In this week’s Nintendo Direct, Nintendo unexpectedly dropped the bombshell that a brand-new Zelda game is coming this September. The new game is called Echoes of Wisdom, and it will be the first time Princess Zelda will be the playable protagonist in a mainline Zelda title. The Direct featured both a cinematic trailer and a gameplay showcase for a new item, the Tri Rod, so there’s a lot to unpack and even more that we still don’t know.

So, let’s dive in and explore some details that you might have missed, and some things that have left us asking for more.


What We Know…

The Overworld Map Reuses Locations From A Link to the Past

Elements from A Link to the Past‘s overworld are making a reappearance in Echoes of Wisdom. Landmarks like Lake Hylia, the boulder field near the Eastern Palace, the pillars south of Link’s house, and others are situated in a similar layout to A Link to the Past and in a similar style.

Of course, this map won’t be a 1:1 recreation. Echoes of Wisdom‘s trailer showed off a rain forest reminiscent of those found in Breath of the Wild‘s Faron region. We also saw Gerudo Town, the Great Deku Tree, and a volcano with what is possibly a Goron village near its base. None of these locations were present in A Link to the Past or A Link Between Worlds (which also used A Link to the Past‘s overworld). At the very least, it will be an expanded version of A Link to the Past‘s overworld, though I doubt Nintendo would try to reuse that same map for a third time. So, while some areas may be revisited, this overworld will probably be something entirely new.


The Segments of Tri’s Tail Are an Expendable Resource for Building Echoes

In her journey, Zelda will meet a mysterious fairy named Tri. The new companion gives her the aptly named Tri Rod, which allows Zelda to create imitations, or Echoes, of certain objects and enemies. It also seems that the triangular pieces of Tri’s tail will act as a resource for summoning Echoes.

At different points during the trailer, we can see that the number of segments in Tri’s tail varies, and that they are used up whenever an Echo is summoned. Echo costs are displayed in the top right corner of the screen, as well as in the menu. Most objects seem to cost just one unit, while enemies can cost two or three.

The tail segments are also shown floating above certain Echoes once they’re summoned; what purpose these serve has yet to be seen. We also don’t know if Tri can be upgraded in order to expand their tail, in a way similar to Tears of the Kingdom‘s expandable Zonai Energy Cells. Regardless, we can expect Tri’s tail to be a limiting resource that will keep players from getting too far out of bounds with their creative builds.


A Meeting of Zoras Past and Present

Before they were reintroduced as sleek and elegant seafolk in Ocarina of Time, Zoras were typically enemies to Link. They were green and scaly with big lips, sharing an undeniable resemblance to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. They could also shoot fire balls from their mouths, posing a threat to Link whenever he was near a body of water. Although this iteration of the Zora is mostly seen as a relic of the past (except for a reappearance in A Link Between Worlds), the Echoes of Wisdom trailer gave us a quick glimpse at a meeting of Zoras old and new.

As of this moment, there isn’t a lot of established lore that explains what differentiates these two species of Zora. All we really have is a short snippet from Dark Horse’s The Legend of Zelda: Encyclopedia, which says:

By the era of A Link to the Past, the kingdom of Hyrule is in decline, and relations with the Zora have soured greatly. Their bodies changed from blue to green and they have become increasingly aggressive toward outsiders, going so far as to spit fireballs at anyone who dares tread near their waters.”

This brief shot from the trailer suggests that Echoes of Wisdom may finally drop some lore to address what exactly happened to the Zoras, and possibly why their appearance changed so drastically. However, this raises more questions than it answers. Why do these two species of Zora coexist? Will there be a conflict that requires Zelda’s aid to resolve? Does this supposed conflict point to Echoes of Wisdom‘s placement on the official timeline? We’ll just have to wait and see.


The Tri Rod Is Just One Tool in Zelda’s Arsenal

The central focus of this presentation was of course the Tri Rod. However, it looks to be only one of the items in Zelda’s arsenal. In the HUD, we can see the four directional buttons displayed on the left side of the screen, with the Tri Rod shown mapped to the right-facing button. The other three are vacant. What other types of items could fill these slots? Will they be connected to Tri as well? Maybe there will be other magical staffs or rods that give Zelda more direct attack capabilities.

Being assigned to the directional buttons at the very least indicates that these will each be equip-able items that are toggled on and off, since pressing that button would require the player to take their thumb off of the joystick. This should be a sigh of relief for anyone who isn’t thrilled at the idea of fighting enemies with the Tri Rod (I get it — it’s not for everyone), because this shows that the Tri Rod will not be equipped at all times, and the player will have other options to consider.

That being said, the Tri Rod is in the game’s logo, so if other options are available, still expect the Tri Rod to be the primary hook of this game.


We Will Likely Explore Inside Rifts

In a quick blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Zelda is shown traversing inside what appears to be a rift. The backdrop is a hazy purple void with floating debris. The princess is walking across disjointed chunks of land, water, and debris. This scene is reminiscent of certain sections of Super Mario Galaxy or the secret levels in Super Mario Sunshine, both of which feature free-floating linear platforming challenges.

While we don’t know much about these areas yet, it doesn’t look like they will be openly explorable like the Hyrule overworld. Perhaps Echoes of Wisdom‘s dungeons will be within these voids, or maybe these are linear puzzle or platforming sections that serve another purpose. If the dungeons are within rifts, then this game may run the risk of attracting complaints similar to those aimed at Breath of the Wild‘s Divine Beasts, which argued that their similar theming made them uninteresting. That being said, this is all we’ve seen thus far, so it is still too early to pass judgement. Either way, it’ll be curious to see how Zelda is able to traverse within these realms while Link is seemingly trapped in that same space.


