Nintendo finally delivered fans the long awaited name for the next mainline Zelda game on Tuesday: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. It will launch May 12, 2023 on Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo first teased the game all the way back in 2019, where a trailer showed what might be a very dehydrated Ganondorf. In summer of 2021, we got a deeper look at the game which showed us Link’s new powers and his luscious locks. The most recent trailer from Tuesday’s was largely cinematic and showed a lot of ancient carvings. Now, fans are putting together the pieces of both to develop theories about the new game.
It’s just fun to speculate and pick the trailer apart for possible connections to previous Legend of Zelda games. So, we decided to round up some of the biggest and most thought-provoking fan theories we’ve found so far. Again, none of this is confirmed news, but it’s a great way to see what fans are getting excited about. As we get closer to release, we’ll continue to update this list with all the cool stuff we see as more information comes out and fans formulate new ideas.
There’s a connection to the Zonai from Breath of the Wild
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we encounter scattered ruins from an extinct group of people that once occupied the lands of Hyrule. They are referred to as the Zonai, but we don’t know much about them other than that they made some of the landmarks seen in the game, like the dragon carvings and some of the ancient architecture.
Any theories relating to the Zonai got a lot more plausible following a gameplay showcase Nintendo showed on March 28. That’s because one of the main theories, that the new game would have some connection to the Zonai, was confirmed. In the footage of the game, we see Link pick up an item called a “Zonai Charge.” Prior to this footage, players speculated that the Zonai would return because the logo and dragons in the new box art strongly resembled some of the Zonai carvings in Breath of the Wild.
Now, it seems plausible that the Zonai are somehow connected to the floating islands, and it’s entirely possible that the ruins on said islands are of Zonai origin.
The Korok Forest has been burned down
Since the March 28 demo, some fans have been speculating that the Korok Forest has been burned down or otherwise destroyed. The support for this theory isn’t all that robust, though. Most people have pointed toward a blurry shot during Link’s Skyward Sword-esque skydive, which supposedly points toward the forest’s previous location in Breath of the Wild. However, it’s not a clear shot, so we can’t say for sure.
It’s still not entirely out of the realm of possibility that this could have happened, since mainland Hyrule appears to be in turmoil in the upcoming game. It’s entirely possible that the Great Deku Tree and the forest around it met some sort of terrible fate.
All of Zelda is a giant time loop
Some have theorized online that Tears of the Kingdom is part of a time loop in the larger Zelda timeline. The best support for this theory comes from the game’s logo, which prominently features an ouroboros in it. The ouroboros looks like a snake eating its own tail, and is a symbol for infinity. There’s more to it — like possible connections to Skyward Sword so watch below for the full lore dive.
There will be a vast underground area
In an in-depth analysis that considers all of the trailers Nintendo has released for Tears of the Kingdom, previous games, and localization practices, YouTuber Monster Maze points to evidence showing that there may be some sort of underworld in Tears of the Kingdom. In the video, the YouTuber argues not just that a special demon world might exist in the game, but that the concept of a demon world has long been central to various Zelda games.
We will have to repair the Master Sword
We don’t know the details, but this theory is very likely because we now know the Master Sword is broken and/or in a state of decay. Nintendo shared an image of Link’s infamous sword in which its tip is completely gone and its edges are eroded. It’s in a sorry state, so fans are guessing we will have to restore its power somehow.
The goddess Hylia will play a role in the game
Some are theorizing the goddess Hylia will play a role in the upcoming game. Hylia is a divine being who later takes on a mortal form through Zelda. In one of the trailers, Zelda asks someone for their power, and some fans are theorizing that she’s making that request of the goddess. Also, some theorize that a number of the cave carvings shown so far depict the goddess, further suggesting her involvement in the next game.
There’s a connection to the Zonai from Breath of the Wild
In The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild, we encounter scattered ruins from an extinct group of people that once occupied the lands of Hyrule. They are referred to as the Zonai, but we don’t know much about them other than that they made some of the Hylian landmarks seen in the game, like the dragon carvings and some of the ancient architecture.
Fans have pointed out that the logo and dragons in the new box art seems to look a whole lot like some of the Zonai carvings, insinuating that we will learn more about them and just what happened to group in the upcoming game.
oh okay the ouroboros logo for the new zelda is literally those zonai ruins statues from breath of the wild— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) September 13, 2022
Do we play as Ganon in Breath of the Wild 2?
Probably the most prevalent unconfirmed theory is that we won’t play Breath of the Wild 2 as Link. Instead, in a series first, we’ll actually play the game as Ganondorf. The bold theory would represent one of the largest departures in the history of the Zelda franchise, but the idea has picked up a lot of traction among loads of fans.
