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Nintendo's Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 trailer has sparked some brilliant fan theories

You're playing as Zelda, Ganon, and Link with a robot arm!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 may still be some way off - it's now "aiming" for a 2022 launch - but Nintendo has given fans plenty to pick over in its E3 Direct trailer.

Now the dust has settled, some excellent fan theories have emerged about what's going on - especially regarding Link's seemingly-corrupted arm.

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In a thread on Twitter about Link's appendage, freelance writer and Eurogamer contributor Jordan Oloman highlighted how Link appears to lose his arm at the beginning of the trailer, before it appears to be restored with Sheikah technology.

Intriguingly, this ties into a concept cut from the original Breath of the Wild where an armless Link was infused with the power to turn his limb into various tools. Back in 2019, Polygon pondered whether this concept - shown in a GDC 2017 presentation on Breath of the Wild's development - might return in the sequel. That presentation is well worth a watch, by the way, and includes other cut concepts (like Link's motorcycle) which did later become a reality in DLC.

Concept art for the original Breath of the Wild.
BOTW2's Link seemingly uses an arm attachment to shoot fire.

Another big point of discussion is the difference in appearance between the two versions of Link shown in the new Breath of the Wild 2 trailer. When Link falls through the sky, his corrupted arm is clearly visible. Meanwhile, gameplay set on the surface of Hyrule shows the Breath of the Wild 1 Link in a more familiar blue tunic and hairstyle.

One theory is that these are different versions of Link, and that the one exploring Hyrule's sky islands is from a different time period - potentially even the era in which Skyward Sword, which also featured sky-based islands, is set.

Link's corrupted arm is clearly visible.

Another theory is that the Link we see on Hyrule's surface is actually a stand-in for Zelda, who we see falling towards the ground in the new trailer. Nintendo has mulled making Zelda playable in the past - though this would be a big first if so.

IGN's Justin Davis suggested Nintendo was "pulling a Metal Gear Solid 2" and noted that Zelda's lullaby plays at the end of the trailer.

Writing on Twitter, Kinda Funny's Barrett Courtney theorised that the falling Link we see could actually be an ancient pre-Skyward Sword version of Ganon, or rather Demise, and that Breath of the Wild 2 will be about breaking the cycle of evil which has played out for generations.

The fact Skyward Sword is being re-released this year, coupled with the clear nod to it in Breath of the Wild 2's trailer, may be no coincidence.

"I feel it in my bones - there's a reason they wanted Skyward to come to Switch before BOTW2," Courtney wrote. "[Zelda director] Fujibayashi wants to connect all three of his major games together and getting Skyward to Switch will give first timers the back story they need before BOTW2."

One final point of discussion is this big old skeleton. Some fans think this is the Ancient Hero from Twilight Princess (an undead version of a past Link, returned to offer the present hero a helping hand). Others think it is the skeleton of Ganon. Though if BOTW2 is a redemption story for Ganon, perhaps he was the Ancient Hero all along?

An ancient villain, or hero?

Perhaps some of this will be explained when we finally find out the game's title, which Nintendo's Bill Trinen told IGN this week was being kept under wraps as it was a spoiler.

"As for why we're holding back on the name, you'll just have to stay tuned because, obviously, Zelda names are kind of important," Trinen said. "Those subtitles... they start to give little bits of hints about maybe what's going to happen."