Soapbox features enable our individual writers to voice their own opinions on hot topics, opinions that may not necessarily be the voice of the site. In this piece, Kate makes a groundbreaking admission about one of the Switch's most popular titles...
I put at least 150 hours into Breath of the Wild. I found every shrine. I completed every outfit. I obtained every health and stamina upgrade. I didn't collect all 900 Korok seeds, because that way madness lies, but I did every single quest. Every quest, that is, save one: I never actually defeated Ganon.
This isn't my first time letting the Kingdom of Hyrule down, either. My copy of The Minish Cap lies untouched at the final boss, because, quite honestly, I hope Vaati drowns in a vat of fish guts. I "finished" Ocarina of Time just before entering Ganondorf's castle, because the lovely rainbow bridge is far nicer than what waits for you inside. I even got all the way to the last boss of Spirit Tracks before throwing my DS across the room because I'm not fighting a train, Nintendo.
Unlike most of those games, my time in Breath of the Wild was pretty exhaustive. I wanted to discover all the secrets hidden within the curves of the hills and the crags of the mountains. Every hour spent in that sprawling landscape brought new discoveries: horse gods, Tarrey Town, Link's house, easter egg references to older games... I wasn't ready to save Zelda until I'd squeezed every last drop of adventure out of Hyrule.
Finally, the time came for me to explore Hyrule Castle. It was the only place left on the map, the only thing left on my to-do list. I entered, completely over-levelled, capable of taking down a Guardian with little more than a withering glance. Compared to me, final boss Ganon was going to look like a toddler with a foam sword.
I made my way through the winding, monster-filled corridors of the castle, opening chests, finding new Koroks, and generally having quite a pleasant time. At last, I ascended the stairs to where I knew Ganon waited, and I stood still in the doorway, watching his pink and black tendrils pulse menacingly. I knew that entering, and taking him down, meant the end. Not just the end of the game, but the end of the adventure, the end of exploration, the end of my time with Hyrule.
Sure, it's the entire point of the game, at least narratively, to defeat Calamity Ganon once and for all. But it wasn't the point of my game, somehow. I was a lone wolf, travelling around on my Big Horse, defeating monsters and shrines long after I 'needed' to do those things. I was doing it for Link, not Zelda. In fact, Zelda had barely factored into my story at all.
I didn't leave Ganon undefeated to punish her, though. I've played games before. I know how these things work. The world doesn't change after you save the girl. There's a cutscene, maybe. But usually, you're just booted back to your last save. My last save was at the door to Ganon's room. My last save was as far as I can go, and it's as far as I'll ever go. This way, I always feel like I can go back to Breath of the Wild, and there's always the promise of more. As long as I never actually finish it, there's always more. I'd rather keep it as a perfect time capsule of 99% completion than ever be done with it for certain.
It's somehow better to have left myself wanting, than to have had it all.