The basic gist of the theory is that the “Link” we see in the trailer isn’t actually Link, and that it’s actually the shriveled Ganon we see in the beginning of the trailer. The idea is supported mainly by the visual similarities between Ganon and the character in the trailer, who wears a one-shoulder tunic like Ganon. Also, we don’t ever see this character’s face.
Besides those visual similarities, there’s a also bit of lore in Breath of the Wild that may support this theory. In a tapestry, we see a hero saving the land from the calamity 10,000 years before the events of BOTW. The hero saving the world looks like the zombie Ganon in the dark and the new “Link.” Once again, this has led some people to think there’s some kind of connection.
Those are the broadest strokes of the theory, but if you want to go in-depth, you can check out this video from Kinda Funny Games that breaks down the theory in full.
Can we play as Zelda in Breath of the Wild 2?
At the beginning of the trailer, we see Princess Zelda falling backwards into a dark pit. Although this might seem like a sign that we won’t get to play as her, some fans are speculating otherwise.
Once again, this theory sort of hinges on the fact that we don’t know with 100 percent certainty that we play as Link, since we don’t see his face. However, from the character’s design — they wear a tunic that covers half their chest — we can assume that the character we see isn’t Zelda. Why? Because she probably is not flying through Hyrule’s skies with one tiddy free.
However, some people are still holding out hope that we can play as her, and that we’ll get to choose who falls into the deep dark pit at some point in the game.
BIGGEST brain BotW 2 theory:— TAHK0 ☕️ (@TAHK0) June 17, 2021
-Both wear adventure outfits
-Zelda falls in the new trailer
-Notice only 1 torch, but Zelda is holding it up to waking Ganondorf despite entering + falling without it
The one with a torch is who you chose to play as and the other falls? pic.twitter.com/QXTBD2mjSK
Do we return to Skyloft?
One of the most obvious connections between the Breath of the Wild sequel and this trailer is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The opening cinematic of Link from the trailer is pretty much the same exact scene of Link falling through the clouds in Skyward Sword. What’s more, the trailer shows floating islands just like in Skyward Sword. The description under the official Nintendo YouTube account literally says, “Return to Hyrule — and the skies above,” which is a pretty clear connection to floating island of Skyloft.
The cinematic parallels and the fact that Nintendo has announced that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is is getting an HD Remaster for the Nintendo Switch, while other Zelda games have not, has led some people to speculate that Link might return to Skyloft in the latest game.
Tears of the Kingdom and Skyward Sword share an ancient relic
Amber Relics are a resource found throughout the Surface in Skyward Sword. In the game, the description of the item tells us that we don’t know where the strange shape comes from, but then in the latest trailer we see a similarly shaped item surround a deity-like figure in a carving, thus further hinting at some sort of connection between the two games.
Is Breath of the Wild 2 connected to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess?
People have also pointed out visual connections between The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the new trailer. For starters, there is a shared color scheme between the portals in Twilight Princess and the shots with Link’s arms in the trailer. Also, people have pointed out that the design of Midna, who accompanies Link in Twilight Princess, looks similar to that of the new stone monster we see in the trailer.
twilight princess breath of the wild 2— sita BOTW 2 ❕ (@twilisita) June 15, 2021
Does Link time travel in the Breath of the Wild sequel?
In the trailer, Link appears to use some sort of time travel power to push a spiked ball back up a hill. In addition to that, connections between Link’s new design, and the hero depicted in the tapestry about the Calamity from 10,000 years before BOTW, have led some people to think that there could be some sort of time travel happening.
Oh, and one possible Easter Egg in the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer...
Like everything else on this list, this tidbit has not been confirmed as either intentional or meaningful. However, one fan believes the music in the latest trailer is a backwards version of the song played during the original Breath of the Wild cutscene about the tapestry depicting the prophecy.
If you play a certain part of the new Zelda BotW 2 trailer backwards, it sounds like the music that plays during the ancient prophesy in the first Breath of the Wild.— TAHK0 ☕️ (@TAHK0) June 16, 2021
I also noticed both sounded similar to the reversed BotW 2 reveal trailer, which still hasn't been solved yet pic.twitter.com/jfufHp6Ii2
Needless to say, there’s still so much we don’t know about the Breath of the Wild sequel. As we get more information, we’ll continue to collect all the biggest theories we see.
Update (Sept. 13): This article was updated to contain additional information and theories based on the trailer revealed during the Nintendo Direct on Sept. 13.
Update (Feb. 23): This article was updated to contain additional information and theories based on the trailer revealed during the Nintendo Direct on Feb. 8.
Update (March 29): This article was updated to to contain additional information and theories based on the trailer revealed during the Nintendo Direct on March 28.