Nintendo, ever the iconoclasts, chose the most recent Nintendo Direct to announce not the GameCube Zelda remakes we’re certain they’ve already finished, nor any information about the upcoming Mario movie, but instead to surprise-reveal the official title of Breath of the Wild 2 . It was The Legend Of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Except, no, sorry about this, we’re never going to be able to get out of the habit of calling it Breath of the Wild 2.
Let’s be abundantly clear here: Tears of the Kingdom (TotK) is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild in a way no Zelda game has been a direct sequel since 1987’s Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Yes, sure, Majora’s Mask followed on from Ocarina of Time, and Phantom Hourglass picked up after Wind Waker, but TotK is something else. This is a game that was openly created from the bits left over when they finished BotW, that seemingly builds on the same base map, that began development as DLC for the previous game. This is, beyond any doubt, no matter how brilliant, some more Breath of the Wild. It’s why this is messing with our brains.
With a couple of weeks gone by to let the title sink in…it hasn’t. I bet it hasn’t for you, either. I bet your brain offers you “BotW2” before it starts struggling to remember if it’s “The Tears” or just “Tears,” then gets lost wondering if it could possible be “Tears” as in rips…and then, yeah, we can all agree to just not bother.
Come on, it should at least have been The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Tears of the Kingdom. Sure, they’d maybe have to release it in a bigger box to fit it all on the cover, but at least it would make some kind of sense. And it’s not like Japan is averse to the long title. Say hello, Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors. Or, you know, White Princess the second ~ Yappari Itto ni Ittemo Soujyanakutemo OK-na Gotsugou Shugi Gakuen Renai Adventure.
And look, we at Kotaku know we’re not alone in this.
Heck, far more people have discovered Kotaku’s coverage of the sequel by searching Google for “BOTW” than anything mentioning tears or kingdoms. People are going to be so slow to turn on this!
It also certainly doesn’t help that when my eyes read “TOTK” the first thing I think of is “TikTok,” and good lord I don’t need that term being unwillingly stamped on my brain any more often than YouTube ads on my phone already do.
Of course, this is distracting us from more important matters, like how we should be organising international protests to ensure Nintendo doesn’t bloody let weapons break after you tap them against a leaf this time around. Can you imagine? Can you imagine if they didn’t listen to the entire world population’s unanimous agreement that this was a terrible mechanic and the worst aspect of BotW? Yes. Of course you can. It’s Nintendo. I assume they’ll make them break more often, but this time each break permanently reduces your stamina wheel.
This also seems a good time to declare my absolute conviction that BotW2 will be released to overlap the end of the Switch era and the launch of the Switch: Pro of the XL-dom (because they clearly won’t call that a “Switch 2” will they?). As we all know, something happening twice previously is proof of a pattern as eternal as Link fighting Ganon in every era, so just as Twilight Princess overlapped the GameCube to the Wii, and BotW stood straddled with a leg in Wii U and Switch, there’s no doubt in my mind this will happen again. But also, when it doesn’t, no one will remember I predicted it with such certainty in an article about something else.
In the meantime, let’s not fool ourselves. It’s BotW2 in our hearts, and it always will be. I fear for those poor people in Nintendo’s marketing department, crying their kingdom tears at our folly.