Twitch streamer and YouTuber Simply has attempted the unthinkable: Giving himself just 12 hours, he set out to learn the very tricky speedrun for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and to successfully complete one in as fast a time as possible. The speedrunning challenge was insane, full of death and glitches to make for a hilariously entertaining watch even if the feat wasn’t exactly accomplished as intended.
BotW speedruns are absolutely cracked. According to Speedrun.com, a site that tracks speedruns for various games, the fastest time for Nintendo’s 2017 smash hit was set earlier this month and currently sits at just shy of 24 minutes by noted BotW speedrunner Player 5. This was for the any percent challenge, a feat in which a player strives to roll the credits as quickly as possible without caring to complete all of the main quests or side activities. There are other speedrunning categories that add extra stipulations to up the ante, such as hitting all the dungeons or shrines, but sometimes you just want vanilla, you know? (Unless you’re speedrunner Limcube, who recently collected all of the hoes scattered around Hyrule in under 30 minutes because he was simply bored and desperate.)
All this is to say that Simply, a speedrunner who’s run a few Super Mario 64 categories over the years, wanted to see if he could beat BotW as fast as possible, vanilla-style. In other words, he attempted an any percent run of Link’s latest adventure. However, to give that vanilla a little extra flavor like a French vanilla or vanilla bean, Simply added an additional challenge to the mix: achieve a solid time in the open-world action-adventure game as a total newcomer to the any percent category in 12 hours or less. The results were funny, and have now been edited into an entertaining half-hour video that really makes you feel Simply’s struggle.
In the April 18 YouTube video, Simply started by explaining how BotW any percent speedruns work. You start out by collecting Link’s rune abilities like magnesis and stasis from the four main shrines on The Great Plateau so you can snatch up the paraglider for aerial travels. From there, you book it to Hyrule Castle to clap the four Blight Ganons from existence before taking down the big bad himself, Calamity Ganon. Simply had to learn a plethora of glitches, from shield clips to get into shrines quicker to the BLSS technique to soar around The Great Plateau, to complete his timed challenge, all in an attempt to become “the best speedrunner ever.” But the learning was the hard part here.
Simply died a handful of times off the rip trying to skip the game’s intro section. However, using scope clip and whistle sprint—two glitches that lock the game into its day cycle and preserve Link’s stamina, respectively—he was able to leave the beginning shrine and skip the first cutscene. From there, Simply collected his first pieces of gear (after a few more deaths, of course) to continue breaking BotW with glitches. With the help of the aforementioned BLSS technique and shield clip glitch, alongside the wind bomb move that launches Link several feet into the air, Simply gathered all four rune abilities to then grab the paraglider from the Old Man (aka King Rhoam) at The Great Plateau Tower. This was already about three hours into his 12-hour challenge. So, he ran it back to see if he could do this sequence of events in under 35 minutes. The wind bomb move set him back quite a bit. So, too, did a death. Unfortunately, he didn’t finish this in under 35 minutes, but he was still making some good time. At just four hours into his 12-hour challenge, Simply had plenty of time to beat the game.
Limcube, the noted BotW speedrunner responsible for March’s all hoes challenge, sought to give Simply some pointers to finish his speedrun, which only gets more difficult as you fling yourself to Hyrule Castle and the fight against Calamity Ganon ahead. After collecting mushrooms to cook up some Mighty Mushroom Skewers, which buff Link’s attack damage for 13 minutes, Simply used the BLSS technique to infiltrate Hyrule Castle, avoiding all of the patrolling guardians in the area. He picked up some weapons with greater durability in the hopes of making the upcoming fights a little easier. Unfortunately, they weren’t easy enough, because despite the coaching he received from Limcube, including how to perform a glitch to easily kill Windblight Ganon, Simply died. A lot.
Now normally, casual players would have completed the four Divine Beast dungeons to knock Calamity Ganon down to half health. At this point, you’d also probably have more than three hearts so Link can survive more than a single hit during the final encounter. But Simply was learning the any percent route, which, in the interest of going fast, doesn’t do any of that. So not only did he have to fight all four Blight Ganons back-to-back but he also had to take down Calamity Ganon at full health, a tall order for even the most skilled BotW players. I’m sure you can guess what happened. If you can’t, let me just tell you then: Simply died. Over and over and over again, with each attempt being slightly better than the last. Simply completed the challenge, sure enough, but not in 12 hours or less like he had hoped. Instead, Simply’s final time to learn and successfully complete an any percent run was around 12 hours and 40 minutes. His total speedrun time? A little under five hours. Not the fastest BotW speedrun out there, but hey, at least he did it, and that’s likely faster than most of us could have, too.
Kotaku reached out to Simply for comment.
I love stuff like this. The determination it takes to push through despite the insurmountable, if self-imposed, challenge in front of you. It’s amazing to see, especially considering that Simply could’ve just quit the feat once the going got tough. But he didn’t. It’s a nice reminder that anything can be done if you try hard enough…and have a little bit of coaching from a speedrunning master.