If the dark aesthetic of the 2019 teaser made fans expect Breath of the Wild 2 to be visually dark, the new gameplay made for a complete 180.
When the teaser trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 surprised fans at Nintendo’s 2019 E3 presentation, theories naturally exploded. Among the most prominent was that, in terms of the Zelda canon, the game would harken back to Twilight Princess. This belief wasn’t only from a lore perspective, although the Ganondorf-like mummified figure certainly backed that up, too; the teaser’s dark caves implied it would also call back to Twilight Princess’ dark aesthetic. BOTW 2’s E3 2021 trailer revealed otherwise.
The initial teaser was swathed in darkness – Link and Zelda wave around torches, illuminating cave paintings on walls. The first 20 seconds of the E3 2021 Breath of the Wild sequel trailer hold true to this. Then, all of a sudden, it dramatically introduces a burst of light, and Link (probably) is seen falling in an open expanse of sunny skies. The trailer plainly shows Breath of the Wild 2 won’t be swathed in darkness, akin to Twilight Princess; instead, it will be bathed in bright, open skies, akin to Skyward Sword.
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Breath of the Wild is, of course, a bright and vibrant game as well. But with the upcoming release of its remaster, the gameplay trailer readily brings Skyward Sword associations to mind, showing new floating areas, skydiving, and plenty of warmly colored, pillowy clouds. There are also hints BOTW 2 might incorporate Skyward Sword lore. None of this means the sequel will ditch those Twilight Princess comparisons, either from an aesthetic or lore point of view. Those creepy, dark caves are still in the game, after all. But it generally looks much more bright than initially teased.
Twilight Princess features the Twilight Realm, which is bathed in an abyss of “twilight” – darkness given form. This means darkness plays a key role in the game and its story. By contrast, Skyward Sword takes players between a vibrant surface world and Skyloft, a city in the clouds and pretty much as bright as it gets. Twilight Princess is almost certainly the visually darkest game in the franchise, and Skyward Sword may well be the brightest.
The contrast between the two Zelda games whose lore appears to influence Breath of the Wild 2 could play with some interesting gameplay and narrative juxtapositions. A game in which light and dark – not to mention open skies and cramped caverns – both appear could make for a fascinating Zelda experience.
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