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An image of Link soaring into a region of Hyrule with his glider. The land is peppered with stone geographical features that look like mushrooms and you can see mountains in the distance.
Link flying with his glider in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Image: Nintendo

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Four Zelda content creators on how they are preparing for the Breath of the Wild sequel

‘I can’t wait to fight Ganondorf with a really long stick’

Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

It feels like Zelda fans (myself included) are sitting around, vibrating with excitement and anticipation for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom release. The game isn’t even out, but judging by the trailers and our preview, it already looks big. Between its large cast of characters, and the nearly endless opportunities to create using its sandbox elements, it seems like our adventure in Hyrule will be packed with things to do.

Although the game won’t be released until May 12, Zelda enthusiasts have been keeping busy with preparing; there are Breath of the Wild questlines to revisit and speedrunning tricks to be practiced. In anticipation of the release, Polygon spoke to four Zelda content creators and pros about what they are doing to ready themselves. Read on to learn about how world record-holding speedrunners and thorough theory crafters are bracing themselves for Nintendo’s big release.

[Ed. note: These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.]

Player5, the current world record holder for the fastest Breath of the Wild speedrun (Any%)

Which games, if any, are you replaying and why?

I’ve been trying to push the limits of Breath of the Wild to see just how fast I can beat it before I shift my focus to the sequel. I’m mostly going to be doing Any% speedruns until Tears of the Kingdom comes out, but I’ve been working on various informational videos on Breath of the Wild speedruns and tricks so that I’m ready to make that kind of content for Tears of the Kingdom. From what we’ve seen in the trailers, I think that both the casual experience and the speedrun will be filled with new and exciting mechanics.

Will you conduct any specialized playthroughs?

I’ve recently been doing All Shrines speedruns, in which I end up exploring most of the map, but I’ve shifted my focus to the Any% speedrun for the final few weeks. Any% has always been my favorite category, so I want to really try and push the limits of how fast Breath of the Wild can be beaten. All Shrines has a lot of exploration and clever uses of glitches and tricks, and Any% has some really intense fights, like having to take on the final bosses with 3 hearts and no armor. And I guess I recently did some All Kilton Medals speedruns which were pretty unique since the goal there is to go kill all of the mini-bosses in the game as quickly as possible. So really there’s been a lot of variety in the categories I’ve been running to try and see everything there is to see in Breath of the Wild before we move on to the next game!

Is there anything you are doing besides playing games to prepare for Tears of the Kingdom?

I’ve been avoiding the lore and analysis videos. I watched all of the trailers, but I kind of want to just play the game and find out what it’s about through that. I fell in love with Breath of the Wild mostly because of the gameplay and exploration rather than the lore of the world.

What are you personally most looking forward to in Tears of the Kingdom?

I’m looking forward to having new mechanics to explore. I think fusing is going to be really fun to play around with and should factor into the speedrun as well by giving us really unique and powerful weapons. I can’t wait to fight Ganondorf with a really long stick.

Linkus7, speedrunner and streamer

Which games, if any, are you replaying and why?

I have mostly been focusing on picking back up The Wind Waker again. The speedrun of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a unique one. It has some of the most intense speedrun tricks out there. These include Zombie Hovering, where the player has to press the B button almost 15 times a second to skip certain sequences, to storage, where you have to control super swims very precisely, while still performing tons of frame-perfect inputs.

I have also been picking back up Breath of the Wild, to get back into the speedrun tricks of the game. Since Tears of the Kingdom shares the same engine as Breath of the Wild, I think there is going to be a lot of overlap between the two games when it comes to skill.

Will you conduct any specialized playthroughs?

When Tears of the Kingdom first comes out, I will want to make sure that I first do a playthrough of the game to not ruin my casual experience by jumping into the speedrun too fast. But once I have completed the game, I am ready to dive into the speedrun.

Is there anything you are doing besides playing games to prepare for Tears of the Kingdom?

I am mostly focused on preparing for Tears of the Kingdom by speedrunning and studying the mechanics of Breath of the Wild, since the engine is shared and so much of the skill and practice will carry over from Breath of the Wild to Tears of the Kingdom.

What are you personally most looking forward to in Tears of the Kingdom?

I am very excited about the speedrun aspect and challenge runs, but honestly, I am so excited to just play the game. I put over 100 hours into my first playthrough of Breath of the Wild, and I have always wished I could get that experience back; I have seen the underworld and the new overworld parts [of Tears of the Kingdom], and it’s just got me so excited to play the game. I really hope they include Korok seeds again because I was one of the few players who collected all 900 Korok Seeds, and I want more of that LOL.

HMK, Zelda theory crafter and YouTuber

Which games, if any, are you replaying and why?

I am replaying Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Breath of the Wild. I’m going to be playing those due to their overall importance to all things Zelda and their connections to Tears of the Kingdom as well as giving the biggest context to Ganondorf and his origins!

Will you conduct any specialized playthroughs?

Since I know my way around these games from multiple playthroughs, the runs will be focused on lore exposition. As I play through the games I tackle the stories, characters, enemies, and more from each title. I wouldn’t call them speedruns, but since Tears of the Kingdom is around the corner, I’ll try and take up the least amount of time when completing these three games.

Is there anything you are doing besides playing games to prepare for Tears of the Kingdom?

Aside from creating my own lore videos, I’m reading up again on all the official Zelda books: Hyrule Historia, Arts & Artifacts, the encyclopedia, and Creating a Champion so that my mind is set for all of the reveals and connections in this game!

What are you personally most looking forward to in Tears of the Kingdom?

Ganondorf and what happened to him from the past leading to now. Ganondorf is such an important piece to Zelda lore, and his cognitive existence is bound to shed an incredible amount of light on the mysteries from Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom!

Gymnast86, Zelda speedrunner

Which games, if any, are you replaying and why?

My main preparation going into Tears of the Kingdom is to be well-practiced with the basic game mechanics of Breath of the Wild, which I assume will be the same in Tears of the Kingdom. I do some Breath of the Wild Any% Speedruns as part of my streams and also am replaying the rest of the game offline to refamiliarize myself with the world as much as possible.

Will you conduct any specialized playthroughs?

Other than the mentioned Any% speedruns there are no specialized playthroughs I have planned.

Is there anything you are doing besides playing games to prepare for Tears of the Kingdom?

I’m also refamiliarizing myself with the internals of how things like drop tables for enemies and cooking work (specifically for speed and attack-up elixirs and dishes since those will have the highest likelihood of being useful).

What are you personally most looking forward to in Tears of the Kingdom?

I’m looking forward to speedrunning it most. The time right after a new Zelda game comes out is always very exciting for speedrunning because we’re all constantly learning new things about the game, which will make speedrunning it vary wildly during that time. New strategies and optimizations will be discovered constantly and the rush of constantly lowering times is both very fun and good for the content creation world.

Update: HMK’s online handle has been updated to reflect the branding he currently goes by.