Why I Left Breath Of The Wild Unfinished

Why I Left Breath Of The Wild Unfinished

Some time before I actually finished The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I stopped playing. It wasn’t because I got carried away by other games, and it wasn’t because I was tired of it. I just stopped. New Zelda games are rare things that only come once or twice a console generation, and games as good as Breath of the Wild are even rarer. So I wanted to keep it around unfinished and return in the future.

I’m aware, of course, that going to Hyrule Castle to confront Calamity Ganon will not technically end the game for me. Should I take on the final boss, I will still be free to roam the world and do all that I’ve left undone. I’m also aware that it is, on some level, extremely funny to have Link look out to the horizon, see the castle where the princess is imprisoned by a force that threatens the entire land, and just say nah as he climbs a tree to get some coconuts to make a soufflé.

On the other hand, I love having a video game metaphor for this big insurmountable challenge that you need to experience a little more life to prepare for. To take the time to do the small things well, to understand how much there is to see and how little you’ll be able to glimpse of it. Then, one day, it’ll be time to fight the monster at the heart of it all.

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This is why I left Breath of the Wild not just unfinished, but unresolved. I wanted to keep playing as a Link that wasn’t done yet, who still had growing to do, two more Divine Beasts to conquer, more memories to unlock. That’s not to say that I intend to play until 100 per cent completion, quite the opposite. One day, I will stop and say, “that’s enough.” I’ll say, “I’m ready.” Then I’ll go do the thing.

I didn’t really know when that day was. Then Nintendo caught us all by surprise, announcing a sequel to Breath of the Wild at this year’s E3. Now Calamity Ganon is no longer the only big challenge in my future. Now I’ve got something else to take on, someday.

That’s the funny thing about big, pivotal challenges that demand the most of you. Sometimes you can prepare. Sometimes you can meet them on your terms, or grow in a way that leaves you better equipped to handle them. But eventually, life will tell you it’s time or move on without you, and you’ll have to decide: show up, or stay behind.

So I’m playing Breath of the Wild again.


  • I can relate to this intensely. I’ve been holding off on that final challenge, having completed the divine beasts and DLC… I know that once I’ve defeated Gannon I probably won’t go back, but having him undefeated I still dip back in every now and then to do some more shrines or just potter around. Been thinking though of finally heading to hyrule castle for that final encounter, more so now the sequels announced. But until now, BOTW has been one of those games I’ve just wanted to keep unfinished … but in a good way…

  • Funny, I should play it, but really haven’t since my medical issue just before release/console release and in a medical area. Finished plenty of games since then, but still haven’t felt like playing Zelda again.

  • I did the same. Did pretty much everything apart from the final boss/area. Currently replaying now with the goal of actually finishing it.

    • yep, totally the same. Id spend hours running around doing not much at all just trying to extend the game before fighting ganon. Heck, i was already 130 plus hours deep. I just didn’t want it to end

      • Same same. I’ve finished everything, even made it to the final boss room… then climbed to the top tower and jumped/glided off to continue exploring.

        Not ready for it to be over (even though I know it doesn’t really end after killing Ganon).

  • I did as much as I could before taking on Ganon, did all the shrines, got all the memories, took heaps of photos of things, then came all the DLC which I did and got my Master Cycle. Started again on the hard mode for a while but haven’t gone back to it since. I might give it a good replaying before BOTW2 comes out.

  • Technically the game finishes once you’ve taken down Ganon, you just reload the last save before it.

    But the DLC is way harder (and more annoying / frustrating) than taking down Ganon ever was. That’s why my current game of BOTW is left unfinished along the road to the Master Cycle.

  • I still haven’t finished it either. I am thinking of just deleting all my saves and go from scratch.

  • I have finished it eight times now. First time through I found and completed everything. The remaining times I have polished a strategy which involves levelling just one set of armour to level 3 (always the blue vest, and usually the climbing hat and electric pants), grabbing just enough shrines to get the master sword (this all takes about 15 hours) and then plowing through all the dungeons and Gannon in the remaining 3-4 hours.

    On some playthroughs I may grab all the photos too for a better ending, but not always.

  • I got the game at launch with a switch. I love zelda but really couldnt get into it for some reason. And stopped after maybe 10 hours.

    2 weeks ago for while bored out of my brains I started a new game and 60 hours later I beat Gannon last night. It’s gone from a game I honestly thought was a let down and overhyped to one of the best games I’ve played in recent memory. I plan on taking a break and coming back for dlc/shrines/side quests.

  • I did this with Skyrim. Was up to the last part and just went adventuring, was spewing when one day I accidentally went to the last area and realised I couldn’t go back! I finished the game and planned to keep adventuring but it was weird, once I was done with it I lost the drive to finish all those other quests even after 100’s of hours put in.

  • I do this deliberately sometimes with games or DLC – keep it for a rainy day.
    I delayed playing some of the dark souls 2 dlc for years, feels great when you wait for stuff. No FOMO for me

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