Time travel has been a feature of The Legend of Zelda Series since we used the Ocarina of Time back on the N64, all the way through to using the Gate of Time in Skyward Sword. There are clues in the Breath of the Wild 2 trailers to suggest we could be about to Time Travel once again, and today I’m going to look at the supporting evidence, plus look at how we’ve travelled through time in previous Legend of Zelda games, and look at why time is such an important concept in the Legend of Zelda series.
Manipulating time has long been a staple of the Legend of Zelda series, be it travelling through time to the past or the future, or stopping time in the form of items or runes to help solve puzzles. Goddess Hylia, one of the most important characters in the lore of Legend of Zelda, is the Goddess of Time. An important location in many Zelda games is the Temple of Time, which can still be seen in Breath of the Wild on the Great Plateau. We’ve travelled through time in Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.
Breath of the Wild
In the original Breath of the Wild, we didn’t travel through time, although time plays an important role in the story. There are two legends in the game, one from 10,000 years ago and one from 100 years ago.
Looking at 10,000 years ago First, Hyrule had become technologically advanced, so much so that monsters offered little threat. The Hylians created technological marvels to ensure the safety of the kingdom if Ganon was ever to return. Among these marvels were Guardians and the Divine Beasts. The latter was piloted by great warriors from across Hyrule, known as the Champions. Ganon returned, and the Princess of Hyrule fought back the evil with a hero, plus the Divine Beasts. The Guardians protected the Hero, who unleased his final blow in conjunction with the Princess to seal away Ganon.
100 years ago we have a similar story. A prophecy warns the signs of Calamity Ganon’s return would be clear and the power needed to defeat the evil lay beneath the ground. This led to King Rhoam excavating Hyrule to discover the Guardians and the Divine Beasts. King Rhoam realised their paths had been set on the same one as their ancestors. Champions were chosen, plus Link, Princess Zelda’s appointed knight. Calamity Ganon rose from beneath Hyrule Castle, took control of the Guardians and the Divine Beasts and turned them against their commanders. Guardians attack all over the land, almost killing Link who is saved by Zelda at the last minute. Link is taken to the Shrine of Resurrection, where he would lay for 100 years, and Zelda takes Master Sword back to Korok Forest in front of the Great Deku Tree. 100 years later, Breath of the Wild would begin.
In Breath of the Wild, we observe the different time periods through Lost Memories. Rather than be able to visit the time periods, we observe through the memories, piecing together Link’s past and revealing how Calamity Ganon returned, who the Champions are and what happened to Hyrule. While it’s good to observe, it would be great to travel back in time and speak to the characters in the past. Plus, we found out a lot about 100 years ago, but there is still plenty of mystery from 10,000 years ago.
Time travel in the Zelda Series
We are certainly no strangers to time travel, or manipulating time in the Legend of Zelda series. Hylia, The Goddess of Time is a constant throughout the Zelda franchise, and one of the most important characters. We see her statues in Breath of the Wild and meditate in front of them to gain hearts and stamina. Hylia is a constant throughout the franchise, so it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to think Hylia is helping Link and Zelda in their battles against their evil adversaries like Ganon, and Demise and Vaati.
Let’s have a brief look at time travel in the Zelda series.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, Link receives the three Spiritual Stones and plays the “Song of time” in the Temple of Time, taking Master Sword and preventing Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce. Unfortunately, Link is too Young to wield Master Sword and is sealed in the Scared Realm for 7 years. After helping Saria in the Forest Temple he can travel back in time to his childhood version by putting Master Sword back in the Pedestal of Time. Link can then freely travel back and forward between child and adult timelines.
In Majora’s Mask Link can play the “Song of Time” to go back in time to the First Day to stop the Moon from Crashing into Termina. Link can also play the “Song of Double Time” to travel a half day forward to the future.
Oracle of Ages
In Oracle of Ages, Link uses to Harp of Ages given to him by Nayru, Link can travel between the present day and 400 years in the past. He can play the Tune of Echoes, Currents, and Ages to open Time Portals or travel between times.
In Twilight Princess, Link, looking for a missing piece of the Mirror of Twilight, finds a portal that takes him to an ancient version of the Temple of Time. The portal is the Door of Time, a gateway between Hyrule and the Sacred Realm.
In Skyward Sword, Link can use the Timeshift Stones to alter time in his immediate area next to the stones. Link can also use the Gate of Time to travel to Hylia’s Realm, thousands of years in the past.
That’s a short history of time travel in the Zelda series, but next, let’s have a look at the potential for time travel to appear in Breath of the Wild 2.
Time travel in Breath of the Wild 2
We’ve seen clues in the existing trailers of Link’s ability to manipulate time with his arm. We see a spiked silver ball rolling down a hill, Link extends his right arm and it appears to turn back time and send the ball rolling back up the hill where it came from.
We also have the mystery of Link and his different ‘looks’ in the trailers. In the first trailer, we see Link and Zelda travelling underground, and this scene looks like it’s shortly after the end of the original Breath of the Wild. Link has his blue Champion’s Tunic, and Master Sword is strapped to his back. In the second trailer, we see a different Link, this time one with shaggy long hair, and his right arm has been changed, most likely related to the glowing green arm holding the corpse from the first trailer.
A good question to ask is this; Are these the same Link, or do we have two Links here? We have Blue Champion’s Tunic Link, most likely a modern-day Link. We have the potential for ‘long haired’ Link to be the champion from 10,000 years ago. Looking at the tapestry, we see characters depicted with long red hair. This could be the long hair version of Link with the changed right arm.
In Breath of the Wild 2, we might be finally about to find out more about the heroes from 10,000 years ago and be able to travel between the timelines. Much of Breath of the Wild was focused on the present day and 100 years ago as Link filled in the blanks. It’s possible in the sequel we find a way of travelling back to 10,000 years ago to learn more about our ancestors, the Champions from the Divine Beasts, and solve the mystery of the hero from 10,000 years ago. The Temple of Time exists on the Great Plateau, even though it’s busted, broken and crumbling. However, maybe well uncover a new power, a new instrument, or a new method of travelling through time, and continue that long tradition of time travel in the Legend of Zelda series.
Let me know in the comments what you think of time travel in Breath of the Wild 2, and let me know how you think Link could do it.