17 Things You Might Not Know About Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Zelda: BOTW Secrets and Glitches
Image: Nintendo Life

Oh, you think you know everything about Zelda, do you? Name all six sages.

Juuuuust kidding, we’re no gate(of time)keepers here — but we do have a bunch of facts for you about Breath of the Wild, which is somehow a game that just keeps on giving. Not a week goes by without us learning something about Nintendo’s open-world take on the Zelda canon, whether it’s a new glitch to save time in speedruns or a secret chest hidden somewhere really obscure.

In preparation for 2023’s long-awaited sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, we’ve compiled just 17 of our favorite discoveries from Breath of the Wild — how many do you already know?

17 Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Secrets

You all know the classic Link-opening-a-chest animations, which are usually steeped in awe as the young man pushes open the lid and picks up the treasure inside, before showing it to the audience like a toddler with a toy. But Breath of the Wild allows the guy to be in a number of positions — crouching, sideways, naked — and each one of them gets its very own animation.

Sideways is probably the most common non-traditional opening, and it has Link kicking the chest to open it. Hey, as long as it works, pal. However, if Link is not wearing shoes, kicking the chest will hurt his toes. We could have told you that, stupid.

Likewise, if Link is crouching swear side-on to the chest, he’ll have to punch it to open it, which — again — hurts his hand. This is your hero? This guy???

There’s a late-game Ocarina of Time reference

Zelda's Lullaby in Hyrule Castle
Image: DaxelW

Make your way to Hyrule Castle and you’ll find this neat little reference to Ocarina of Time — the notes to Zelda’s Lullaby, laid out in a circle around the Triforce.

Making all those Tears of the Kingdom trailer breakdowns has conditioned us to get all speculative about what this means — why Zelda’s Lullaby instead of the more traditional Hyrulian Crest? What does it mean that this is found in the room where the final battle with Ganon begins? And why isn’t there an ocarina or any kind of musical instrument for Link to play in Breath of the Wild? Even Twilight Princess had playable grass!!

You can speedrun bread

It’s called Bread%, it was invented by a speedrunner called The Bread Pirate, and the current world record holder is Cephla, with a time of 16m 27s. The run involves you having to find the ingredients for bread, and then make bread. That’s it! No Ganon, very little Zelda, but who needs those when you have tasty bread?

The Zora are secretly musical

A lot of the names in the Zora Domain are derived from musical terminology. You’ve got Bazz, Trello, Keye, Cleff, and Laflat, among a bunch of other names that we couldn’t tie to anything musical, like, uh, “Fronk”.

There are also some references to Majora’s Mask, which has the storyline about the Indigo-Gos, a dead bass player, and tadpoles serving as musical notes. It turns out that the Japanese word for “tadpoles”, オタマジャクシ, is also the word for “musical note”, hence the musical theming for the Zora people — and there’s a bridge into the Zora Domain called Inogo Bridge, a reference to the Indigo – Gos.

But it goes deeper than that. The Zora Royal Family, from King Dorephan and Prince Sidon to the sadly-departed Mipha, have their own themes — and they’re even named after them. You’ve probably heard of solfège, even if you don’t know that it’s called that: It’s the do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do scale. You know, from The Sound of Music.

Sidon is si-do — Japanese solfège uses “si” rather than “ti” — and you can hear those notes in his theme. Same with Mipha, or mi-fa, and Dorephan, do-re-fa. It could even be argued that Zora is so-la in Japanese!

The Kakariko villagers are secretly fruits

Olkin grows pumpkins
Olkin, tending his namesakes — Image: Crocodile

It’s not as exciting or deep as the Zora naming convention, but many of the villagers in Kakariko Village are named after fruits. You have Cado for avocado, Nanna for banana, Koko for coconut, Mellie for melon, Steen for mangosteen, Paya for papaya, and Dorian for durian.

There are less obvious ones, too — Olkin is supposed to be a reference to pumpkins, and he’s called Tiron in French — short for potiron, the French word for pumpkin. Rola is named after a cherrola tomato, Lasli is named after raspberry, Trissa is a type of citrus, Ollie is olive, Cottla is apricot, and Claree is cranberry. A lot of these names are more obvious in French!

The Divine Beasts have an ancient secret

Wow Ruta the Elephant
Image: Zelda Wiki

Have you discovered the thread here? A lot of things in Breath of the Wild are named after other things! It makes sense for a game with so many things to name.

The Divine Beasts’ names are no exception to this rule:

  • Wow Medoh = Medli from Wind Waker, the Rito Sage of Earth
  • Van Rudania = Darunia from Ocarina of Time, the Goron Sage of Fire
  • Wow Naboris = Nabooru from Ocarina of Time, the Gerudo Sage of Spirit
  • Wow Ruth = Ruto from Ocarina of Time, the Zora Sage of Water

Never forget Tingle (and his bros)

Tingles
Image: Zelda Wiki

Okay, one last “did you know this thing is named after this thing” fact. You may have figured out that Tingel Island, in the Akkala Highlands, is named after everyone’s favorite spandex-wearing fairy, but did you notice that all the other islands are named after his brothers?

Tingle’s brothers were introduced in Wind Waker: Ankle, David Jr., and Knuckle are all dressed in different (but still skin-tight) outfits, and they reappear again in The Minish Cap, where they can help Link to get the Magical Boomerang.

Here are the island names — you can probably figure out which is which:

  • Tingel Island
  • Angel Island
  • David Island
  • Knuckle Island

The Bridge of Hylia wants you to look ugly

This is one secret that we actually discovered for ourselves — and that definitely wasn’t intentional!

Breath of the Wild’s art style toes the line between realism and cel-shaded, and you might not even realize that the way the characters look is thanks to a special rendering effect layered on top of the 3D models. That is, unless you go to a very specific spot on the Bridge of Hylia, where — for whatever reason — there’s a tiny corner that strips away the effect, and makes Link look… very flat. And shiny.

Modders have even managed to apply this shiny look to the whole game, which you can see right here!

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