What? How could that old trailer be more important than the new GDC 2011 one? Well, I certainly wouldn’t say it’s more important, and this article will focus primarily on the more recent one. Discussions with other theorists during and shortly after the first trailer’s release brought up a very wide range of topics and theories. I realized that it all relates to the short introduction to the first Skyward Sword footage we ever saw, and I thought that would be a great way to structure my analysis of this new trailer.

If you don’t remember the E3 trailer, go ahead and watch it, at least the introduction before the actual reveal of the new Link. It features the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time riding Epona, Majora’s Mask from Majora’s Mask accompanied by Skull Kid’s laugh, the King of Red Lions from The Wind Waker, and Wolf Link from Twilight Princess, with music from Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and The Wind Waker. At the roundtable discussion shortly after this trailer debuted, Aonuma said that this progression of images did not have any impact on Skyward Sword‘s story. (source, source) But we already know that the legend of the Master Sword told in A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time will be important to Skyward Sword‘s story, so the highlighted games cannot be completely disconnected. Rather I think the question he was responding to was whether that specific progression revealed anything about the timeline (i.e. Skyward Sword being a sequel to Twilight Princess), avoiding the question of how the stories could interact in other ways. So despite what he said, I think there are many possibilities for connections with all four of those games. Looking closely at the trailer shown at GDC 2011 makes me think that they are beginning to reveal some of these connections.

Ocarina of Time: the Master Sword and the Royal Crest of Hyrule

The best place to start this analysis would of course be the beginning. I actually didn’t notice this until the very end of the trailer during the live stream, but the logo has changed slightly.

E3 2010 on the left, GDC 2011 on the right.

It now meshes a little better with the setting of the game, with the stony texture somewhat reminiscent of the precipice from which Link leaps at the end of the E3 trailer. More importantly though, it still features the Royal Crest of Hyrule, and I think it’s safe to assume that this one is the final official logo, or at least the Royal Crest is certainly important and not just a placeholder. This isn’t surprising though; with the Master Sword comes the Sages, and with the Sages comes the Royal Family. I still think that Skyward Sword will tell of the foundation or early life of the Royal Family, and probably of the origin of the Royal Crest (Hint: Link came from the sky, and he’s in the business of saving kingdoms). But this is all old news. So is the fact that the Skyward Sword becomes the Master Sword. The next scene in the trailer gives us something new.

Is this dull-colored blade the Skyward Sword?Look at the sword pictured on the right. It’s not the same as the one in the E3 trailer. This will probably be the one Link starts out with, and unless all the action shown in this trailer takes place in Skyloft, this is the Skyward Sword. Aonuma told us himself: “The subtitle, Skyward Sword, is really the event that both reveals the land to Link and leads him on his journey and that’s the Skyward Sword. So when he gets that, that’s the event, again, that reveals where Link needs to go and what he needs to do.” –June 16, 2010

Possibilities exist that he may not be able to use the Skyward Sword when he first encounters it – it may be stuck in its personified form – and that the sword from the E3 trailer may have been retconned. I’m going to assume that the latter isn’t the case, and this sword will become the Master Sword at some point during the game, rather than afterward.

Majora’s Mask: A familiar character and a familiar sword

We’ve already known of one connection between Skyward Sword and Majora’s Mask:

Done with the battles he once
waged across time, he embarked
on a journey. A secret and
personal journey…

A journey in search of a
beloved and invaluable friend…

Majora’s Mask‘s intro

The story unfolds and part of it is that he’s searching for a lost or a valuable friend.

-Eiji Aonuma on the story of Skyward Sword, June 27, 2010

Of course it’s nearly impossible for these to be the same friend, but it is a similar theme, much like many of the connections to The Wind Waker that I’ll be discussing later.

Is this the Skull Kid in the GDC 2011 trailer?About 32 seconds into this GDC trailer, I was completely surprised by this image. It only caught my eye while I was examining the trailer after the keynote ended, but I’m sure anyone who actually notices this small silhouette would instantly recognize it.

It looks an awful lot like Skull Kid to me (or a four-legged Skulltula…). Looking back at the other games he’s appeared in, it’s actually not unlikely that he would make such an appearance. Majora’s Mask gave him a pretty detailed backstory.

