Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories – 6 details you might have missed

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

The Nintendo E3 2019 direct left fans around the world positively speechless after  The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was announced. The trailer may have been brief, but that hasn’t stopped folks from meticulously analysing each frame to determine what the upcoming game could entail. This has led to many Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories surfacing online and we are here for each and every one of them. In fact, there have been numerous Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories popping up online that claim to uncover the identity of certain characters, new gameplay mechanics, and info on how the sequel links to the previous title. 

As always, we’ve donned our green detective hat and dusted off our trusty Lens of Truth to help piece together the latest trailer, shedding some much-needed light on secrets that are hidden within it. If the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories have you positively puzzled, then make sure you check out all of the best that we've uncovered so far below.

When does the new game take place?

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

The Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel seems to take place not long after both Zelda and Link vanquished Calamity Ganon at the end of Breath of the Wild. It’s hard to say exactly how much time has passed since Ganon’s initial defeat, but it does appear that Zelda’s divine powers weren’t strong enough to seal away the Dark Lord’s hatred for long – after all, during Breath of the Wild’s final cutscene Zelda states that she and Link have stopped Ganon for now, implying that the Calamity has not been permanently sealed. 

Unfortunately, Zelda’s words seemingly ring true in the trailer, as the Malice that originally corrupted the lands of Hyrule can be seen erupting from a mummified corpse. The trailer ends as Hyrule Castle is torn away from the ground and lifted into the sky above, leading many fans to speculate whether Link and Zelda will be leaving Hyrule in the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel, or battling their way through a newly corrupted version of the kingdom.

Who does the dead body belong to?

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

Of all of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories so far, this is probably the most likely to be spot on. The mummified corpse has a striking resemblance to that of Link’s timeless nemesis, Ganondorf – in fact, the body’s long red hair and Gerudo engraved jewellery pretty much confirm it. While Ganondorf’s humanoid form never made an official appearance in Breath of the Wild, we do know that Calamity Ganon was formed when the evil mastermind failed to reincarnate himself, so it makes sense that his body would be sealed away from prying eyes. Meanwhile, the painting on the cave wall also shows a red-haired figure riding into battle with a trident. 

Ganondorf has been known to use a trident in combat, most famously in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, so this scene could be showing the Demon King’s initial siege of Hyrule. Even more interestingly, the trailer shows a brief flash where we get to see the silhouette of both Ganondorf’s body and the spectral hand. It’s rather easy to miss on first viewing, but upon closer inspection, the hand seems to be sealing away Ganondorf’s power.

What’s the deal with the ghostly looking hand?

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

Many Zelda fans have been busy puzzling over the origin and exact purpose of the spectral hand that appears in the trailer. Spectral hands create excellent Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories, who'd have thought it! Anyway, if we use our knowledge from Breath of the Wild’s ancient lore, you’ll start to see some rather striking similarities. The triangular point that the hand’s energy is coming from resembles that of the devices seen in both the Sheikah Towers and Ancient Shrines that are scattered around Hyrule. 

These structures upload data into the Sheikah Slate whenever Link places the device into the system. Once connected, blue symbols are generated by the machine before they are condensed into a single drop of blue liquid that falls from the tip of the triangular structure. The Sheikha are loyal servants bound to serve the Goddess of Hylia and are renowned for their use of technology, so it would make sense that the clan would use advanced techniques to suppress Ganondorf’s powers. 

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

There’s a brief moment in the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel trailer where Link’s hand starts to glow green, seemingly being consumed by the spectral hand’s power. The scenes leading up to this moment are a little disjointed, so it can be hard to notice this at first, but if we piece them together in chronological order, things start to become a little clearer. After exploring the underground ruins for some time, both Link and Zelda come across the grizzly, mummified remains of Ganondorf. As they inch ever closer they see that his body is being held in place by the spectral hand, but suddenly the ruins start to become unstable and the ground begins to give way. Just as Zelda is about to fall into the abyss below Link rushes to her aid and manages to grab her hand, narrowly saving the Princess from an untimely demise. 

