This year marks the 35th anniversary for the iconic Legend of Zelda franchise. While it had relatively humble beginnings, the series has blossomed in popularity over the last three decades thanks to incredible adventures like Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask. They’ve all left a lasting impact on gaming and shaped the way modern adventures are made.
While Nintendo has yet to announce any formal plans for 2021 (likely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic), we can expect Zelda‘s 35th anniversary to be a major affair. Outside of Mario, it’s Nintendo’s next biggest franchise and deserves just as much acclaim. We don’t know exactly what’s in store, but if Mario’s anniversary celebrations are anything to go by we could see some major Zelda news very soon.
Here’s what we’d love to see.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
Zelda 3D All-Stars: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker
The wild success of Super Mario 3D All-Stars proved there’s still an appetite for classic Nintendo titles on Switch. This fact should be strongly considered when the Zelda 35th anniversary celebrations inevitably kick-off. The entire Zelda library is filled with excellent smash hits, and a remastered collection of classic games on Switch would be a great addition to the console’s lineup.
While debate will likely rage on which titles should be included, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are surefire hits. Wind Waker isn’t an absolute must but it deserves a new audience just as much as Link’s earlier adventures. It’s also got a timeless cel-shaded style that would fit right into the Zelda of the modern day.
Whatever games make the cut, an All-Stars collection for Zelda is a must.
Breath of the Wild 2
Way back in June 2019 we got our first look at the sequel to beloved Zelda adventure, Breath of the Wild. But outside of the surprise release of spin-off Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity in late 2020, we haven’t heard anything about the highly-anticipated game.
A lot has changed since the first trailer released, but the total silence from Nintendo is an anomaly. Longer hype cycles are mostly unheard of, and the company is notorious for announcing surprises on short notice. Sometimes you’ll get games dropping the day of their announcements, or even a few minutes later.
Could 2021 mark the release of Breath of the Wild 2? Coronavirus has put big question marks over most big game launches this year, but it seems unlikely Nintendo will wait any longer to unleash this whopper on the world. Nintendo did announce during their February direct that they would have more news to share later this year, however, which would likely be around E3.
Twilight Princess: Switch Remaster
Twilight Princess is one of the best modern Zelda adventures and while it’s already received a shiny remaster for WiiU, there’s no reason why it couldn’t make the jump onto Switch as well.
The move wouldn’t be without precedent: the upcoming Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is an enhanced port of the WiiU’s flagship Mario title. Porting Twilight Princess would make sense and if Nintendo wanted to throw in a little extra story like with Bowser’s Fury, we wouldn’t say no to that.
While Nintendo likely won’t stick to the exact formula of Mario‘s 35th anniversary celebrations, there’s a high chance we could see something new in the world of Twilight Princess.
The continued vocal support for remasters and remakes proves just how valued they still are for Nintendo’s core audience.
Virtual Console: GC, N64, Wii, WiiU
Nintendo Switch Online currently includes ports of classic NES and SNES exclusively for subscribers, but more modern consoles don’t make the cut. That’s despite the WiiU including support for Game Boy Advance, Game Cube, Wii and Nintendo 64 games via Virtual Console.
There’s a chunk of Zelda titles on these consoles and nearly all of them are worth revisiting. While it does appear Nintendo have no plans to include Virtual Console on the Switch, launching the service would give fans access to nearly every major Zelda title on the market and more besides.
Beyond the 35th anniversary celebration, a move like this would be a major boon for the console and its library.
Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda
In 2020, Nintendo released a new, limited edition version of the Game & Watch featuring an emulated version of Super Mario Bros. It was a nifty idea, and sold out in record time as collectors jostled to claim one for their hoard. It’s a gorgeous device even if it has limited use, and it would be a shame to see Nintendo abandon the idea.
The original Legend of Zelda would make for a great companion device here, particularly if Nintendo wants to keep the Game & Watch collection alive. Not everyone will want to pay $79.95 for a game they can get for free with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, but the popularity of the original Mario version means we’re likely to see a new addition for Zelda in 2021.
Update: 10:20 a.m. AEDT, February 18, 2021
Skyward Sword HD is coming to Nintendo Switch
Hey, look — the one game we didn’t mention in our original post is coming to Nintendo Switch on July 16.
This version will come with updated controls and even launch alongside a pair of brilliant-looking Joy-Cons.
It’s a fantastic-looking package, and we can all look forward to its release in July.
Sadly, we haven’t heard anything about Breath of the Wild 2 just yet but we’ll know more by the end of 2021.
Stay tuned for more news!
What are you hoping to see from the Zelda 35th Anniversary celebrations? Do you think Wind Waker is worthy of another remaster? Tell us about it in the comments below.