Everything We Know About the Breath of the Wild Sequel
A sequel to Breath of the Wild was announced earlier this week at the end of the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct presentation, and while there are still several things we don’t know about the title, there are quite a few interesting pieces of information we’ve uncovered about this highly anticipated game.
For more from this presentation, check out our review of the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct.
Update 6/18: We’ve added a section to this article about Breath of the Wild 2 being made because the team had too many ideas for DLC from the original. Continue reading for that new information.
Breath of the Wild Sequel Reveal
The Breath of the Wild sequel was announced on June 11, 2019 during the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct presentation. Its reveal trailer was the final part of the presentation, beginning with glowing green writing floating in the air. The trailer shows this writing spiraling above a source of corruption. Backwards music plays as a torch reveals hieroglyphic images on a stone wall of a man with a trident. Link is shown guiding a large beast of burden with Zelda atop, both holding torches to light their way in a dim cave.
The two find the source of the corruption: a mummified corpse clasped by a glowing white hand that appears to be attempting to seal its corruption, which spews forth from a chest wound. The trailer cuts to the group drinking water from an underground body of water before a rat is consumed by the corruption. The group is shown traversing a large, crumbling bridge, which their beast might not be able to cross.
The corpse is then displayed up close: it’s adorned with golden jewelry, has long flowing hair and appears to be male. Various quick shots are shown, including Link receiving some sort of energy in his hand, Zelda falling after the ground beneath her breaks, and the corpse reanimates, with its head turning towards the camera and its eyes reawakening with an evil glow. Hyrule Castle is shown from afar, lifting into the air. Text confirms this is a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
It’s Being Developed Because the Team Had Too Many DLC Ideas
In an interview with Kotaku, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma was asked why the team decided to make a sequel to Breath of the Wild instead of a new, unrelated Zelda game. He revealed that the team simply had too many ideas for Breath of the Wild DLC, and it spun into a full-blown sequel.
“When we released the DLC for Breath of the Wild, we realized that this is a great way to add more elements to the same world,” said Aonuma. “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.”
When asked if this sequel was originally planned as DLC, Aonuma said “Initially we were thinking of just DLC ideas, 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.’”
Zelda’s Producer Hasn’t Denied Co-Op, Playable Zelda
In an interview with IGN, Aonuma was asked if fans could potentially play as Zelda in this game, or even if co-op would be a possibility. Aonuma didn’t deny either, but rather said “It’s kind of interesting that you bring that up, because in Breath of the Wild, you see Zelda and Link together often too, so to go straight into the thought of co-op is very interesting to me.”
Later, in an interview with Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, Aonuma was asked a similar question about playing as Zelda. Aonuma said, “A lot of people have been asking that, and so I want to ask you, why do people think that?” Schreier responded saying she’s free at the end of Breath of the Wild, and people have wanted to play as her for a long time.
“I see,” said Aonuma. “But I can’t tell you.”
The Zelda Team’s Inspirations
In that same interview with IGN, we asked what games the younger staff on the Zelda team were playing, specifically what inspired them, and Aonuma replied “[Something] I did hear that a lot of people were playing was Red Dead Redemption 2.”
When asked what open worlds inspired the Zelda team as a whole, he said “When I was working on Breath of the Wild, the director [Hidemaro Fujibayashi] was playing Skyrim.”
Breath of the Wild 2 Is Not Related to Majora’s Mask
When the sequel to Breath of the Wild was announced, many made comparisons between it and Majora’s Mask. These comparisons were made for several reasons: the trailer gave off a decidedly dark tone, similar to Majora’s Mask, it’s a direct sequel like Majora’s Mask was to Ocarina of Time, and it appears as if the game will run on the same engine and have the same general art style as Breath of the Wild, just like Majora’s Mask did with Ocarina.
However, Aonuma informed IGN that the Breath of the Wild sequel isn’t related to Majora’s Mask, saying “The new Breath of the Wild or the sequel to it, it’s not necessarily going to be related to Majora’s Mask or inspired by it… What we showed you currently is a little darker.”
Breath of the Wild’s Director Is Returning
In an interview with Game Informer, Aonuma confirmed that Hidemaro Fujibayashi, who directed Breath of the Wild, has returned to direct its sequel. While other specific members of the team have not been identified, it can be assumed that this is largely the same team that worked on Breath of the Wild. Aonuma himself will return as producer.
