Long before the evil Ganondorf seized the Triforce of Power and threatened the kingdom of Hyrule with an age of darkness, there was another period of unrest. This time, the threat did not come from outside the country, but instead from within. Out of lust for the power of the gods, rumored to dwell within the kingdom, brother turned against brother, servants against their lords, and long and enduring alliances shattered to pieces. In the end, it took the efforts of a brave king of Hyrule to unify a people at war and restore peace and justice.
Ocarina of Time supposedly marked a period of “long peace” that began sometime after Link’s dying mother left him in the care of the Deku Tree. Since that “long peace” could not have been any more than ten years, certainly the periods of strife that preceded it must have been comparatively long, possibly spanning centuries. Should Skyward Sword fall during this era of war, what might this mean for its storyline?
As already pointed out, the prolonged wars that tore through the kingdom differed from the conflicts we’ve seen in previous games in one fundamental way: instead of monsters terrorizing the land, the people quarreled amongst themselves. While older Zelda games have occasionally set us against ordinary folk such as the Gorons in Twilight Princess and the soldiers in A Link to the Past, we’ve never had a non-demonic entity as the primary enemy. Already we’ve heard that Skyward Sword‘s surface world is a land ruled by evil forces. While this could mean that a typical demonic tyrant has taken over and enslaved the people, it could also just as well signify that greed rules the hearts of the people and drives them to war against one another.
Some have speculated that Nintendo might have been hesitant to show human-on-human combat in their action games in order to preserve the company’s family-friendly image, but with Teen-rated themes and elements becoming more and more frequent over the years it’s possible that the series might be ripe to pioneer the change with Skyward Sword.
But from what little we’ve seen so far of the gameplay, it’s pretty easy to tell that the game will still feature plenty of characters from the traditional cast of Zelda enemies and the same-old combat-exploration balance we’ve grown used to in prior entries, so the likelihood of an all-out battle appearing is pretty low. There’s still the possibility however that a dungeon or two might center around infiltrating a hostile camp made up of one of the normally-friendly folk like the Gorons or Zoras. Of course, we can expect the monsters in this game to connect in some way to the game’s primary conflict, so it’s still pretty likely that the antagonist will be a dark-magic-wielding maniac hell-bent on taking over.
Since Ocarina of Time released we’ve seen a couple of stories that speak of specific supernatural threats to the land in the “beginning” times, namely the shadow tribe of Twilight Princess and the Demon King Malladus from Spirit Tracks. The dark clan could be the instigators of the bloody quarrels, with the Demon King Malladus rising to power amidst the chaos and confusion. Neither of these stories ended with a hero coming to save the land, but it wouldn’t be the first time Nintendo’s written Link into an old series legend.
My personal bets? Nintendo’s definitely taken an interest in expanding the story of Ocarina of Time in its console adventures, so Skyward Sword will likely continue the trend in whatever ways possible, and that includes making reference to the wars among the people. If I had to guess which of the peoples of Hyrule we might have to fight, I’d obviously include the Gerudo (and probably the Gorons), but I think the bulk of the human opponents would be your average Hylians, willing to kill for the secrets of the Triforce. I can’t deny that I hope the ancestors of the Twili, as well as Malladus, make an appearance, but I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if Nintendo forsakes them for the more familiar Ganondorf.
No matter the case, after all the references Nintendo has made to these wars in other recent Zelda games, I can’t imagine them dropping the ball on such an important story in Hyrule’s history in Skyward Sword.
The Skyward Sword Speculation Series is a new regular column that will focus on speculated possibilities for Skyward Sword‘s gameplay and storyline. The idea came from a general speculation article we published in the wake of E3. While we try to make our guesses based on confirmed or suggested facts, bear in mind that they are still just that – guesses – and may or may not prove to be true, or even at all accurate.