• Breath of the Wild revolutionized the Legend of Zelda franchise with its nonlinear gameplay and open world, enhancing the series’ themes of exploration and adventure.
  • The game’s Memory mechanic adds depth to Link’s character and provides intriguing storylines, addressing unanswered questions and uncovering new aspects of his personality.
  • Future Legend of Zelda games should continue to explore and individualize Link through Memories and other features, delving into his lineage and personal aspects of his life to keep the timeless protagonist fresh and relatable.

The Legend of Zelda franchise does an incredible job of portraying Hyrule throughout multiple generations. The series’ main character, Link, is also depicted throughout differing timelines, almost always as a different character with a soul that gets passed on. Breath of the Wild was revolutionary for the IP, as its nonlinear gameplay and open world highlighted the series’ themes of exploration and adventure. However, the Nintendo Switch launch title did so much more for the series’ narrative than other entries.

Link is historically known as one of Nintendo’s most iconic silent protagonists, alongside Red of the Pokemon series. Despite this, the games have succeeded in characterizing the protagonist. Besides the player being able to choose tons of Link’s dialogue in Breath of the Wild, the game’s Memory mechanic was an integral addition to the plot. The game begins in the Shrine of Resurrection, as Link’s Memory has fallen apart after he has undergone a 100-year-long restoration. The 18 Memories are not needed to beat the game, but they provide intriguing storylines and may address any unanswered questions that the player may have. The next Legend of Zelda game could expand on this feature and add similar mechanics, further highlighting the franchise’s contrast between gameplay and storytelling.


Why Wind Has Always Been an Important Theme to the Legend of Zelda Franchise

Wind is a recurring theme in many Legend of Zelda games, and its importance is crucial to how the franchise combines gameplay and plot.

legend of zelda breath of the wild link climbing

Link’s perpetual silence throughout the Legend of Zelda series is crucial to the story that each game is trying to tell. The way Breath of the Wild took advantage of this fact should be further explored in future titles. Zelda’s Diary, which can be found in Hyrule Castle, provides detailed background information regarding Link. She even digs deep into Link’s personality, and why he has chosen a vow of silence.

When I finally got around to asking why he’s so quiet all the time, I could tell it was difficult for him to say. But he did. With so much at stake, and so many eyes upon him, he feels it necessary to stay strong and to silently bear any burden. A feeling I know all too well… For him, it has caused him to stop outwardly expressing his thoughts and feelings.”

This kind of context is unprecedented in The Legend of Zelda. It’s a clever way to maintain traditions set by previous games, while simultaneously answering questions that players may have been wondering for decades. Breath of the Wild notably gave Princess Zelda much-needed individuality, but how it was able to lift mysterious auras around Link cannot be overlooked either. Not only should details like these diary entries and the aforementioned Link memories return, but the next Legend of Zelda game could find more ways to distinguish Link within the world he inhabits.

link entering the forsaken fortress

Breath of the Wild and its sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, have arguably done the best job of exploring Link as a character. Previous titles have told complex tales, but the linearity of their gameplay can have limits on certain aspects of the plot. In short, they simply do not expand on themes that require more context. For example, Link has had tons of family members in games such as The Wind Waker, A Link to the Past, and The Minish Cap. Yet, they are rarely ever explored on a deeper level.

By exploring Link’s lineage even further, The Legend of Zelda can continue to keep its timeless protagonist fresh, while increasing how relatable he is. Like in The Wind Waker, where the game’s story is set in motion by the kidnapping of his sister, future games can revolve around the narratives of his family and more personal aspects of his life.

zelda breath of the wild box art

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Breath of the Wild is an open world RPG in the long-running Nintendo staple series, the Legend of Zelda. In this game, players assume the role of Link 100 years after a great cataclysm and, as always, work toward rescuing Princess Zelda.


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