This is the first game in the franchise (not counting Zelda II: The Adventure of Link) in which original music composer Koji Kondo wasn't involved at all, to the point that his name is nowhere to be seen in the credits. While in recent years he had stopped composing for the most part (in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword he only made one track for each game), he was always present at least as a music supervisor. In Breath of the Wild, however, Kondo's role was fulfilled by Hajime Wakainote A Nintendo veteran who had worked on several previous Zelda games, while the actual composers were Manaka Kataokanote Who had already worked in Spirit Tracks, being this her second work in the franchise and her first as main composer and Yasuaki Iwatanote Who works in the franchise for the first time, but had worked in Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8.
Despite being the first of the Zelda games to have real Science Fiction elements with the hyper advanced Sheikah technology everywhere (other than a few one notes of aliens in Majora's Mask), it was originally intended to be much more futuristic based on concept art of things like UFOs. Link's ancient bike in the DLC was another product of this. This was likely due to Nintendo dividing their subsidiary Monolith Soft in half to assist work on this game, who are infamous for their Science Fantasy and After the End stories.
While this is technically not the first main line Zelda game to feature fully voiced dialogue (that was The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, even if only in the Japanese version), it is the first one to use it extensively, and in all the languages the game is localized into.
For the Latin American Spanish dub, this is the very first Nintendo game with a dub made in Mexico, as previous Nintendo games with Latin American voice acting were dubbed in Spanish-speaking voice acting studios in Los Angeles, CA (Star Fox 64 3D and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, the latter only had a partial dub for specific characters) and Argentina (Kirby's Epic Yarn) and also, from a technical point of view, the very first The Legend of Zelda title with Mexican voice acting at all since the animated TV series.
This is the first 3D Zelda game to feature Ganon as the main antagonist without portraying his human form Ganondorf, barring a brief Continuity Nod to it. This is also the first Zelda game where the final blow against him is dealt by Princess Zelda; while she had often helped out in previous battles against him, Link had always been the one who delivered the final blow to Ganon before now.
This is the first 3D Zelda game to lack the Hookshot/Clawshot and Magic Music.
This game is the first to include Sheikah other than Impa, and by extension the first to include male Sheikah.
Actor Allusion: Kate Higgins is most famous for playing Sakura Haruno, an energetic Ninja girl from Naruto. In Breath of the Wild, she plays a young Purah in the final flashback of "The Champions' Ballad", who is also an energetic girl of the ninja-like Sheikah.
Dueling Works: Both this game and Horizon Zero Dawn are open world games with the advertising focusing on an archer character fighting giant mechanical enemies, and their respective release dates were less than a week apart, leading to inevitable comparisons and arguments over whether one would eclipse the other. In the U.K., at least, Horizon had sold better but has not quite matched the high reviews of Breath of the Wild. In Japan, Breath of the Wild has beaten out sales of Horizon almost two to one, according to Famitsu.
Fake Brit: American Patricia Summersett voices Zelda with a British accent.
Zelda Souls took off among some communities after information from E3 2016 revealed the game's heavier focus on wanting to tell certain story elements through the environment. Also because dodging and parrying properly are the most effective way of taking down enemies, and how quickly weapons break.
Metal Gear Zelda: The Phantom Link due to the many similarities the game shares with the open-world nature of MGSV, primarily stealth-based ways to raid enemy camps, marking and tracking enemies on the map, and the Sheikah Slate filling many of the same functions as the iDroid. As well as a story of a man awakening from a coma after being attacked and losing many of their friends.
Yunobo, Teba, Riju, and Sidon are collectively known as the "Modern Champions" or the "New Champions" due to their roles in helping Link reach the respective Divine Beasts of their region.
Some circles of fans refer to Revali as "Ravioli".
Once you complete the Champions' Ballad, available through the second DLC, Link gets his own Divine Beast, a magitek motorcycle called the Master Cycle Zero. Also known as the Divine BeastVah Room. Others note how it sucks up materials to use as fuel, and have given it the name Vah Roomba.
The Ganondorf-esque figure shown underground in the sequel teaser has been dubbed "Dehydrated Ganondorf" by the fandom.
God Never Said That: Quite a few gaming news publications reported either that Eiji Aonuma and Nintendo planned for "The Champions' Ballad" to take place in the post-story period and would deal with Hyrule being rebuilt, or that it would take place in the past before the Great Calamity; in both cases, the publications assumed that this would require the DLC having its own separate save file from the main game. The DLC actually meshes with the main game, takes place in the present, only revisits the past through extra flashbacks, and leaves the ending of the main game the way it is. But while the Zelda team were pretty tight-lipped about the DLC up until its release, they never said anything about it being separate from the main game. Crucially, many of the news stories claiming that Aonuma/Nintendo said it would be post-Ganon story don't provide any direct quotes along those lines.
