Breath of the Wild 2 is bringing back a big villain. Or at least, that’s what the sequel's one and only trailer indicates. The short teaser released during E3 2019 offers a glimpse at what appears to be a sort of mummified and dehydrated Ganondorf, the ubiquitous Zelda villain. Imagine The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Ganondorf, but he’s beef jerky.
That’s all well and good. Ganondorf is a beloved villain and few fans will complain about taking him down yet again. Though after we plunge the Master Sword into his dry little head one last time, Nintendo should retire the old man and his beastly counterpart Ganon to let someone else terrorize Hyrule for the next few decades.
Here’s a quick refresher on the big bad to hydrate your brain: Ganondorf was a Gerudo who’s hell-bent on conquering Hyrule. In Zelda lore, only one male Gerudo is born every century. That means that Ganondorf is considered a king of the Gerudo, allowing him to leverage his political position to manipulate Hyrule’s king. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker even fleshes his motivations out further, explaining that he’s angry that his people have to live in such harsh conditions while Hylians live the high life.
He’s also a giant pig.
This is where all the Ganon and Ganondorf lore start to get complicated. Because Nintendo keeps recycling the character, it has to continually find new ways to remodel him in a way that fits into various parts of the timeline. Sometimes he’s a misguided man waging a class war. Sometimes he’s a gigantic primeval monster. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword tries its best to retcon some intention to all the character jumps, revealing that Ganon is actually the manifestation of the villain Demise’s hatred. Just as there’s always a Hero of Time, there’s always a Ganon destined to attack Hyrule.
If that sounds complicated, that’s barely scratching the surface. Even with a flowchart, it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep track of all of Ganon’s different forms as Nintendo keeps dragging the villain out of the shadow realm for another battle. While the reincarnation story provides a handy retcon for his continued existence, all of his more intriguing motivations are starting to fall to the wayside in a sea of vague villainy.
The man deserves a break. Not only that, but other Zelda villains deserve some shine too. Despite Ganon being the ultimate big bad, the franchise is filled with fascinating baddies. There’s Twilight Princess’ eclectic Zant, a powerful sorcerer, and a total creep. Then you’ve got Vaati, a recurring wind mage in some of Zelda’s handheld adventures who’s a perfect foil for Link. Even the Hyrule Warriors spin-off games have been throwing some fascinating new names into the mix lately.
The franchise is rich with lore that extends far beyond the eternal battle between Link and Ganon, and some of its best stories step out of that structure. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is one of Link’s most memorable adventures and the persistent pig is nowhere to be found in it. Instead, it invented Majora, an evil entity trapped in a mask that possesses the mischievous Skull Kid. It was a narrative left hook, but one that paid off.
Nintendo is wildly creative when it comes to the Zelda franchise. Each game is loaded with memorable characters and deep worldbuilding that makes each return to Hyrule feel fresh. That’s why taking the spotlight away from Ganon feels like it’ll become a necessity sooner rather than later. It’s important to keep that spirit alive and deliver genuinely surprising experiences that take the series in bold directions.
So if dehydrated Ganondorf is indeed the big bad of Breath of the Wild 2, let this be Link’s last tango with the weirdly dry guy for a while. Let’s learn more about some of Hyrule’s other powerful sorcerers and monsters or meet some entirely new ones.
If nothing else, it’d be a good excuse to get new Super Smash Bros. characters, right?
The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently in development.