The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 has been Nintendo’s most closely guarded secret since the game was revealed during E3 2019. Countless alleged leaks and fan theories have speculated what kind of adventure Link and Zelda might embark on next, but one Redditor has laid out a compelling theory that the Breath of the Wild sequel involves a mysterious hidden area from the original.
The Arbiter’s Grounds is an unassuming, barren ruin found deep within the Gerudo Desert in Breath of the Wild, which is in the bottom left corner of the game's map. The area is infested with Lizalfos and the gargantuan Molduga that swims under the surface of the sand. On Sunday, Reddit user u/TheSadisticLemon introduced their theory that something much more diabolical might be lurking underneath the Arbiter’s Grounds: Ganondorf.
“In BotW, the Arbiter's Grounds are buried under a whole lot of sand in the Gerudo Desert,” they wrote. “What if Link and Zelda made their way into the ruins and found Ganondorf imprisoned there like he was in Twilight Princess? It would make sense considering that the Arbiter's Grounds were a prison for the deadliest villains and Ganondorf was previously kept there.”
Nintendo hasn’t offered enough information for the Arbiter's Grounds to prove or disprove this theory outright, but there are some details from BotW and Twilight Princess (2006) that imply this theory is definitely possible.
The Arbiter’s Grounds were also the fourth dungeon in Twilight Princess. The defunct prison is where Hyrule’s most evil criminals were banished to the Underworld with the Mirror of Twilight. Ganondorf was sentenced to death at the Arbiter's Grounds by the Ancient Sages in Twilight Princess, but he managed to survive and was banished to the Twilight Realm instead.
BotW takes place many years after Twilight Princess, according to Nintendo’s exhaustive (and exhausting) Zelda timeline. That means the already-decrepit prison could have been further consumed by the Gerudo Desert over time, transforming it over time into the almost unexplorable ruin that gamers see in BotW.
Nintendo may have teased outright in the Breath of the Wild 2 teaser that Link and Zelda will enter the Arbiter’s Grounds in the upcoming sequel.
The crypt that the BotW 2 announcement trailer takes place in is full of jagged rocks and seems like it could be an arid Egyptian-style temple found in some desert. There is a moment where Zelda and Link’s bison-oxen companion is sipping water out of a stream, which could indicate that the trailer takes place somewhere else, but the writing on the wall says otherwise.
The trailer is full of Gerudo hieroglyphics eerily similar to those seen in the Twilight Princess version of the Arbiter’s Grounds. Plus, the appearance of Ganondorf’s reanimated but mummified corpse is another big hint that BotW 2’s plot could be centered on the Gerudo’s ancestral home.
Was Breath of the Wild hiding a teaser for its sequel in plain sight this entire time, and we just didn't notice?
Breath of the Wild 2 has no confirmed release date yet.