The act of finishing a video game as quickly as possible, or speedrunning, is an iterative process that evolves quickly with the contributions of a large community. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has seen numerous updates to its speedrunning strategies in just two years, and the latest technique has the potential to be a massive step forward for players that gotta go fast.
Until now, Breath of the Wild speedrunning has revolved around two techniques: stasis launching and bullet time bounces, both of which utilize careful movement and physics manipulation to send Link soaring through the sky. The one drawback to these tools, however, is that their specific setups rely on using objects and enemies in the game world that, at times, don’t always cooperate like they should.
A new technique known as “bomb impact launches” opens up additional possibilities for speedy travel. According to Breath of the Wild speedrunner Zant, bomb impact launches were first demonstrated by Twitter user Satougashi020, whose original video showed the technique being used to launch Link into the air and quickly finish a shrine on September 5. After some experimentation, the speedrunning community realized that this trick could be used outside of shrines as well, giving them a powerful new tool to traverse the game’s huge open world.
“Up until this point in Breath of the Wild speedrunning, Link essentially had to rely on third parties to launch him around the world,” Zant explained in his own video. Stasis launching requires that Link find a nearby object, while bullet time bouncing required an enemy character. “But now that Link can simply pull out two bombs and fly across the map, we can take more direct routes than ever before between objectives,” he added.
The most consistent way to perform bomb impact launches is known as the “double backflip method.” First, the player needs to find something a little taller than Link that he can jump off in order to activate the slowdown that occurs when he pulls out his bow in midair. After lining up with the object and doing two backflips for consistent spacing, players then place a square bomb on the ground in front of Link.
Then, while still aiming, players need to walk forward and climb onto the item from which they plan to jump, with the square bomb situated behind them. After backflipping off this object and entering bullet time, players then need to drop a round bomb, timing it precisely so that it drops when the stamina bar is one-third empty.
At this point, quickly swapping to and detonating the square bomb will launch the round bomb, which will be sped up thanks to bullet time manipulation. If everything is done correctly, Link will be shot into the air by the round bomb, allowing him to glide to his next objective.
While bomb impact launches don’t travel the same distance as other tricks, they are much more convenient than both stasis launches and bullet time bounces because Link always has his bombs available for use. Speedrunners that skip directly to Hyrule Castle will likely stick with old techniques for their routes, but there’s definitely a place for bomb impact launches in runs that hit every main quest or complete all the dungeons. Further experimentation by the speedrunning community is sure to come up with tons of uses for this powerful trick.
“I seriously cannot understate the versatility of this trick,” Zant said. “We have more routing freedom than ever with this game, and I seriously can’t wait to see where it goes with speedrunning in the next year or so.”