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Breath of the Wild reimagined by a Zelda virgin

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Preamble

I am a Zelda virgin. I've never played a Zelda game. Well, I'm halfway through Minish Cap, but that's it at the moment.
But, the BotW premiere run filled me with ides - and sadness for its huge unfulfilled potential.

Thus, I promised to write my own version of the story (mostly). Not that I keep my promises very often, but I annoyed people with this all the way through the stream, so I might as well actually do it.

I know I'll repeat myself in the end (because I write this ad hoc), and I know I'm more eloquent there (because I write this ad hoc), but I'd love your opinion, and I'd love to be told what I messed up. I will change things which go outright against the established lore of the series.

Lore

In the beginning, the three goddesses created the world. But, along it, they inadvertently birthed a new God/Goddess - Time.
Time however had two aspects, which eventually split. First was the aspect of creation, of growth. This part came to be known as Hylia. The other was the aspect of destruction, of entropy. This part came to be known as Demise.

However, these powers are much less… human in nature, and so the goddesses sought to reshape it in their image; to give them a “face”. Thus, they tied them to people in an attempt to join them - which didn’t work very well, as the goddesses understood their creation about as well as Time. Triforce was then left by them as a countermeasure to Time.
The line of Hylia was more fortunate, as each child of it learned inadvertently how to seal their power. Line of demise, well, it was much less fortunate, as at some point, one of its holders fell under control of the destructive element of Time. Thus we get to the events of Skyward Sword.

Centuries passed, until Ganondorf was born, and was touched by Demise. He too struggled to contain it, and often failed - creating Ganon. This usually coincided with him holding the Triforce of Power, as it emboldened Demise within him. Zelda was then needed to teach him how to seal himself, and Link to force Ganondorf to do so.
Yet, nor Ganondorf, Zelda or Link realised this fundamental truth, and the vicious cycle of Ganondorf’s revenge and defeat ravaged the land, and Demise within Ganondorf grew stronger and stronger.

In the Adult timeline, Ganondorf accepted death in Wind Waker. The link of Time to mortals got loose, ultimately resulting in it breaking fully, as alluded to in Spirit Tracks.
In the Child timeline, however, this was not the case, as Ganon grew to overshadow Ganondorf with each incarnation.

Sheikah and Technology

After they were nearly wiped out during Hyrulean Civil War and suffering further losses during Twilight Princess, sheikah came to rely on technology to ensure their goal (protection of the Royal family), so that even if Sheikah died out, their constructs could fill this role.

The Guardians were constructed, yet they were notoriously unreliable and hard to maintain. Providing energy for them was also quite the issue, and they were seen as little more than toys.
But, after decades of study, a solution was found. A mysterious and endless font of power. Sheikah didn’t understand it, but it allowed them to build much improved Guardians, ones which needed no fuel nor maintenance. The crowning jewels were the four Divine Beasts.

This power was Time itself. Unbeknownst to the Sheikah, this powersource was essentially a stable local time-loop. This was all fine and good, but it resulted in disruption of time, and the three timelines created in the aftermath of Ocarina started to drift together. Well, more aptly, the Child timeline “expanded” in “time”, and grew closer and closer to the others, eventually swallowing them later with catastrophic results.

Then, Ganondorf appeared once more to ravage the kingdom, yet the King had no daughter, and only a son of three years who was the descendant of the Zelda line. While Sheikah could contain Ganondorf for a long time, waging a devastating war, there was no time for a new princess to be born and raised. Thus, the Sheikah constructed Shrines, prisons using their mysterious technology to create gargantuan space beneath Hyrule, filled with trials which only one of courage and wisdom could surpass - they hoped to teach Ganondorf, to allow him to become a better person.

The reason no Zelda was present is that, at that moment, all three timelines “overlapped”. Given their nature as being joined with Time itself, there was only one Ganondorf and one Zelda in all three timelines, and thus Zelda was simply in another timeline (which was now more of a dimension).

However, nobody knew why Zelda was absent, and the question of Sheikah powersource was raised once again. Many believed it (rightly) to be the culprit, and a vast coalition formed in the Sheikah. From progressives, demanding full understanding of the technology, to moderates advocating for alternative sources, and anti-technology zealots calling themselves Yiga.
The moderates and Yiga won the struggle, and Time technology was abandoned. By this time, however, it was too late, as the looming joining of the three timelines could only be stopped by an active intervention (of which noone was capable). Guardians were deactivated, and Divine Beasts buried to mark the beginning of a new, safer era.

Unfortunately, Timelines soon converged. New people appeared, and others were joined with their counterparts. This resulted in “the Haze” - loss of memory due to the fact that suddenly, one person had two sets of memories, and thus remembered something in between and nothing. Haze resulted in people forgetting much of the past - most notably, Ganondorf became just Ganon.
Later (but still during Haze), earth shook, as it was torn open by the unattended shrine prison. This was called the Calamity, and was blamed on Ganon himself - Calamity Ganon was born. Sheikah constructed towers designed to draw power from Ganon, and used that to fuel Guardians, which helped immensely in rebuilding Hyrule from the Calamity.

