The citizens of Hyrule have changed a lot over the years. No longer the soulless automatons who mill about the same square foot of town spouting the same two lines over and over, the people in Breath of the Wild almost all feel like individuals. One of the most special characters is Brigo, a kind man who hangs out on Proxim Bridge, just Northeast of the plateau where Link begins his adventure. Like a typical video game NPC, Brigo has his own little circuit that he patrols each day -- but here that route has a real purpose: Saving lives.
If you hop up on the ledge of Proxim Bridge while Brigo is doing his rounds, he'll call out and plead with you to not waste your life.
Outside of a main story quest, it's very rare for a "small" NPC like Brigo to bring gameplay to a complete halt, but what he has to say is important. Yeah, if you did jump off the bridge you would have been fine (as long as you watched your stamina meter), but this guy probably doesn't suspect that he's dealing with a Champion of Hyrule.
Then Nintendo takes things one step further. Once you heed his call to step back from that ledge, my friend, Brigo continues to engage with the player.
Brigo seems to genuinely care about your welfare, to the point where he offers to hang out and just talk. You get the feeling that he's out there every morning, watching for anyone who might want to commit suicide rather than face another sunrise. It's a haunting thought made less bleak knowing that Link isn't the only hero out there making the world a better place.
If Brigo's story sounds like you've heard it before, that's because it resembles the actions of real-world people who spend their free time talking down jumpers. China's Nanjing Bridge has Chen Si, a man who has reportedly saved over 300 people from taking their own lives. And in San Francisco, a highway patrolman has also prevented hundreds of suicides; "The Guardian of Golden Gate Bridge" was born with a name that might sound familiar: Kevin Briggs. There's no telling for certain, but it certainly seems like "Brigo" was named after someone who shared his compassion for humanity.
I know this is all pretty heavy for the first entry, so let's talk about those stupid chickens.
We've all done it. Even if you know exactly what's going to occur, everyone does it at least once just to make sure it's still possible. In most Zelda games since the SNES, harassing and injuring Cuccos results in a swarm of angry birds assaulting Link, avenging and protecting their chicken brethren.
As you might expect, this tradition also made its way to Breath of the Wild.
But as videogamedunkey discovered, the uncompromising rage of sleighted poultry can actually be a tool as well as a lesson in karma. Should you happen to bring a Cucco into a field and an enemy should happen to strike it a few times, the wrath of the flock will pulverize the perpetrator -- even if it's say, a Moblin.
Though it's pretty incredible to finally see someone else on the recieving end of a Cuccocalypse, there are limits to its destructive power. In a series of rigorous and very scientific tests, I was unable to incite one such attack on one of Hyrule's fearsome Guardians. As it turns out, when you force a Cucco into the path of a fatal laser from a giant spiderbot, the Cucco gets mad at you. Go figure.
There are a little over half a dozen full-fledged towns in Breath of the Wild, but several stables help fill out the Hyrule landscape with friendly faces. In addition to registering horses, these fantasy pit stopsallow Link to rest, cook and destroy private property for personal gain.
Though the layout of is more or less the same wherever you go, each stable has their own NPCs, their own sidequests, and if you look closely on the interior walls, their own secret recipes.
The text isn't exactly legible, but that's okay, since the pictures are all we need. Judging from the poster above, if you gather rock salt, a sunshroom and some Hylian rice and cook them all together, you'll get Spicy Mushroom Rice Balls, which offers both a nice mid-level boost to cold resistance and the comforting illusion that you're eating something healthy.
Same goes for recipe posters featuring elixirs:
This one's pretty simple; all you need is a hightail lizard and a Bokogoblin horn and you're all set for a speed-boosting concoction. If you're around a stable and feel like experimenting with some new ingredients, these formulas can come in handy (especially if you're on Switch and can use the screenshot feature). Still doesn't make up for the inexplicable lack of a cookbook compendium, but we'll take what we can get.
Zelda characters have been plenty charming in the past, even lovable. But the folks in Breath of the Wild are the snappiest, most well-rounded NPCs the series has ever seen. This is in large part thanks to unusually sharp writing, but also because Nintendo prepared a multitude of dialogue options for many different situations. But if you want the most reliably amusing reactions from NPCs, you have to disrobe.
A lot of characters aren't fazed by a lithe, nippleless elfboy standing shirtless in front of them, but there are also plenty of those who have feelings about what they're seeing. Pictured above is Paya, the hopelessly anime "love interest" whose desire for Link only becomes even more overt when her crush is wearing less clothing than usual.
Then there's Hetsu, the forest spirit who's beyond thrilled to find a fellow near-nudist.
And we also have the construction foreman Bolson, whose questionable gay stereotyping is even more intense in this scene:
This is all very silly, but at the same time, it's kind of brilliant that the game is directly acknowledging the goofy way some players experience open-world games.
Unfortunately, not everyone is so entertained.
Point taken, Parcy. Point taken.