the artistry and psychology of gaming


A Closer Look at the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Box Art

A Closer Look at the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Box Art

On August 29, Nintendo released a press release on Business Wire that featured among other details such as the bundle with the previously announced gold controller, and the inclusion of a CD featuring selections from the Zelda 25th anniversary concert series, a glimpse of what may in fact be The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword official box art. Whether or not the image released is the final version is yet to be confirmed, however if this box art is any indication of the game’s quality, I think we have a lot to be excited about, as the details of this cover image are steeped in known symbolism and meaning for the series.

Coming in November 2011

First off, we see Link front and center, with the mysterious spirit (named Phi) in the background, her face standing behind the Master Sword Link is holding. Speculation since 2009 has been that the spirit is in fact the Master Sword ever since the game’s initial concept art was shown due to her similar appearance to the hilt, and it’s nice to see the concept well integrated into this artwork.

Moving next to the title itself, it seems that the Hylian Crest (not to be confused with the Royal Family Crest which substitutes the bird’s head for the triforce) has remained on as part of the game’s logo. This symbol can be traced to as far back as A Link to the Past, although more people may recognize it’s current design for its appearances on the Hylian Shield. With what we know about the game’s setting and the appearance of the birds in the game’s trailer, we may in fact get to see the origins of this symbol after all these years.

What I’m more excited about, however, are the symbols that appear in the background. To the left and right of Link (and behind Phi’s head) we have the identified symbols of the three goddesses (Nayru on the left, Farore on the right, and Din would be on top), that first appeared in Wind Waker on the three pearls collected by Link. Better still, within the inner level of the circle, we can see the Hylian alphabet first introduced in Twilight Princess (offering us a direct Hylian to English cypher, as opposed to previous game writing which require Japanese translations), which when properly translated reads “Wisdom,” “Neyru” (close enough), “Power”, and “Din” from left to right. Letters for “Farore” and “Courage” would have appeared behind where Link is standing.

This attention to existing mythology and symbolism within the Zelda universe demonstrated on the cover certainly has me very excited about what will be found within the game itself. The Zelda series has been known for its self references given within each of the games, and with this game supposedly occurring prior to Ocarina of Time (a game which has functioned more or less as the series’ anchor with regards to storytelling), Skyward Sword is shaping up to be something to really look forward to.





  1. Hmmmm……. there used to be a saying about judging a book by its cover.

  2. …and there’s also a saying about giving credit where credit is due. A good deal of thought went into this image, so I think it should be appreciated.

  3. It almost looks like music notes in between the symbols for the goddesses.

  4. To counter Nazifpour’s point further, “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quack’s like a duck, it’s probably a duck”. No disrespect, but generalistic proverbs make a poor base for serious analytic assumptions.

    Also, I’d like to note as far as I’m aware Oracle of Ages was the first Zelda title to use the above Goddess symbols, in that case to represent the three songs learnt on the pivotal Harp of Ages. Jeremy’s observations on the music note-esque glyphs may have something to do with this.

  5. You’re correct, Oracle of Ages was their first appearance, and they’ve also since appeared as on the different spirit gems in Phantom Hourglass.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *