Japanese homophobia aside I think I'd have an easier time pitching a Link/Sidon relationship to Nintendo than I would a game where Zelda isn't a victim.It's a pointless thing to debate as it has an exactly zero percent chance of happening. So just let us have our fantasies.
As awesome as this would be-heck, as awesome as it already is as a concept, this idea does need a lot more to add to it, and even then, the events that would occur in this games true ending would never truly be able to stop/end/break Demise's curse. This means that in another, later game, Link and his friends would have to reforge the Goddess Sword, and eventually, later on in the timeline, transform it into the Master Sword. But I quite enjoy the idea that they would have to do this.Some may disagree, but I think the Breath of the Wild / Tears of the Kingdom continuity demands an epic conclusion. Tears ended on a great note, but Zelda and the Sages' job was clearly unfinished. The castle is still in shambles. Master Kohga is still out there. The Kingdom of Hyrule still needs restoration - and it needs a Queen.
With all that unfinished business (and the two games' unparalleled success), Nintendo would be insane not to complete this trilogy. What might that look like?
Properly completing the trilogy starts with a title that parallels the others. "Breath of the Wild" and "Tears of the Kingdom" - breath and tears are both things that naturally come out of a body. The only other thing I can think of that fits this category (that would be appropriate for a game title at least...) is blood. So, blood of the what?
Many have probably already reached the same conclusion as me by this point -
Blood of the Goddess
This title would refer to none other than Zelda herself (who has never been directly referenced in a game subtitle before), and specifically her relation to Hylia. The term was spoken explicitly by Demise at the end of SS, and a similar term was spoken by Impa in BOTW when explaining the history of Calamity Ganon. Therefore it would be widely recognized and fit in the context of the franchise.
If Breath depicted the fall of the kingdom, and Tears the founding, then Blood surely should depict the restoration and the full and final awakening of Zelda's power, i.e., the Triforce that lives within her that she until now has only been able to channel in subtle ways. Yes, the Triforce – conspicuously absent from the last two games – should make a grand reappearance.
The kingdom's restoration and the awakening of the Triforce would be linked to one another metaphorically and literally. Major campaigns ("dungeons") in Lanayru, Eldin, and Faron would result in rediscovery/reawakening of the Triforce of Wisdom, Power, and Courage, respectively. An unprecedented - but IMO long overdue - move would be to allow the player to actually use each Triforce piece, once awakened, as an in-game ability. Much like ultrahand, cryonis, etc., unlocking each Triforce could give the player abilities thematically related to power, wisdom, and courage, that would facilitate the restoration of different aspects of the kingdom:
Power - building structures, reshaping land
Wisdom - order, society, government
Courage - life, spirit, kindness
The "shrines" in this game would be, say, 156 tests of power, wisdom, or courage (52 each), that would bit by bit restore power to the Triforce and, in turn, allow it to be used to help restore different aspects of the kingdom from buildings to social structure to injured or sick individuals (along with every 4 shrine rewards opening up an obligatory heart container or stamina vessel).
The Triforce, however, would not be capable of full physical restoration at any point in the game (possessing an omnipotent artifact doesn't make for a very interesting plot), but it will be revealed that something is blocking its full potential.
Zelda must be an integral character in this process. While it is unlikely Aonuma & Co. will ever relent and make her playable, she should exist as an interactive character in the present for the entire game, not as a trapped damsel nor in the past nor through mere memories.
Also associated with blood is sacrifice - thus a beloved character should die at the conclusion of this game as a sacrifice to destroy the ultimate evil (see below).
Villain and Plot
First off, the villain must not be Ganon(dorf). A third appearance of this, frankly, one-dimensional character in a row would add little by way of drama at this point and cheapen the apparent triumph in Tears.
At first, the villain should not be obvious. As you begin the quest to restore the Kingdom, you will gradually learn that a force is at work trying to stop you and is keeping the Kingdom corrupted. Buildings, even after being rebuilt, continue to crumble (anti-power), towns and governments cannot seem to stay stable (anti-wisdom), and the people suffer from despair and illness (anti-courage).
At some point in the first half of the game, you learn that Kohga and the Yiga clan appear to be responsible for the continued blight. Kohga is no longer a joke. He is doing serious damage and responsible for many deaths and much despair, and rumor is he is trying to unlock an ancient power to corrupt or even destroy the Triforce. Eventually the quest becomes one to find him and bring him to justice.
