Posted on March 02 2017 by Andy Spiteri
A lot has happened since since June 2014. We had the ugliest US Presidential election in recent memory. We had cracks form in the European Union. We’ve had multiple shootings, terrorist acts, and other tragedies come to pass. And with the constant passing of heroes of yesterday, icons like David Bowie or Prince, to Carrie Fisher or Alan Rickman, the world seems to be growing just a little bit darker with each day.
But on March 3rd, we have a ray of light. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is finally here. Forget the gender debates. Forget the system launch debates. Forget the DLC debates. Forget the world for just a moment and let’s all take it in together. Breath of the Wild is finally here.
It’s not often that an event comes along that can unify us as a people. It’s usually reserved for something historic, like man landing on the moon for the first time, or the cessation of a World War. It’s not even often you get events that unite a country as one. All too often, we’re divided into the right or the left; with us or against us. I’m from Canada, and the best time to be a Canadian is during the Winter Olympics, as our men’s and women’s hockey teams battle for gold. For that couple of weeks, everyone stops being everything else and just becomes Canadian.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may not be the ever-reaching event the Olympics might be; nor will it have the historical impact of something like a moon landing. But what it will do is unify a select group of passionate people, all with different ideas, different opinions, and from different places around the globe. It will unify us, the Zelda fans.
“When I get my hands on Breath of the Wild, it will be pure bliss. I won’t be worrying about deadlines, relationships, responsibilities, etc. I want to get lost in Hyrule again, even if it’s just for a short time,” commented Zelda Informer Managing Editor Darrin W. Harr. Being a younger Zelda fan, Darrin didn’t start off with the traditional games many of us did when we were playing our first Zelda titles. “I’m relatively young, younger than most people probably realize. I got into the Zelda series by playing the DS games. I know that sounds awful to some, but I adore Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. My curiosity led me to the main console games, which drew me in with the story and combat. Pretty soon I was playing every Zelda game I could get my hands on.”
On the other end of the spectrum is Nathanial Rumphol-Janc, or Nate, who served as Zelda Informer’s Editor-In-Chief for almost 9 years and has been playing Zelda games since 1991, when he was a kid on a school bus. After wrestling away the Game Boy another kid was playing, Nate was exposed to Zelda for the first time. “The game inside the system was Link’s Awakening. After taking home his Game Boy and playing it all night, I gave it back. For my birthday that year, I got my own Game Boy and Link’s Awakening, and I never really looked back.” Though stepping away from Zelda Informer to launch his own, less Zelda-centric site Nintendo Prime, Nate reflected back on his time at Zelda Informer fondly and spoke about how Breath of the Wild’s upcoming release will impact him.
“This is tough. If you had asked me a month ago, I’d tell you something entirely different than today, because my circumstances have changed. A month ago, I’d simply tell you that it means everything to me. It’s the Zelda game I have always dreamed of, based on my own 3+ hours of going hands on with it, and all I have wanted to do since I set the controller down playing it back during E3 2016 is play it again. Everything else felt like a blur and in a way, still does. That being said, today I now know that a couple months after release, I will be detaching myself from the Zelda community in a more direct way as I move on to Nintendo Prime and other endeavors in life.”
Though his time in the Zelda community may be coming to an end, Nate will always be a Zelda fan at heart “It’s the most hyped I have ever been for a game. Honestly, Breath of the Wild is going to feel like home.”
Another life long Zelda fan is Jesse McCarty, perhaps better known in the Zelda community as GameOverJesse. Jesse runs a successful YouTube channel and spends a lot of time covering the Zelda series there. “Saying I’m a Zelda fan would be putting it lightly.” Jesse exclaimed. “Some of my first memories are of playing Zelda. When I was around the age of 3 or 4, my parents would wake up to put my older brother on the bus for school. While we waited for the bus, and for a short while after, my parents and I would play A Link to the Past until I fell asleep. As I grew up, I would always think back to the fun I would have playing Link to the Past. Then one Christmas I received Ocarina of Time and I grew from being a fan of the series to being addicted. It became something I was able to connect to other other people with and gain new friendships and even a career.”
Jesse was as excited as anyone about the upcoming Zelda Wii U (as it was known initially) and credits that game for his decision to start his popular YouTube channel. “With Breath of the Wild, I went even deeper and created my own YouTube channel to be a source of news for people, like me, who were spending hours a day looking for information. I began waiting for Breath of the Wild when I first put down Skyward Sword and wondered what was next. We saw the Wii U tech demo and my imagination went wild. What we’re getting now is likely better than what a full game made out of the tech demo would be.”
“A huge open world with a lot of new mechanics and we’re able to take it on the go on a brand new console. For being a Zelda fan, what could be better?”
When talking to these individuals who’ve had such unique insight on the road to Breath of the Wild and the many twists and turns it took, I asked them all the same question: What does this game mean to you? The answers were all vastly different, and yet carried the same undertones of what one might expect from any Zelda fan: excitement, hope, and wonder.
“We all may have our disagreements on stupid things like Link’s gender, DLC, and the like, but Breath of the Wild distracts and unites,” Darrin mused. “That’s what it means to me.”
“For me, Breath of the Wild is almost everything,” reflects GameOverJesse “When the game releases, it will bring more lore and theories to the series and I think most importantly, it will spark the question of ‘what’s next?’“
“I’m excited to see how the Zelda series can evolve even further.”
“Breath of the Wild is life.” Nate said simply “We could all use more life.”
All of their answers made me stop and question to myself, ‘What does Breath of the Wild mean to me now?’ After thinking for a few minutes, I knew.
It means it’s time for all of us to be rewarded. It’s been a long, winding road to get to this day. It means that after everything, we can now all come together in celebration. But more than that, the most meaningful thing Breath of the Wild gives us is this: light. In a sometimes dark and scary world, it’s nice to know that there will always be a hero to bring us the light. I haven’t played Breath of the Wild yet, but I don’t need to. I already love it. Breath of the Wild has brought all of us together, as only something like this could. That is what this game means to me. That is why I love video games. That is why I love this community. And that is why I love The Legend of Zelda.
All quotes obtained firsthand. Andy Spiteri is an Associate Editor for Zelda Informer. For more ramblings on Zelda, gaming and life, follow him on Twitter.