Not even two weeks from its launch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been beaten (any percent completion) in less than an hour by three speedrunners, and as more take up the challenge there is a small controversy dividing the community.
First, the news: Runner Venick409 claimed a new world record yesterday with a mark of 54:05. This is an “any%” completion goal, which means, basically, finishing a game’s story or beating its final boss.
Venick409’s run came about a day after gymnast86 turned in the first sub-60 minute run of the open-world epic. Gymnast86’s feat was immediately followed, but not surpassed, by a sub one-hour run from Orcastraw, who also registered the first completed speedrun of Breath of the Wild, which launched worldwide on March 3.
So what’s the controversy? Amiibo. Both Venick409 and Orcastraw used the Smash Bros. Twilight Link amiibo in their top runs. That figurine will spawn a horse for Link, cutting his travel time (or any time spent looking for a horse). This may end up requiring a new classification from whomever is the final authority here. (Speedrun.com already lists the top 5 runs for Breath of the Wild — with “no” in the DLC field — where Speed Demos Archive, the organizers of the two annual Games Done Quick marathons, has none yet.)
Some fans feel the use of Epona is an abuse of speedrunning's (unwritten) rules, or at least the spirit of the whole thing. Veterans say the speed gain by using the mount is marginal. Another runner, SethBling, said "casual audience members" might look upon it as cheating, but the gains realized don't make it so. (SethBling — after finishing the tutorial area — has made it to the game's final boss in 12 minutes. Furthermore, he did so before Breath of the Wild’s March 3 launch.)
For his part, Venick409 said the Link/Epona amiibo saves 40 to 50 seconds and, further, playing on Wii U as opposed to Nintendo Switch saves another 31 seconds. Even more, using German voice acting shaves off another 10 seconds. It all adds up. For sure this will neither be the last, nor the fastest, run of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.