It’s been reported that the disguises worn by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Yiga Clan members aren’t random, but the members masquerading as other NPCs. As spotted by Destructoid and Eurogamer, a Reddit user and YouTuber has taken pictures in the game of Yiga members in disguise and painstakingly tracked down the NPCs whose identities they’ve stolen.
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all sorts of enemies stand in Link’s way. There are monsters such as the Chuchu and Octoroks and more intelligent foes like the Bokoblins and Moblins. But the most cunning of them all is likely the Yiga Clan, who use their ninja-like techniques to attack Link on his journey.
One thing that’s especially impressive about them is how they use disguises to try tricking the player. After an event triggers in Kakariko Village, members of the Yiga Clan appear across Hyrule dressed like regular travelers. They can be seen trying to lure in players, and if you carelessly speak to one, they’ll shed their disguise and attack.
There’s also a lot of variation between Yiga Clan disguises, with them taking on all sorts of looks to try drawing Link in. There’s probably no shortage of players who have approached an NPC thinking, “this person seems different from the Yiga I’ve encountered,” only for them to threaten your life and attack when you talk to them. And while it may seem like they have a variety of designs, it looks like they’re actually copies of other NPC models. Wolf Link, a YouTuber who makes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild content, has posted their finding to both YouTube and Reddit.
As Wolf Link pointed out in their findings, the models of the Yiga in disguise are actually one to one copies of regular NPCs. When loading save data or resting at a fire, the costumes of disguised Yiga Clan members will change. Wolf Link used this to take photos of the same Yiga member in different disguises and then went through the task of tracking down the NPC in Hyrule that matched each disguise. They took 14 pictures in total and were able to find an NPC that matched each one.
One example of an impersonated NPC is Rik, a traveler that wanders between Kakariko Village and the Wetland Stable. He’s a kind and calm man who seems worried about the state of affairs in the area. In Wolf Link’s images, we can see that one of the disguises looks just like Rik. However, the actual Rik has a sword and shield equipped while the Yiga imposter does not. I (the original author of this article) went to verify about the real and imposter Rik in the game for myself, and when I saw him, I wanted to tell him he’s a victim of identity theft and some guy that looked just like him attacked me.
Wolf Link went through and made images comparing their photos of each NPC and their imposter counterpart. By taking a look, we can see that not only do they copy the face and general appearance, but their clothes are completely copied from the NPCs as well. The Yiga Clan members tend to not have weapons equipped even if the actual NPC does, however. Perhaps it’s a part of their scheme to get Link to let his guard down.
In addition, it looks like Yiga members have preferences for what disguise they use based on the region they’re in, with some members also having preferences toward male or female disguises. Major NPCs are also not targeted for this identity theft, with only the travelers and merchants you exchange a few words with along your journey being copied. The Yiga also seem to never disguise themselves as children or elderly characters.
As an aside, disguised Yiga Clan members also tend to unnaturally try to get your attention, stand still, or appear in areas off the beaten path. Also, when you speak with an NPC, their name will appear above their head, so they may be a Yiga if a name doesn’t appear. Knowing this should help make identifying travelers and Yiga assassins a little easier.
The Yiga Clan doesn’t just use disguises, they completely steal peoples’ appearances. But now that we’re talking about it, I feel like I’ve talked to a traveler that I could have sworn I had seen somewhere before only for them to attack me. I thought maybe my imagination was playing tricks on me.
From a development perspective, it also makes sense from an efficiency standpoint to use the same NPC models of the travelers for Yiga disguises. There’s also logic behind disguising as someone Link might have already met to get him to let his guard down. Besides the characters Wolf Link pointed out, there are probably even more unsuspecting victims of identity theft by the Yiga Clan. When an acquaintance suspiciously calls out to you on your journey, will you ignore them or fight to snag some rupees and bananas?
Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-08-16 15:38 JST)