Hyrule Warriors is a spin-off Zelda title which truly gives tribute to its mainline predecessors. Thus far, we’ve explored references to both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, and we now finish off the Hyrule Warriors trinity today with Skyward Sword.
At the point of Hyrule Warriors‘ original release, Skyward Sword was the latest Zelda title and had finally given us a point of origin for this fantastic series. Its presence is abundant in Hyrule Warriors, and we’re about to discover a bunch of great Easter eggs in tribute to the skybound hero and his adventure.
Link’s sword attacks are inspired by his basic moveset from all of the Legend of Zelda, but his special directly references a certain ability only seen in Skyward Sword. Before Link attacks with a great spin attack, he raises his sword and it begins to shimmer down the blade. In Skyward Sword, this is known as the Skyward Strike. Though in its original game it released a shockwave rather than a flurry of spin attacks, the inspiration is clear and the reference is much appreciated.
Impa’s design for this game is a combination of two of the more popular incarnations of this character. Her white hair is a clear reference to Ocarina of Time, but the style of it, her sleek and slender build, and her wardrobe bear a very close reference to that of Skyward Sword’s Impa.
In fact, in the Twilight Princess map, you can even unlock a costume that gives her the same color scheme, making her appearance near identical to that seen in Skyward Sword.
As we learn in Skyward Sword, Ganondorf wasn’t always the big bad of Hyrule. Demise had come before him and inflicted Link and his descendants with a curse, destining the cycle of good and evil to never break. This is why Ganondorf is now in the picture, which is cleverly referenced throughout Hyrule Warriors.
Ganondorf’s level three swords and trident are both named after the original Demon King, respectively known as the Swords of Demise and the Trident of Demise. In addition, on the Twilight Princess map, a costume resembling the fiery-haired villain is included for Ganondorf to wear.
Fi is one of the two characters directly from Skyward Sword to make an appearance in Hyrule Warriors, the other being Ghirahim. Fi is the spirit of the Goddess Sword and is the one to guide Link on his journey to the surface world. All of her leveled weapons are replicas of the first three forms of the Goddess Blade in the process of it becoming (spoiler alert, I guess?) the Master Sword.
Many of her moves also reference moments from her game of origin. Many of her attacks are based around graceful dancing, which refers to her elegant performances when she delivers messages from the Goddess to Link after completing a dungeon. Other attacks in her moveset have her summon the crest of Hylia, a Trial Gate, and the three Sacred Flames. Even her Focus Spirit special attack has her create a seal similar to that used to capture the Imprisoned.
Fi throughout Skyward Sword refers to Link as “Master”, and that still remains true for Hyrule Warriors as well as updating the player with statistics and analysis. One thing I find particularly adorable is in a cutscene where Hyrule Warrior’s iteration of Link meets Fi for the first time. Near the end of the scene, Fi moves in incredibly close to Link’s face, a small nod to her mannerisms in-game (though slightly exaggerated) and is comically met by this incarnation of Link getting a little flustered by this unfamiliar act.
Ghirahim comes in as the lead villain from Skyward Sword and a subordinate to Ganondorf in Hyrule Warriors. Many of his moves are callbacks to his boss battles in Skyward Sword. The way he snaps his fingers, summoning blades towards his foes, is utilized in his first two boss battles especially (though luckily you don’t have to worry about swinging the Wii Remote in the right direction to counter them in this game).
Many of his other attacks also make use of his ability to manipulate magical energy in diamond-shaped patterns as well, mostly seen in the final clash between him and Link. Another detail from that battle is also included in Hyrule Warriors — Ghirahim’s true form. Although we all know him for his fancy hair and fabulous cape, when the tough gets going, Ghirahim transforms into his sleek, monochromatic form and unleashes his wrath. He also tends to utilize the sword he is bound to in battle from time to time.
Though his true form is only available in Focus Spirit mode, one of his alternate costumes found in the Twilight Princess pack also includes him without a cape and his arms with corrupted black markings as seen in his and Link’s second duel.
Ghirahim’s flamboyant mannerisms are very well present in his entrance and victory animations before he catches you off guard with that long tongue of his — I don’t even have to tell you which scene this is a reference to, you know it still haunts you in your dreams.
Bosses and enemies
The Bokoblins are the fodder enemy chosen to represent Skyward Sword in Hyrule Warriors, with bigger, helmed Bokoblins as their captains. The design of the Moblins were also taken from this game as well, both with and without their shields. I get horrid flashbacks to my many lost battles whenever I see these pink monstrosities wander onto the field.
Then there is the biggest and most painful memory trigger of all, the boss brought in from Skyward Sword: the Imprisoned. Why would they think this is a good idea? Well, personal complaints aside, it is a very fitting reference and maintains faithfulness to its parent game. To defeat this beast, you must attack its toes to bring it down and attack it head on. Once its health gets down to low numbers, the Imprisoned’s colossal footsteps are then amplified by shockwaves, making it even harder to down the monster. Again, great attention to detail, but still I ask, why?! Well, at least it doesn’t grow arms and fly.
Like the other two representative titles, two stages from Skyward Sword were also included in Hyrule Warriors. These are Skyloft and the Sealed Grounds. Skyloft acts as the main hub in its game of origin, as well as the hometown of our heroes. Many details can be found in the Hyrule Warriors iteration of this location, including the Knight’s Academy, the Goddess Statue, and sanctuary, and if you look off into the sky you can find Fun Fun Island!
Another nice little nod to the game is found in the story mode on this stage. You can summon Levias, the great guardian of the skies, to aid you in your quest. You even lure him out in the same way as in Skyward Sword, with a large bowl of his favorite pumpkin soup!
Then there are the Sealed Grounds — and those traumatizing memories are resurfaced once more. To give the developers credit, that just means they did that great of a job replicating the area — even down to the spiral incline towards the middle of the field. The top portion of the map contains the Sealed Temple and within that the Gate of Time. Search around in some of the keeps and you also might happen upon a certain Groosenator.
Seeing as Skyward Sword is the beginning of the Zelda timeline, it’s only fitting that it earned a spot in Hyrule Warriors, and to see it so well represented is beyond thrilling. I think this was a good way to end off my little trilogy for now, but there are still so many easter eggs hidden away in Hyrule Warriors that perhaps we’ll visit again someday!
If there’s a reference I left out (because I know I definitely did), kindly let me know what your favorite Skyward Sword reference in Hyrule Warriors is!