Breath of the Wild Fan Animation

Breath of the Wild is an incredible flagship game for the Nintendo Switch, and some fans have responded with this amazing fan animation. Youyang Kong (with help from Qianya Yin) have created an animation about a key enemy encounter in the game. Technology and nature have a key relationship in the game, as mentioned in Eurogamer:

Here’s what happens. Link’s big gadget in the game is the Sheikah Slate, a kind of ancient iPad that does various useful things over the course of an adventure that I am still nowhere near completing. To unlock a tower, Link must first work out a way to climb it, and then, once at the top, must essentially download the tower’s information, by putting the slate into a raised platform that sits below a stalactite. The slate always makes the sound of rock on rock when it is docked, which is weird enough in itself because it has a glossy screen and all that Apple jazz. Then this strange and fascinating animation kicks off. Music starts to build and the stalactite starts to flicker with what is unmistakably code, racing down over its surface. Because this is a stalactite, a drop of glowing dew starts to form at the very tip, and there is an overwhelming sense that this dew is made of the scrolling code, and is filled with it, in fact. Eventually, the dew falls from the stalactite and splashes onto the face of the slate. Packages have been delivered, or whatever the technical term is. It’s a wonderful moment in its very refusal to become a metaphor. Instead, in this world, and quite plainly stated, digital technology is also the stuff of geology, of elements, of nature itself.

A big part of the reason that this strikes me as being so fascinating, I think, is because it lays bare a truth about the game that is easy to see but hard to believe. It essentially unsuspends a central disbelief that most fantasy games rely upon. Zelda games have often brushed up against technology – I’m thinking, for example, of the camera from The Wind Waker, which in my memory at least is a wonderful brass and wood confection straight out of the world of Fox Talbot. (And Tom Phillips has just reminded me of the Ancient Robots from Skyward Sword.) But Breath of the Wild is the first Zelda, as far as I can remember, to concern itself with digital technology. Sure, there were those Daft Punk rift-beings who fizzed and popped across the screen in some of Twilight Princess’s colder moments, but they felt like an incursion from outside of Hyrule. (I can’t remember how the plot actually tied up, come to think of it. Maybe they weren’t from outside at all.)

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