Warning: Minor spoilers regarding the main game and the Captured Memories quest are discussed below.
The Champions’ Ballad DLC is almost upon us at this point, and after marathoning Super Mario Odyssey for the past month I know that, personally, I’m ready for a change of pace. The prospect of getting back into Hyrule with new content is an exciting one, and I have to keep reminding myself just how much fun I had playing through Breath of the Wild the first time around to pump myself up even more.
And for those of you who haven’t really kept up with the few details that have been released about Champions’ Ballad, it’s going to be unlike the first pack of DLC in that this one is absolutely story-based. So, even though the first DLC release was fun, if you were worried about this second one not adding much to the experience of the game, know that there’s a reason reconsider.
Champions’ Ballad promises to add more story to BotW that will give us more details and help us learn even more about our favorite royal, Princess Zelda. I could have told you from the get-go that my all time hope for this pack was that we’d actually get to play as Zelda herself, but unfortunately, that’s already been shut down by Aonuma in an interview about the expansion.
That being said, I still expect to uncover a lot about Zelda, particularly Zelda in this new Hyrule we’ve got to explore over the past year. This iteration of Zelda is unlike any we’ve seen before, and because she’s so unique I’m finding myself giddy with excitement for all the possibilities in the lore that we might get. My guess is that Champions’ Ballad is going to lean heavily on the optional Captured Memories quest that was part of the original game. In saying that, I’d recommend going back and completing that if you haven’t already; it’s 100% worth it — not just because I suspect it will play a bigger role later on, but the cutscenes and story revealed through it already are so rewarding and fun to see.
I’m not entirely sure how the new DLC could play off of this quest, but I can’t imagine they wouldn’t use all that rich story between the five Champions (including Link) and Zelda for nothing. However, I do want to clarify that, despite the use of the Captured Memories quest, it has been confirmed that none of Champions’ Ballad will be taking place in the past, prior to the main game’s end.
This is exciting to me, because it means we’ll get to see Princess Zelda in the aftermath of Ganon’s defeat. Without her powers being so direly needed at this point, will she still be able to access them? Or is she going to, once again, struggle to find her purpose now that Ganon is gone? How will the death of the four other Champions affect her, now that she really has time to sit and reflect on the weight of the situation? It’s questions like these that start coming to me once I remember that Zelda’s life for the past 100 years has simply been trying to keep Ganon at bay at Hyrule Castle.
If anything, I’m really looking forward to seeing more of a vulnerable, emotional, and personable Princess Zelda in the upcoming expansion. We can guess, almost with great certainty, that after Ganon’s defeat, Zelda is dealing with a lot of emotional weight, more so than Link. I can only hope that we get to explore more of Zelda in the present day through Champions’ Ballad, and that’s it’s not simply a history lesson on her and her family.
If you told me to have one hope about Champions’ Ballad that wasn’t playing as Zelda, I would have told you that I would love to play respective sections as Mipha, Daruk, Revali and Urbosa. I know that’s a little farfetched, but a boy can dream, right?
Obviously, these four are going to play a huge part in the new DLC, and I suspect that their importance may even eclipse Link’s in terms of this story. Their deaths are no doubt going to have an effect on Zelda and Link, and while I can’t say for certain that either of them will have survivor’s guilt, I can say that these four are going to play an important part.
My big question regarding the four Champions is whether or not we’re actually going to see them again. Now that they’re purpose has been fulfilled, will their spirits stick around in the Divine Beasts, or will they move on? An even greater question might be whether or not their spirits will have the ability to leave the Divine Beasts now that Ganon has fallen.
My go-to guess is that, no, the spirits aren’t going anywhere. I imagine that the Divine Beasts act as some sort of a resting ground for the Champions, and I can see the main plot of Champions’ Ballad revolving around Link and Zelda revisiting all four of the Divine Beasts, and then sent on some sort of quest or journey by each of the four Champions.
I even wonder if the only way to get through the end will be to combine the Champions’ powers with Zelda’s “newly” (I use that term lightly) acquired abilities. Maybe Zelda will be granted the Champions’ powers as well, allowing her and Link to use them in conjunction to cast even bigger, potentially even new spells.
