The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess got an HD facelift back in 2016, giving one of the most popular games in the franchise new life. Aside from being easier on the eyes, this HD remaster included a new texture that had Zelda theorists racking their brains for answers. What was once a murky carving with no distinguishable features was now a beautiful mural, and it seemed to depict incredibly important events. What unknown lore is etched into these stones? For years, no one could come up with an answer to this mystery.
The mystery of the lore-filled mural
While the original texture (directly above) was hard to make out, the HD version was completely revamped. The new mural features carvings of what appears to be Child Link with two adults. This group is seen interacting with a Goron who bears the complete Triforce, with a pair of Rito, and with an Ooca and a Zora. These events don’t seem to match any known event in Hylian history, and they seem almost impossible. For instance, Rito and Zora had never been seen together at the time of Twilight Princess HD’s release. That’s because the former evolved from the latter, according to Wind Waker. They would both later appear in Breath of the Wild in 2017, but that game is set over 10,000 years in the future, and no explanation is given for their co-existence. As such, many hoped this mural could shed some light on the whole situation.
However, the truth is a bit more… personal than that. Development on Twilight Princess HD was handled not by Nintendo, but by third-party developer Tantalus Media. More specifically, new textures were added by a developer named Jack Kirby Crosby. This was discovered quite some time ago when eagle-eyed fans translated a Hylian inscription (which didn’t exist in the original release of the game) and found that it read “Jack Kirby Crosby made this.” It seems Mr. Crosby couldn’t resist sneaking this Easter Egg in, but it wasn’t his only new contribution.
Twilight Princess HD dev speaks up
Redditor u/Evand0 reached out to Crosby and confirmed that he was also responsible for the mysterious mural. Crosby explained that the original texture was based on an image of some Roman ruins. When Twilight Princess first released, this texture was low-res enough that it didn’t draw much attention, but it had to be replaced for the HD remake. Nintendo tapped Crosby for the job.
The mural in castle town was basically after I spent like a week re-texturing the inside of a shop with lots of reliefs in it using a similar method. – and I think someone higher up at Nintendo had seen it and said re do some of the reliefs in castle town in a similar style. Which is why all the columns looks different.
Crosby turned to a Zelda art book for inspiration, and the result is the ornate and seemingly plot-relevant carving we see today in the HD version. However, this was done without any story direction from Nintendo itself. In other words, whatever lore implications the mural has are the product of Crosby’s mind, and not an intentional, “canon” inclusion by Nintendo.
While designing the mural, Crosby says that he “did kind of imagine a story that I would like to see happen in a Zelda game,” but he declined to elaborate. He prefers to leave his work of art ambiguous, allowing fans to interpret it however they choose. The mystery of why this mural exists has been solved, but it’s up to you to decide what it truly means.
Thanks to Zelda theory YouTuber Zeltik for covering this reveal.