, where she says, "[Link, you] have proven yourself worthy of the blessings of the Goddess of Hylia. Whether skyward bound, adrift in time, or steeped in the glowing embers of twilight…The sacred blade is forever bound to the soul of the Hero." Sure, there are Easter eggs to other Legend of Zelda games in Breath of the Wild, but those three are the only ones to be specifically called out by a character in the story.

Before getting to what all this could mean, let's rehash my earlier thoughts about the E3 2019 trailer.

E3 2019 Trailer Breakdown

This trailer begins with Link and Zelda exploring a dungeon-looking cave. Although Link's rocking a similar look to what he had in Breath of the Wild (he's wearing a bit more armor), Zelda has completely changed her wardrobe. Her Breath of the Wild pants and blouse are still there, but she's adopted a cape and hood that's similar to the one Link wears in his Hylian Armour Set. She's also cut her hair, adopting a haircut that's a lot closer to the one Link has.

What's far more noticeable is the music that's playing. The use of synth creates a much spookier atmosphere in comparison to Breath of the Wild's soft strings. The sound, although slightly different, has been used for a Legend of Zelda game before: Twilight Princess. The comparisons to Twilight Princess continue throughout the trailer, as Link and Zelda delve deeper into the dungeon.

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The duo encounters a dark energy that seems to almost be infecting the area and creatures around it and it's coming from what appears to be the mummified corpse of Ganondorf (at the very least, it looks like a male Gerudo). The energy itself is only being channeled through Ganon though. It's actually coming from a glowing arm clutching the mummy's chest. The arm is wrapped in golden jewelry, with designs that closely resemble the twisting symbols of the Twili--a race of individuals who are trapped in the Twilight Realm after their ancestors (powerful sorcerers) arrogantly challenged the gods of Hyrule.

We then see a succession of quickly cutting scenes. The first shows Link seemingly attempting to channel and utilize the energy that is causing the glowing arm to glow. The next sees the dark energy careening into the ceiling. It's followed by a shot of Link and Zelda reaching for each other before cutting to the opening of a crypt.

We then see Link's hand grabbed by the glowing arm and (perhaps) a flashback to Calamity Ganon first encountering the shadowy being that belongs to that arm. Link and Zelda's presence then seems to awaken something in the tomb, as the floor begins to crumble and the mummified corpse turns to look at them and open its eyes with vehement hatred. The trailer ends with Hyrule Castle rising from the ground and a shot of glowing blue energy--which again looks a lot like the magic that the Twili (specifically Midna, Zant, and the other powerful leaders) use.

What It Could Mean

It's looking like a lot of Breath of the Wild 2 is referencing the early days of The Legend of Zelda timeline. Skyward Sword is the origin story of Link, Zelda, and Ganon's conflict, and Twilight Princess' Twili are presumably locked into the Twilight Realm relatively early in the series' timeline given that they don't appear in any other games.

The connection to Ocarina of Time may be what ultimately ties this all together. That game was about traveling into the past in order to prevent a future tragedy. Perhaps Breath of the Wild 2 features a similar conceit, where Link and Zelda realize that the only way to fix the future is to adjust things in the past. No spoilers here, but as Nintendo hinted in its E3 2021 Direct, playing Skyward Sword will reveal why Zelda became a legend. That game puts into motion almost every conflict seen across the entire Zelda timeline--it stands that this point in history could be important to Breath of the Wild 2 if it deals with reverting time to undo future mistakes. And maybe only the Twili and their magic are strong enough to go that far back.

Beyond that, Breath of the Wild's original vision hinted at Twili-like beings being important to the original game. Early drafts of Breath of the Wild's original story referenced alien involvement. Obviously, this was cut so it doesn't actually mean anything now, but I think it's worth pointing out that the Twili are the closest The Legend of Zelda series has come to including an alien species--to the people of Hyrule, the Twili are from another world. The dimension they live in might as well be a different planet.

Of course, all the references to Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess, and Ocarina of Time could mean nothing. But I'm convinced that they are. Imagery and sounds from those three games keep popping up, and I don't think it's a coincidence that they are the three that Zelda specifically refers to by name in the original Breath of the Wild. But I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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