We've finally found out the title of Breath of the Wild 2 (which means we can stop calling it Breath of the Wild 2) alongside a brand-new trailer in the latest Nintendo Direct — and it's called Tears of the Kingdom, which has already set off a ton of theories.
You know what that means, Zelda fans — it's time to put our speculation hats on once more, and get to dissecting this trailer for every wee nugget of Zelda lore we can find.
We won't lie here — the trailer didn't have a lot going on. This is going to be tricky. But nevertheless, we shall persevere! There has to be something juicy in that footage, right?
Also, make sure to browse through your early pre-order options for the game, and check out our guide compiling all the info about TOTK that we have so far:
Tears of the Kingdom: Trailer Breakdown
It's pretty safe to say at this point that birds and flying are two of the themes of Tears of the Kingdom. The very first shot of the trailer is what looks like an owl. Now, we know that owls are very important in Zelda lore — Kaepora Gaebora being the most important one, and his owl-like Skyward Sword ancestor Headmaster Gaebora, who is Zelda's dad in the times before Zelda is even a Princess.
Can we tell anything about this birdperson from the trailer? Oh yes. Oh yes we can. More on that later. But for now, let's just say that whoever they are, they seem very important — they are dressed in plenty of fancy regalia, perhaps of a royal, a god, or some other important role.
And... it would appear that they have Sheikah markings on their face. Honestly, who knows what that means at this point. We're not even sure Nintendo fully knows what the Sheikah are any more... but in Breath of the Wild, the Sheikah are an ancient mystical race whose technology is buried under Hyrule, ready to awaken for the chosen hero (that's you). So, this owl lad (if he is Sheikah, and he's not just got cool eyelashes) is from the past. Got it.
(Some people are saying that Owl Lad is a woman. Honestly, it's hard to tell either way.)
Moblins, Bokoblins, And Malice (oh my!)
Our next shot is what looks like a stone carving of a war between your standard Zelda enemies — Bokoblins and Moblins — accompanied by a spreading swirl of Malice, the hot pink evil goo from BOTW which represents Ganon's increasing power over the region. Not much to say about this one, except that they're all carrying weapons — Bokoblins have clubs, and Moblins appear to have some kind of double-scythe.
On the other side of this war are what looks like Rito soldiers — the birdpeople from BOTW — which is unsurprising, given that this game seems to be centred around the sky, with a ton of bird imagery. What is interesting to note is that they're all holding shields that look a lot like the Hylian Crest (albeit much simplified), without the Triforce.
But wait! That crest actually has its own name — it's the Goddess Crest, which first appeared in Skyward Sword, and later in BOTW on Spirit Orbs. The Goddess Crest represents the goddess Hylia, and the Loftwings which the Skyloftians fly around. This might place Tears of the Kingdom in the Skyward Sword era, since the Hylian Crest (with the Triforce) doesn't appear in the timeline until Ocarina of Time (after Minish Cap and Four Swords).
And let's not forget that Zelda is Hylia reborn. Perhaps these Rito are her soldiers?
In the centre of this war image is a single fallen Rito soldier. They have no shield or sword, but that could be for simplicity's sake. Who are they? Were they the first to fall? Is that important? We just don't know.
There's actually another one even further to the right, who does appear to have a shield (but not a sword).
Magatama! Er... Amber Relics!
Around that Owl Lad from earlier are seven little spirals, which resemble the Magatama from Ace Attorney (and Japanese history, of course) — a shape which appears frequently in jewellery and relics, which can represent some sort of spiritual, religious, or ceremonial purpose.
But we've seen these before in Zelda, too. Known as the Amber Relic and Dusk Relic, these comma-shaped materials are used to upgrade Link's gear in Skyward Sword. The former can be found all over the place, and the latter is only found in the Silent Realm, an area designed to test Link, which can only be accessed by the Hero.
"You got an Amber Relic! It's an amber-coloured chunk of precious stone. Nobody knows why it's this shape."
"You got a Dusk Relic! This item is similar in appearance to an Amber Relic, yet very different. It can only be found in certain places."
