Most Tragic Backstory
This week marks the release of both Horizon Zero Dawn from Sony and Guerrilla Games, and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, from Nintendo. Despite being on different systems and having two different vibes, their release proximity have drawn plenty of comparisons between the two. But instead of comparing their mechanics or open worlds, let’s do it by their protagonists: Horizon’s Aloy and Wild’s Link. Oh, and Hanzo from Overwatch, just so we can declare this an Archer-Off!
If you’re afraid of having Horizon Zero Dawn or Breath of the Wild spoiled for you, don’t worry! This will just cover general story stuff revealed by the trailers.
As Oliver Queen and both Hawkeyes have shown us, in order to be a proficient archer, you need one hell of a sad backstory. Aloy’s is fairly simple: Horizon Zero Dawn is set 1,000 years into the future, where robotic animals have taken over the world and a small number of surviving humans are split up into tribes. She was born as an outcast shunned by her Nora tribe, never knowing her own mother. The game opens with little Aloy being derided by her tribe, and as a kid, no one would interact with her — unless it was to throw rocks at her.
In the Overwatch fiction, Hanzo Shimada has been groomed from childhood to be the leader of the Shimada clan following his father. The training turned him into a precise marksman, warrior, and strategist. If that sounds like a cushy gig, that’s because it was… until he was ordered to kill his younger brother Genji, the carefree black sheep of the family. Genji survived Hanzo’s attack, and became a cyborg ninja. Hanzo, thinking his brother died at his own hand, grew disillusioned with his family, abandoning them and traveling the world to restore his honor.
Then there’s Legend of Zelda’s Link, the only veteran of the trio. Link’s backstory is rather complicated, to a point. As the Hero of Time, he’s constantly in a cycle of timelines wherein he fights Ganon (or Ganondorf) and saves Princess Zelda along with the world. It can certainly get exhausting, especially when you consider the many friends that he’s lost in each adventure. As Breath of the Wild opens, he’s been in a century-long sleep with zero memory of what he last did, but he’s still got to stop Calamity Ganon from breaking free from his prison and destroying the world.
Yeah, Link being in the worst version of Groundhog Day is some dark stuff, sure, but he’s also dealt with similar stuff before. Hanzo, your life may suck, but you only had the change of heart after you thought you’d killed your brother, so that’s all on you. Plus, he’s actually still alive. Aloy doesn’t really have anyone, save for her guardian Rost, and even that relationship is strained thanks to her unending fascination with technology and the Nora tribe’s taboos against said tech. Being ostracized her whole life has defined her entire persona, and sets her off on her grand journey.