Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will change what we thought we knew about the fall of Hyrule prior to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While the action-prequel won't be out until November 20, a demo released in late October gave an early taste of what we can expect from the story.
The few hours of the demo hint at a new twist that could have a drastic impact on Breath of the Wild 2's story, and possibly even gameplay.
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Is the Zelda franchise turning back to time travel as a major facet of gameplay? That could happen whenever Breath of the Wild 2 is released. By all accounts, sometime in 2021 seems like a firm possibility.
The mysterious egg-shaped Guardian that was seen in promotional material for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is from the future, and they travel back in time to save Zelda after seeing the destruction caused by Calamity Ganon as he was taking over Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda series has flirted with time travel before, and it now seems more likely than ever that the concept of time travel could have a major role to play in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.
Obviously, the egg Guardian traveled back in time to prevent Hyrule's destruction. We know that Calamity Ganon is ultimately triumphant in its fight against Hyrule. That means this Guardian will either fail its mission or that Age of Calamity takes place after Breath of the Wild and will create an alternate timeline where Hyrule won the fight against Ganon. Both open up lots of possibilities for the next Breath of the Wild game.
Even if this egg Guardian ends up failing, we now know that it's possible for Link or Zelda to time travel into the past in order to solve their problems. If Calamity Ganon reemerges in Breath of the Wild 2 or that creature Link and Zelda meet in the game's reveal trailer is entirely new, the key to defeating them could be to travel back in time.
If they don't, not time traveling would become a major plothole in the game's story. It could even serve as a nice callback to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, both of which weaved time travel into their narratives. We know that Breath of the Wild is set long after any other Zelda games, but time travel opens up the possibility for Link to go back in time and stop the bad guy in Breath of the Wild 2 while also more closely tying in the Breath of the Wild games with others in the series.
If Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity creates an alternate reality, then we will be left wondering what's canon and what will carry over from it into the sequel. It even establishes the potential for a dimension-hopping mechanic, though that is very much a stretch based on what we know right now.
Still, if time travel is implemented in Breath of the Wild 2, one has to wonder how Nintendo will incorporate it into gameplay. A Majora's Mask-style clock would make Breath of the Wild's massive open world even more dynamic, especially if Nintendo adds in other new features like an affinity system.
While this is all speculative, the addition of time travel in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is one of the most exciting narrative reveals in the Breath of the Wild saga, and has significant implications for the upcoming sequel.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is in development for Nintendo Switch.