Years passed, and towers gradually sunk into the earth due to Ganon’s pull. Guardians were no longer needed, and were left rusting in the countryside. Yiga split off of Sheikah and begun worshiping Ganon as the ultimate force of nature, and Sheikah, weakened in both number and knowledge, were prohibited from research by the Royal line.

Gameplay

First of all, you can play as either Zelda, Link or both in coop. Zelda has a gameplay with emphasis on ranged combat (spells), traps and turrets (given how the enemies are placed, this can be a viable and fun strategy quite easily). Link’s gameplay is the same as in current BotW.
Balancing is again quite easy, and allows for great story-gameplay integration. If Link is battling Ganon and Zelda is free, Ganon has more magical energy and thus creates more wizzrobes etc.; if neither Link nor Zelda are holding Ganon back, he has much more strength and thus enemies are more plentiful and stronger.

Link is a voiced protagonist. It simply makes no sense for breaking symmetry by not giving Link a VA. He can still be silent and reserved, perhaps only speaking sparingly in later memories, as he and Zelda grow closer, but at least one line would do wonders. Also: “Wake up. Wake up, Zelda” Smile

Generally, all three playthroughs will have different story in few aspects, and only if you play all three, should you gain all of the knowledge about the lore and Sheikah I made. Well, not all, because sequels Wink
Next, there are various soft and hard time limits to create urgency in the story. Before you make up your mind about them, however, read how they’re going to actually work.
Enemies hit for less, and durability is solved in one of several ways it can be done. I won’t go into much detail; I have a couple ideas, but really, I’m more of a story guy.

Actual story

Problem of BotW story is that, as Bilbo Baggins would say, like butter scraped over too much bread. It’s a story for a much smaller game, ultimately. It has one theme which it does very well - abandonment - but that’s not enough. Well, it could be enough, but if we are to enlarge story, it would almost certainly repeat itself, and be one note.
Thus, I’m adding another theme. Blind trust, optimism, hope. I hope you can see it in the stuff I add (well, I hope I implemented it well, so it can be read - if you don't see it, I am the who did it wrong).

First, there is immediately a soft time limit. Settlements and traders are being attacked by monsters, who grow bolder and bolder with each Bloodmoon. You can help these settlements by doing quests for them which result in them being better equipped for defence. Liberation of Divine Beast results in the main area hub being rendered save.
All settlements have clear and huge problems. Situation is dire - after all, this is a world with a 100 years long apocalypse-in-progress. I’ll only detail the main hub problems.

Zora are not changed much. Rito are forced to travel on land, as flying Guardians swarm around Vah Medoh, and they’re creating unpredictable wind currents. Gerudo are a nomadic people, living under Vah Naboris. They’re shunned due to their misremembered connection to Ganon, and their numbers are dwindling - not to mention that they must be constantly vigilant, lest Vah Naboris squish them. Goron’s are desperately clinging to their way of live, but Vah Rudania is making it impossible for them to harness ore and stone. You get the picture. The situation should be desperate, but people still innocent and idealistic - they will pull through. You should make a visible impact; Rito once more taking to the sky, Goron swarming the lakes of lava, Gerudo rebuilding their ruined cities.

Big change comes in that Ganondorf is in the game.

See, the usage of Ganon’s power lead to him “seeping” into the overworld, leaving Ganondorf with only Triforce of power and the last shred of Demise’s power imprisoned in the shrines. Calamity Ganon is nothing but Demise. That’s also how he got control of Divine Beasts and Guardians - Demise was their power source itself.

There are four special shrines - the maze shrines. These are meant as “emergency exits”, if the Sheikah slate with sufficient clearance is lost. After gaining all of them, the next shrine transports player to a special shrine; to a wrong shrine. This was rebuilt later, by the Yiga under Ganon’s guidance, as the last prison of Ganondorf.

From the first text, this is apparent. “In the name of goddess Hylia” is missing. Instead of red, you have reddish orange. And, most importantly, the spirit orb is right before you. If player accepts it without examining the shrine further, he will be teleported to the surface and never finds this shrine again. If he doesn’t, he can notice a door behind the mummy.

Then he passes, undergoes extremely gruelling series of puzzles testing concepts from all four maze shrines - and, at the end, he sees Ganondorf, chained to the wall like Prometheus to Mount Kazbek, in immense pain, as he is only barely unable to die, yet suffers thirst and hunger. Again, you can leave him here. He even lashes out against you if you talk to him - are you here to mock him? He’s a wounded animal, but he has grown over the years, he even reflected on his deeds before the torture of being drained by the towers took place.
The only way to save him is to give him food. Nurse him back to health. At this point, player doesn’t know what Ganondorf will do once he’s free. Player must take the leap of faith.

(this is absolutely crucial - the focal point of my reimagining) (also, I’m not ashamed I cried while making up this sequence)

If this in the postgame, however, and the player gets through the trial, he sees a mummy in those shackles, and gets a large amount of spirit orbs from it.

