One of the most elusive tricks in all of speedrunning has finally been discovered.
The speedrunning community is constantly at work trying to discover new glitches and tricks to save time on just about any game that you can think of. Arguably the most famous trick is what’s known as “barrier skip” in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. If you’ve never played The Wind Waker before, the final boss battle with Ganon is located in a section of Hyrule Castle that is shielded by a barrier. The only way to get through the barrier is to actually play through the later sections of the game as intended. Players have spent years trying to find a way to get around this barrier and have always failed… until about two days ago.
This is a huge deal in the speedrunning community. The barrier skip has basically become a fabled legend in the community because players have tried just about everything they can think of to make it happen and nothing has ever worked. It’s one of those things where the ending to the game is literally right there, just out of the player’s reach, taunting you. If this is a trick that could be discovered, it effectively cuts the length of the speedrun in half. The original Wind Waker started out as a well over four hour long speedrun and the HD Wind Waker had been cut down to less than four hours but that’s still a really long time. Now that the barrier skip has been replicated and is confirmed to be reliable, the community has been turned on its head.
Barrier skip finally being discovered in The Wind Waker is crazy. This is a trick that just about everyone accepted would never be discovered and now it exists. This is the kind of trick that completely shatters everything you know about the game. There’s no doubt that The Wind Waker will be making a return to a GDQ event soon and it’s gonna be crazy. It’ll be very interesting to see where the world record time for The Wind Waker drops down to over the course of the next week or so. It currently stands at 2:56:08 as of the time that I’m writing this blog.
Part of what makes the speedrunning community so great is that these runs are never dead. The biggest example is none other than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. For years, the any% category of Ocarina of Time was slowly being chipped down until Cosmo finally nailed the “perfect” run and the category was declared dead… until new glitches were discovered and recent runners have continued to knock the time down further. Ocarina of Time released in 1998 and new things are still being discovered in it in 2017. The speedrunning community is certainly a niche interest but there’s no denying the passion and commitment of its members.