The latest trick in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker speedrunning has the potential to do away with the game’s previously unskippable cutscenes entirely.
Much to the chagrin of speedrunners, Wind Waker has a few super-long cutscenes. Not Kojima long, mind, but long enough to be annoying if you’re repeatedly playing the game from start to finish, as speedrunners often do. This new discovery lets players bypass these forced intermissions, prominent speedrunner Linkus7 explained in his latest video, and has already resulted in a new world record for the 100% completion category.
Of course, it takes a bit of work. Speedrunners hoping to abuse this bug must be playing on a separate Pro Controller rather than the Wii U’s GamePad. This makes it so that pressing the options button on the GamePad brings up the pause screen as well as a menu that asks which controller they want to use.
When a player does this at the same time they enter a loading zone—it’s a tight window but, as Linkus7 demonstrated, setups have been found to make it easier—it puts players in a unique state where they are still in control of the options menu while the cutscene runs in the background. From there, it’s simply a matter of exiting to the main menu and jumping back into the game, which now believes the player has watched the cutscene and thus won’t play it when they return to the area.
After this trick and another involving item duplication were discovered earlier this week, Linkus7 immediately began implementing them in his Wind Waker speedruns. Yesterday, he achieved a new world record of 5:15:37 in the 100% category, beating the previous world record by more than a minute. As noted in his explanation video, he expects times to go even lower than that.
“I’m really, really excited about this,” Linkus7 said. “Honestly, we could probably be looking at close to a 10-minute time save [in the 100% category], so that sub-five [hour] grind might actually be real.”