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Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s alleged Iwata tribute is beautiful

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How Nintendo’s latest game may have said goodbye

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed away during the development of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it seems as if the development team left a moving tribute to the man inside the game.

You can watch the video above to explore the multiple levels to the tribute, which could be considered spoilers, although Nintendo has yet to explicitly confirm that these references were meant as a goodbye to Iwata. We contacted the company for comment, and have yet to hear back at the time of writing. This also wouldn’t be the first time Iwata’s passing was brought up in a Nintendo game.

The game’s development team has talked about Iwata’s passing, and the impact it had on the final game.

“When he passed away, there were moments we’d come up with an idea which we’d be excited to talk to Iwata about,” Hidemaro Fujibayashi, the game’s director, told the New Yorker. “Then we’d remember he was no longer here. Miyamoto told me it was the same for him. He’d come up with an idea at the weekend and would feel excited to speak to Iwata about it on Monday, only to remember. The sadness runs deep. This is approaching spiritual talk, but we had the sense that he was watching over our work. That became a source of motivation, a drive for us to improve and be better.”

So some of this is speculation for now, but the sequence and characters involved in what many are calling the Iwata tribute go a long way to helping set the magical and sometimes mysterious tone of Breath of the Wild. If your employees are going to remember you, being immortalized in one of the best-reviewed games of all time isn’t a bad way to say goodbye.