Breath of the Wild’s launch date trailer: Our definitive, frame-by-frame analysis
by on January 13, 2017

In case you were busy, went to bed early, or have just been living under a rock for the past few months, yesterday was Nintendo’s official Nintendo Switch console reveal announcement. While you’re probably just as excited about the Switch as you are about Breath of the Wild, what really had me going nuts was the Breath of the Wild trailer that they dropped at the very conclusion of their press conference. And if you’re like me, you’ve been scouring this trailer for little details here and there to see if there’s any secrets tucked away in the corners. And indeed, if you look closely enough, you’ll find that there are secrets to be found, and plenty of juicy ones at that.

Continue reading for our frame-by-frame analysis of the visuals and the voiceovers you’ll find in the Breath of the Wild launch date reveal trailer.

The first minute sets the scene

00:00-00:14 – The camera pans over the ocean shore, giving us a good visual of sandbars, palm trees, and crystal blue water. There are a few things to be seen; there’s Death Mountain off in the far distance, just over the peaks of the mountains. It’s also apparent that there’s something in the middle of the sea; it doesn’t look like an island. It has that bright, vivid, red coloration from the shrines that we’ve seen about the Great Plateau, so it looks like Link will have to get himself wet to make it over there. Clearly, the world map doesn’t stop at the shoreline.

Nintendo's attention to detail is simply stunning.

Nintendo’s attention to detail is simply stunning.

00:15-00:18 – We have a different shot of presumably the same area. Birds are circling over a landmass. Of particular note here is the waterfall emerging from the crack in the wall and the great attention to detail in making the ocean water a much different hue than the small lagoon separated from it.

00:19-00:21 – This next piece of scenery is a much different view, though it might be a nearby area given that it still carries the motifs of waterfalls and tropical palms. However, clearly we’re getting into the steppes of the mountains given the quick rise in elevation. It’s clearly traveling away from the ocean.

00:22-00:24 – Finally we’re away from the coastal palms and into the desert. Far off into the distance in the mountaintops, one can see one of the various towers scattered throughout the game. There’s certainly a focus on animals and their natural characteristics in this game. Were this not the desert, I’d say it were a seal sunbathing in the hot sun before righting itself by turning its body. There are a few interesting landmarks here; there’s a small Stonehenge-like formation off to the left and a desert oasis town off to the right; this town will be seen more closely at timecode 02:05. Also of note is that there’s a massive sandstorm on the left; either this is one of the various weather formations that can cross Hyrule or it’s the literal edge of the map. We haven’t discovered what locks Link within the game area yet, whether it’s simply mountains far too tall to climb of what. However, my guess is that it’s just weather.

00:25-00:29 – We’re now deep within the tundra, showing the vast climate differences in Hyrule. An arctic fox lounges in the snow in the foreground, just chilling about. There’s not much to see here, however, other than that massive mountain off to the right.

00:30-00:33 – And now we’re back to the lush forest that runs between the valleys between hills and mountains. Again, Death Mountain is off to the left. There’s some sort of sculpture just right of center. You can see a lit torch near it, suggesting that this may be some manmade placement, or perhaps it’s just a Bokoblin camp. In the upper-right corner you can see the various plateaus full of palm trees that were shown around the 20-second mark, suggesting this may not be far from there.

00:34-00:38 – We fade into what I’m going to call the Lost Woods, for lack of an official name. Several Koroks float in the air amongst the trees with a few more sitting upon tree roots on the ground.

00:39-00:50 – And finally we come to the Master Sword. This is a stunning recreation of one of the images from A Link to the Past, one in fact that is being given away in our final 30th anniversary celebration. Koroks can be found here as well, suggesting that, yes, this is connected with the forest preceding it another scene that’s yet to come. There’s a giant tree as well here, and this will become very significant later, though you can probably guess what it signifies.

00:51-01:06 – We get a huge sweeping view of the overworld of Hyrule here in all its glory. Wild horses roam off to the left, though they might not be wild; if you look to the right, just above the odd oval-shaped rock stuck in the ground, you’ll find another shape that’s moving. This looks like someone riding a horse (or at least some creature is transiting someone or something). There’s also another animal nearby, so it could be a farmer or just a guard tending the aforementioned herd. Obviously Hyrule Castle is center stage here, though somewhere between Link and the castle is a smaller tower; it can’t be one of the observation towers as it’s much too small, but it’s certainly another landmark across the plain. To the far right is another of the towers; one can also be seen towards the far left of the screen as well. And then off to the left, high in the sky, is the floating city that we’ve seen in previous trailers. We can also see a small canyon of sorts where there are giant arcs of rock or bone sticking up out of the ground as some sort of natural archway. It’s hard to say what these are made of, but it’s probably going to house something in it later.

