One of the coolest parts of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is how open it is. There isn’t anything like it in the rest of the series. It is so open, in fact, that after the introductory segments a player can choose to run straight for the final boss. They’ll have a rough time of it, but it’s an option on the table. Naturally, this has already led to some intense speedruns and competition for records. Unfortunately, the various systems in play in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have led to some controversy - amiibo controversy. Yeah.
When amiibo are used with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, players get all kinds of rewards and goodies. One of those goodies is Epona, the horse from long-standing series' lore. Epona is a solid horse and all, but what’s really interesting and meaningful here is all about the timing. Normally, it takes a little while to get a horse, one of the best sources of traversal in the whole game next to fast travel.
However, using the amiibo of Link riding on a horse instantly summons Epona as soon as you are able to use the amiibo feature. Speedrunner Venick409 says this can shave a whole 40 to 50 seconds off the total run. That seems insignificant, but as world records have already dropped to under an hour, every second counts.
Other non-game factors, such as the platform and spoken language used, can also shave time off runs. So the question becomes, are using these external factors to shave off time part of the game, or some form of cheating? Should having a device that costs extra but shaves off almost a minute be allowed by the governing bodies of videogame world records?
Considering how much money is steadily swimming around videogame speedrunning, even if most of that is streaming money, perhaps more discussion is in order. On the other hand, if there’s money at stake anyway, picking up an amiibo probably won’t break the bank.