Monday, June 27, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: Hookshot?

E3 month is nearing its end and while there was no actual E3, most major video game publishers still gave a glimpse of what's coming from them in the next twelve months or so... Nintendo is one of the exceptions, however, and we may have to wait a little longer before we can see the sequel to Breath of the Wild in action, since the rumored Nintendo Direct for the end of this month turned out to be a Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase (see Twitter). We might even have to wait until after the release of Splatoon 3 on September 9th.

So, this leaves use with more time to speculate and talk about the new major installment in the Zelda series, before Nintendo finally raises the curtain. Its development had started as DLC for Breath of the Wild, where the ideas got so ambitious that Aonuma decided to make a new game instead, which simply takes place in the world of Breath of the Wild again. And with this approach it's likely that some ideas that never made the cut for Breath of the Wild will make it into the new game.

One of these ideas could literally go hand in hand with Link's new cursed arm, which is seemingly going to replace the Sheikah Slate for providing the main items. Those were Bombs, Magnesis, Cryonis, and Stasis. The latter may have been replaced with a time reversal ability, where you can send objects back on the path they came from.

And one of the other arm abilities could actually become the Hookshot, potentially even a Double Hookshot, but the single Hookshot feels more natural with Link having one of his arms corrupted, but not the other. Plus, he can just hold on to most surfaces anyway, where having two Clawshots, like in Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword, wouldn't be required.

The (Double) Hookshot was actually an item that made it into the early stages of development for Breath of the Wild, as Aonuma and Fujibayashi have explained in an interesting interview with IGN back in the day. They were ultimately against this addition, because it completely broke the climbing mechanic, which was an essential part of the game. Moving around like Spider-Man was just too overpowered.

However, the Hookshot had apparently its fans in the staff, who kept pushing the idea. And while it probably was a good decision by Fujibayashi to turn them down, the sequel changes things, because it has to evolve from Breath of the Wild to keep things interesting. Since they are re-using the same game world, they will have to give the player something to make traversing the same world one more time a fresh experience, not just by adding new things to find, but also by giving the players new ways of moving around. They've already did this with the Master Cycle Zero in the DLC, but the sequel will have to go one step further.

And this is where the Hookshot may come back into the game. Yes, it still would break the climbing, but do we really want to climb all those same mountains again? Part of the fun in Breath of the Wild was going up a mountain to see what's on the other side, but the players already know what's on the other side this time, where you might as well speed up the process with something fast and fun.

It would also be a very helpful tool for spelunking and exploring the sky islands, maybe even a necessity, because there is only so much you can do with climbing alone. You can't climb on the lower side of an overhanging rock for example and you certainly won't be able to climb up to some completely disconnected sky island...

On the other hand there is the new ability to morph through ceilings and that might be exactly what they are going for to give the player more mobility, without making the climbing almost obsolete. It aims directly at the surfaces that you can't normally attach to. So, the Hookshot still may be considered too overpowered for the sequel by the development staff, but it could potentially act as a late game reward this time, similar to the Master Cycle Zero. In any case, it would be fun if the we had the chance to experience this item for ourselves this time.

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