The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will never cease to amaze us. If we had already gotten used to seeing the Nintendo Switch hit make the news regularly in terms of discoveries of all kinds concerning its emerging gameplay, its speedrun scene is not left out. But as we began to feel the theoretical limits approaching, a new barrier was crossed, quite naturally asking the most legitimate question possible: How far can Breath of the Wild’s world speedrun record go?
When Breath of the Wild was finally unveiled in its full width (final title of the game, presentation of in-game gameplay…) at E3 2016, one of the biggest questions was some of Eiji Aonuma’s statements. Nine months before the release of the event title that would end the career of the Wii U and launch the success of the Switch, the famous Nintendo producer felt that the future episode of the license could be finished very quickly, since it was possible to go face Ganon directly once the prologue was over, without worrying about the main plot of the game:
Anyone can go straight to the end of the game without doing anything special. There are two possibilities. Either you are a very good player or you are a little crazy. But it is not impossible. I created the game as well. Maybe some fans will find this challenge fun.
– Eiji Aonuma, producer of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The rapid evolution of a hotly contested record
Breath of the Wild’s advanced speedrun techniques emerged very quickly. In the “any%” category, the one that interests us here (and which consists of finishing the game as quickly as possible without worrying about the percentage of completion) the first world record under the hour mark was reached on March 10, 2017, a week after its release, with a stopwatch of 58 minutes, sign gymnast86. A week later, the 50-minute mark was crossed, before clearly seeing the record drop below 40 minutes in April, then starting to stagnate somewhat: Was it really possible to achieve the unthinkable one day, namely the symbolic half hour? Time has shown it to be.
(thanks to Cloud2 for this recap video of the history of this world record)
Many techniques, each crazier than the next …
Obviously, if the Breath of the Wild speedrun world record has evolved so much, it is mainly because new techniques have constantly been discovered by the players in order to improve their performances, to “skipper” more and more. of sections of the game. The first of all, absolutely vital and not too difficult to master, was the “whistle sprint” (or “whistle run”) consisting of running while whistling Link’s mount in order to cancel the drop in the energy gauge normally caused by the running movement.
In another register, the use of amiibo, although contested by part of the community afterwards, also contributed to the evolution of the record. Then came the “stasis launch”, a technique as famous as it is difficult to perform, where Link freezes a removable or destructible element of the scenery (tree, rock, metal block …) to then propel it far away while climbing on it, in order to travel a great distance very quickly. The record then “stagnated” around 38 minutes.
… Until the determining “game changer”!
However, it was in 2018 that the most advanced techniques were born, like the one consisting in literally skipping the opening animation of a sanctuary (the Plateau du Prélude contains four that must be completed even in “any%”), before the glitch commonly known as “BTB” (for “Bullet Time Bounce”) was discovered in August 2018. This very complex technique consists, very roughly, of aiming at an enemy with a bow while dropping on it in slow motion, to bounce on it with the shield and to be propelled at very high speed in the air.
The Bullet Time Bounce technique was undoubtedly the last great discovery of this speedrun.
Credit: Zero_H3ro (Reddit)
Once this incredible technique has been assimilated by the players, its exploitation made it possible in particular to cross the plain of Hyrule at full speed by flying over it from the Temple of Time to the castle, for what no doubt remains the most impressive streak of any% speedrun from Breath of the Wild. Early 2019, RasenUrns (current world n ° 2 in “any%”) reached the first world record under half an hour, in 29mn46. In the process, a major update to the Switch version of the game drastically reduced its loading times, making it faster than the Wii U version which was hitherto preferred by gamers due to its slightly shorter loadings.
The constant search for near perfection
From there, the lap times continued to drop, until they seriously approached a new psychological milestone that was a priori unthinkable: Was Breath of the Wild’s speedrun going to drop under 25 minutes? Finally, at the end of October 2023, it is Player 5 who unhooked the moon by knocking down the long-awaited barrier with a significant margin of 4 seconds. Better yet, 2 days ago, it started 2023 with a further improvement of 3 seconds making profitable a change of strategy, aiming to pass first by the sanctuary of Ja’Bashif allowing to recover the module of the bombs. An admirable performance of 24mn53 which concretizes a little more almost 5 years of development one of the most fascinating speedruns in the business:
After such a performance, the question of the famous “last barrier”, dear to speedrunners and regardless of the game concerned, obviously arises, especially considering that the sum of the best segments of Player 5 would lead to a theoretical time of 24mn05.. In addition, by his admission, he is not particularly satisfied with the fact that ten seconds were lost to reach the castle. So, is it possible to see this record also significantly improved again, until crossing a new symbolic barrier? We are still 54 seconds from a hypothetical world record under 24 minutes, and it is certainly too early to think so. However, and as we have just seen, the discovery of new speedrun techniques is probably far from over regarding Breath of the Wild. One day, the best players in the world would find a way to “skip” some of the prerequisites to obtain the parasail, and / or to deprive themselves of certain powers of the Sheikah tablet, and all. would then be upset again …
Zelda: Breath of the Wild Walkthrough Summary