Ever since we first laid eyes on the old man in Breath of the Wild, there has been speculation as to his importance and whether or not he is in fact a returning character from past Zelda games from the past. In a recent Q&A that Nintendo France held with Aonuma, he received a question concerning the old man.
In this interview, Aonuma was asked if the old man was the same character who gave Link his sword in the first Zelda game. Aonuma’s response is an illuminating one. He states that because Breath of the Wild takes so much inspiration from the first game, he is often asked if those two characters are one and the same, or if the old man is merely a reference. Aonuma confirms that they are different characters and that he “plays an extremely important role in the story, as he’s the one that influences Link’s destiny.” Aonuma even wrote the character’s dialogue lines himself because of his importance.
If the old man didn’t pique your curiosity before, I’m sure he does now!