It's also interesting that there are seven of these around the owl. We've seen the number seven in Zelda games before — most notably, the Seven Sages, but also the Seven Maidens in BOTW, the heroines who were the divine protectors of the Gerudo race, represented by seven huge statues — and a secret eighth statue, too, representing the heroine who was "wiped clean from history", though no one knows why. These maidens are also said to be the descendants of the seven sages, including Princess Zelda, but this story only appears in A Link to the Past and Four Swords Adventures.
Okay, the story of the seven heroines is cool... but it's probably not relevant here. The sages, on the other hand, probably are relevant. We've already had owl theming, so it wouldn't be a surprise to find out that these seven holy relics around the owl represent the sages, especially since Rauru AKA Kaepora Gaebora is one of the sages in Ocarina of Time.
And maybe... those are the titular "tears" of the kingdom. Hmmmm.
We won't speculate yet about what this means. You'll have to enter... THE SPECULATION ZONE for that (it's on page three).
Zelda's Not Okay
Oh dear. Oh no. Zelda's all horizontal.
"But wait — how do you know that's Zelda?"
Have you ever seen any other women represented in these games' historical artwork? No, Tetra, Hylia, Din, Farore, and Nayru don't count. They're all the same person, more or less.
Thank you. To continue: Oh no! Zelda' horizontal. That seems less than ideal. We don't know why she's horizontal, of course, but it's probably something bad — you can see some strands of Malice creeping up below her.
Everyone loved the moment when you get out of the cave in BOTW and then the sun is all bright and it's very cool. Well! Time for another one of those moments, except with big doors.
What's worth noting here is the insignia upon the doors — is it snakes? It kinda looks like two chickens with really long necks. Might be dragons, too, although BOTW had three dragons, representing the three goddesses of the Triforce. This circle-snake theming comes back later in the logo, too. It's probably important.
Breath of the Wild was very blue and green — like the sky and the grass — with touches of blue and orange to represent Sheikah technology. But TOTK is very yellow, with hints of teal and pink (maybe representing good and evil).
(Hey, fun fact: blue -> teal and orange -> pink is basically just a couple of rotations on the colour wheel. What does it mean? Well, if we wanted to get really silly about this, we could say that it represents the evolution of the technology or the world in some way, or even the repeating circle of time. But honestly, they're just colours. They probably just wanted new colours.)
The yellow colour palette does make the world feel a little strange, as if it's dying somehow — and honestly, since it seems like these sky-islands have been forcefully ripped out of Hyrule, we're not surprised. All that grass probably is dead.
Link's Yucky Hand
It's still there. It's still yucky. You can read more about our hand theories right here.
We're nowhere near done! Head to page two for more things from the trailer, and then page three for the speculation zone...
Let me guess. Link will stop the evil, be put to rest, and then rise in the sequel. The Legend of Zelda: The Search for More Money.
I hoping those seven relics or pieces of jewelry represent seven legit dungeons.
Meh, the first games story was lackluster. Sure you can argue story is not the point of Zelda "LMAO, who plays Zelda for story?" But, all that buildup, and hints of an epic tale only to have it flung far in the background to where one could forget it's existence was a letdown.
The most interesting part of the BOTW was the story that came before Link lost. Ah well, hopefully the finale battle won't be a bummer like it is in BOTW.
BOTW was incredible, currently on 5th replay and lovving it AGAIN.
Excellent article and love the detective level forensics that no doubt are well off the mark, but fun anyway
I am in awe at how much reasonably solid idea-age you’ve managed to squeeze from a trailer that seemed like a whole bunch of nothing to me on first watch! (wasn’t that disappointed mind, going to play regardless!)
I don't like much rumor weaving myself, I just tend to avoid them. That said, my personal guess after the last direct is the Twili might be involved. Mainly because of half the sword's blade in the logo looking like Twili magic. With that info, looking back at Link's strange arm could be another connection
Um, “Owl Lad” is clearly a Bokoblin God. Those aren’t eyelashes, they’re teeth.
Also check the ears
My most accurate prediction is that it will separate me from 60 dollars
I hope the time loop speculation is wrong. If it is true Zelda could be dead to me. And if there is a time loop, I hope it will be like Final Fantasy VIII, where the evil is looped.
