[NOTE: There are spoilers afoot, albeit relatively minor ones that don't go into story specifics.]
The first rule of the Internet is, don't put something up on the Internet if you want that thing to remain a secret. But Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime probably had an inkling Zelda fans will jump on every scrap of information for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and tear it apart for juicy details about the game's setting and story.
That's how one Zelda fan, known as "Zeltik" in the community, analyzed a quick flash of a map that Fils-Aime showed off during Nintendo's Switch-centric Treehouse stream on January 13. The map, which comes with the Special and Master Editions of Breath of the Wild, is bordered by text written in the alphabet of Hyrule's mysterious Sheikah race.
These are no mere scrawls. In fact, they offer a brief summary of how Hyrule fell into ruin, and how the Sheikah fell out of favor with the peoples of Hyrule.
Zeltik and a dedicated team of Zelda fans translated the Sheikah's words to Japanese and then over to English. Here's what the text says:
"Hylians pass stories of a destined time long past, where multiple races lived and worked together in harmony. The Sheikah Tribe’s blue aura breathed through the land, and this mutual prosperity continued, until a cataclysmic disaster struck. The hero and the princess attempted in vain to seal the terror, which became known as the Calamity Ganon. Divine Beasts awoke from four directions, and deployed a mechanical army which made the king and his people fearful. They fractured Ganon’s power and sealed him… But the Sheikah were banished from the land ever since."
We may have already seen one of the "four divine beasts" referenced in the legend: The map Fils-Aime holds has four stylized animals in its corners, one of which appears to be a giant stone bird. Said bird has appeared in a couple of trailers for Breath of the Wild, including the latest one.
Zeltik put all their findings (plus some speculation) into a video. If you're restless for Breath of the Wild's release on March 3, consider it a fix.
("But where does this game fit into the Zelda timeline—")
Er, let's come back to that.
Got questions about Link's first adventure for the Nintendo Switch? We have answers. Check out all our guides, tips, and articles about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.