It’s been about two years since we last heard anything new about the highly-anticipated sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but Nintendo has officially broken its silence on what’s next for the open world RPG. The E3 2021 Nintendo Direct presentation finally gave fans a closer look at the more ominous BOTW follow-up.
What’s new in Breath of the Wild 2?
The trailer isn’t very long, but there’s a lot to unpack there. After showing the footage, Nintendo emphasised that BOTW 2 will give Link more ways to catch some air. And, accordingly, there appear to be floating islands that Link can visit. They’re visible both from the ground and from high up. The bad news is that blight-infested sky pillars can also take root as well. Link seems to be able to teleport now as well, at least to levels immediately above him.
Nintendo also highlighted some new physics sheenanigans as well. Tonally, it’s very different from the first trailer, with more emphasis on adventure and triumph. BOTW 2 is slated for release on the Nintendo Switch in 2022, Nintendo said.
Breath of the Wild is only a few years old, but it didn’t take long for the game to shake the entire video game industry. Major franchises of all stripes, along with new games — like Immortals Fenyx Rising and Genshin Impact — have taken the most compelling design aspects and turned BOTW into a bonafide genre of its own.
And given that we are still early in the new life cycle for the latest video game hardware, it seems likely that we’ve yet to see the full extent of BOTW’s impact. Even other major Nintendo properties seem to be taking cues from Link’s adventure. Alongside all of this, BOTW continues to be a speedrunning mainstay, with new records and categories added every year.
To date, Breath of the Wild has sold over 22 million copies, making it one of the most popular games on the Switch. Back in 2019, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma told Kotaku that Nintendo was pursuing a sequel because the team had too many ideas left on the table.
“When we released the DLC for Breath of the Wild, we realised that this is a great way to add more elements to the same world,” Aonuma said. “But when it comes down to technical things, DLC is pretty much data — you’re adding data to a preexisting title. And so when we wanted to add bigger changes, DLC is not enough, and that’s why we thought maybe a sequel would be a good fit.
“Initially we were thinking of just DLC ideas,” Aonuma continued later on in the interview, “but then we had a lot of ideas and we said, ‘This is too many ideas, let’s just make one new game and start from scratch.’”
During its initial reveal, Breath of the Wild 2 saw Link and Zelda venturing deep into a locale, seemingly reviving a desiccated corpse that looks suspiciously like Ganondorf. Since then, Nintendo has released a BOTW spin-off prequel that also, paradoxically, takes place after the events of the first game. You gotta love timeline shenanigans.