A world of beauty, but a world under threat

Hopefully you don't have a fear of heights when playing this game!

Hopefully you don’t have a fear of heights when playing this game!

01:07-01:14 – The trailer gets a little more difficult to dissect here as it starts going into rapid-fire montage mode. In the second scene, Link is clearly running out of stamina climbing that steep rock given the sweat coming off his head. One has to wonder just how tall a mountain he could conceivably climb without falling or if there are any stopping points midway up. However, we also see Link running up a long and very steep (and what should be very unstable!) wooden bridge; he’s already incredibly high compared to the lowlands, and he’s clearly going up. There’s also a spiral sort of lake just above the plateau Link is running away from.

01:15 – Then, as Link rides a horse slowly about, this is where we finally get our first voice overs. While we never see the person talking, the voice is a good candidate for a prospective Impa or otherwise elderly woman. By the end of this, we may yet be able to determine a timeline placement, but already this seems to be one of the lynchpins in figuring it out. Ganon, although taking a different form in this game – though it seems he takes a different form in many games – is said to be something that has long been a part of Hyrule. This must be that we are looking at a game that’s far, far afield from Ocarina of Time, which tells the origin story for our favorite villain. I’d argue that somewhere towards the end of any one of the timeline branches is possible.

“The history of the Royal Family of Hyrule is also the history of the Calamity Ganon, a primal evil that has endured over the ages.”

01:15-01:27 – We get a very quick shot of what looks to be the Temple of Time on the Great Plateau. One can see carvings of the goddesses(?) that appear to have an artistic style more akin to Wind Waker or Spirit Tracks; however the phoenix wings are much less in that abstract style and make the architecture otherwise difficult to guess. This is followed by more broken Guardians, though this is nothing we haven’t seen before. The ruins by the side of the lake, however, are mostly new. Finally, the quote ends with a shot of tall, red mountains. These were actually seen earlier in the trailer but didn’t seen significant other than amazingly beautiful landscape.

01:28-01:32 – This is clearly a shot of the Great Plateau, and thus the tower here is the Tower of Resurrection. We can tell this by the telltale ruins of the wall that ring the area as well as Hyrule Castle falling off the left edge of the screen and Death Mountain off in the distance. The geography from the E3 demo seems to match. We can also see one of the shrines (the first one shown from the E3 demo) beneath it. Otherwise, this is a very familiar stretch of land for us. This continues with a rumbling, and animals—both bird and beast—take notice, again showing off the animal behaviors in the wild.

01:33-01:44 – Finally, we get to action. Scanning frame by frame, we can see this gargantuan structure trapped beneath large rocks. This happens to be the Resurrection Tower on the Great Plateau, erupting from the ground to bring Link to his skyward view. Activating and raising this agitates the dickens out of the Calamity Ganon, who until now has been a misty ether at the base of Hyrule Castle, trapped within the confines of those obelisks. As has been noted before, there’s a bright light coming from the castle’s center, and this could also be what’s keeping Ganon at bay. Interestingly enough, a similarly colored light comes from his eyes, but I think this might be coincidence. As we pull back, there’s another dusty wind off to the left, which means the earlier desert atmospherics must just be weather.

01:45-01:46 – This scene is likely taking place within the great ring binding the Calamity Ganon. It seems to be the only area completely covered with the pinkish-reds and black swirls that we associate with the Calamity. It’s taking place at a large skull very reminiscent of a Bokoblin camp on the Great Plateau. The way these monsters are reacting, it seems like they might have been summoned, created, or resurrected into being. It also could be the reanimation similar to the scene in Wind Waker’s Hyrule Castle after you take the Master Sword. Oddly enough, there’s one creature on the right side of the screen who is actually frozen in the air, devoid of animation, for about 16 frames before finally acting and eventually landing.

01:47-01:49 – Again we’re back to fast-paced action. The first scene is of a Guardian facing off against Link; this one can clearly move and, similar to its E3 brethren, deadly accurate with a laser. However, this one doesn’t appear to be roaming the fields like most but is instead inside of a cavern. This is followed by a rather large stone beast who hurls what appears to be a part of itself at Link, the rock exploding when it impacts the ground; it seems reminiscent of the rather deadly boss-like creature that could be found on the Great Plateau within the woods that decimated most players who tried to stand their ground against it. Thanks to Link’s advanced maneuverability, he manages to dodge the attack.