Even though Aonuma has confirmed we’ll be learning more about Zelda in Champions’ Ballad, I’m hoping that we’ll learn a lot about the four, well, Champions as well, even if it’s just more focused on their personalities and interactions with each other, Link, and Zelda. These four characters are fascinating and are filled with so much potential that I’d love to see explored more. I don’t expect to get as much exposition on them as we do on Zelda by any means, but if the development team doesn’t take this opportunity to flesh out the four of them, I think it’d be a huge missed opportunity. For me personally, a lot of people I know regarded the Champions and their Divine Beasts as some of the most fun and interesting parts of the game, and I think a lot of fans would be disappointed if we didn’t see more than the bare minimum of Mipha, Daruk, Revali and Urbosa.
So, as you may know at this point, Link is still our one main playable character for Champions’ Ballad. While I’m a little disappointed they didn’t take this opportunity to really take a risk, I am excited that this does mean we get to see more of Link in this group of six, and how he fits into the equation as well.
I’ll be honest: I have a feeling that Link is going to take more of a backseat in Champions’ Ballad and we won’t learn nearly as much about him as the others, but on that same token we do have to remember that Link is still one of Zelda’s chosen Champions, and very well could be included in the titular “Champions’.” There is a very real possibility that we learn more about Link’s place in this world and this lore, as well as amongst the other Champions’, in this expansion. I can’t say I wouldn’t welcome this, either; in my eyes, the more story, the better.
One thing I would absolutely love to see happen with Link is the acquisition of his own power. Unlike the four other Champions, Link never saw his own powers and I think realizing what he’s capable of after the journey he’s taken would be a really interesting and fun-to-play concept.
Other than that, I can’t really say that I have a ton of expectations for Link in Champions’ Ballad. Like I said, I suspect that he’ll act as more of a window for the player to view the events of the DLC through, instead of as a huge participant.
Aside from the six main characters of the game, I do have some hopes for the rest of the BotW world that I’d love to see. While I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, I’d love to see more of the Zelda universe explored within Hyrule here. One thing I’m still so hung up on is the existence of the Koroks and the Rito, but alongside the Zora. That, along with King Rhoam’s striking resemblance to King Daphnes, still has me convinced that this game takes place after Wind Waker, but all of that is still technically speculation and not confirmed in any sense. I hope that the developers took the chance with this story-heavy DLC to really explore BotW’s place in the rest of the Zelda universe, rather than keeping it isolated within itself. Saying that, however, I also can see that aspect of the game being held off for a more focused DLC pack, which I wouldn’t be opposed to either.
I’m also hoping to see a little more explanation of the figure we see in the beginning of the game. If you don’t recall, I’m talking about the character with the fiery red hair and large, protruding nose in the Champions’ Tunic from the illustrations that play while Kass narrates the history in the very beginning.
Who is this mystery man in the Champions’ Tunic? Was he a Champion from a different era, or were the tunics and title inspired by him in the first place? His long, full red hair is alarmingly similar to Ganondorf’s appearance in Hyrule Warriors, but I wonder if he could maybe be King Rhoam or one of King Rhoam’s ancestors in his youth, before his hair turned white. Maybe Princess Zelda’s grandfather or great-grandfather inspired the concept of the Champions. In all honesty, this is a complete mystery to me, but seeing this figure wearing the defining article of clothing for the Champions really gets me thinking and I hope that Champions’ Ballad takes a chance to explore this.
I also wanted to take a hot second to speculate about the four new Champion amiibo and their potential use in-game. While they do already give you access to new helms, I can only imagine that a DLC pack whose title is centered around these characters will add a little bit of new functionality to them. If anything, it’d be a smart business decision to get more people interested in the figures. What that new functionality could be? I honestly have no clue. I don’t expect it to be anything hugely game-changing, but I would say it’s fair to expect some new uses for your recent purchases.
Overall, I don’t expect a lot of frills from Champions’ Ballad in the same way we got them with the first DLC pack. We may get a new set of armor or two and maybe a new weapon, but I suspect the meat of this pack will be much more substantial (though maybe not as tangible). Champions’ Ballad is going to be a great chance to really explore some more of these characters that we grew to love while playing through BotW the first time, and I know that I’m excited for all the potential that this new expansion opens up.
What are you hoping or expecting to see from Champions’ Ballad? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!Leave a Comment