The GDC 2011 trailer for Skyward Sword showed us many interesting things. We saw more areas and enemies, more examples of what the gameplay will be like, and we also saw the game’s unusual focus on technology. But it seems that among all the news, the “new” character of Skyward Sword is the most talked about. And rightfully so. Other than developer statements about the titular Skyward Sword and Skyloft, this character is the first thing we’ve seen of the game’s story other than vague quotes. Is this character an ally, an enemy? Is this a new design for a character we know already, or is this an entirely new face? And perhaps most importantly, what part will this character play in the game?
In this article I’m going to examine what I think to be the three most likely answers to these questions, some of which are currently popular theories regarding this character. So let’s start with the one I find to be the simplest explanation:
The new character is really just a new design for the Skyward Sword
Remember the old promotional artwork we were first shown for Skyward Sword, back when everyone was still calling it Zelda Wii? It was when we first saw the character who would was later identified as being a humanoid form that the Skyward Sword turns into (dubbed by fans as Zordiana, though this name hasn’t been confirmed). Well, I find it odd that no one brings up the “Skyward Sword” when talking about this new character.
I mean, let’s recap both characters’ features. Both have white hair and pale skin, though the hairstyle is slightly different. Both are feminine. Both wear a sort of mantle or cloak, although they differ in design and color. They seem to wear skintight clothing. And both have diamond-like patterns on their legs. Another interesting note is their similarities to Midna. Some have stated that the girl in the original artwork looks like Midna. Now we’ve seen that this new character uses a “light” version of Midna’s teleport.
Yes, there are differences between the two characters’ appearances, but I would strongly argue that there are far more similarities than differences. I will however take the time to address some of the problems with the comparison of these two characters…
First, the redesign. Despite similarities there are some drastic changes, among them a completely different face and type of expression. Is that really so surprising, though? The promotional artwork we saw before had an abstract style to its design, especially with the girl. In fact, the girl didn’t even have much of a face, indicating an unfinished character design. To go further, not only was this art clearly vague and conceptual, but it was in an entirely different artstyle than Skyward Sword. An overhaul to her character design isn’t too hard to believe. You can also bring up the fact that this character seems to pretty clearly be male, despite feminine traits, while the other design was clearly a girl. They wouldn’t change the gender of the character in the redesign, would they? To start, that’s not entirely unheard of, but more importantly there’s this quote:
Skyward Sword is not Princess Zelda – Aonuma, officialnintendomagazine.co.uk
As you can see, the Skyward Sword’s gender was never set in stone, and the idea of a “feminine” figure seems to pretty accurately describe this new character.
Second, some would say that this character looks “evil”. I would actually say he looks more cocky, bored, or perhaps just mean. These traits as well as the quality of looking “evil” were things that could easily be used to describe Midna, the helper for the last console title in the series. Both this character and the original Skyward Sword girl seem to be references to Midna, so that also isn’t too unusual. Could this mean that Nintendo intends to “bring Midna back” by creating a very similar character rather than breaking the story of Twilight Princess and actually having her return? Maybe. Or perhaps we’re just looking at a helper with a bad attitude, of which Midna was not the only one. There was also Tatl, Ezlo, and Tetra if you want to count her. Furthermore, just because the character is evil doesn’t mean it can’t be the essence of the Skyward Sword. Perhaps it is trapped, or perhaps you have mutual gain? Could this be the reason the Master Sword can defeat evil, by fighting it with more of the same? Or perhaps it becoming the Master Sword is merely it being purged of its evil influence. There are many possibilities.
The evil theory would seem to be supported by the fact that this character rests atop the boss and seems to activate the boss with its power. Perhaps, but we only see him sitting on it and teleporting away, not activating it or controlling it. Perhaps this is just an example of a Midna-like attitude, as the character interacts with Link prior to a boss battle. It’s also possible that this boss, who seems to be a mechanical statue, may be part of the dungeon where Link is to acquire the Skyward Sword in the first place, functioning as a test of sorts. This is somewhat less likely because of the dark clouds that seem to control the boss where the character originally sat, but again as described above, perhaps the Skyward Sword is possessed by an evil character.
Third, the little icon shown on the controls in the new trailer. It is a little head assigned to a button, just like Midna was assigned to a button and shown with a little head. This new head looks exactly like the Fairy Queen from The Wind Waker, a comparison commonly applied to the original appearance of the Skyward Sword. Since it still resembles that character’s hairstyle rather than the new one’s, some believe this disproves that possibility. Fair enough, but several things should be noted. That image is a tiny stylized head, not an accurate character design. In addition, we know the graphics of the game are not necessarily complete. And finally, we have only seen the new character from one angle. The point at the hair’s top may still be there, just not visible from what we’ve seen, and the new character has his hair swept to the side in the front like the Fairy Queen, unlike the original depiction of the Skyward Sword. So that little icon proves nothing.
