Going from Behind the Scenes, to the Forefront: An Interview with YouTube Content Creator Cuccolover
Posted on July 22 2021 by Charles Xavier
For the last decade YouTube Content Creator Cuccolover has worked behind the scenes on videos in collaboration with various YouTube theorists to help build up their channels, all while having the desire to create her own. That dream is finally in motion with the release of her new video: Sacred Salvation.
The video looks at the series from the lens of eastern culture/religion, and the broader implication is that the sky is the realm of the gods. The dragons in Breath of the Wild are a manifestation of gods, and they use portals to access a higher realm in the skies, one that Link in the sequel to Breath of the Wild might be exploring. It’s certainly a very interesting watch, you can check out the video above!
Cuccolover gladly agreed to answer a few of our questions, ranging from the differences between working behind the scenes and being in the forefront of YouTube creation, Zelda theorizing in general, and what her favorite games and hobbies are.
To start, thank you Cuccolover for taking the time to answer a few questions! It’s an honor to be interviewing you! You’re a pretty well renowned Zelda theorist within the theorizing community, and I understand you’ve written content in the past for other Zelda theorists on YouTube, but have recently decided to build up your own channel. Do you have a different approach when creating your own content than when you were making scripts for others, or is the process relatively the same?
I have an extremely different approach. In fact, I’ve been trying to create theory videos for a long time now but often I was not pleased with the results. I was often following how others created their content, and how I’ve created content for others in the past. I’ve had many people give me tips, but the results frustrated me so much that I had recreated some theory videos over and over again until I simply let the whole idea of structure go and let my creativity speak for itself. In the end, creating videos should be fun, not frustrating, so I came up with a way it’s also enjoyable for me to work on them.
I think that freeform approach certainly comes through in your recent video, Sacred Salvation. As we were talking about just before we started this interview there are a lot visual layers that offer subtext, and it’s not really comparable to any other Zelda content I’ve seen in recent memory. One of the other striking elements from the video are the comparisons between eastern culture/religion and Zelda. Obviously entries like Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild make these similarities rather apparent. Are there any other games that you get these impressions from that people may overlook?
It’s not necessarily that it’s being overlooked because in the end it’s all a matter of perspective. I try to find out what kind of perspective Nintendo had in mind developing their games. Artists are often well known with various cultures – so taking those aspects into account would definitely show a more deeper perspective to their original designs. There are in fact various cultures to interpret in the same game[s], clearly in Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild they also take inspiration from other cultures, I’ve simply managed to present this story from a Shinto perspective. I think Nintendo knew that cultures often have characteristics in common and that they love to explore those possibilities in their creations. I definitely feel like there’s a lot of content to discuss within the Zelda series, and for that reason it’s entirely possible I’ll be making several videos on the same topic through a different lens of perspective.
A bit of curve, we all need to know: What is your favorite Zelda game?
That is most definitely Majora’s Mask. After all, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask – along with Twilight Princess – were all a great inspiration for me to start writing theories into stories that ended up creating my animation series many years ago. I’m guilty of having such nostalgia favorites.
Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are certainly my top favorites as well, and they kickstarted my first theories; so I definitely relate. Outside of Zelda, what other games do you enjoy?
I like to play Splatoon 2. I’ve grown patient in trying to master the E-liter and have been practicing with a Dutch team for tournaments now. I’ve been doing pretty well! I love to get my head out of the thought process at times and slay cute squid-people from afar. I also enjoy playing Pokémon still, though lately I’ve been playing well-made fan games meant for emulator along with friends. We would try to create challenges and then watch one another struggle as we’re streaming our gameplay to one another on Discord.
That sounds like a blast! Do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy when you’ve stepped away from video creation?
Yes, I have a bunch of creative hobbies. I enjoy making music, especially the piano. As you may have noticed in the video, there was a piano arrangement present that I had made specifically for the video. I like to experiment in the kitchen as well with cooking, trying to improve existing recipes and make those my own. Though I acknowledge most of my hobbies require me to sit still, so I’ve been trying to work out more with weights and attend cardio.
It was a nice arrangement, and speaking of that, do you plan to incorporate your own pieces in future videos as well?
Absolutely. To create the atmosphere I want to project towards the audience I will keep experimenting with music and try to find the most fitting music in order to accompany the thematics I want to express.
Awesome, I do enjoy touches like that, and I’m sure other viewers will as well. My next question relates the Zelda theorizing. It’s existed for quite some time and had many evolutions, such as the pre-Hyrule Historia format full of fan created timelines, then the shift to debates on what defines canon, and I suppose at this point we’re approaching acceptance of the books finally. Out of these eras, which have you enjoyed the most? Have you ever wished we could go back to a time when the official timeline wasn’t released?
