Breath of the Wild's Duelling Peaks is a Real Mountain

By Rich Stanton on at

The Hyrule of Breath of the Wild, despite the impressionist stylings and fantastical architecture, has an earthiness to it. It's not a flat world, but a rocky and rugged landscape where some long-dormant instinct helps you follow the contours and find the right climbing spots. The game redeems one of the oldest open world cliches — 'See that mountain? You can climb it?' — by virtue of the fact that, this time, the mountains are worth climbing.

They're also used as landmarks, not just in the obvious physical sense but in the way NPCs casually reference them for directions. One of the earliest examples you'll come across is Duelling Peaks, which really looks like one peak split down the middle.

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Perhaps the reason Nintendo's world has that tinge of realism is that it comes from life. An intrepid reader was recently visiting Sado Island in Japan, and spotted a mountain that looks very much like the Duelling Peaks.

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The similarity isn't exact, not least because Nintendo's mountain is split the whole way down in order that players can travel through it — but the relative heights and look of the peaks themselves is striking.

This was seen near Sato island's gold mine, which was closed in 1989 after hundreds of years, and is now a tourist attraction. As a bonus, here's a photo of the gold mine's interior, in which some may see a resemblance to the Hyrule castle catacombs.

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Looks like the Breath of the Wild dev team took a day trip to Sato Island at some point.

The photographer behind both shots preferred not to be named though, in the comradely spirit of a true adventurer, he did say this: "maybe there are lots more Duelling Peaks or other Zelda-esque locations in the world and readers will add their photos in the comments." Hey, listen: thanks!