Earlier this year at E3 we got to see a new trailer for the new Legend of Zelda game Breath of the Wild (Botw) along with footage from a playable demo. BotW takes old elements and expand on them and adds new ones and creates a new and expansive world.
What’s returning and being expanding from old games in the series.
Rupees makes a return, but will be much rarer in the past. You will no longer be able find tons of Rupees by cutting grass or smashing pots. This is a refreshing change as in the past few games Rupees have gone to waste due to wallet size and a gluttony of Rupees. You will still be able to find Rupees in the wild but they will be rare. Most will come from selling items.
Hearts have been a very iconic element in the Zelda series. However you will no longer be able to replenish them from enemy drops, grass or pots. You will replenish them through food you cook (more on that later). Heart containers will most likely be back though haven’t been seen yet. We see in some of the food description you can replenish more the three hearts. Food that gives you temporary hearts, have the temporary ones in yellow.
Weapons, other than the iconic Master Sword, will be obtained from the finding them or enemies dropping them. This isn’t entirely new. Windwaker had items you could pick up from other enemies, you just couldn’t keep them in your inventory. What is new is weapons will have durability and will break after several uses. You can even use Stalbokoblin’s skulls and arms as weapons, the arm will still be moving even when it’s on Links back.
Shields will have a dual function now. The traditional function and now you can use it to slide down hills and mountains. This isn’t entirely new, you could use your shield as a snowboard in one part of Twilight Princess (TP). What is new is it will affect it’s durability and make it break sooner. Durability for shields isn’t entirely new, you could lose your shield to like-likes in past games, and the wood shield was susceptible to fire.
Arrows, another iconic item, will have more versatility. In addition to fire, and ice, you will have have a bomb and possibility energy arrows (as seen in the trailer). You will still be able to find arrows from cutting grass and other means. You can also reclaim arrows that have missed enemies. Unlike past games bows will vary and have different ranges.
Unlike past games bombs will not be drops. It will be a rune feature of the Shiekah Slate (both will be discussed later.) There will be the classic sphere type that you’ll be able to roll due to the new physics engine (also discussed later) and a cube one that will stay in place.
Clothes/armor will have more variety. In the past at most you would have certain outfits for special areas. Now they will have different armor values and stats, and several different varieties like other RPGs.
Paraglider isn’t an entirely new item. You could use the Deku Leaf (which used up your magic meter) in same manner in Windwaker, and the Sailcloth in Skyward Sword. Paraglider will be an important travel item this time around, as there are a lot of high areas, and will use stamina (I will get into that later).
Stamina was introduced in Skyward Sword. It is expanded here and used with other things like climbing and the Paraglider. The developers have said you will be able to upgrade it later on, plus food can add temporary benefits.
While past games have had some limited form of climbing going all the way back to Ocarina of Time (OoT), it will be widely used in BotW. You will be able to climb mountains, most any object including enemies like the giant rock creature Steppe Tallus. This will use up stamina.
Jumping has only been used once before in The Adventures of Link which had sidescrolling elements. This is the first game that jumping can be used anywhere in the game and will be important when it comes to things like climbing.
Stealth has been used in past games, but only in certain areas. Like Young Link sneaking into Hyrule Castle in OoT. In BotW, stealth will be an entire mechanic that can be used anywhere in game. So you can sneak up on Bokoblins in their camps for example. As part of this mechanic, there will be a meter that tells you how much noise you’re making.
There has been limited crafting in past games. Crafting in Botw will be much more dynamic. Right now we only have info on cooking. You can make your own fires to cook. If you find cook pots you can make more complicated foods by throwing multiple items in the pot. Food can replenish health, replenish or temporally supplement stamina, or keep you warm for limited time in cold environments.
There has been some form of Day/Night since Ocarina of Time. BotW will have the longest days in 24 minutes for a complete day. You will be able to change time by resting at campfires (the same ones you can make for cooking) and sleeping in beds.
Temperature and sound gauges are completely new to the Zelda series. As we have seen in the E3 demo certain areas will have extreme temperatures, the gauge will tell you how cold or hot is, so you can use the appropriate clothes or food to keep from losing health. Sound gauge lets you know how much sound you are making while using stealth.
The Sheikah Slate will play a major part in BotW. The Sheikah have appeared in small part in past games mostly in the background, one training Zelda while Link was aging to an adult in the Temple of Time in OoT. In BotW we see remnants of Sheikah technology, like guardians and the Shrines. You will use it as your map guide, key to shrines and learning runes, including the aforementioned bomb rune. Other runes include one to stop time, one that moves metal objects, and one that raises ice blocks.
While past games have had weather to a degree, it was usually done for story elements, like the rain at the beginning of Link to the Past. In BotW is it much more dynamic you can have windstorms and rain appear at anytime.
BotW won’t be linear like most Zelda game especially the most recent ones. It will harken back to the original in this sense. It will also be the first truly open world game in the series. Once you get the Paraglider you will be able to go anywhere on the map (You need it to get off the Great Plateau otherwise you’d fall to your death.)
Shrines (they are like mini-dungeons) are a major part of BotW. You get the runes in the Great Plateau’s first four shrines. There are a 100 Shrines in the game. You also get spirit orbs in every shrine. It’s not clear what spirit orbs ultimate function is yet.
This will be the first Zelda to have a dynamic physics engine. You will be able to roll bombs and boulders down inclines (This opens up new ways to defeat enemies, like rolling Stalbokoblins skulls back at them.), chop down trees to cross ravines or ride down an ice cold river, or even create a fulcrum to shoot Link in the air just for fun. You can also make fires to create wind currents that will allow you to go higher with the Paraglider.
What We Don’t Know
We don’t know where on the timeline this takes place. Though most likely sometime after Ocarina of Time due to the damage to the Temple of Time. The appearance of Koroks (the five we have seen so far looking exactly like ones see in Windwaker.) may place it sometime before or after Windwaker. Until we play the game we really won’t know.
Villages, NPCs, and dungeons weren’t shown during the E3 demo. The developers want to keep these as a surprise. We do know there are supposed to be at least 4 dungeons. There is also a mysterious island floating around Death Mountain.
It will be a long wait until next year when the game is finally released. It will be available on the Wii U and the Nintendo NX (When Nintendo FINALLY gives us the specs and what exactly it will be, I will write an article about it.)