Last of all some compare the new character’s appearance to the Gilded Sword, and this has some merit because they do seem to look exactly alike. However, the Gilded Sword was a completely unimportant blade forged by a blacksmith. The Kokiri Sword it was ultimately forged from could have more importance, but the Gilded Sword could not. There are timeline issues with this comparison as well, as the Gilded Sword was crafted in Majora’s Mask, while Skyward Sword takes place prior to Ocarina of Time. A DIFFERENT Gilded Sword could have been crafted, but that happening and even the importance of such a sword seem unlikely. Even if the character is not the spirit of the Gilded Sword, he still could be for another blade. This would imply that he is actually an evil version of the Master Sword, which to me sounds a lot like a fanfiction idea, though not impossible. If this is not true though, and the Skyward Sword and this new character share no other connection or relation, then I find it unlikely that two characters so similar-looking would be in the same game.
The new character is Vaati
Another theory proposed by fans is that this new character is actually a new look (or is that “old look”?) for Vaati. This is interesting, as Vaati had already been speculated to be the villain of the game, and even though this hasn’t been confirmed, it is still a somewhat popular idea, one that I have suggested as a possibility myself.
Like with the Skyward Sword, let’s note some similarities between Vaati and the newcomer. Like before, they share white hair and a pale skintone, with the hairstyle being similar though slightly different as before. They also both wear a kind of mantle or cloak and are both feminine. The new character seems to have purple eyeshadow, while Vaati has been shown with black marks beneath his eyes. Vaati also wears a belt, and while I can’t tell for certain, it seems like a belt may be present on the new character’s design as well, as indicated by an orange shape on what is visible of his waist. The new character also may have manipulated the statue with dark clouds, while Vaati has sometimes been associated with dark themes, such as his shadowy black eye form.
The similarities are not nearly as numerous, sadly, but they are still compelling. We have also seen an indication that Skyward Sword may contain some eye themes, which could indicate the presence of Vaati. Mainly the eyeball-adorned door, and the scorpion with eyes in its claws.
Vaati being the villain of this prequel game is also interesting because while Skyward Sword has now been suggested to be the first game on the timeline, in the past many considered this to be The Minish Cap, in which Vaati was also the villain.
Sadly this is all I can think of to support the Vaati theory, but we have yet to see much of this character so it’s still a possibility. The only major problem with the idea is that The Minish Cap may very well not be the first game on the timeline, as indicated by this quote:
-Eiji Aonuma, Nintendo Power
This tells us that Nintendo considered Ocarina of Time the oldest game on the timeline, not The Minish Cap or the Four Swords games (despite previous statements to the contrary), and now Skyward Sword will be considered the first. The Minish Cap would seem to show Vaati’s first appearance and origins, so unless something unpredictable is done, it would seem that Vaati’s appearance would not match up with the timeline.
The new character is a Dark Interloper
The Dark Interlopers were the Twili prior to their banishment to the Twilight Realm. In the midst of a war amongst the peoples of Hyrule, they attempted to seize control of the Sacred Realm and the Triforce, and for this they were punished by the Goddesses. This is the story told by Lanayru in Twilight Princess and it serves as the backstory of the Twili race. However, this is clearly an event that happened in Hyrule and it also took place a long time before the game. It is very likely that this war was the same as the war in which Hyrule was united prior to Ocarina of Time (called the Unifying War by the fans) due to the fact that Hyrule’s people themselves were the ones fighting, rather than Hyrule fighting another nation. This means that this event would fit in perfectly with the timeline placement of Skyward Sword as well as the theory that the game will show the forming of the Royal Family. Could the evil that grips the land below Skyloft be the war itself, or the Dark Interlopers?
It is important to remember that this character has displayed strong similarities to Midna and Zant, or at least the Twili, in that his teleport is identical. The fact that it is light makes sense, as the Dark Interlopers only actually became people of shadow after their banishment to the Twilight Realm, where they became the Twili. This is supported by statements in-game, and is also the only possible explanation for the Twili existing in the normal world in the past despite their weakness and incompatibility to light that was shown in Twilight Princess. This character also appears to be a sorcerer of some kind, indicating another similarity to the Dark Interlopers. He seems to be controlling that statue, drawing parallels between that scene and the scene in Twilight Princess in which Zant revives Stallord.
If the Dark Interlopers do appear in Skyward Sword, then it is unlikely that this character is actually the main villain. It is generally unlikely that the first character shown aside from Link and his partner would be the final enemy of the story, so it is likely that if this theory is true the character shown is merely one of the Dark Interlopers and not their leader.
It is also interesting to note that it being a Dark Interloper does not disprove either previous explanation for the character. If Vaati is the villain despite timeline complications, then he could end up as a Dark Interloper, particularly if they were made up out of more than one race. In addition, he could still be sealed within the Skyward Sword.
I have more to say about the Dark Interlopers in relation to Skyward Sword, and in turn, more to say about the new character as a Dark Interloper, but I will save that for my next article as it would greatly deviate from this topic.
These are the three possibilities for the character that I find most likely. Other theories have cropped up (and will likely continue to), and there’s always the possibility that this character is simply entirely new and unrelated to anything we’ve seen in the past. I am most inclined to say he is just the Skyward Sword, as this seems the most simple and most logical explanation, especially when you realize he has more visual similarities to that character than he does to Vaati or the Dark Interlopers. However, the Dark Interlopers theory is becoming more and more attractive to me as time goes on. Regardless of what I think, there are many possibilities so we will have to wait and see.