He had lost his old friends.
The imp returned to the heavens,
and harmony was restored to the
four worlds.

-Anju’s Grandmother

We meet this imp in Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, so that may be where he returned to and originally came from. It’s quite possible that he played some role in Hyrule after being banished from Termina (or before going there in the first place).

Who or what is this new character?The next big surprise came near the end with the introduction of a completely new character.

The best way to analyze this character is to go back in time to E3 2009, when we were shown the concept art for a mysterious feminine character. What was one of the first theories to pop up back then? I thought she looked like the Fairy Queen from The Wind Waker, but the prevailing opinion was that she shared more features with the Master Sword of all things. The latter has since been confirmed and I’ve learned from my mistake. Now that there’s a precedent for swords having look-alike spirits, one cannot ignore the resemblance between this new character and the Gilded Sword from Majora’s Mask.

This character resembles the design of the Gilded Sword

Note the yellow diamond design, especially on the cape, as well as his white hair and diamond earrings, compared to the Gilded Sword’s blade and the white pommel and diamond on its hilt. As spirits were trapped inside masks in Majora’s Mask, so swords seem to have some connection with spirits in Skyward Sword. Believe it or not, even this is not a new concept. When obtaining the Gale Boomerang in Twilight Princess, Link is addressed by the spirit that resides within it:

I am the Fairy of Winds who resides in this boomerang.
You have freed me from evil, and I now have my true power back.
Please… Take it with you, use it to aid your quest, and may both my power and my blessing go with you.
If you focus power in your boomerang before releasing it, it will unleash the power of wind, aiding you in unforeseen ways.

If the last line sounds familiar, it’s because this is also done with the Skyward Sword by holding it in the air. Although this may only apply to items with special diamonds (the Master Sword and the Gilded Sword have one on their hilts, and the Gale Boomerang has one as well), keep a lookout for a characters that resemble other swords, such as the Great Fairy Sword or the Four Sword!

The Wind Waker: analogous themes and another familiar character

Almost every element of Skyward Sword we know about so far is a theme that is shared by The Wind Waker. Djinn has discussed many of these on our forums, and I’ve drawn much of this section from his research and from working directly with him.

Behind the Lizalfos you can see the above image, and it seems to resemble Gohdan from The Wind WakerAmong these similarities, discussed further in that thread, are discovering a separated world, searching for and rescuing a friend, and empowering a sword. In The Wind Waker, Link lives on the Great Sea, unaware of the kingdom below. His quest initially is to rescue his sister Aryll, and later he must return power to the Master Sword in order to defeat Ganondorf. In Skyward Sword, Link lives in the clouds, unaware of the kingdom on the ground. He searches for a lost and valuable friend, and the Skyward Sword becomes the Master Sword.

With the new trailer, some attention must now be paid to Gohdan, the final challenge in the Tower of the Gods, supposedly built by the gods but theorized to be related to the Oocca. Several scenes in the trailer convey the same atmosphere and even display similar objects. For example, at the top of this image you can see a pair of hands surrounding what appears to be a head, in a similar manner to Gohdan’s first appearance.

Another example.

Although the previous connections are merely results of similar themes, this specific theme could be evidence of a real connection between the stories of these two games. But there’s another storyline connection that’s been haunting me for over one and a half years. I mentioned earlier the idea that the “feminine figure” could be related to the Fairy Queen, and I’m still holding on to that possibility. This comparison has been made ever since the original concept art was released, but a small image within this new trailer adds even more merit to this theory.

The girl from the promotional artwork, the Fairy Queen, and the controller icon from the GDC 2011 trailer all look the same.

The image on the right appears mapped to ‘down’ on the d-pad through most of the trailer. What is obviously meant to be Link’s companion now not only resembles the Fairy Queen, but is nearly identical. Just as the Gale Boomerang houses the Fairy of Winds, I think the Skyward Sword houses the Fairy Queen. I wonder what sort of fairy the new character is?

Twilight Princess: Oocca and interlopers

I’ve already discussed connections with Twilight Princess at length, so I will just be expanding on that here as we now have more relevant information.