This reads kind of like the ravings of a mad conspiracy theorist, but that makes it more fun. Also, with the number of Zelda games that have taken place on top of the ruins of some ancient, advanced civilization, it'd be interesting to see an entry where one of those societies is actually at its peak. Only problem is it might be hard to maintain the usual high fantasy vibe if all the magic-punk toys that are generally reserved for Link are just littered all over the place.
My theory is that it will have regular dungeons, but the world will be segmented and exploration will be severely curbed and streamlined
I think the tears is really a double meaning.
As far as speculations go, only one thing is 100% certain. We are not gonna play as Ganondorf who somehow looks just like Link aiming to beat himself.
I knew it! The snakes facing each other prove it! Thulsa Doom as the villain confirmed!
"Crom, where is the wizard who killed my mother?
Still, I can recall his terrible gaze.
Crom, where are the two snakes facing each other?
Crom, if you’re my god then show me the way."
BTW, if you haven't seen "Conan the Barbarian: The Musical," then enjoy:
@Fangleman32 Nah, that's a completely valid complaint. BotW sacrificed any kind of meaningful narrative or gameplay progression for its openness, and more or less felt like the epilogue to a story that wasn't told. Would have been much better if it had pulled an OoT and shunted you into the post-apocalypse halfway through the game with a "go to the future to save the past" narrative.
I actually thought the final battle was pretty fun. But, then again, I had the motorcycle with me.
@CazSonOfCaz The valiant hero wearing the finest armor in all of the land, wielding the blade of legends, charged into battle against his mighty foe, riding his custom built Harley-Davidson.
@Anachronism That would have been great. I agree with both of you. I thought what happened in the past was more interesting than present.
That's not to say the present couldn't have been more interesting, but everything is so scarce you don't feel much impact.
The stakes just don't feel as high as past titles.
Korok seeds also look like tears. So the tear collecting continues.
The Rito evolved into Loftwings? That's a pretty radical use of the word..!
Also, wouldn't that be the wrong way round for the games?
@Magician Nintendo can have all the 60 euro’s they want for every top notch action-adventure game they make in the Zelda franchise.
@Rambler Evolution makes no sense in the Zeldaverse, so I can buy that.
@GoshJosh - True!
I'm up for all those call backs, would really like it to work out like that!
It actually works in the context of the game. The motorcycle is the same tech and design as all the other ancient technology in the game, such as the Guardians and Divine Beasts.
And it's a lot of fun.
@CazSonOfCaz Haha, it's cool. I'm just joking around.
The Hype is real, but I still want Wind Waker and Twilight Princess on switch...
That thing looks like an owl to you? Funny how that works. I look at it and see some sort of wild dog-like creature with a muzzle and long ears.
@Yodalovesu no is that weird cat enemie in Skyward Sword
is Tears of the Kingdom, because Ganondorf problaby killed Zelda and destroyed the Master Sword, removing the two bigest obtacles in his plan to dominate Hyrule.
Great article Kate! I like all this lore and speculation, but I won't attempt to rack my brain one way or another... just happy we're getting closer to actually finally experiencing it!
If I had to add to the speculating though, I’m thinking there might be 3 levels vertically. Hyrule (main), ‘HighRule/Skyrule’ (upper) & Lorule (underground/dark world- where malice and Ganon are prominent). So Upper, Middle, Lower Worlds perhaps. I'm hoping we eventually get a fully operational comprehensive Loftwing experience so we are free to explore the whole world via flight- and not just stone bird statues.
Also, please give us Ganondorf and/or Demise and maybe some sub-villains along the way like Vaati, Zant, Ghirahim and/or some new characters & villains- screw the calamity wisp final boss.
... Wun can only hope.
I think the Zonai are precursors to the Sheikah, and the triangular tears displayed both on Owl Lad and on Link's shield is Zonai.
If that's true, then you collect Zonai gear in TOTK, just like collecting Sheikah gear in BOTW.
What if the two dragons interlocking in the box art depict the two Links interwoven by the time-rift being torn by the beginning events of TOTK?
