Breath of the Wild’s prequel has time travel, here’s why it matters

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has a new eShop demo available for download, which gives…

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has a new eShop demo available for download, which gives players a taste of the upcoming hack-and-slash game. While much of the demo has you fighting through droves of Bokoblins, the opening of the demo teases some tantalizing possibilities for the entirety of the game.

In the initial cutscene, Age of Calamity starts up in the future, when Zelda stops Ganon from continuing his rampage on Hyrule. This is notable because technically, Age of Calamity is supposed to be a prequel.

But when Zelda’s power awakens during the cinematic, we see a mini guardian turn on and then suddenly hop into a portal. The portal takes the tyke to the past, where the events of Age of Calamity take place. Time travel is nothing new for the Zelda franchise — in Majora’s Mask, it’s a mechanic unto itself. But the reason this is a curious decision for Age of Calamity is that it means we can’t assume what will happen during the course of the game.

This entire time, fans have thought the prequel would inevitably end in tragedy. After all, in Breath of the Wild, the champions are long-dead. In Age of Calamity, the champions are all alive and gearing up to defend Hyrule from Ganon’s threat.

If time travel is on the table, the developers at Koei Tecmo don’t have to follow the events that lead into Breath of the Wild at all. They could, in fact, just open up a new timeline in which something else happens altogether. Already, by changing the myth tapestry we see at the start of Breath of the Wild, there’s speculation that Age of Calamity might introduce more champions — the original imagery only showed one champion per Divine Beast. Now there’s two! What does it mean? Will the champions win against Ganon this time? Nevermind, of course, that the mini guardian that puts everything into motion doesn’t even exist in Breath of the Wild.

What’s more, data miners who have perused through the game files have found icons belonging to a number of surprising (and spoilery) character inclusions. While these icons could mean anything and don’t necessarily imply we’ll be able to play as these figures, the combination of time travel and their apparent inclusion in the game means that anything is possible.

Buckle up. Age of Calamity, out on Nov. 20 for the Nintendo Switch, may be a ride.