And then, back in the tundra, we find one of the coolest scenes I’ve seen, something that took me completely by surprise. Link is standing on his shield doing some snowboarding across the snow, but, instead of grinding the slopes, he’s being pulled on a drag line by a walrus. Link isn’t just taming horses in this game; he’s getting all the animals to help him! Of course, he’s doing all this as some crazy large Lanmola-like creature emerges from the ground, trying to snap at Link before taking off into the air.

Lanmola or no, this looks like it'll be lots of fun!

Lanmola or no, this looks like it’ll be lots of fun!

We see a scene where Link uses the Cryonis rune to cross a lake. The landmass ahead is interesting enough; it certainly doesn’t look completely natural, almost like it’s the petrified skull of some ancient creature. However, what interests me is just to the right. There’s this blackened patch of land that’s oozing with a dangerous looking pinkish-red substance. One possibility is that this is a lava flow, but I would expect that, rather, to be spewing steam from where the water meets it. Instead, it’s likely the edge of Calamity Ganon’s turf, the outskirts of where he’s trapped within Hyrule Castle.

Link looks rather sweet decked out in his armor.

Link looks rather sweet decked out in his armor.

01:50-01:53 – In the next combat scene, Link is holding up a shield as he’s going up against a creature with a stream of fire. Link seems to be extremely well decked out in these circumstances. He’s wielding boots that appear to be very sturdy and possibly metallic, and Link also seems to have some sort of armor on. Also, apparently that shield can withstand fire.

Link then goes toe to toe against some sort of troll-like creature; I’d say it were a Moblin except it looks nothing like a Moblin. However, very similar to the Wind Waker style of Moblin, it is wearing those tribal-style necklaces, which is why that motif sticks with me. At any rate, five dollars says that big purple eye is its weak point.

However, it’s the next enemy that really intrigues me. Having a look at a particular frame, this red-armored aggressor is wearing a mask donning the Sheikah eye, possibly something akin to the Mask of Truth. However, there are also tusks on it, so perhaps it’s an enemy in disguise, or perhaps the mask then is a trophy some baddie took from a former Sheikah? Or perhaps it’s just yet another case of technology getting corrupted and going crazy. Funnily enough, Link blocks this attacker’s sword strike, but Link’s shield hits the guy’s elbow instead of the sword; the game still counts it as a valid block though!

You can see how Link clearly missed the red barrels. More importantly, though, is what did they shoot at Link!?

You can see how Link clearly missed the red barrels. More importantly, though, is what did they shoot at Link!?

01:54-01:56 – The next scene shows is, once again, Link bowling over the crowd by using Magnesis to knock several Bokoblins off their feet. And then finally, the last fighting scene here is Link facing off with a ragtag gaggle of enemies with his bow. The arrow he wields must be explosive since the arrow on its own doesn’t hit the red barrels; however, the chain reaction does. The enemies are firing some sort of spray attack back at Link… or perhaps it’s a gust of air. Link doesn’t get hit, and otherwise we don’t have context for what it is specifically.

01:57-02:02 – Link is finding another shrine, using his Sheikah Slate to open it. It’s nothing brand new or exciting; we’ve seen shrines before. This cuts back to Ganon, though of course these two scenes are likely completely unrelated, meaning that this scene is probably a continuation of the Calamity Ganon cutscene that was at 01:36.

It’s dangerous to go alone, so take some allies

02:03-02:10 – After Ganon, the trailer shifts focus, even though the musical theme is still very intense. Link jumps off of one of the larger peaks in the game; it’s hard to tell where exactly this is as the sun is blocking most of the sun’s light. However, now we start getting into the towns. The first town is the exact same one as shown in the “Life in the Ruins” trailer that came out late last year. I can make out about six distinct people, all clustered near the same area of the screen, meaning there must be more milling about somewhere. Windmills dot the landscape, and I would bet that the building on the right is a shop of some sort given the yellow, green, blue, and pink bottles(?) out in the front of it.

This is followed by the desert town which was shown very early in this trailer in the desert; this desert town is an oasis given the rich streams of water flowing from that central goblet-like structure. This is followed by something that isn’t a town but rather a desolate stretch up a gray mountainside with dead trees lining the path. Next, we see another corrupted Guardian patrolling some ruinous fountain or city square; all the while, that pink and black ooze is found everywhere, and this may be what Link saw when crossing the lake using Cryonis earlier; perhaps that is super close to the Calamity Ganon’s lair. Lastly, Link is sailing on a raft somewhere in the middle of a great river. It should be noted that this is a different spot than the one we saw in the E3 demo on the Great Plateau. Can I just say how wide that river is?