The closest comparison I can think gameplay-wise would be Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, switching between two protagonists.
What if the game plays out like Majora's Mask combined with Kingdom Hearts: DDD, trying to beat the game while managing the two Link storylines at once?
What if the second trailer showing Zelda falling into an abyss was actually her death?
Since it has so many elements of too many various iterations of the game...maybe this game is going to tie the knot of all those timelines. Or more try to tie them to a united time. The tears could also refer to tears in time and space. Digging through all the parts of their various battles to come/that have happened in order to find a way to end the cycle of Demise for good? We know Demises curse can rip the world in parallel (to the Past/Between Worlds) and between time (Ocarina, Majora ), so a game that did both, let you travel from times and dimensions isn't outside the operation of Zelda games. This would really leave ANYTHING open to make an appearance and/or have an effect. It'd be a lazy but efficient model to pull from all Zelda games without having any good answer for, "Where were all these neat tools in the first game?".
This has been a fun read, but I try to not get too carried away with speculating over lore. There's so many cool ideas we have about what a game's story might be, but it sucks when the final product doesn't even come close to what we thought. I'd love to see things like Demise returning as the villain but I think I'll just hope for the return of proper dungeons more than anything. At least now I finally know that the title refers to crying tears thanks to the Japanese title!
@Ulysses Untimely death? she was 96 years old lmao
If Zelda dies in this game I'm throwing away my switch
I don't think that's Zelda. I think Ganondorf's just lying down horizontally, just like in the first trailer.
Given the Direct it was shown at, probably some farming in it.
@CheekyZelda The sheer coincidence of Queen Elizabeth II dying just a few days off from the September Direct can certainly be regarded as untimely for Nintendo, let alone that their biggest ticket unwittingly references a kingdom in tears.
It is so massive a coincidence that I could not imagine something greater.
@Ulysses That's not coincidence, that's life. She was 96 years old. That's considered a full life. Once you reach 85+, any year beyond that is considered a blessing.
I mean it was literately any day now at the point in her life.
This game is going to be fantastic, I can’t wait!
I'm not asking for much here. Just about 10 proper, unique dungeons and epic bosses. Please. The overworld of BOTW was the best ever by far, but the dungeons were so blaaaaaah
My predictions are that
A: Zelda will die in some way at the end
B: the tears of the kingdom are a key item. Possibly what you go into dungeons for.
Can't wait! I love how this one borrows heavily from Skyward Sword (just finished SS HD on the Switch for the first time and it's amazing!) As a Zelda fan for 35 years, I simply cannot WAIT.
Im just going avoid anything about this game till launch nothing personal just want this game of the year 23 to be completely fresh i hope that dead blokes Beedle
The golden fauna and the big door remind me of elden ring. I hope totk has the enemy variety elden ring had.
And they seriously should bring back Error, it's his time to shine again.
I am a simple gamer and I want to save Zelda again, so please no death of her. If she dies I hope we can undo her death. Maybe like in Shadow of Collosus.
On one hand caling it tears of the kingdom sounds like it will be very sad to see what will happen to the kingdom. On the other hand I think maybe the same kingdom from different times gets ripped apart and enters that one. Pretty smart move calling the game Tears of the kingdom cos it could go any way.
It doesn’t just look like the Hylian Hood, it is the Hylian Hood. The markings, length, etc., are all the same from what we can tell. Check the trailers also. And I highly(an) doubt that this cape would allow you to fly. In my opinion, that would look too weird.
We also cannot claim that the figure holding hands with someone else is Zelda. I have a feeling it’s Goddess Hylia. Because from what it seems, Zelda is also floating on the “left”(?). That wouldn’t really add up. We can only speculate, not claim it is/is not.
Just to inform whomever wrote this, there are also some typos/missed punctation(s) in this article.
The godlike figure depicted on the wall could actually just be a dragon. In Creating a Champion the developers admit they designed the dragons to have mammals-like heads, with long ears. Personally i would like it to be a creation thing, much like the spirit of the forest in Princess Mononoke.