However, Link overextends his reach and the spectral hand chooses to stop suppressing Ganondorf’s powers in order to save the legendary hero. This brief window not only seems to transfer the hand’s powers to Link, but it also gives Ganondorf the perfect opportunity to free himself. Make sure you check out the following video from YouTuber, Avyon404 to see this Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theory in action. 

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

Image Credit: GDC Vault

The notion that Link will be able to use the spectral hand’s powers may seem rather outlandish at first, but Nintendo's Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Satoru Takizawa, and Takuhiro Dohta showed off some early Breath of the Wild concept art during their 2017 GDC talk and it could shed some light on this Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theory. During the talk, the team discussed how convention-breaking mechanics were implemented into the game, giving audiences the chance to see early concept art from the Breath of the Wild’s development. One drawing that was particularly striking was that of an armless Link who could transform his missing appendage into a bow, hammer, hookshot, and miniature cannon. 

The idea of Link having a bionic arm seemed pretty absurd at the time, but Nintendo have been known to reintroduce early concept art into their games – after all, Link did eventually get himself a motorbike, although, thankfully it wasn’t the one from the developers’ early trial and error designs. Clearly the focus on hands’ is incredibly important to Nintendo and this connection has us hopeful for our next point.

Why does Princess Zelda have short hair?

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

Many Zelda fans have been keen to point out that the Princess is rocking a new, much shorter hairstyle in the trailer. Of course, this could just be a new look that the design team wanted to give her, but it does seem that Zelda is ready to put her royal life behind her and opt for the adventurer lifestyle with Link. At least, that's what many Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories are suggesting and we're right there with them. 

Fans have also pointed out that Zelda gets a lot more screen time than Link, leading many to speculate that both characters will be playable when traversing the game’s dungeons and overworld. Throughout the trailer we see both Link and Zelda exploring the underground ruins of Hyrule Castle, often stopping to get a glimpse of the ancient markings that are displayed on cave walls. Even Zelda’s newly acquired mount has enough provisions for at least two people, suggesting that both characters have been travelling and exploring the lands of Hyrule prior to this event. Meanwhile, the trailer’s focus on Link and Zelda supports the notion that they’ll need to help one another when overcoming the various obstacles throughout the game’s dungeons and ruins – in fact, we’re treated to an example of this when Link is seen grasping Zelda’s hand, narrowly saving her from a fatal fall.

Of course, we could be getting ahead of ourselves here, but it’s all pretty exciting stuff when pieced together. So far, the majority of Link’s companions have been non-playable, with Link often being the sole adventurer who must save Hyrule from ruin. While we love playing as the Hero of Hyrule, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to see Zelda play a more pivotal role in the series. Nintendo knows that many fans were left disappointed when Zelda was only featured in Breath of the Wild’s cutscenes and flashbacks, so we hope this Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel gives the Princess the screen time she so desperately deserves.

Is there going to be dungeons in the sequel?

Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories

While we had great fun exploring the vast lands of Hyrule in search of hidden shrines and treasures, they didn’t quell our hunger for the series’ meaty dungeons. Dungeon exploration has always been at the heart of Zelda games and it was something that was severely lacking in Breath of the Wild. While the Divine Beasts offered some semblance to dungeon-style gameplay, we still found ourselves missing the labyrinthine exploration of past Zelda games. Fortunately, it appears the series’ staple ruins are back in the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel. At one point in the trailer, the camera pans out to what clearly looks like an ancient ruin before diving into the darkened entrance. Judging from the trailer’s creepy vibe, it looks like these dungeons could offer some spooky surprises for those that are brave enough to venture inside.

Given that the game has only just been announced, you should expect plenty more Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel theories to emerge in the coming weeks and months as we wait for new information. One thing's for certain though, this Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel can't come soon enough.

The game may only have been announced this week, but we're already talking about Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel DLC.

Freelance writer

James Busby is an experienced journalist who has written for sites like GamesRadar+, Kotaku, Red Bull Gaming, and many more. James has a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and can usually be found writing news, reviews, and guides over at Dexerto.