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Legend of Zelda: BOTW is a masterclass in how to do soft-apocalypse right

A deep-dive analysis into what makes BOTW a great example of soft-apocalypse in gaming.

First define: what is soft-apocalypse and what does it look like in other games/films/literature.

Take a look at how the open-world exploration style and game mechanics allow you to explore a Hyrule 100 years post-apocalypse. Refer to in-game moments including NPC dialogue and side-quests. Analyse how the main story progression (from waking up as an amnesiac, to operating a faulty device that needs to be fixed, to surrounding ruins and inferences of lost technology/knowledge) may not necessarily give you a complete understanding of what happened in the past but all contribute to an overwhelming sense of LOSS. But it’s got the feel of a wound that has scabbed over, and new skin is beginning to form – the itch that fades and is slowly forgotten, until the memory of how you got it is no longer painful either.

  • I am a long time fan of the Zelda series and have written about it here previously. Overall, I think there is a lack of connection between the past and present that makes BOTW's narrative less engaging than a game like Ocarina of Time. The nature of the open world storytelling (the jumbled collection of memories) and the fact that the player does not get to really experience the past makes it hard to understand the loss. For me, the lack of connection to the past era lessens the impact of the story. – Sean Gadus 1 month ago
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