I like video games.
I tend to enjoy playing them, when I choose to do so, and have been playing them in some capacity for about 25 years now. My first console was the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and, well, like many People Of My Generation, that was all it took to get me hooked and hold a soft spot in my heart for Nintendo forever.
Nintendo is really dumb sometimes, but gosh, their games have a certain magic to them that–okay, look, here is my point: The Legend of Zelda series is the only franchise for which I have owned and played every console release (no, the CDi games do not count, and no, you are not clever for thinking of them). I love the Legend of Zelda games. They are one of my favorite things in life; like, not just among my favorite games, but I am fond of them on the level of experiences that a human being can have. In the realms of art, and imagination, and, I just, like, they represent an epochal apex of–
I am really looking forward to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
That is all I am trying to say. Nintendo has been teasing this new Zelda game, and at E3 they gave us a lot of new information, and now we just have to wait. Unless something changes drastically, I am planning on purchasing the new NX machine just to play the best version of Breath of the Wild that I can.
But what does The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild really have in store for us?
I have my own predictions. Some of them are silly, some of them are stupid, and some of them are insane, but here they are nonetheless… My predictions for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
• Breath of the Wild will sell over 8 million copies in its first week of release.
• There will be an enormous variance in opinion as to the game’s overall quality and its ranking compared to the rest of the canon. If you thought Ocarina of Time was contentious, nah, that was just a warm-up. People will debate endlessly as to whether a more open-world feel is truer to Zelda’s roots, or a betrayal of its theme; whether this is one of the best and most original Zelda games of all time, or the most lifeless and unoriginal new first-party effort Nintendo has had in years; whether it looks freaking amazing, or super lame and bad; whether all the fan-service callbacks are a pathetic attempt to put the genie back in the bottle, or a tear-jerkingly effective pay-off for decades of virtual heroism; is it serious, or silly; is it among the more darker Zelda games for its themes of isolation and post-apocalyptic ideas, or is it among the most lighthearted for its freedom of exploration and zany recipes-to-shieldboarding additions; etc. This game, alone, will fuel debates for years. Grab a fire shield and brace yourself for endless hot takes.
• There will be an online petition to try and get Underwear Link into Smash Bros NX. Underwear Link speedruns will popularize. Underwear Link cosplay. Underwear Link underwear.
• Polygon will somehow find a way to sensationalize their review. As much as I like some of their features work, their previous tactics at having The Hottest Review include refusing to give a game a score, ‘fessing up to not playing a game to completion, scoring a game 20 points lower than its eventual Metacritic rating, etc. I am not sure what their exact strategy will be for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but such a big-name game will require quite an angle for any reviewer to stand out. Maybe they’ll dock points for animal cruelty, or — maybe they’ll give it a perfect score and call it the best game Nintendo has ever made. I dunno.
• There will be a jaw-dropping gameplay sequence where Link gets to see Hyrule as it was before Calamity Ganon arrived. Yes, the same ol’ themes of time travel, of light and darkness, of parallel worlds… but this will be huger and more beautiful, somehow.
• There will be plenty of references to prior Zelda titles, even down to speaking to villagers whom keen players will realize are speaking straight out of Zelda II. However, Majora’s Mask will be untouched and unreached across the tapestry of Breath’s many threads, leaving it all the more peculiar of a title in itself, and creating a new, strange point of pride for people like me who consider Majora’s to be our favorite Zelda foray thus far.
• The Triforce is there, and Link will totally get to touch it, and he will not have to find fifty-eight pieces of it beforehand.
• The Biggoron Knife, the ultimate symbol of fragile-yet-powerful weapons, makes a comeback.
• No Cucco attacks in this one.
• I will never, ever purchase a ‘wolf Link’ amiibo, nor will I ever have any interest in having a @#$%ing dog follow me around or ‘help’ me in my Zelda game.
• More Skulltula lore.
• You can fire Link out of a cannon.
• The gradual onset of technology throughout the worldscape is a cool theme. I mean, by the end of the game, and the way it affects Link’s arsenal as well, you are basically a cyborg warrior wearing Tron armor and shooting lasers at everything. Cool.
• A viral “naked Link” video will hit YouTube within the first two weeks of BotW being out.
• There are items and effects that turn Link invisible temporarily, which aids in his newfound stealth skills.
• Ganon has, like, three different forms.
• Some concept art will leak, for these real creepy-lookin’ shadow creatures, and everyone will be like, whoa, wait, what the hell, why weren’t these put in, I’d love to play a game with these in it, dude, etc.
• I will purchase The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for NX, along with the NX, and… enjoy the hell out of it. I will play it for many hours. I will stay up too late, on too many nights, to do too many stupid little things within the fictional world. I will feel like a kid again. I will defeat Ganon, and pull off in-game feats of athletic combat that leave me laughing and adrenaline-filled. I will find wonderful little nooks and crannies of the landscape that the artists included just as a visual treat. I will even defend the game against its most ardent critics. But, ultimately, in the end, I will also be frustrated at a couple piddly little things here and there throughout, and while Breath of the Wild may stoke a new fire as to what video games can be, it will also hold up a new flame to the ideas of gaming’s limitations and inevitable futility. I may go back to it for New Game Plus mode, I may even dive back in here and there just for kicks over the years to come, but I will always leave Hyrule for my own real life, and sacrifice the thrill of strengthening Link for the joy of raising my own flesh-and-blood family.
• Entire online communities and Tumblrs and such will center around bird-watching pursuits in Breath of the Wild, and particularly be fond of the flocks of ducks to see there.