First, take a look at the door back in the first scene of the GDC trailer. (The image in which I pointed out the sword.) It’s easy to notice that this bears some resemblance to the Royal Crest. I think this structure is in Skyloft. I’m going off the assumptions that the Royal Crest will be modeled after Skyloftian culture and Skyloft becomes the City in the Sky and as such will display a relatively high level of technology. Of course this is terrible theorizing practice, but that’s why it’s called speculation. Rest assured when the game comes out there will be a lot more and better material on which to base real theories. On the subject of technology, what I assume to be the inside of this structure sure has a lot of it. There are several high-tech doors that require Link to solve puzzles to open, and even the enemies seem to reflect this theme that I’m using to connect all these elements to the same ‘dungeon.’

Screenshots of some of the mechanical enemies from the trailer.

Hyrule certainly could not attain such technology before OoT’s time, but TP reveals that such a level of technology did exist around this time in the hands of the Oocca in the City in the Sky. Therefore, following Ooccam’s razor (misspelling intentional…get it?) in the absence of hard evidence either way, I assume this dungeon is in Skyloft, and is probably the first Link comes to. The references to the Tower of the Gods also lends itself to this theory that all these technologies are connected and the Oocca are meant to play a much larger role in the Zelda universe than they are given credit for in Twilight Princess.

The mysterious character vanishes!Finally, going all the way back again to the end of the trailer, our new character does something intriguing and disappears!

This action, and specifically what is left behind, should remind you of the Twili method of transportation. They are transformed into small black squares and float away, and this character either is transformed into colorful diamonds and floats away or vanishes and leaves behind these diamonds to dissipate. They are slightly different, but that’s easily explained by the fact that this would probably be before the interlopers were banished to the Twilight Realm, before they “became shadows that could not mingle with the light.” -Midna

After this character disappears, the statue it was sitting on comes to life, perhaps in a similar fashion to the scene in Twilight Princess with Zant and Stallord. Dark clouds can be seen emanating from the living statue, so it appears that this villain uses a dark magic similar to that of the interlopers.

Dark clouds emanate from the statue's top, indicating it is under evil influence.

The fairy, the interloper, and more: pulling it all together

So were we shown the main antagonist – the leader of the interlopers? I don’t think so. There’s also the reference to the Gilded Sword offering the additional possibility of this particular interloper being a fairy (looks can be deceiving) – a sword spirit. If this spirit is anything like Link’s companion, then it must be a tool of Link’s true rival. But since the sword appears to have been reproduced in Majora’s Mask, we can add the rest of the story from that game and come up with some pretty interesting possibilities.

For one, the ancient imp Skull Kid may make an appearance (that was an odd place for him to show up, and he did seem to move as if he was hanging from a thread, so I don’t know…). But there’s another piece of history told in Majora’s Mask that could piggyback on these connections. Could the ancient tribe that used Majora’s Mask be related to the interlopers? I have never found any reason to believe this in the past, but my eyes will definitely be open when Skyward Sword comes out.

There’s also the question of the Sheikah. The only thing I got out of this new trailer on the subject is Link’s new item, mapped to ‘up’ on the d-pad in one scene. It’s nearly identical to Sheik’s lyre. This isn’t an exclusive Sheikah instrument, also being used by Laruto and Medli in The Wind Waker as well as by Nayru and Link in Oracle of Ages, but this specific design coupled with what we’ve been told about the Sheikah in Ocarina of Time makes it likely that their story will be somehow incorporated into that of Skyward Sword.

This instrument looks identical to Sheik's

I’m very excited that Skyward Sword could have such deep connections with so many other games. The timeline placements of all these games are pretty much set in stone, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing much change in that department, but Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, The Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess also have some of the best stories in the series. I see Skyward Sword as an opportunity to capitalize on these stories and construct a much more intricate and solid lore base to give the timeline more meaning than just a string of games, and to give theorists and even people who just enjoy a good story much more reason to immerse themselves in the Zelda world than merely figuring out which game comes after another. It’s long been considered that the Twili could be the same as or related to the Dark Tribe from Four Swords Adventures and other games, and even that both could be related to the Sheikah or the ancient tribe from Majora’s Mask. Skyward Sword could highlight connections between these and other things that will be given more importance in addition to new themes that will continue to contribute to the overall legend of Zelda.

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