Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-02-11 15:41 JST)
A couple of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild players have been getting attention online after sending Link to what looks to be outer space. Japanese player YukinoSan previously went to the outer space-like area (related article in Japanese), but this new method involves using tens of thousands of Bomb Arrows.
On January 22, speedrunner LegendofLinkk uploaded a video to Twitter where they used explosions to blast Link into outer space. After that, a Reddit user by the name of ThornyFox uploaded a video to the site on February 6 using the same method.
The technique involves slowly climbing upward off the reactions of a bunch of immediately exploding Bomb Arrows. At the end of the video, clouds stretch below Link as far as the eye can see. And above is what looks like the black void of space with the sun shining. And like a divider wedged between space and clouds is the beautiful, round, blue gradation of the horizon.
To understand what techniques were used to reach outer space, we spoke with YukinoSan directly. In order to blast yourself into outer space, you first need to prepare a whole lot of Bomb Arrows. LegendofLinkk used 50,000 and ThornyFox used 70,000. Holding this many of an item requires a glitch called Inventory Corruption which allows you to hold items way beyond the normal limit.
Next is making use of a glitch called Apparatus Storage which makes the game treat Link as if he’s on fire causing Bomb Arrows to immediately explode like they would in hot areas of the game. As you can see, it takes some preparation to pull off.
So why exactly does The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have outer space? To be frank, it’s probably a coincidence. A popular method for depicting sky in 3D games is what’s called a “Skybox.” Skyboxes are like big boxes or spheres that surround an entire area and have sky and cloud textures on them to make it look like there’s a sky above.
In most cases, it’s not obvious that there’s a skybox during normal gameplay, but depending on the game, the skybox texture can be a little rough or gaps and joints can become visible by using glitches to reach high areas. However, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn’t appear to use a skybox.
As far as I (the original author of this article) can tell, the developers haven’t said anything related to how they depicted the sky in the game, but in the below video from YukinoSan, you can see how detailed they are.
Reddit user BrainChild, who posts technical analyses of various Nintendo Switch games, has also provided an analysis of how the sky works in the game. According to their post on Reddit, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild creates clouds dynamically. And not only do they take in sunlight and cast shadows on the ground but are also affected by wind conditions.
The same thread also introduces what goes in to making the game’s beautiful sky. Basically, to capture the open-air feel, rather than use a skybox, the game simulates the real atmosphere. Likely as a result of this, if Link goes high enough into the air, we see a beautiful depiction of outer space. A wonderful view born from the developers’ attention to detail when simulating an atmosphere for the world.
Whether the developers intentionally designed this outer space for the game is unknown. The realistic look of earth and space could possibly be a byproduct of their detailed atmospheric simulation. But seeing and discovering these kinds of views not originally meant to be seen is part of the fun of gaming. And there’s no doubt this space journey is a result of the level of freedom and detail poured into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.