We know surprisingly little about the game currently titled The Sequel To The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild. But that won’t stop me from furiously speculating about it all the same, based on all the trailers we’ve got so far, and all the things I know about the Zelda games!
Presumably, you’ve clicked on this feature because you also love wild theories, so welcome to my equivalent of a shed covered in newspaper clippings and red strings. Today, I’m focusing particularly on the new feature I’m going to call “Link’s Weird Arm”, which could be the main new mechanic in BOTW2. We just don’t know!
Let the speculatiarm begin.
Arm Theories, Part One
A Link to the Skyward Sword
Skyward Sword is, canonically, the first in the Zelda timeline. Breath of the Wild is at the very end. But in some trailers, we’ve seen that BOTW 2 will involve chunks of Hyrule being yeeted into the sky, although we don’t have a reason for why. The beginning of Skyward Sword tells the tale of how a select part of Hyrule was sent up into the sky by the goddess Hylia, to later become Skyloft — the place where the first Zelda and the first Link were born.
Could it be that the timeline… is a circle? The actual Legend of Zelda is a cycle that we are all trapped in until the end of time? Hmmmm. Similarly, it could be that Breath of the Wild 2 is actually set way, wayyyy in the past…
How this relates to Link’s arm is interesting. For starters, Link is using his right arm in BOTW and the clips of BOTW 2 we’ve seen so far, which ties in nicely with Skyward Sword — Link’s sword arm was changed from the canonical left-handedness to the right hand to fit better with the motion controls on Wii. Secondly, his new arm-look is all-black with tattoos that look a bit like someone we’ve seen before…
That’s right, Skyward Sword antagonist and servant of Demise, Ghirahim, has all-black arms and weird branch-like tendrils, too. Demise would later go on to be reincarnated as our old pal, the Triforce-botherer Ganon(dorf)… so who is Ghirahim? Is it Link from the future? Hmmmm…
Demise’s eventual demise in Skyward Sword locks him into the Master Sword, which has a dual purpose: One, making the Master Sword all full of evil (which seems bad!) and two, trapping Fi in there with him. Let’s dive into that a little bit more…
A Grand Fi-turn
The Master Sword in Skyward Sword is personified by Fi, a spirit who really likes telling you things that are very obvious. Fi is sort of present in Breath of the Wild, as Zelda mentions that there is a legend about a voice in the sword, and later on — when Link is nearly killed — Zelda hears the Master Sword speak, telling her to take Link to the Shrine of Resurrection.
There are also sound and visual cues a lot like the ones in Skyward Sword sprinkled throughout the game, like when Link raises it skyward after completing the Trial of the Sword. In this clip, at around 1:03, the sword glows just like it does when Fi is about to speak, and makes her signature noise. That has to mean something.
If Fi and Demise are still inside that sword (or even if it’s just Fi!) that could be the beginning of another great fight between good and evil — one where Link is once again trapped in the middle.
Arguably, this detail is more about the sword than the arm holding it… but perhaps it’s the sword’s evil power that caused the arm to go all weird in the first place.
The Melty Master Sword
Of course, we’d be silly not to mention the melty Master Sword. It looks like the Malice that crept up Link’s arm also affected the Master Sword, rendering it quite useless in the process. It’s not clear if Link will have to go on a quest to repair/restore it, or if he’s just going to use his wiggly sword from now on, but we’d guess the former (especially because we haven’t seen him actually use the sword in any of the clips so far).
But if Fi is inside the sword, we can’t imagine she’s having a good time being all melty. Does this compromise the sword? Is Fi broken forever? Does the sword still work? We just don’t know.
Sick Tats, Bruv
The most noticeable detail of Link’s Weird Arm is arguably its tattoo-like design, which echoes a lot of imagery from the previous trailers and games. As I’ve already covered, it’s similar to Ghirahim’s own arm-designs, whatever that means.
For now, we’re left to wonder if this sleeve is actually a tattoo, or if it’s part of some curse/power that Link gains in the game. Presumably, we won’t see Link actually getting tatted up, but it’s an edgy new look for him all the same.
Notably, the patterns — the sort of digital tree-branch looking things on Link’s shoulder — look like something from Twilight Princess. A good time to re-release the HD remaster on Switch, then? We need to refresh our memory!
An interesting new feature of Link’s cool arm is the long nails. Although long nails are relatively common on female video game characters (along with high heels and ludicrously tiny armour, usually) it’s extremely rare to see a male character with manicured fingernails. In Breath of the Wild, and the trailer for BOTW 2, he has regular, unremarkable, short nails, so what happened here? Do the nails mean something? I certainly think so…
It’s Not His Arm
In the 2019 trailer, there’s an important detail: The seal upon Ganon(dorf) is a disembodied hand, grasping him in place. From beneath the hand, Malice (the manifestation of evil) is leaking out. The arm is decorated with runic-looking metal bangles, similar to all the markings we see left behind by the unknown Zonai race from Breath of the Wild.
The seal breaks, and Link’s right arm glows a lovely minty green, as magical-looking swirls surround him. Later in the trailer (but perhaps before the events I just described?) the ethereal hand grabs his (normal) left arm as he falls, and we see a split-second scene of the arm grabbing Ganon(dorf) while still attached to — presumably — the owner of the arm. It’s interesting that even in this past scene, when the seal was formed, the arm looks all old and wizened, with long, witchy nails.
We don’t know whose arm this is. But we know it’s not Link’s. He’s just borrowing it. And it was, at one point, strong enough to seal away the greatest evil…
…It’s Ganon‘s Arm?
In the tapestry we see in BOTW, the hero that seals away the evil is a red-haired, teal-coloured figure, covered in Zonai-like spirals.
What if the hero wasn’t Link, but Ganondorf? His origin is somewhat heroic: Born as the only male in 100 years in the Gerudo line of women, Ganondorf was a red-haired man capable of great power, leading to him being the embodiment of the goddess, Din’s favour. In Skyward Sword, he is revealed to be the incarnation of Demise’s hatred of Link and Zelda, the hero and the princess… but what if he was a hero once, too? A hero who was corrupted by power and hatred?
What if that’s his arm? It would match with the teal colouring, and we never see the face of the hooded figure that the arm belonged to… So why not Ganon?
Also, growing up in a tribe of all women probably would lead to having really nice nails.
That bombshell ends Page One of madcap theories… Head over to Page Two to find out about my wild colour theories, and whether or not BOTW Link is the Hero of Time, reincarnated (or preincarnated? The timeline is weird).