I Knew It!: During the E3 2016, Aonuma tried to create some mystery regarding the identity of the mysterious female voice that wakes up Link from his slumber. However, most fans assumed it was Zelda's voice, and there never was much of a discussion about it. This was finally confirmed with the Switch Presentation trailer.
Satori Mountain is named after late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. It's a peaceful place, full of useful plants, with very few (and very weak) enemies. Near the mountain's peak is a pond of clear water shaded by a cherry tree in full bloom - the only flowering tree in the game besides the Deku Tree - where a mysterious horse-shaped spirit called the Lord of the Mountain dwells. The Lord of the Mountain is said to be the reincarnation of a dead sage, and is also called Satori. The NPC who tells you about this, Botrick, bears a strong resemblance to Iwata. He's a traveling merchant who advises you to carry a weapon if you go alone.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: There are Limited and Master Editions of the game. The Limited Edition includes the game, a cloth map, soundtrack CD, collectible coin, and a Switch carrying case designed like the Sheikah Slate. The Master Edition includes all that and a statue of the Master Sword.
Milestone Celebration: The game was intended to be out in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the The Legend of Zelda series (1986-2016), but Schedule Slip pushed it out of that timeframe. However, it does line up with the series' 30th anniversary in western countries (1987-2017).
Role Reprisal: In the Japanese version, Yu Shimamura reprises her role of Zelda from the previous console game, Skyward Sword. And this time, she speaks fully instead of grunting sounds.
Schedule Slip: Like many other home console installments of the series, the game was delayed multiple times. Development started shortly after the completion of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and was eventually announced for a 2015 release during E3 2014. Then in early 2015, series producer Eiji Aonuma stated that they were pushing the release date to 2016 because the development team had come up with so many ideas that they needed more time to capitalize on them. A month before E3 2016, the game was pushed to 2017, with part of the reasoning being so that it could be released both for the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch. This was proven to be the case on January 12, 2017, with the release date for both the Switch and the game being March 3, 2017.
Shrug of God: Eiji Aonuma states in the art book The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Creating a Champion that they won't state which of the series timelines it falls under, as it was designed so it could fall under any of them.
We realised that people were enjoying imagining the story that emerged from the fragmental imagery we were providing. If we defined a restricted timeline, then there would be a definitive story, and it would eliminate the room for imagination, which wouldnt be as fun
We want players to be able to continue having fun imagining this world even after they are finished with the game, so, this time, we decided that we would avoid making clarifications. I hope that everyone can find their own answer, in their own way.
Talking to Himself: The English version has Joe Hernandez voicing Daruk and Yunobo, who greet each other after completing the Vah Rudania dungeon. Very fitting too, since these characters are related to each other as ancestor and descendant.
Throw It In!: A lot of debate went into the sound of the horn that enemies blow to alert others of Link's presence. In the end, they simply recorded the sound of a horn one of the developers happened to have at home.
The day the first trailer was revealed, Eiji Aonuma alluded that the character shown wasn't Link when he said "no one ever explicitly said that was [him]." This launched hours of speculation, from the character being a girl and/or somebody who idolized Link, or even a hero who stepped up when Link didn't appear in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker's backstory. The next day, Aonuma admitted that he was just joking and the person in the trailer really is Link.
For the longest time, Nintendo did not reveal the exact release date of the game. Come the January 12, 2017, Nintendo Switch event livestream, Nintendo ended the stream with a section on Zelda. It featured Reggie Fils-Aime in New York asking Shigeru Miyamoto about the game's release date, who then referred Reggie to Eiji Aonuma, who then referred him to Tatsumi Kimishima, Nintendo's president and the host of the Switch livestream. When the livestream switched back to the main event in Tokyo, it featured Kimishima behind a giant screen with "March 3, 2017", the release date for the Nintendo Switch. Yet even then, Kimishima made no mention of the release date. It was only after a new Zelda trailer was shown that the release date was revealed.
Aonuma repeatedly stated that Epona is in the game. She is... in the sense that you can name any horse you capture "Epona". The only way to get Epona proper into the game is by using the Super Smash Bros. Link amiibo, and she can only be ported in once per playthrough, meaning if you fail to register her, there's no getting her back without starting over.note It's possible for her to spawn again if she appears on the Great Plateau, but she's beholden to the same drop rate as always.
Many websites claim it is possible to fuse the Ceremonial and Lightscale trident together to create the Zora Trident, an unbreakable spear. While both the Ceremonial and Lightscale tridents can be repaired after breaking, and both require a Zora Spear to forge (which is probably where the confusion came from), the Zora Trident does not exist in the game.
A common claim is that the Hylian Shield is unbreakable. It's extremely durable, but it can break, though a replacement can be bought from Granté in Tarrey Town if that happens.
