10 of BotW’s Best References to Classic Zeldas

The official re-encounter with Wind Waker and Link’s Awakening.

Time and time again, Breath of the Wild proves itself to be a truly extraordinary celebration of the Zelda games before it as well as a classic itself. Remembering its foundation of predecessors comes in hidden easter eggs in the names of lots of Hyrule’s locations, like Mikau Lake, Tal Tal Peak, and Mount Daphnes, and the core notes of location theme songs. Here are 10 of the best!

10. Rito Village’s Theme Song

If you listen very closely, Rito Village’s theme song is built off of Dragon Roost Island’s theme all the way back from 2003’s Wind Waker. This is a great reference: the Rito were first introduced living on this island, so continuing the tradition with Rito Village is literally music to our ears.

9. Zelda’s Lullaby

Another creative way to embed Zelda‘s most famous themes into BotW. Listen to the Hyrule Castle (Inside) theme and you will soon enough recognize Zelda’s Lullaby/Theme in its refrain. Featuring the princess’s signature song in a soft tone reminds us that Zelda is still that vulnerable, gentle guiding figure to Link who just so happens to be trapped by the malicious Ganon (seriously, again).

8. All the Link’s Awakening References

Keep in mind now that the Switch remake of Link’s Awakening was released in 2019, only two years after BotW, and was the last game from Nintendo before 2020’s Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. And which game filled up tons of names in BotW? You guessed it: Link’s Awakening. From Yarna Valley (Yarna Desert) to Tal Tal Peak (Tal Tal Mountain Range and Heights) to Ukuku Plains (Ukuku Prairie), BotW is packed full of Link’s Awakening promotion + nostalgia for lots of people’s favorite Zelda game.

7. The Guardians

This reference may be one of the best-hidden ones in all of BotW – only the eagle-eyed diehard Zelda superfans will notice it. Over time, it has been realized that Skyward Sword acted as the baseground for Breath of the Wild, and while it did have some control issues, you do have to admit that the first “Guardians” disguised under the names of Beamos and Sentrobe were introduced in 2011’s hit game. These futuristic laser beam-shooting enemies in SS’s Lanayru dungeons were certainly not put to waste. Instead, they were reinvented as glowing Sheikah machines with legs (eek, they can walk now?!).

6. The Three Dragons

Farosh, Dinraal, and Naydra, the official three dragons/deities of BotW’s Hyrule, of course derive their names from the three Golden Goddesses who created the land in Zelda lore. These are naturally Farore, Din, and Nayru, respectively. They also gave their names to the three central provinces of the land – Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru, on top of being the origins of the three dragons’ names.

5. The Springs of Hyrule

Continuing from the dragon theme, the three Springs of Hyrule also have a relation to Hyrule’s lore. The three Springs e represent each of the three parts of the Triforce. Again coming from Skyward Sword, Eldin has Power, Lanayru has Wisdom, and Faron has Courage (the three Sacred Flame quests). The Triforce’s elements correspond with the same regions in BotW – that simply cannot be a coincidence.

4. Paragliding

BotW’s paragliding is SO much more efficient than that strictly-only-downwards Sailcloth of Skyward Sword (again, SS mostly served as a foundation for BotW), but it still does come from that little shawl of Zelda’s that somehow turned into a usable paraglider. Link nevertheless finally became able to glide diagonally, being used as a travel tool rather than just something to give him a soft landing.

3. The Divine Beasts + Mt. Nabooru, Ruto Mountain, Darunia Lake

You couldn’t expect the Divine Beasts’ name references to be concealed for long when they were basically hiding in plain sight. Naboris is derived from Nabooru, the second-in-command of the Gerudo in OoT, Medoh comes from Medli, Dragon Roost’s humble servant in WW, Ruta comes from Princess Ruto, Link’s love interest and one of the Sages, and Rudania is an anagram of Darunia, the Gorons’ leader. If that was not enough emphasis on the forefathers of Hyrule’s races, Mount Nabooru, Ruto Mountain, and Darunia Lake are also named for you-know-who.

2. Koroks!

Koroks have stolen the stage as the adorable forest dwellers with their little tails following behind them. First introduced in Wind Waker (and unfortunately never seen again afterward until BotW), these adorable creatures inhabit Korok Forest with the Great Deku Tree once again. (Bonus: The WW Koroks’ leaf faces are reused, making up most of the new Korok population’s masks in BotW.)

1. The Expansion Pass Collectibles

With Zant and Midna’s Helmets, Majora’s Mask, Ravio’s Hood, and Tingle’s Set all available gear, the Expansion Pass collectibles are ultimately the best references to the classics. The majority of them even are imbued with special effects encouraging players to sport them as they explore Hyrule. One of the best and subtlest references lies within Ravio’s Hood: in A Link Between Worlds, Link can climb sideways and through walls in his paper doll form. Sideways climbing speed is increased while wearing the hood in BotW.

Another elusive reference is in the Island Lobster Shirt from Wind Waker: Link is cooled down in desert temperatures while wearing this in BotW, relating to the hot temperatures of Outset Island in WW. And Aryll, Link’s little sister in WW, commented multiple times about Link’s body temperature… WW fans will be heart warmed upon seeing Link don his blue seaside top once again fourteen years later.

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