The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is a long game, mostly in part thanks to the ridiculous amount of sailing you have to do in the more aquatic outing for Link and Co. The game retains the core formula established in Ocarina of Time, forcing you to collect a couple of items while thinking you’re making progress, only to throw up a new wall in front of you. That wall, in this case, is a magical barrier in the dream-like Hyrule Castle, which prevents you from racing straight to the final Ganon fight. But it’s a barrier with no more power over speedrunners.
For over a decade, speedrunners have been searching for the holy grail of Wind Waker skips – the ability to phase through the barrier and circumvent more than half the game. The feat was actually achieved in the HD version of Wind Waker last year in August, but the runnerin question couldn’t replicate it. Neither could the rest of the community, but the idea had dug in deep. The skip was possible, the only thing to do now was figure out how.
Speedrunner Girtana1 blew the secret wide open on Twitch yesterday, performing the infamous skip while recording actions with an input mapper. The secret was out there, and runners from all over the world were replicating it to demolish previous records.
YouTuber Gymnast86 managed to shave off a massive 30 minutes from the best “All Dungeons” record – a category which has seen little to no improvement for years on end. He decided then to dive deep into how the skip works, which is pretty complex.
Firstly, you need to get the barrier to stop hurting Link, which is done by whipping out the Wind Waker on the last frame of invulnerability after Link is hurt. From there, an invisible barrier beyond the damage one is left. Players need to angle Link precisely and then perform an “item slide” – a move that can propel the green hero with immense speed to the right. It’s achieved with a series of complex inputs that are better explained in the video above. Succeed, and Link will shoot to the right and through the barrier, allowing you to chase down Ganon.
Of course, pulling that off is a feat on its own, but this is the breakthrough speedrunners have been dying to find. It’s still a mystery on the original Gamecube version of the game (so much so that some think it’s outright impossible), but it’s a testament to the reliance of the speedrunning community. Right now, many are looking for a skip just as powerful to break down running times on the latest Zelda adventure, Breath of the Wild.
Last Updated: April 12, 2017