In regards to the "Zelda's not OK" see:
You make it sound so complicated, I think you will have to collect enough tear things in order to get into the castle/realm thingy. Then when you complete that challenge you will then be able to take on the boss.
I don't think it's pre-Skyward Sword, because then we'd have the ancient robots and a sea in the southwest instead of desert and Gerudo. However it looks like an 'oh boy, things are heating up' prep to evacuate to Skyloft once again perhaps?
@teo_o This is a good point. We need to keep thinking about Princess Mononoke, because the references are still apparent since TOTK is an extension of BOTW. The cursed arm is another clear reference. Princess Mononoke will continue to give us clues about TOTK
@Frailbay30 That's exactly the point. She could have died literally any day now, and it just happened to be days away from Nintendo's September Direct. Nintendo waited years to reveal the name of their next big title, and it's a huge coincidence that the queen died right around the Direct's timing. Given that a Direct only happens twice a year, the probability of the two events coinciding are very low, not even accounting for the name itself accidentally referencing the UK's situation, which is another coincidence in itself.
@Ulysses thanks. i love how on a larger scope BOTW is a tribute to ghibli. Don't forget that prince Ashitaka is actually from a remote village. A secluded dying culture, mostly unkown to the rest of japan. The themes are all there.
@Crockin I agree, I think the 7 tears will be housed in more classic dungeons. At least I hope so. The lack of traditional dungeons was my only real sore point with BOTW
@Sequel I would be ok with classic dungeons if the large scale exploration and small bite gameplay loop didn’t suffer in exchange
Hmm, not sure about this one yet.
The earlier underworld (?) footage intrigued me a lot more than this sky stuff.
@Magician Doom Eternal energy.
I like the idea of the Link of this game turning out to be an incarnation of Ganon. Seems like it'll break the heck out of the canon, but it'd be an interesting twist nonetheless.
You also missed out the purple stain coming out of Death Mountain
If there isn’t a loft wing in this game or a way to properly fly then this game will be a disappointment to me xxx
For what it's worth, the Eight Maiden is also a reference to the fact that while in ALttP, OoT, and FSA, Zelda was ONE of the 7 Sages/Maidens, in ALBW, she's an Eighth portrait sage. It seems that somewhere along the way after ALttP, the line of the 7th sage was split between the royal family and the priests & priestess of Hylia (hence why Seres is a priestess in the Shrine/Temple of Hylia north of the Castle and a sage). All the other sages have corresponding lines of decent:
Gully - Sages of Forest / Saria
Rosso - Sages of Fire / Darunia
Oren - Sages of Water / Ruto
Impa - Sages of Shadow / Impa
Irene - Sages of Spirit / Nabooru
Osfalah - Sages of Light / Rauru
Despite medallion color changes that shifted the sage colors to fit the character types. River Zoras are orange, after all, so it made sense to swap the colors of the Spirit and Water medallions; Irene as a result gets to be a full Maple-expy, too.
It's gonna be there when it's gonna be there. Trying to figure out what the game is gonna be like based on one short vid is a daunting task.
Although I do get that some people find it enjoyable, I like them fake theories myself.
I'd love if there is a Light/Dark version of the world like Zelda LttP
I worry it's going to lose a lot of what BotW made special.
@AstraeaV Hope it gains traditional dungeons. My only complaint from BOTW
At the start a cutscene will appear where link is the villain and ganondorf the Hero.
Remember.. in all the zelda games, link storms private houses smashes their stuff and steel their last rupees... Then runds away and screems like a mad man "Seeeet siaaaaaaa"
After grabs some chicken, trows them from a clifff...
Also in majora, he starts digging in graves lol.
Ganondorf tried to stop him for centuries, but failed many times. Poor ganon, and on top of that, even got posessed by demise. 🤣
The Golden Goddesses are not Hylia. They aren’t “more or less the same”. The Golden Goddesses created Hyrule and the triforce and Hylia protects their creations.
That thing with 7 tears. If it is tears. I think it is the Final boss and the final battle is against Ganon. This boss I think it is not Ganondorf. New enemy but Ganondorf is possible. Always welcome Ganondorf and Twinrova.
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