Once the Triforce has been reassembled and Hyrule put right on the path toward restoration (about 2/3 through the game), Kohga is confronted and, in a rage, despite knowing he should take him back alive to face justice, Link slits his throat with the Master Sword, killing him, as though a dark power momentarily possessed him to do so.
At this point the twist is revealed. In a quest to avenge his master, Kohga had learned of the true nature of Ganondorf's power - the demigod Demise - along with that of Zelda's (literally the blood of the goddess) and Link's (the spirit of the hero). He also knew that Demise's remnant lived on within the Master Sword. Through black magic he devised a way to restore Demise and thus end the world - when the Master Sword spills human blood in anger, the evil trapped within will be reempowered and resurrected.
Thus the Hero's commission of the ultimate anti-courageous act using the Sword of the Goddess - murder - has the effect of restoring Devise, who reveals that from within the Master Sword he has watched for eons, in disgust, as those with the Blood of the Goddess and the Spirit of the Hero squander their gifts to empower the weak and make impotent the strong. His sole desire is to end the bloodline of Hylia permanently, to destroy the Triforce (which he of course cannot use), and to send the world into eternal night.
However, Demise is not the only being in the Master Sword who is revived through this event. Fi awakens from her eternal sleep to whisk Link and the sword away before Demise can destroy them. They return to Zelda, where they determine the steps for the endgame and final confrontation.
The final “real” battle is of course a rematch between the Hero and Demise. For the "cinematic" battle, Zelda uses the Triforce to reawaken her inner power and reemerge as Hylia – in her “glorious” (Demise’s words) divine form, battling Demise in the sky, with Link paragliding alongside providing support (a twist on the prior two cinematic battles in which Zelda supports Link), essentially a rematch of the ancient battle referenced in Skyward Sword between Hylia and Demise with the Hero at her side.
As before, of course, Demise is only defeated but cannot be destroyed through force alone and is once again absorbed into the Master Sword. However, the group realize that mere imprisonment is not an option, as Demise will always just return in some form and/or in the future, manipulating countless "Gannondorf's" along the way to do his bidding. Fi therefore explains that this time, the Master Sword itself must be destroyed - which can only be done – how else? – by casting it back into the fire from which it was forged - Eldin volcano. In a heartbreaking scene, Fi says farewell to the present Link, with the ghosts of all the prior Heroes and wielders of the sword looking on, as he tearfully tosses the sword into the lava.
As Demise's shadow rises from the melting sword and dissipates into the ether, the final curse blocking the Triforce’s efficacy and preventing Hyrule's restoration is lifted. The physical Triforce fully rematerializes high above the caldera, and light spreads over the entire kingdom, restoring the Castle, Castle Town, and the rest of the Kingdom, with the Triforce itself seemingly dissipating throughout the world.
In the final "true" ending (after-credits scene), Zelda is crowned Queen, with Link by her side, both with visible glowing Triforce symbols on their hands, to suggest that the Blood of the Goddess (Triforce of Wisdom) and Spirit of the Hero (Triforce of Courage) live on in them. After a fade, a dimly lit nondescript place is seen, occupied by an equally dimly lit person, whose only visible feature is a hand depicting the Triforce of Power. To whom has Din now chosen to gift her power, and for good or ill?
Why this probably won't happen (even if it should)
Unfortunately, an epic story with this level of drama probably won't happen. While Skyward Sword had arguably the most intricate and dramatic story of any Zelda game, many consider its gameplay to have suffered as a result. Aonuma has since taken an unapologetically opposite "gameplay first, story last" approach with Breath and Tears. Moreover, an explicit acknowledgement of the canon of any game prior to Breath - even Skyward Sword - would be inconsistent with Aounuma's apparent intent to use Tears of the Kingdom to retcon the entire franchise.
For these reasons, I would predict any third installment: 1) would have to be just as open-ended in terms of the quest as Breath and Tears, with only minimal major inflection points that must proceed in a specific order; and 2) would not rely too heavily on canon from games prior to Breath of the Wild.
On the other hand, Tears did demonstrate a willingness to bring in some drama and mandatory-quest-order items (e.g. you cannot unlock the castle “dungeon” and dehydrated Ganondorf’s dramatic reveal before finishing the four regional quests). Skyward Sword also seems like the game that Aonuma is most willing to maintain as canon, with both Breath and Tears clearly referencing an entity living in the Master Sword, and a reference in Breath (by Impa) to an “ancient evil that is reborn time and time again.” Still, acknowleding that any events in SS actually happened literally as depicted in the prior game would be a first for this sub-franchise.
