The best thing about the eternal Hyrule that we discover in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is not its genuine beauty, but how it opens its doors wide towards the essence of adventure. Acting as a blank canvas for the player while quenching their thirst for exploration and challenges; but also keeping countless secrets that ask to be solved at our own pace. One of them, by the way, is very present in the game, but to date it has remained subtly hidden: the mystery of the Zonnan tribe.
What remains of the once prosperous great kingdom of Hyrule was reduced to rubble and ruins, while the peoples who populated its meadows, forests, mountains, deserts, valleys, and lakes were left relatively isolated from one another. The origin of this debacle was the calamity known as Ganon. And yet, by the time the great crisis struck, the Zonnan had already disappeared. Even so, what is truly significant is that it is still possible to find in the game the remains of their civilization.
What were the Zonnan like? The most curious thing about the matter is that in Breath of the Wild we are given the opportunity to dress Link, the hero of Hyrule, as one of them. Although if you had not noticed until now it is also perfectly normal: instead of referring to this tribe by name, as it happens with the zora, gerudo, orni armor; By gathering the helmet, the bib and the zonnan pants, the outfit we wear is renamed barbarian armor. And, as we will see, it is not the only thing left of them in the game.
The best: there are already unmistakable signs that we will know a little more about the zonnan in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. New loose ends that lead to nothing or clues about the future of the saga? For now, in LifeExtra We are going to share everything we know about it. Being one more example that, even if we have covered every inch of the open world of Hyrule, in Breath of the Wild there are still stories that do not deserve to be forgotten or overlooked.
What do we know about the Zonnan Tribe?
Let’s start with the essential: in the kingdom of Hyrule of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild there are lots of civilizations, races and cultures. And not only that: as the game took shape, Nintendo had to discard many ideas, such as bringing back the Minish, the tiny beings we met in the superb The Minish Cap. Logically, its appearance was not an anecdotal matter, but rather would open new possibilities to the player.
There were times when we had ideas for certain characters, but decided not to use them as we got further into development. For example, we had the idea of including tiny people. Since this is a 3D game, we could have all these tiny little towns, and Link himself could shrink.
Although there were lots of discarded elements, including a biker Link with a passion for guitar or the arrival of extraterrestrial beings, the Zonnan legacy did end in the final version of Breath of The Wild. And best of all, it’s not exactly hidden, but perfectly in plain sight. Although, as happens in this adventure, you have to know how to pay attention to the details between trips.
It is highly likely that when traveling through the prairies of Hyrule you have come across huge pillars that stand out on the plains. After all, these are scattered throughout the kingdom. And not only that, as we approach the Farone Forest, just east of Lake Hylia and in the vicinity of the Fountain of Valor, just a little further south of it, you will find a lot of strange ruins. In essence, they are the remnants of the Zonnan civilization. So visible and, at the same time, so well hidden.
How do we know that these are Zonnan ruins if there are virtually no records of them in the game itself? All the official information comes from the same site: the book The Legend of Zelda: Creating a Hero, where this tribe is not only mentioned throughout several pages, but also confirmed the provenance of the barbarian armor.
Moreover, from the design of Link’s armor as in the pages of the book, the nature of this disappeared civilization is revealed to us: as explained in Creating a Hero, the zonnan were a wild tribe settled in Faronealthough the vestiges of this and others with very similar characteristics can be found throughout Hyrule.
We know that the Zonnan had a very special bond with nature, but they were also fully aware of the triforce’s balance of power. In fact, and very specifically, we know that their ruins have animal designs, but with a very specific pattern, so that they symbolically used dragons to reflect courage, owls for wisdom, and boars for power.
Regarding their customs, they are remembered with fear and are described as practitioners of a very powerful magic. What’s more, through its ruins he has reached more concrete conclusions, such as that they worshiped a water dragon (remember that those of Breath of the Wild are based on the elements of fire, ice and electricity), to which they even dedicated a sanctuary.
What’s more, its ruins and its towers are precisely the most enigmatic element of the zonnan. To what must be added their own markings in the form of a spiral.
The purpose for which the towers scattered throughout Hyrule were built is a mystery, but everything indicates -according to creating a hero– that were used in magical rituals. Which leads to the greatest mystery of the tribe: its disappearance. According to records, this happened thousands of years ago, suddenly vanishing. Perhaps the earth swallowed them. And perhaps, already in the field of speculation, they found a way to abandon it.
How the creators of The Legend of Zelda envisioned the Zonnans for Breath of The Wild
Why create a background for the zonnans if you’re not going to put it to any use in the end? In fact, not only is it documented, but there are bits of its history present and distributed in a not-so-arbitrary way in the game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Makoto Yokezu, the game’s senior art director explains the process:
Deep in the process of creating the villages and inhabitants of each region of Hyrule, we thought we could make the world more real by showing remains of a long-gone civilization. That’s why we added Zonnan relics across the realm.
In fact, and following the Japanese custom, the name zonnan itself is a play on words and at the same time a reference to this idea: “zonnan” comes from bornWhat does it mean “mystery” in Japanese. As a curiosity, in the United States and other countries this tribe was called “zonai”, always preserving the original meaning that its creators gave it.
And yet, from the beginning, he sought to reflect two things for the most observant players: his wild nature and his affinity for developing challenges. What’s more, not only do they have ties to the shrines, but the barbarian’s own armor is obtained by overcoming the shrines of Kahoi, Meirah and Zakkihwhich are at the heart of three labyrinths.
Labyrinths in which, in addition, it is possible to see clearly and in repeated sometimes the spiral symbol of the zonnan: a kind of spiral that, by the way, is shown in the advances of The Legend of Zelda: Tears on the Kingdom. Above all, in the enigmatic figure set in stone that presides over the game’s presentation trailer.
How Tears of the Kingdom will be the key to solving it
Although we cannot guarantee that the Zonnans will be present at The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdomsince the announcement of the game itself, many elements have appeared that are unequivocally related to the loose ends that Nintendo itself left regarding this mysterious tribe, as well as a possible answer to the reason for its sudden disappearance: everything indicates that their civilization rose to the skies.
So far it is mere speculation, but there is a precedent that has manifested itself in front of our noses recently: according to the chronology of the saga, more specifically in the prologue of The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, the protective goddess of the Triforce he lifted up a portion of the Earth itself and sent it up into the heavens.
However, the most curious thing does not come from what we already know, but from what we have been shown but not yet explained: Through the different Tears of the Kingdom previews we see Link with his tunic, a new shield and his appearance with which we met him in Breath of the Wild, but we can also see two new sets with an aesthetic much more similar to that of the barbarian’s armor.
The other very curious thing here is that when the hero wears these clothes, he never shows us his face, but his hairstyle, much longer and braided than that of the Link we know. is the same, or very similar, to the one shown on the Barbarian Helmet. Not to mention that the weapons he wields are far more savage than those of the Hylians and the strange marks on the arm and how similar they are to those of the armor pieces.
Although we have shared a lot of official information, everything related to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is, at the time of writing these lines, pure mystery and speculation. And yet, we draw two very clear conclusions between one thing and another: the barbarian’s armor is not the best nor the most powerful of Breath of the Wild, but it has an interesting unfinished story behind it. And the key to decrypt it will be in the next great adventure of the hero of Hyrule.