With 2022 stretching out before us like a lazy cat on the keyboard of the universe, I began thinking about Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Which, in turn, led me to thinking about it’s unamed sequel slated to be released this year. But, most importantly, who will it’s villain be? This is all conjecture, since we haven’t heard much about the game itself, but maybe we can predict something. I mean, Zelda is a series about reincarnation and destined fights after all. So, here is a list of Breath of the Wild 2 potential villains, or villain concepts, from older Zelda titles that might fit the bill!
Other Worldly Villains: Yuga/Agahnim/Zant
Before we even start, I want to say, I don’t think it will be Zant. He’s a fan favourite for sure, but he ended up not even being the main villain in his own game, so I doubt they’ll bump him up to top billing in BotW 2. That being said, Zant, Agahnim and Yuga all have something in common. They each come from a dark version of Hyrule that Link gets to visit at some point. That might not sound like much, but stick with me here. One of the ways to make the game world of BotW feel fresh would be a visitable dark version, complete with new enemies and landmarks.
Now, I don’t think they’ll go this route. Nothing in the reveal trailer hints at a dark world, and the change of landscape seems to be more of a vertical nature than a dimensional one. Still, that doesn’t mean dark worlds won’t feature. I don’t believe they’ll be a central concept, and the villain probably won’t be associated with them, but there could be a few questlines that take you to a mirror reality. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of visiting twisted versions of reality in games, but as far as Breath of the Wild 2‘s main villain goes, I think we can cross these chaps out.
Villains of Influence: A Corrupted Triforce/Shadow Characters
This one, on the other hand, has a bit more going for it. Strangely for a Legend of Zelda game, the Triforce was nowhere to be seen in BotW. The release of a sequel might be just the thing Nintendo needs to cram that magic triangle into the world again. And, from the release trailer, there does seem to be the classic glowing red tendrils of Ganon’s corruption. Perhaps that residual evil found a way to corrupt the greatest power in Hyrule, in some attempt to reshape the world? And with the disappearance of Princess Zelda, we could see her return as some shadow version of herself.
But let’s think about this. I think the concept of a corrupted Triforce could work, in a Link’s Awakening sense of giving power to evil rather than being directly responsible. However, there would need to be another villain doing the corrupting. Someone or something would have to be the driving force behind it all so we can serve them some piping hot master sword justice before fixing everything. So, while a corrupted Triforce could definitely work as a plot point, or a new “Free the Divine Beasts” questline, I don’t think it would be the main villain of the game.
Dishonourable Villain Mentions
Majora is probably the most successful villain in Zelda history. And he would’ve gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that time travelling elf and his damn fairy! But, as a villain, we just don’t know that much about them. In game, the mask is stated to have been used by an evil tribe for hexing purposes. And in a side story of the Majora’s Mask manga by Akira Himekawa, Majora was a dragon-like creature that guarded a land devoid of time. They had a magic set of armour that could grant wishes, and after being convinced to grant their own wish for time to flow, Majora died and their armour was carved into the titular mask.
That is very cool, but as with the corrupted Triforce, I think it would be better as a side-quest. Maybe some wizard tries to ressurect Majora in a DLC or something, and you have to stop them. Then, if you win, you get a cool armour set that grants you a bonus of your choice, in reference to the wishing power. I think that would fit the character a lot better than a full-length game, but who knows? Breath of the Wild 2 could be about timeloops and nihilism, with the entire reveal trailer being another cruel trick of the universe. That might be fun!
Ok, look. I wasn’t even going to include Demise in this list initially, but there are signs. Skyward Sword, the game Demise was the main antagonist of, was added to the switch. If he were to return as a villain, players would have the opportunity to get his backstory. Also, in the reveal trailer, there seems to be a lot of floating structures, like in Skyward Sword. Finally, before he dies, Demise stated that his hate never perishes, but is simply reborn anew. Many people have taken this to mean that Demise’s curse is the reason for the existence of Ganon.
Let’s look a little deeper into this. During the Dark Beast Ganon fight in Breath of the Wild, Zelda mentions that Ganon is a pure embodiment of an ancient evil reborn time and time again. This could be an indirect reference to Demise, and a reason for him to eventually return to the series. However, I don’t think so. As a character, Demise works best as an ancient evil. A poison that made the world a little worse and necessitates chosen heroes. If he showed up in game, I can’t imagine him being anything more than “Ganon, but like, so much worse guys!”
Destined Villain: Ganon… Again!
We all saw this one coming. I said it before and I’ll say it as many times as you want, Zelda is a series about cycles. The great evil, Ganondorf, is reborn and the chosen heroes, Zelda and Link have to rise up and stop him. He is the ultimate villain of the series and the biggest contendor for Breath of the Wild 2‘s villain. Lots of fans seem to already have accepted this a true, so, rather than discussing whether or not this will happen, let’s instead take a look at how it could happen.
The classic way would be some sort of ressurection. Some remnants of the Yiga clan, or perhaps a sub-villain, could be gathering power to bring him back. I hope that isn’t the case though, since Zelda has done this to death. And I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of sick of villains bringing Ganon back because they don’t have the confidence to take over the world themselves. A far more interesting theory was suggested by Barret Courtney of Kinda Funny. They posit that BotW 2 will instead be about the fall of Ganondorf.
Courtney believes that the Link we see in the reveal trailer is actually Ganondorf himself, and the game will be about breaking the cycle Demise started by saving him from becoming the hateful pig-man we know today. I can definetly see where they’re coming from here. Breaking the cycle of good versus evil is more than enough scope for Breath of the Wild 2’s villain to cover! And, the prostetic arm/arm guard Link is using in place of his Sheika Slate looks earily similar to the armor of the Ganon blights.
A Villain No More?
I love this theory a lot! But, I have some problems with it. It would be a very cool concept for the game, but I don’t know if Nintendo will release a mainline Zelda title where you essentially play as a villain. It’s also difficult to imagine how they’d show us this evil, unless we take over as Ganon after he did some wicked deeds, and we need to fix his mistakes. That, or a moral choice system, something no game ever needs to do again, thank you very much!
Building off that, I also have a theory that the game will be about Ganondorf’s fall. However, instead of playing as Ganon, I think we’ll simply need to save him as Link. It makes sense that the journey Link and Zelda seem to be going on in the trailer is a search for some way to go back in time. Both of them have lost a lot of people, and changing the past seems like it would fix everything. Something would go wrong, as it always does with time travel, and they end up further in the past. We could see an ancient Hyrule, witness the corruption of Ganondorf and have to save him to prevent the Calamity!
There have been some rumours floating around that we’ll hear more about Breath of the Wild 2, and possibly its villain, some time in June. Until then, we’re free to speculate as much as we want! Do you think the final boss with be the spirits of all the Cuckoos we killed over the years? Maybe a brand new evil will surface, crushing our preconceived notions of Zelda sequels? Will it be Tingle? How on earth could we ever win against Tingle!? The possibilities are as endless as the wait for BotW 2 is starting to feel. Hopefully, we’ll get something in June, but till then, stay safe out there!