What We Don’t Know…

Why Was Zelda in a Jail Cell?

A brief segment of the presentation shows Zelda meeting the mysterious fairy Tri in a jail cell. The door is closed and the dungeon is dimly lit. Who is imprisoned: Zelda, Tri, or both of them? Where is this prison at? Why are they imprisoned?

While it’s entirely possible, it seems unlikely that Zelda herself is imprisoned within Hyrule Castle’s dungeon. Though this wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened, a few clips from the trailer show her interacting with the Royal Guard without issue.

Curiously enough, Zelda isn’t wearing her hood yet in this clip, but in a clip we’ll discuss later, she is shown wearing it in what appears to be the same area. Is it possible that Zelda is the one imprisoned, and the hood is meant to disguise her from Hyrule’s Royal Guard?

If the imprisoned isn’t Zelda, then that would mean Tri is the one behind bars, but for what crime? Perhaps Tri has some relation to the conflict and the rifts that are popping up around Hyrule. For now, we can only speculate.


What Is the Significance of “Stolen Away?”

The phrase “stolen away” appears twice during the presentation. First, the phrase is displayed on screen as the narrator repeats the phrase with little context. The second appearance is at the end, when Series Producer Eiji Aonuma throws the presentation back to Shinya Takahashi. He puts special emphasis on saying the moment was “stolen away.” So, what does it mean?

It could refer to Link being sucked into a rift along with other inhabitants of Hyrule, or maybe it refers to Zelda “stealing” items and enemies to replicate as Echoes. Maybe it’s something entirely different that is yet to be revealed. The fact that they put so much emphasis on this phrase means it has some importance to the plot, not just in meaning but in its wording as well. This is just another bread crumb to tease us as we learn more, little by little, over the coming months.


What Are the Spires Shown Scattered Around the Map?

A few moments from the trailer show little spires scattered across Hyrule. We first see one in the panning shot before the game’s title is displayed; it’s situated on a small island with a cave. We see a similar spire later in the trailer, but this one is emanating a yellow glow — or perhaps it’s inlaid with yellow stones. In this second appearance, we can also see the spire displayed on the mini map in the bottom-right corner of the screen. This object is seen on the mini map again when Zelda is scaling the wall to Gerudo Town.

Realistically, these are more than likely just fast-travel points, similar to weather vanes in A Link Between Worlds. The yellow glow would denote that a travel point is unlocked. However, what is the meaning behind their appearance? Their shape is certainly unique, but they are also covered in a geometric pattern that resembles those on the stone tablet from the video’s intro, as well as the pattern on the walls within that same room. Even if these are just fast-travel points, their appearance has some connection to that room from the intro. What is causing them to sprout up around Hyrule? What is their connection to the rifts?


Who Is the Mysterious Person Fighting the Royal Guard?

In another blink-and-you-miss-it moment, the Echoes of Wisdom trailer shows a mysterious person fighting Hyrule’s Royal Guard. They have an aged appearance, with gray hair tied up in a bun and blue earrings. A sharp eye will also notice that they wear a cape similar to the one Princess Zelda is seen wearing throughout the trailer, though theirs is distinctly marked with the Crest of the Sheikah. Given the supposed timeline of things, it seems that this mysterious stranger is the one who gives Zelda the cape and hood. That still begs the question, why would the Sheikah, guardians of the royal family of Hyrule, be fighting the Royal Guard?

The location in this clip is just as curious as the stranger in question. The pattern on the floor is identical to that of the jail cell that Zelda and Tri are shown in, and it appears to be storage beneath Hyrule Castle, as indicated by the Goddess Statue in the background. This is also the same area shown in the trailer where Zelda learns to make a table Echo. This suggests that Zelda and Tri meet in the dungeons of Hyrule Castle and the Sheikah come to rescue them for some reason. Why then would the Royal Guard be hostile towards their own princess? If it was just Tri imprisoned, couldn’t Zelda pardon them, or at least vouch for them to call off the guards? Do you think this Sheikah is rescuing both Zelda and Tri from prison?


Will There Be a Villain Other than Ganon?

Echoes of Wisdom‘s trailer opens with a clash between Ganon and Link. It isn’t unlike what we’ve seen before (aside from that awesome jumping spin-slash move that Link pulls off). Upon supposed defeat, Ganon begins to glow purple and a dark rift opens where his spear lays pierced in the ground. Although we don’t see it, it seems like Ganon joins Link inside the rift, as no one is there to stop Zelda’s escape from that dungeon. So, if Ganon is in the rift, will he be the only villain, or will there be others on the surface carrying out his will?

Given what we’ve already discussed in relation to the mysterious Sheikah, it seems likely that another villain is working on the surface, perhaps even within the walls of Hyrule Castle. It appears that someone or something has implicated either Zelda or Tri as being responsible for the rifts. Does this mean that someone else is pulling the strings, manipulating and deceiving Hyrule? Ganondorf has done just that before; but with Ganon supposedly in the rift, who’s doing it? Could it be Ganon or is it someone new?

That’s what we’ve been able to dissect from the Echoes of Wisdom trailer thus far. There are a ton of details packed in here and even more room for speculation; so if we missed anything, let us know! Over the next few months, it will be exciting to see what new details emerge before we are finally able to dive into this new Zelda adventure for ourselves.

The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom will release on September 26th, 2024. You can also pick up a special edition Zelda-themed Nintendo Switch Lite on the same date.

Now tell us what you think. Is there any hidden nugget in the Echoes of Wisdom trailer that caught your eye? Why is the mysterious Sheikah fighting the Royal Guard? What other items would you like to see Zelda use besides the Tri Rod? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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