Well, personally I’m not keen on holding on to any definite timeline. It would seem that Nintendo created games with broader concepts in mind that may reference other games, obviously I’m not talking about games that are admittedly direct sequels, but if it’s up to Nintendo it would appear they would change the timeline whenever they desire. So what would appear to be a definite timeline now, can always change later on. And now, with Breath of the Wild not being specifically placed anywhere, perhaps Nintendo also grew tired of following such a limited structural mindset, (laughs)!
What are some existing Zelda theories out there that you’ve enjoyed? Are there any that you found inspirational? Conversely, which existing theory do you disagree the most with?
Obviously a very long time ago I was a fan of VortexxyGaming because I liked her content and I managed to get in touch with her to work with her on such content. If I were to talk about modern-age era content creators however, I’m giving absolute props to Rinkuto. He is a French theory creator, which is sad because the language gap prevents his material from reaching the audience outside that of French-speaking countries, but he too really aims for high-level quality theories that I support. He created a really cool Eight Heroine video that I feel is still going to be relevant in time. As for conversely, the worst theory I’ve ever seen must be the Link is Dead theory and that’s most likely due to it’s popularity that it gained through Game Theory. On that note – I’ve assisted The One Majora into creating a debunk video of that very theory named the Link is NOT Dead theory trying to set the record straight.
I remember that video from a few years ago. Speaking of The One Majora, how was it that you met him years ago? (Note: The One Majora will be a consistent collaborator for Cuccolover’s channel)
I’ve reached out to him a very long time ago on YouTube when I noticed that he too wanted to create content. We got in touch mostly through Skype to discuss theories, and from there we got more and more connected with the remainder of the content creators. Going as far to create our own Google+ groups and ending up being the owners of the biggest The Legend of Zelda Google+ community there was.
Interesting. And going back a little further, earlier you mentioned Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time as being the games that were the subject of some of your initial theories. Can you remember what your earliest theory was?
I do, but obviously those will be brought to light through my work. I can’t be spoiling too much! You’ll have to wait and see.
Fair enough! I can’t wait to see what you have in store. I think I’m almost out of questions, save for a couple more. As a more general question, do you prefer the open-ended approach of Breath of the Wild, or would you like to see something that is more of a mix of that style and the “Zelda formula” in the future?
I have really enjoyed the open-world approach of Breath of the Wild, but I would want to sacrifice part of it for a better story. I would prefer to see consistent dungeons as well, and that would require a more linear approach to the story. Perhaps less linear than Skyward Sword has presented itself, but definitely a contrast between these two games. There’s a thin line that Nintendo would have to cross that would not disrupt the creativity to problem solving and yet, at the same time offer a good story and dungeon design.
Do you have any tips for the readers on how to get started with Zelda theorizing, regardless of platform?
Often, when people theorize they gather an idea and then try to find information that could fit that idea – but the best approach is the other way around. It’s better to keep an open mind and consider all possibilities to what you’re researching and to deduce it later to what would appear to be best. Prevent yourself from being stuck on one idea because often you’ll come to find that various ideas are possible – and perhaps even go hand-in-hand. Little details are often the inspiration for theories, but people should try to consider the bigger pictures that come with those details to gain some insight.
To wrap this up, do you have a set schedule of release for your videos that viewers can look forward to? And any final words?
A lot of that schedule or line-up rather for planned theories got scrambled with the introduction of the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer giving more importance to other theories. As much as I try to create a schedule, often it’s not met. Obviously I’m doing my best to create content as fast as I can, but in order to uphold the high quality production in both writing, editing and recording for these videos I cannot guarantee schedules for release dates. This has to do that during process one comes to find methods to improve it and I cannot resist the temptation to then apply those improvements. I want to be proud of the work I publish. The only promise I can make is that I’m just getting started and I’m absolutely riled up to create more videos like these as I love the insight and feedback I’ve received from the community so far. It really gives that drive to keep going.
More videos to look forward to is enough! Besides YouTube, where else can people get in touch with you?
People can find me on Discord as I’m very active on that platform. My previous public Zelda server has been transformed into a server more dedicated to my channel and has been dubbed the “Cucco Kingdom“. This is by far the easiest way for me to keep in touch with a community. Obviously, I’m hoping to reach the 1,000 subscribers goal in order to create community posts on YouTube. I’m also to be found on Ko-Fi, a donation page where those who are generous can contribute towards lifting my financial struggle.
Charles is a Senior Editor at Zelda Dungeon. He is a massive fan of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Marvel Comics. He enjoys Skittles immensely. Follow him on Twitter to check out his adventures in Skyrim!