Although everyone knew Nintendo would have a surprise up their sleeves for E3, few thought that they would reveal the next Zelda game (although we predicted it right before the show.) Dubbed Breath of the Wild 2, a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, Link’s newest adventure seems to feature some key elements from the Zelda franchise not seen since 2006. This is exciting, and one of the many reasons Nintendo dominated E3 2019. While on the surface the trailer doesn’t seem to give us much information, if you dive a little deeper, as we’re about to, you’ll find that there are an abundance of clues as to what the next installment in the epic franchise may be about. Breath of the Wild 2 Trailer Analysis: Exploring Ruins The very first glimpse of Breath of the Wild 2 we get is of Link and Zelda exploring some kind of underground, ancient ruins. So many questions are to be had. Is this the opening of the game? Are Link and Zelda looking for something specific? What does the mural on the wall say? Along those ends, Zelda has a new haircut, Link still has the Master Sword. Seeing as this is probably in the beginning stages of the game, it’s safe to say the game begins almost right after Breath of the Wild ends; there may be a year between them. Starting the game with the Master Sword in some form hasn’t been done before with the exception of Skyward Sword, so it will be interesting to see how that will work in the game. This may be yet another example of Aonuma playing around with the conventions of Zelda, which was so paramount to the identity of Breath of the Wild. Given Zelda is featured so heavily in the trailer, some have been questioning whether or not she’ll be playable. I don’t think that’s quite the case though. I believe she’ll be Link’s companion, much like Midna and Navi before her. She may be playable in some form, but ‘companion’ fits the mainline Zelda games perfectly and will add a whole new dimension to the puzzle-solving elements in Breath of the WIld 2. What is the story behind this mural? At this point there is no way to discern the story this mural in the ruins is trying to tell, but everything in the trailer to this juncture points to the fact that Link and Zelda are in search for something very specific. The ruins they are traversing are clearly ancient. It’s made of some kind of crystal-like substance. We get a shot a Zelda getting a bit of water from a nearby river. Link and Zelda have been on this journey, presumably, for some time, perhaps ever since the end of Breath of the Wild. The mural in the ruins points to a story, and that story may be a clue. A clue to what? Ganondorf. But we’ll go further into that in a bit, because there are so many clues sprinkled throughout the trailer. It’s masterfully edited with several quick cuts which are easy to overlook. The Return of Ganondorf and The Twilight Link, Zelda, meet Ganondorf. Ganondorf is back. Finally. 13 years ago when Twilight Princess came out, many complained that Ganondorf was being overused. This was a different era though, and within nine years there were three mainline Zelda games, Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, who all used him as their main antagonist. This is a new era of Zelda though, and it’s been long enough. Ganondorf’s return to the series couldn’t come at a more welcome moment. And for those who doubt whether or not this is him, if the hair and jewel on his forehead weren’t enough, there is the Gerudo insignia on his tattered clothing. If there was any doubt this was Ganondorf.. The first we see of Ganondorf is of his husk in the middle of a chamber, malice everywhere, and a hand with Twili runes firmly gripping his chest, trying to hold him back. I originally believed the hand was trying to help bring him back, but, Redditor u/MilkyWay2001 pointed out it may be trying to hold him back. Why is this the case? Well, that same hand saves Link from falling in the trailer, so it’s definitively not trying to assist in Ganondorf’s revival and appears to be an ally. Also, it would only make sense that Malice returning to his body would be the catalyst for his resurrection; there’s no reason why Malice would be emanating from a dead husk, which is at least 10,000 years old. A Twili hand holding Ganondorf back… Watching and re-watching the trailer, it’s difficult to discern whether Malice is emanating from Ganondorf’s body or not, but logically let’s say it is. The Twili hand is the last line of defense against Ganondorf’s return. It’s highly doubtful that Midna will return in the game, but the Twili (and the Twilight Realm, perhaps) most definitely will; those are Twili runes on that hand, along with the same color patterns. The Twili have been ambiguous in their allegiance in the past, but if they are trying to defend against Ganondorf’s resurrection, that means they will be allies. It is also important to note that the place the Malice is trying to gather (and the exact spot where the Twili hand is holding) is the same place Link struck Ganondorf in Twilight Princess. Breath of the Wild 2 could act as a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, Twilight Princess, and Ocarina of Time, tying together the mythos in masterful fashion. Ultimately, Ganondorf is resurrected though, as we see his eyes spring to life. At the same time this happens (or so the trailer would lead us to believe), something beneath Hyrule Castle springs to life. It’s reminiscent of Ganon’s Tower, but it’s too soon to say at this juncture. Link also appears to have a new gameplay mechanic linked to Twili hand that grabs him. His arm becomes enamored with a green light. What this means is yet to be seen, but it may indicate a “link” between Link and the Twilight in this game. So far there are two gameplay mechanics hinted at thus far: Link and his mysterious “Twili” power, and the possibility of Zelda as your companion. Both seem intriguing and if Zelda is your companion, there is a possibility for co-op play or a playable Zelda. A Brand New Epic A potential new gameplay mechanic? Given the nature of this trailer, compared to Breath of the Wild’s first trailer, BOTW2 will be more story-driven. The Zelda mythos was somewhat lacking in the previous title, but Nintendo has now set the foundation open-world exploration. They have an enhanced version of the Breath of the Wild engine, the map, and the assets. All they have to do is change the landmarks, add in new dungeons (which is seeming likely), and you have all the pieces you need to create a new Zelda minus the story. The lack of story was the biggest criticism of BOTW. Breath of the Wild 2 seems darker, will have some form of cohesive narrative, but will also maintain the open-world nature of the first game. Shrines will be gone, so I fully expect traditional dungeons to return, and weapons will as well to a certain degree. Something awakens underneath Hyrule Castle.. While many dread another potential five-year wait, Breath of the Wild 2 may come out sooner than you think. I predict a Holiday 2020 release date.