Thursday, September 21, 2023

Will Tears Of The Kingdom Create a Zelda Time Loop?

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Back at E3 2021, at the same show where The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was formally revealed for the first time, Nintendo also announced a HD re-release for Skyward Sword. It was a welcome surprise despite the somewhat mixed reactions Zelda fans have towards the game. This was also interesting timing for such a reveal. At the same time that we see Tears of the Kingdom trailer revealing the new floating islands above Breath of the Wild’s version of Hyrule, we had a re-release of the game that largely took place on sky islands above a broken Hyrule.

The thought had to immediately come to mind; how could these two games be connected?

Link tries to save Zelda in Tears of the Kingdom

Zelda’s timeline, while largely retroactive, is somewhat fairly established at this point. We know one thing for absolute sure, that Skyward Sword is the canonical beginning of the timeline and Breath of the Wild is the absolute latest game in the timeline by thousands of years. We don’t know which branch of the timeline it and Tears of the Kingdom sits at the end of, and Breath of the Wild has hints towards multiple of them.

For the sake of my argument, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Tears of the Kingdom is the end, Skyward Sword is the beginning, and I think there’s a good chance Tears of the Kingdom loops right back around to set up Skyward Sword happening again.

I mean, just look at what’s happening in this game. Hyrule is already wrecked by Calamity Ganon, and seemingly about to be ruined further. We have sky islands being set up above the world. The Master Sword is rusted and falling apart in a recent teaser. Things look bad for the land below. I’m sure Link and Zelda will find a way to prevent ultimate destruction, but there is already so much damage done and more seemingly to occur throughout this latest game.

Now, look at what we know about the pre-Skyward Sword world. Demise erupts from beneath the earth, brings his evil forces with him, and overwhelms Hyrule. Sounds familiar, right? The first big Tears of the Kingdom trailer showed Link and Zelda finding what looks like Ganon in what looks like some considerable underground area. Back in Breath of the Wild, Calamity Ganon emerges from beneath Hyrule, and you have to assume Zelda and Link found this mummified Ganon (or whoever) in the same place. It is likely the source of the Calamity Ganon we saw in Breath of the Wild.

Skyward Sword establishes Demise as a type of origin evil that Ganon eventually inherited, and it’s possible that what we are seeing in Tears of the Kingdom is not Ganon, but the emergence of Demise. Meaning we could be seeing what happened before Skyward Sword happening again. Demise is even said to have conquered time. Depending on what exactly that means, there could be a path to this defeat sending the timeline back to the beginning, where Demise was originally sealed away.

We also know that the Goddess Hylia and her chosen sword (the earliest Link) sealed Demise away. Well, what is really preventing Breath of the Wild’s Zelda and Link from playing this same role? Zelda is pretty explicitly described as having the powers of the Goddess and having sealing powers. It is these sealing powers that she uses on Calamity Ganon to keep it restrained during Link’s 100-year sleep. If those powers strengthen/emerge further, she could seal Ganon/Demise again, replicating what happened before Skyward Sword.

Link, obviously, is there, and his Master Sword is established as having a voice that Zelda hears after Link is struck down protecting her during the Calamity’s emergence. It is made clear that Fi exists within the sword still. While the Goddess Hylia is described as creating Fi to place within the Master Sword, this can easily be repurposed as Zelda using her established familiarity with technology to strengthen Fi and help the spirit reemerge, hence “birthing” her again.

When you throw in the new sky islands and the probable need for the races of Hyrule to flee somewhere safe from the reemerging evil in the land, well, there’s a pretty clear recreation of everything that ended with Zelda and Link sealing Demise away.

Now, this does not necessarily have to be a full time loop returning everyone fully to the beginning of the Zelda timeline. Nintendo could use this to establish a cyclical nature to Hyrule and the Zelda story, where the battles between the Triforce bearers always eventually lead back to the beginning. Or they could create yet another timeline offshoot from this.

It is just difficult to dismiss the many similarities between what we’ve seen of Tears of the Kingdom and what we know of Skyward Sword. It’s even harder to dismiss the timing of Nintendo releasing an HD remaster of Skyward Sword. It feels like Nintendo finally releasing the Metroid Prime remaster, which most likely means we’re seeing more of Prime 4 sometime soon. Of all the Zelda games they could have re-released on the same day they showed off Tears of the Kingdom, there has to be a reason beyond “sky islands” to choose Skyward Sword.

I could be wrong, of course. It wouldn’t be the first time. Not everything about my theory fits perfectly, and I might be forgetting things about Skyward Sword that nullify this on the spot. That being said, I’m sticking to this prediction and I can’t wait to play Tears of the Kingdom to see if it comes true.

Images Courtesy of Nintendo

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  • Bo

    Bo relaxes after long days of staring at computers by staring at computers some more, and feels slightly guilty over his love for Villanelle.

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