If you finish all 120 Shrines and pick up the four Heart Containers from defeating the Blight Ganons, you'll be three upgrades short of maxing both Hearts and Stamina. There have, therefore, been several claims about extra heart containers and stamina vessels at different places in the game, but those, too, have been debunked. "The Champions' Ballad" DLC does add four more shrines so players can get one more extension to their health or stamina, but it's not enough to get both stats maxed out at the same time.
Before Master Mode was released it was rumored that the mode would add Moldugas to snowy areas in addition to adding Lynels to the Great Plateau. While Master Mode does indeed have Lynels appear much earlier than in the normal mode, Moldugas are still only found in the desert.
A female Link option was considered, but ultimately dropped since the team felt that it would make much more sense if Zelda was the female protagonist option. However, that idea was also dropped both because they wanted to keep the focus on Link and couldn't think up a good story reason for his absence if Zelda was the PC.
As shown at the 2014 Game Awards, early versions of the game featured the Sailcloth from Skyward Sword as an item that Link could use to glide across the air. In later versions, the Sailcloth was replaced with the Paraglider.
In the same footage as above, HUD screen shows a green bar below the life gauge, which appears to be a magic meter.
One was called "Hyrule Wars from The Legend of Zelda". It depicted Link traveling in the middle of a battlefield during explosions. From the name, this suggests a war would have been present and Link would have entered areas where ongoing battles were occurring.
The other is "The Legend of Zelda: Invasion", which featured an alien invasion of Hyrule (unlike the sidequest from Majora's Mask, this would have formed the main premise of the game), a modern-day version of Link wearing a tracksuit and riding a motorcycle styled after Epona, or wearing a spacesuit and hanging out with a Metroid. Possibly the most surreal one is Ganondorf in a Metallica T-shirt. Funnily, Nintendo did add in an optional t-shirt with the Nintendo Switch logo on it that Link can wear in the game, but only if you bought the season pass, and as of the Champion's Ballad DLC Link has access to a Magitek motorcycle called the Master Cycle Zero. A short manga was featured showing what one of the aliens would look like.
One making-of video reveals that they at one point planned for a race of Lilliputians in the game, with Link even being able to shrink down to interact with them. Sound familiar? While the video does not say they planned on using the Minish specifically, footage from The Minish Cap plays while talking about this scrapped idea.
According to an interview with the director, a Hookshot and a Beetle from Skyward Sword were planned to be the runes for the game, along with the other four runes. In a later interview with Aonuma, he said the Hookshot specifically was cut due to the new climbing and paragliding mechanics making it largely superfluous.
The developers toyed with the idea of having treasure chests already opened and its contents looted for no reason other than for flavor to the game. It was scrapped due to concerns of confusing players into thinking the treasure was located somewhere else.
The developers considered letting players pet the Hylian Retrievers, something that was commonly requested after the game first came out. They figured that it would be an Underused Game Mechanic in a game that had the overarching design philosophy of "use a small number of mechanics for a large variety of tasks."
The Kokiri tribe would have made an appearance in the game along with having their own Champion (who would have used a whip as their main weapon), but they were eventually replaced by the Rito. This explains why the Divine Beast was named Medoh after the Kokiri Mido in Ocarina of Time, though in a bit of a Lucky Translation, it could also be extrapolated to refer to Medli from The Wind Waker.
The Zora race, at one point in development, resembled the classic enemy River Zoras more than the Sea Zoras introduced in Ocarina of Time. While the Zora in the final version of this game do have some more bestial attributes (the Shark Man motif, the Scary Teeth, Gill-man-esque claws on their fingers and toes), they still more closely resemble the Sea Zoras. Mipha in particular at one point had a strong resemblance to a lionfish and wore a dress.
The Guardian Stalker was intended from the beginning to be a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to the Octoroks as they appeared in the first game, with the Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed designs the Octoroks had being extrapolated to a monster that really was as massive as those appeared in that game. Early designs for the Guardians depicted them as organic creatures like the Octoroks, ranging from massive cephalopods and arthropods to various kinds of gruesome-looking Starfish Aliens. The team eventually decided that having enormous and alien-looking organisms wandering all across Hyrule would have been a bit too gross, so they instead went with the intimidating but less gross MagitekStarfish Robots of the final game.
The "Creating a Champion" artbook depicts concept of Link with two people who are presumably his father and little sister (both are unnamed so it isn't known if the little girl is supposed to be a reimagining of Aryll). It's possible they were meant to appear in the game, though whether in flashbacks, or if it was before the game's premise was final, isn't known. In the final game, Link's father is very briefly mentioned but never shown.
By the developers' own admission, they actually had a lot of ideas for downloadable content, but the sheer amount of ideas led them to decide it was better to make a new game using the ideas instead. The sequel is at least partially made of these ideas as a result.