Regardless, I hope reading this sparks some imagination, excitement, and support for a third installment.
Yeah, Ghirahim deserved better, and his design reminded me way to much of(I can't remember his name) that one guy from (I think) Hunter×Hunter who is a p3d0 and has like hot pink hair and a crop top. So, on the subject of his character, what would you have changed about him overall? Like, design, lore, character personality, etc.?Also I may get shade for saying this but I don't care. Ghirahim was a disgusting homophobic trope whom I found personally offensive. I can't believe they didn't tone that crap down for the remaster. I almost abandoned the franchise because of that in addition to SS's awful gameplay.
"Shirtless Ganon" oh my gosh that's hilariousThe Setting: Hyrule, five years after the events of Tears of the Kingdom in a period I would deem reconstruction. After the devastation reaped by the Calamity and the minor inconvenience caused by shirtless Ganon's very brief and isolated return in Tears of the Kingdom, Hyrule has started rebuilding in earnest. Hyrule Castle itself has been reconstructed and restored through the combined efforts of Sheikah engineering and Goron metal work. Around it has sprouted Castle City, the new capitol of Hyrule and current seat of the kingdom's last traceable member of the Hylian royal family: Queen Zelda Bosphoramus Hyrule III.
Hyrule itself is expanding, reclaiming territory lost during the Calamity and then some. Even areas of the wilderness dominated by the bokoblin and moblin tribes are being swallowed up as Hyrule looks to ape the greatness it once held before Ganon emerged and tore the kingdom to shreds.
The Protagonist: Link is, as a much more animated king would put it, living the peace that all true warriors strive for. He's been standing by Princess Zelda's side ever since she was restored from her cursed form as one of the great dragons of Hyrule. He, like the incarnation of him that died inside the Chamber of Resurrection, has been serving as Zelda's personal knight. In addition to his official duties as the blade of Queen Zelda, he is courting Prince Sidon of the Zoran kingdom. At the time of the story's beginning, Sidon is away conducting his duties both as a noble within his realm and as the Sage of Water.
This Link is missing his right arm. Although the arm he lost to Ganon in the beginning of Tears of the Kingdom was temporarily replaced by that of Rauru, first king of Hyrule, that too faded once Rauru and his ilk finally drifted into the afterlife after Ganon's last defeat and sealing. In its place is a mechanical prosthetic created by Purah, famed Sheikah inventor.
Link himself is haunted by dreams that seem almost like visions. Some nights he's below Hyrule Castle again, watching as Ganon reaches out and tears his arm off at the elbow. Sometimes the dreams seem more memory than fantasy, perhaps those of that Link whose body he inherited. More and more Link awakes quick and panicking, as if from a nightmare of his past. As a result, he has become more withdrawn, feeling like an imposter walking around in the body of a boy who died fighting Ganon more than a hundred years ago.
Despite his heroics and the great deeds he accomplished during the Calamity War, Link feels detached. His life began in the Chamber of Resurrection and he feels a certain absence without a family. Despite his victories he is a man with no history and no family to his name.
The Monarch: Queen Zelda was forever changed by her time among the dragons. Although her time as one of the great dragons passed by like a dream, she was still dimly aware of every event unfolding around her. She watched from afar as ten thousand years of Hylian history played out, knowing that any interference on her part might erase the very people she sought to save. She watched helplessly as the kingdom was brought to the brink each time by the battle between Ganon and each incarnation of the Link. While she saw Ganon struck down many times, she was also forced to watch as Links were slain in battle.
Who's to say how many times she saw this cycle play out. Dozens? Hundreds? It's a secret she conceals from her advisors: Mineru, whose spirit now occupies a mechanical doppelganger closer in appearance to her original form, and Purah, the self-proclaimed smartest woman alive. It's a secret she especially keeps from Link, whose face she has seen live and die dozens of times. Zelda has unwittingly begun to detach from her best friend, unable to look him in the eyes after seeing so many versions of him die.
Although not its leader, Vaati is the face of the Crownsmashers. An accomplished wizard with a penchant for conjuring wind and casting bolts of lightning from her hands, Vaati is the sword of the resistance. Her magic, unlike the more sorcerous power of Zelda and the pact-bound magic granted to Ganon by Demise, is the result of years of study and careful planning, the result of careful hand movements, sigils, and words of power.
