I Hope Breath of the Wild 2 Is Just Like Majora’s Mask
It’s unusual that we see a numbered sequel to a Zelda game. While it shared the same world, engine, and general selection of mechanics, even Majora’s Mask isn’t considered a traditional follow-up to Ocarina of Time. Knowing this, Nintendo is stepping onto rarely ventured ground with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. It is telling us that this story isn’t finished, and that this iteration of Link, Zelda, and Hyrule still has new stories to tell. I’m all for this trajectory, but part of me hopes it takes some inspiration from the series’ strangest chapter.
Majora’s Mask is far from my favourite Zelda. In fact, it probably ranks near the bottom of my list. While I adore its apocalyptic atmosphere and unusual subversion of typical tropes, it is evidently an experience that was developed in a short space of time, using Ocarina of Time’s base to create an expansion that is oftentimes inconsistent. However, these circumstances are partly why it feels so wonderfully unique. Majora’s Mask is weird, a game so strange that playing it today has me questioning exactly what Nintendo was thinking.
Ocarina of Time was praised as one of the best games ever made upon its release, so to follow it up with something so bizarre and polarising was a power move of epic proportions. Breath of the Wild 2 already has similar hallmarks, with the reveal trailer teasing a much darker, more ominous tone compared to the original. Calamity Ganon has been vanquished, yet it appears a more sinister evil has emerged in its wake. Whatever that is remains unclear, but it establishes a deep, sombre foundation for Nintendo to explore.
I hope it seriously leans into this, morphing the land of Hyrule I grew familiar with over hundreds of hours into something unrecognisable. The land has presumably returned to normal with Princess Zelda resuming her rule, so towns and cities should be bustling with life in a way we haven’t seen before. Castle Town should be rebuilt, which will make its second downfall at the hands of this new evil all the more impactful.
Imagine Majora’s Mask but with additional development resources and time, twisting the wholesome picture that Breath of the Wild painted and changing it into something melancholic and macabre. Even if it’s a daunting place to explore, there will still be moments of hope scattered throughout, with Link and Zelda once again fighting to rescue their home and those who mean the most to them.
Imagine the procedural moments of discovery in Breath of the Wild but from a harrowing prospect. Link might stumble upon people struggling to survive amidst a horde of monsters instead of two oblivious lovers vibing by a pond, and this could lead to distinct moments of narrative uncovered by the player.
Majora’s Mask was so compelling because it took a world and characters we initially found comfort in and contorted them, transforming them into something horrific. As the end of the world approached, we watched familiar faces prepare for death, watching as the grinning moon dawned upon them with nowhere to go. Link saw this destruction unfold, powerless to stop it until the flow of time began to make sense to us. Once it did, this terrifying world became more manageable, more willing to co-operate despite its alien appearance.
Despite my misgivings with Majora’s Mask, I admire everything it does. To this day, there hasn’t been a Zelda game like it, so perhaps Breath of the Wild 2 could glimpse into the past and take a few notes of inspiration. I don’t want the upcoming sequel to be awash with misery – far from it – but I want this newfound evil to mean business, and for the triumphs our heroes accomplish to feel earned. Link is seemingly branded with a curse of sorts in the trailer, so part of me hopes that the big switcheroo will be Zelda as the playable protagonist, or perhaps a dual role split across the iconic duo.
This shift in perspective would be more than enough for Nintendo to implement wider changes across the experience. Zelda is an outspoken heroine, as opposed to the oblivious, mute himbo that is Link, so her perspective on the world will be fundamentally different. She will recoil in horror at her home once again falling to evil, but will be equally as determined to step forward and put things right. If this curse – or whatever it ends up being – also puts Link in danger, she will have a loved one to fight for, too.
I recently wrote about Breath of the Wild having the best ending in Zelda history, and I stand by that, but it also means that whatever comes in the sequel needs to do that perfect conclusion justice. Wrongly building upon an established narrative with a new installment can retroactively make the original seem worse if you screw things up, so Breath of the Wild 2 needs to avoid this at all costs.
By taking inspiration from Majora’s Mask when implementing its darker tone and worldbuilding, it could both avoid such a fumble and draw players into an experience many will have never had before. Breath of the Wild was a warm embrace of a game, and I want its successor to take that comfort and transform it into something that will challenge me in the best way possible. Also please just make Zelda playable, I’ll literally do anything.
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Jade King is one of the Features Editors for TheGamer. Previously head of gaming content over at Trusted Reviews, she can be found talking about games, anime and retweeting Catradora fanart @KonaYMA6.
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