Ganondorf then adopts the moniker Stadt and returns with you, either to Impa’s village or your village.

Now I have to get back to the metaphysics. See, Zelda had trouble finding her “power” - the power of Hylia, that is, not triforce of wisdom and courage - because Hylia is almost gone from the bloodline - a side effect of merging with the Adult timeline was the dissipation of Hylia, even though Demise was still bound to Ganondorf.

The best ending is, obviously, with Ganondorf, all four Divine Beasts, and Link and/or Zelda finding all memories. They should have two separate sets - events more important to Zelda and those more crucial to Link. Basically, current memories would mostly go to Zelda, and Link would get the same “screen time”. He could still be mostly silent, of course.

In the final dungeon, there will be parts where you play as Zelda, Link, and, if you freed him, Ganondorf. In the end, Ganondorf, triforce of power, gains triforce of courage, as he sacrifices himself - there can be no Ganon (Demise) without Ganondorf, and no Ganondorf without Ganon at this point.

(Link: no triforce; Zelda: Wisdom and Courage; Ganon: Power and, eventually, Courage)

In the best ending, Ganondorf is revealed as a hero, and revered alongside Link and Zelda. Gerudo become more accepting of men as a result, and there will be more changes based on the ending. There is a postgame, of course, and a NG+ (where you can play the other character with equivalent stats and gear). Divine Beasts  lay silent, and only a couple Guardians are still running and helping rebuild Hyrule castle. Player can at any point trigger the epilogue, in which a new and rebuilt Hyrule can be seen, as the camera pans through the lands and seas, until reaching a new land, where the sound of a train can faintly be heard in the background (New Hyrule as setting for the continuation).

As for story DLC, it could be Stadt’s (Ganondorf’s) adventure set between him getting free and fighting Ganon/Demise. It should focus on Gerudo and helping Gerudo - by diplomacy and helping the others as well. In the end, the leader of Gerudo should recognise him - and embrace him nonetheless.

(Dammit, I have tears in my eyes again. At this rate, I won’t be able to finish! Smile )

The fact it’s Ganondorf-centric and Ganondorf is kind of “hidden” is not really a problem - by the time it comes out, Ganondorf will not be a secret anyways (which is sad, as it will likely blunt the shock at finding him).

Closing Words

I left out so much stuff that I came up with.

I urge you to comment, and to ask questions, and to contribute your own ideas, and to tell me I’m wrong - as I probably broke Zelda lore a dozen times (and, also, my ideas might be wrong for other reasons).

I thank you all, and especially Lorerunner, for introducing me to Zelda as a whole. I never owned a console, and Nintendo was minuscule in my country anyway (with the exception of GB and GBC); I’ve never even played Zelda. But, watching the BotW premiere run, I saw its appeal, and the promise of its setting and conventions. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that I learned to love Zelda (games, you pervs Smile ) thanks to you all. My hope is that this work adds to your enjoyment, that you like it, even if it’s naught but a futile exercise.

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Karbin writes a long post who would have though it Rolling Eyes Very Happy ?

I myself have never played a Zelda game my entire life and I know nothing about the story, I had access to it but it was never my type of story or gameplay. However I must say after seeing a few snipets of BOTW I might just go out and play it.

As I have not seen or played it I can't compare story's but I must admit your version as it were sounds really appealing and complex without going overboard. Seriously Karbin you need to write or come up with your own universe.

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Governor Alexander wrote:Karbin writes a long post who would have though it Rolling Eyes Very Happy ?

I myself have never played a Zelda game my entire life and I know nothing about the story, I had access to it but it was never my type of story or gameplay. However I must say after seeing a few snipets of BOTW I might just go out and play it.

As I have not seen or played it I can't compare story's but I must admit your version as it were sounds really appealing and complex without going overboard. Seriously Karbin you need to write or come up with your own universe.

I have an universe and I do write. Well, the only actually written works are my poems, and I have no idea how to even begin to translate them Wink
As for BotW, I'd advise caution. If you have Wii U, go ahead, but I'd wait a couple months on Switch - on the other hand, I'm in the same position.

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Thanks, I might wait a little while until Christmas when it goes on sale.

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So I don't have an in depth analysis to give, just a few thoughts I've been collecting.

First, I love the idea of time itself being the resource they utilize. It nicely, thematically fits with several things, not the least of which your idea of the timelines collapsing (catastrophically really) on each other, as well as linking them to Demise.

I would probably put something slightly less once-and-then-screwed on the shrine for Ganondorf (it'd be exceptionally easy to just walk up and hit the orb if you were in mindless grind mode, for instance). All I'd do to change that is make it so getting the orb, in this ONE dungeon, doesn't port you back up; which would instantly clue the player in to things being off regardless of their level of lorecrafting, gameplay experience, or state of mind. I also like the idea of assisting Ganondorf and, if anything, would like more gameplay of both him and Zelda.

I also rather enjoy the concept of Link not having a piece of the Triforce at all. They've gone close to that idea before (probably closest in Windwaker), but never quite tipped over that line.


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