The new Legend of Zelda will be upon us in less than two months and one of the most intriguing aspects are the horses. Mounts have been part of The Legend of Zelda franchise ever since the series first went into 3D with Ocarina of Time and players were introduced to the faithful steed Epona that would become as iconic of a figure as the likes of Zelda and Ganon. Breath of the Wild marks the first time in the series that Link can ride a number of horses that aren’t Epona. Horses can be found in the wild and the player must sneak up on them in order to mount them. Once a horse is mounted it isn’t necessarily yours to control. It still has to be tamed which shown in the Treehouse event is done just by riding it for a while. The horse will move in directions on its own, but over time a pink visual effect will occur showing that the horse is being tamed and will start to move according to your command. The game also provides great convenience with them since you can have horses follow roads automatically allowing you take in the environment or concentrate on hitting a target in the distance with your bow.
Once a horse has been tamed it can be brought to a stable where it can be registered and named. Here you can view your horses’ stats. In Breath of the Wild horses stats consists of Stamina, Speed and Strength. No information has been revealed concerning these stats, but if I were to take a guess stamina likely infers how long the steed can run before getting tired, speed obviously referring to how fast it gallops, and strength I am not so sure about. Horses can cause damage to enemies when they collide with them and they can take damage as well and even die. Strength could determine how much damage they inflict when trampling an enemy and/or how much damage they can take. Horse collecting could be an engaging experience in Breath of the Wild given all the variables with horses. I can already see myself gathering horses of an array of colors and trying to hunt down the horse with the right temperament and stats. Horses aren’t just mounts, but characters themselves. Each horse has their own temperament which determines how easy he or she is to tame and this does impact stats as in the treehouse video it was stated that horses that are easier to tame will have lower stats and those that are harder will have higher stats.
Since horses are tamed and can be killed, it provides a sense of connection that you may not have felt with mounts in previous games. Imagine spending hours looking for that one perfect horse with all the right stats, taming it, naming it and traveling with it from dungeon to dungeon when you dismount momentarily and a herd of monsters ambush you, and before you could get back to your horse, an enemy hits it with a poisonous arrow killing it. Needless to say the emotions will kick in and I have no doubt that the moment that you get to mount Epona for the first time will be a memorable experience. As this is an open world game you will be spending a lot of time traveling so horses will be an important part of your experience and the implementation of them can determine your enjoyment of the game. Given what we see so far it looks like it will make the playthrough more than enjoyable.