02:11-02:23 – The trailer takes another shift towards characters. The camera never pans all the way up to see it properly, but there’s movement on that tree, and we’re not just talking about the Koroks that are right in front of it. This must be the Great Deku Tree, still alive after all this time. As for why we see Koroks and not Kokiri, however, that remains yet to be seen. The timeline references in this game are still rather hodgepodge from all the timelines. After all, if you look closely, Link is actually standing right before the Master Sword, and that means that the Sword is literally at the base of the Great Deku Tree, something that’s largely true in the Declined Hero or Child Timelines but not necessarily the Adult Timeline. At any rate, this is the precise tree we saw earlier at the 40-second mark.

We then get two spoken lines, but while the voices have similarity, I believe them to be separate characters just because there’s enough difference between their delivery. “That look on your face tells me that you have no recollection of me, however,” sounds like it might be spoken by the Great Deku Tree given its weighty, earthy intonation. However, the second line sounds possibly like the Old Man’s or possibly Zelda’s father. That person says, “I think you are now ready, ready to hear what happened 100 years ago.” Whoever it is, that person has certainly been around for a while and would know what’s going on, so that ought to limit it down to just a few characters, right? At any rate, there is another similar voice to this that occurs at 03:10, though it’s incredibly difficult to know if this voice and that voice are similar. It’s possible but inconclusive.

“That look on your face tells me that you have no recollection of me, however.”

“That look on your face tells me that you have no recollection of me, however.”

02:24-02:52 – There are several separate scenes interspersed here, cut between one another. Largely those scenes are our first look at Breath of the Wild’s rendition of Zelda. But before getting to Zelda herself, let’s address the one-off scenes first.

There are two extremely large boss-like monsters shown here: the spider-like Guardian variant with fiery legs that roars loudly at 02:24 as it climbs over the mountain as well as the large Shadow of the Colossus quadruped enemy at 02:30; again, I bet the legs have something to do with the weak point as purple as they are. A shrine is unearthed from the ground at 02:33. Just before this we see some spinning sort of “dungeon” at 02:27; this is likely to be one of the many shrines in the game given the constellations on the wall and its similar mechanics to one of the earlier shrines. Also I can’t imagine Nintendo revealing one of the proper dungeons in this format given how notably few they are in number.

Later, at Zelda’s voice over, we see an entire, very large (for Zelda’s scale) village being overrun by Guardians setting fire to everything; this is likely a flashback (or an extremely epic and scary scene if not!), probably showing the downfall of Hyrule Castle Town. One last scene in this section is that we see Link standing with an ally who will be discussed later when we actually see her face; the epic part, other than the large mechanical structure up ahead, is that the girl on the right rides something akin to a sabre-toothed tiger.

Alright, so we can now piece together the scenes involving Zelda, hopefully trying to reorder them in a way that makes sense. These tidbits are obviously from two different scenes given Zelda’s change of costume, and the sensible order is that the ones where Zelda is wearing the white dress take place before the ones where Zelda is dressed in the Sheikah blue that Link also wears. Later scenes in the trailer seem to confirm this as Link almost certainly meets Zelda when dressed in white.

As a result, the scenes most sensibly can be ordered in the following fashion: First, Link must have rescued Zelda from some sort of perilous trap or prison; this is most likely when Link spots Zelda wearing her pristine white gown (02:26). Link busts her out, but something must clearly go sour at some point during their escape. The two of them have to run for their lives away from… something, and somehow as they’re fleeing Link loses hold of Zelda’s hand (02:36). He looks back momentarily towards here (02:29) before presumably reaching back to grab her. They must eventually get away, and that’s when Zelda’s voice over line probably kicks in as it seems that her line and the scene with her crying are a natural fit together (02:49). Being that Zelda got muddied and into a good scrape while they were on the run, she probably uses that moment to go bathing in the pool (02:28), but those white clothes probably aren’t going to get their stains out that way. So the wild guess is that she must find some Sheikah blues, which means that the leftover scenes can more or less happen in any order (02:32, 02:37, 02:42, and 02:44).

“Everything I’ve done up until now, it was all for nothing!”

