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Another Wind Waker HD Glitch Is Rewriting The Rules For The Game's World Records

Screenshot: Nintendo (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker)

A trick that lets players finish the third dungeon without collecting the boss key in the Wii U remaster of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, is the latest in a slew of glitch discoveries that have made the game’s speedrunning scene one of the most exciting to follow. Though a new world record was just set in the game yesterday, the discovery of this new glitch means more are likely to follow soon.

The new time-saver was discovered by speedrunner LegendofLinkk and explained in a new video on YouTube by one of the game’s top record holders, Linkus7. Wind Waker is an adventure game where you explore dungeons and the open seas as the elf-eared hero Link. It came out for the GameCube in 2002 and was remastered for the Wii U in 2013. The new version contains speedrunning tricks and exploits not in the previous one. This latest maneuver, dubbed the “Forbidden Woods Boss Key Skip,” is one of them. It requires players go to the game’s third dungeon located in the Forbidden Woods, a small island full of overgrown vines and monsters where Link must journey to save a Korok (tiny tree spirit) that got lost there.

The glitch focuses on the wall to the left in the room directly preceding the dungeon’s boss. If the player uses another glitch to hit the wall at a very high speed, they can slip through it into an out of bounds area just on the other side. From there, it’s possible to jump and use your leaf parachute to sail to a second ledge closer to the boss room door, then jump to a spot that will trigger the loading animation for actually entering the room as if the player had used the required key.

You can’t normally just phase through whatever walls you want in the game. If you could, the art and excitement of speedrunning Wind Waker HD would be greatly diminished. Instead, according to Linkus7 what makes it possible to break through this particular barrier is how the game measures collision and the way being near water affects the speed at which Link can clip through walls.

Suffice it to say the game doesn’t always calculate where Link is in the world correctly. This makes it possible to break through various barriers in the game, but usually only if Link is going very fast. Item Sliding, a separate glitch that lets Link speed up exponentially by slightly reversing direction while in item aiming mode, is one way of doing that. Normally, even if Link gets through the wall, this glitch will cause him to fly too far because of his momentum, causing him to re-load back where he originally started. In this particular location, however, Linkus7 believes the existence of the water just below the wall, which normally breaks Link’s speed when he makes contact with it, is what makes it possible to glitch through the wall directly to the other side and then immediately stopping.

Gif: Linkus7 (YouTube)
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“When the water is so close to the platform you are clipping through, it clips you and also considers your collision to be in the water at the same time which creates a case where link clipped through the wall and loses his speed at the same time, causing him to just stand and land right outside of the wall Out of Bounds,” Linkus7 told Kotaku in an email. That’s his working theory for now, until he and others are able to explore it further and see if there are other areas of the game this logic can be applied to.

The consequences for world record attempts are huge too since it means speedrunners no longer have to travel all the way to the dungeon’s bottom floor where the boss key chest is. On Twitter, Linkus7 estimated it would shave up to three minutes off All Dungeons runs and close to a minute and 15 seconds off 100% runs. That’s an especially big deal for the game considering Linkus7 had just set a new world record time of 5:41:49 for the 100% category just hours before the new glitch was discovered. The previous record in that category, also held by Linkus7, was 5:44:58.

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Both of these developments come on the back of the 2019 Awesome Games Done Quick speedrunning marathon that wrapped up last Sunday. Linkus7’s on-air playthrough of Wind Waker HD was one of the highlights of the week, but was apparently just a warm-up for his subsequent breakthroughs (Linkus7 also came within a second of tying Ian_Miles29’s existing All Dungeons world record of 2:28:41 earlier in the week). Rather than rest after such a big week, the new boss key skip being in play means the grind for more records will continue to ramp up.

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Ethan Gach

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com