The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ssequel got a vague mood-setting teaser at E3, so naturally, fans are doing their best to understand what the follow-up will be about. There are theories about playable characters, prospective brand-new capabilities, and even the inevitable bad guy. But among the most interesting conversations revolves around the Zonai, a strange people whose work shows up all around Hyrule.
Hyrule, as we understand, is home to a number of ruins that point towards the existence of ancient peoples. The one we understand most about needs to be the Sheikah, advanced peoples who constructed much of the tech you engage with inBreath of the Wild(runes, your motorbike).
However the Sheikah didn’t live alone in Hyrule. It’s easy to miss, however a few of the ambient storytelling in Hyrule likewise points towards the presence of another tribe (thanks for pointing this out, Swiffy22!). If you venture into the labyrinths, you are rewarded with a piece of the barbarian armor set. Each piece refers to a warmongering group coming from the Faron area– the ramification is that they constructed these mazes. And If you check out the Faron region, you’ll come across the Zonai ruins. Players started calling the people from Faron the Zonai, as the authoritiesBreath of the Wild: Producing a Champbook says the ruins belong to a group of individuals by the very same name. The curious thing about them is that this group has a very specific type of calling card. You’ve most likely seen it all over without recognizing what it meant.
The Zonai ruins seem to venerate Farosh, one of the dragons you can encounter in the game– this is evidenced by the fact that their ruins have serpent-like statues and patterns similar to Aztec art. (They likewise seem to pay aspects to a bird-like animal, but dragons seem to be their top thing.) This artwork can be seen in a variety of places, consisting of pillars embedded into the ground, as well as a few of the Korok puzzles that have you finish a photo. Broadly, it sort of appearances like this:
Or like this:
A couple of more examples of this sort of architecture, which has a distinct appearance from Sheikah creations, can be found here.
It’s a little hard to make out, particularly since the teaser is unpredictable, however these signs, markings, and patterns have a similarity to the dungeon that Link and Zelda go into in theBreath of the Wildfollow up teaser. It’s the same sort of Aztec-inspired art that appears to illustrate a serpent or dragon.
The important things is, we don’t understand what happened to the Zonai. What we do understand is that the Thyphlo Ruins, which is bursting with Zonai architecture, is shrouded in darkness. The working theory is that this locale used to be a Zonai city. Strangely enough, this area holds a shrine which, even after cleaning, will not always undo the darkness enveloping the area. It’s one of the spookiest, yet totally unusual regions inBreath of the WildThankfully, modders have enabled us to get a better look at the relatively cursed area:
Broadly, hardcore Zelda fans appear to concur thatBreath of the Wild’ssequel will have some sort of tie to the Zonai, however things get a little untidy from there. We understand thatBreath of the Wild 2hints greatly towards a connection withTwilight Princess, thanks to the blue magic present throughout the trailer, amongst other finer information.
And what do we understand aboutGolden Princess? That video game focuses on the story of the Twili, which the Zelda Wiki refers to as “shadow race” who are “condemned to the Twilight World” after they tried to claim the Triforce utilizing magic. That is, they are a group who exist in a different measurement than the one we see– one shrouded in darkness.
Could this possibly be what happened to the Zonai? After all, they are nowhere to be found now. Their house appears to be shrouded in darkness. A translation of the officialBreath of the Wild: Master Worksbook, which was originally published in Japanese, describes the Zonai magic users as folks who vanished due to “a powerful curse,” which sure seem like what took place to the Twili. That same book, which consists of designer notes from Zelda designers, calls the disappearance of the Zonai “the greatest secret in Hyrule that hasn’t yet been fixed!”
Maybe people read excessive into this, andBreath of the Wild’sdesigners are simply playing with the iconography they have actually already developed. But the important things is, whileBreath of the Wildmay never ever outright accentuate the ruins extending across the land, it’s clear that they play a big role in the mind of the designers. Early concept art ofBreath of the Wildreveals Link trying to analyze ruins:
And theMaster Worksbook even makes a point to highlight the types of ruins that can be discovered inBreath of the WildIt must meansomething, right?
Perhaps we’ll get to decipher the best mystery in Hyrule in theBreath of the Wildfollow up? Time will tell. Up until then, we have theories and tinfoil hats.