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer.mp4_snapshot_02.53_[2017.01.13_23.35.32]02:53-02:54 – We’re back into combat for a quick moment, first with a battle on some horse; Link, while obviously armed, doesn’t appear to have a weapon active in his hand, though surely it’ll be possible to fight while horsed. However, what’s amazing is that the Bokoblin is both mounted and armed, swinging its sword around wildly. (How cool!) We cut to a Stalfos that looks straight like the design of them from The Wind Waker. That Stalfos unfortunately doesn’t get a chance to show us its moves as Link wields an ice arrow and lets loose, freezing it entirely.

02:55-02:59 – It’s now when we start seeing the list of allies that will start to help Link during his quest. The first is a Goron, presumably a tribal chieftain akin to Darunia given the badge atop the chain he’s wearing across his chest. “Here it comes!” he yells as he slams his hands together in a battlecry; clearly he must be aiding and abetting Link in some sort of fight!

Link is then seen hang-gliding across the landscape through a canyon that has the statue of a large woman carved into it. Could that be the Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time? Immediately after that we get the “pleasure” of seeing a Great Fairy, who this time around seems rather less creepy than the norm. I’m not personally all that well-versed in the ways of fashion, but I’m getting either a circus performer or some French Renaissance vibe from her costume. However, the inclusion of the Great Fairies is rather interesting. Even though there aren’t hearts scattered through the grass, presumably these might still heal you and refill your life meter without necessarily having to eat. But that also begs the question of whether they do more for you than just that; after all, the Great Fairies of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask gave you upgrades and items. Link’s then riding on the shoreline, and this brings us back full circle to beginning of the trailer on the ocean shore, where this likely is.

03:00-03:06 – And now we see the face of the girl that Link was standing beside in the desert. Browned skin, red hair, and wearing a desert garb? Could it be that the Gerudo are finally back? Finally! It’s been forever! She’s holding some golden circle with thunderbolts on it; I have to wonder if she’s going to help you specifically find one of the very few dungeons within this game with that magical(?) artifact.

We’re then treated to a several glimpses of the Zora; they’ve largely changed color this game, now preferring red to their traditional blues. This one at 03:01 must be important given the shoulder feathers and the white little sash he’s wearing on his torso. After a brief look at another clockwork area, quite possibly the same shrine as we saw earlier, we’re given look at a female Zora this time, and she also has regalia—necklaces, a brooch, and something akin to a headdress that might make her a princess of the race. Something is glowing just offscreen, and you can bet that’s an important thing you have to obtain! Finally, it looks like the Rito are back as well as one flies off while laughing, and it’s dressed in the familiar blues with a bow on its back as well. Clearly another ally.

03:07-03:13 – And then it all comes back to Zelda. Zelda is lighting up some magical spell, screaming “No!” just as a Guardian is on the prowl not far away with its laser sight aimed directly at Link. (There’s actually a single-frame graphical glitch where you can see the laser beam pass straight through him!). Zelda looks back at Hyrule Castle, though this seems to be before it is ruined and swarming with the Calamity Ganon, so one can only guess that this is a cutscene as well. A voice over kicks in; “You must save her, my daughter.” Clearly the king is alive, though again this could very well have been a directive to Link within this cutscene; after all, Link awakens in the Chamber of Resurrection, possibly coming back to life after 100 years. The trailer closes with Link, muddied, bending down to pick up Zelda, which is perhaps one of the missing sections of the continuous scenes with Zelda before.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer.mp4_snapshot_03.06_[2017.01.13_23.37.55]

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer.mp4_snapshot_03.23_[2017.01.13_23.41.15]03:21-03:24 – The trailer closes with Zelda, muddied after her long run with Link earlier, comes before the Great Deku Tree, presumably to visit the Master Sword. Perhaps this is one of the many parts in restoring the rusted Master Sword from the Breath of the Wild logo to its pristine state as seen around the 40-second mark.

03:30-03:33 – “Open your eyes.” This is obvious, but this is the opening of the game, bringing us all the way back to where the game begins.

So, what do you think? Did we find all the secrets? Can you spot something we’ve missed? Or do you simply think we’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion? If you find something, give us a shout! There’s only seven weeks until Breath of the Wild is out, so thankfully we won’t have to wait too long. At least this should help tide us over until launch!

David Johnson
David Johnson, a.k.a. "The Missing Link," was once the webmaster of both Zelda: The Grand Adventures and ZeldaBlog. He works as a software engineer in the games industry. David also pontificates about Zelda, writes features and guides for ZU, and obsesses about CD-i.