A Return to Hyrule and Potential DLC
In this same interview with Game Informer, Aonuma explained that “One of the reasons we wanted to create a continuation was because I wanted to revisit that Hyrule again and use that world again, while incorporating new gameplay and new story.” This seemingly confirms the game will at least partially take place in Hyrule as opposed to an entirely new location, like Termina or Lorule.
In the reveal trailer, we saw a shot of the Hyrule from Breath of the Wild (albeit with no Sheikah towers or shrines) as Hyrule castle begins being raised into the sky. However, it’s possible Aonuma is simply referring to the world of Breath of the Wild in general, and not the specific Kingdom of Hyrule.
Aonuma also suggested the Breath of the Wild sequel could receive DLC like the original did, saying “I really like the idea of having DLC or anything coming after the main game… People play the game longer and enjoy the game a lot deeper. Going forward, that’s definitely something we’ll think about.”
Breath of the Wild Sequel Release Date
We’ve been given no direct indication of when Breath of the Wild 2 will be released. Considering we haven’t seen gameplay, and Zelda development often takes several years, it’s possible the game won’t come out in 2020. Following E3 2019, the official Nintendo of America Twitter account posted an image of release windows for games coming to Nintendo Switch throughout 2019 and 2020. In the 2020 section of the image, games that have confirmed 2020 release dates like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and No More Heroes 3 were included, but the Breath of the Wild sequel was not.
Of course, this isn’t a definitive indication it won’t be released next year, as another highly-anticipated Nintendo game, Metroid Prime 4, wasn’t included as well. As neither game has publicly been given a release window, it makes sense neither would appear in this section. It is, however, a public-facing acknowledgement that Nintendo hasn’t yet committed to a 2020 release.
A Follow-Up to Breath of the Wild
The trailer that officially announced the sequel to Breath of the Wild didn’t tell us much about potential gameplay, but it did hint at a lot of story details. First and foremost, at the end of the trailer, the text “The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now in development” appeared, suggesting that, at the very least, the bulk of this game will take place after Breath of the Wild. It sounds obvious, but direct sequels in The Legend of Zelda are surprisingly rare: Zelda II, Majora’s Mask and Phantom Hourglass rank among the few direct sequels.
While Link, Zelda and Ganon have had several different incarnations and versions throughout the expansive Zelda timeline, the Link and Zelda shown here are definitely the same duo that starred in Breath of the Wild. Link is wearing his now-iconic blue Champion’s Tunic, but with leather armor and a cape – these pieces of armor look to be similar to what’s found in the Hylian Armor set in Breath of the Wild. At lest a little bit of time has passed since the end of that game, as evidenced by Zelda’s shorter haircut.
Ganondorf, King of the Gerudo
This section dives more into theory than the previous sections, as there’s no direct confirmation from Nintendo here, but it appears Ganondorf (the Gerudo form of Ganon) will be involved in this sequel in some way, shape or form. In the trailer, it appears Link and Zelda are exploring tunnels below Hyrule Castle filled with luminous stones, and find a corpse of what is likely a male Gerudo (as evidenced by the Gerudo symbol on his cloth). If this is the case, that means this is likely an incarnation of Ganondorf, one of the male Gerudo born to the tribe every 100 years.
In Breath of the Wild, Gerudo champion Urbosa says “It was written that Calamity Ganon once adopted the form of a Gerudo,” either referring to Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time, or to the same person found underground in the Breath of the Wild sequel’s trailer. Perhaps these are one and the same, as this corpse’s chest seems to have a wound exactly where Link stabbed him with the Master Sword in Twilight Princess: this was the same Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time that had been locked in the Twilight Realm for countless years. At the end of Twilight Princess, after being stabbed, Ganondorf says “Do not think this ends here… the history of light and shadow will be written in blood!” The Twili Zant then seemingly takes control of Ganondorf and snaps his neck.
Again, none of this is confirmed, and the corpse could be unrelated to Ganondorf entirely.
There are several fan theories swirling around the internet regarding this trailer, but they veer further and further away from confirmed information, so we’ll stop here for the time being. We have no idea how long we’ll have to wait to hear more about the sequel to Breath of the Wild, but in the meantime, we always have the first game to hold us over.
In our Breath of the Wild review, we called the game a “Masterpiece” saying it’s “a masterclass in open-world design and a watershed game that reinvents a 30-year-old franchise. It presents a wonderful sandbox full of mystery, dangling dozens upon dozens of tantalizing things in front of you that just beg to be explored.”