She is also Link's great niece, a child of a child of one of Link's now forgotten siblings.
Though the gap in their age has been nullified by the coma Link fell into after his death one hundred years ago, she recognizes something about him from their first meeting, Although she's heard of the Link, she's never been near him before, never close enough to recognize that there's something about him that she just knows.
The Plot: It's been five years since the second fall of Ganon and someone is detonating bombs in Castle City. The builds are empty and the damage is property, but someone is trying to send a message.
Known secondhand as the Crownsmashers (or maybe something less dumb, I dunno), an armed resistance within Hyrule has emerged in response to the crowning of Queen Zelda. Despite Zelda's claim to the thrown and status as last legitimate royal heir, Hyrule has been without a monarch for almost 120 years. During that century local governments rose up to replace the hierarchy that collapsed after Ganon's return. Despite public appearances, treaties, and Zelda's status as a hero of the Calamity War, there is distrust of the old system returning. Many of Hyrule's older survivors have vivid memories of the Hylian military's command structure being overrun by their own mechanical Guardians shortly before the military was scattered and the royal family slaughtered.
Among the Crownsmashers is a powerful wizard by the name of Vaati, whose spells thunder with such resonance that they might be confused for true lightning. She is the public face of the resistance, a hooded figure with pale purple skin and a penchant for dramatic crimes. Restless and ill at ease from the dark clouds haunting his dreams, Link begins investigating the Crownsmashers despite Zelda's insistence that her personal guard can handle it. Something about Vaati is familiar, a memory dancing on the tip of his tongue.
Link's critical story path would revolve around reconciling with the life of the body he now occupies. The early events of Age of Calamity, the slaughter of moblins and bokoblins outside Castle Town just before Impa and Tarreko showed up to disrupt the timeline, would prove critical in him reconciling that past version of Link with the one that now lives.
Perhaps even a realization that the Link before him was not a hero, not really.
Outside of Castle City, the moblin and bokoblin tribes have begun to coalesce and organize for the first time in more than a hundred years, and seem to be working alongside the Crownsmashers. An existential threat stands before this new fledgling Hyrule. Meanwhile Zelda sees it necessary to tighten her grip on the kingdom in the wake of these violent attacks on the capitol. She has seen the cycle of chosen three play out over and over again, leaving countless dead in its wake. If she can use that knowledge, even if it means making the people hate her, maybe she can find a way to subvert the eternal battle of the hero's spirit and the Calamity once and for all.
In the wake of increasing resistance from the Crownsmashers, the monster tribes, and even from Link himself, Queen Zelda begins escalating. She watched over Hyrule for 10,000 years. She's seen things that go beyond the generational lifespan. She's seen the cycle play out a thousand times, but no one else has her perspective. In an effort to build a strong foundation and quell the cycle of Demise and the hero's spirit, Zelda constructs a crown capable of uniting the remaining Guardian forces under one singular control: hers.
The Guardians are the greatest fighting force Hyrule has ever known, and she's determined to direct them against Ganon should he rise again. With Purah's assistance she has integrated the control system into her body, ensuring it cannot be hijacked as the Calamity once managed. Even as she feels herself slipping further away from her humanity, she feels assured that Hyrule will be its strongest under her protection.
Even if she must protect it from itself.
It's a direction Zelda desperately wants to avoid, but one she sees as inevitable. Hyrule may come to see her as the villain, but she has committed her life to destroying Ganon and his ilk for good. She will go down in history as the villain if it means she can save the people and the kingdom she cares for.
And that's all I've got. I figure whatever resistance is there would include classics like Ashei and Auru.
There will be no shrines in this game and all the towers have been climbed. While I'd have the shrines still be physically present, they are closed off and inert. Some have already begun the slow process of being reclaimed by earth. I'd keep the original map, but include hand drawn modifications to it that have been clearly produced by Link. So you might see the regular TotK map, but where Hyrule Castle once was you'd see a paper version hastily taped over with Link's own attempt at recreating the scale of Hyrule City in map form.
The big thing is that the game can't just be the same plot again. It's no secret that I thought TotK's plot was bad, but one of the worst parts of that bad plot is that it ends almost the exact same way BotW does, right down to Zelda turning to the camera and giving Link a dumb look as she's kidnapped again.
Any plot, especially the final entry in a trilogy, should end with the characters radically changed.
I dunno. Maybe call it Blood of the Crown or something.