Zelda Breath of the Wild 2: Here's everything new we learned from Nintendo E3 screenshots

2021 06 15
2021 06 15 (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

During today's E3 2021 presentations we got to see the Nintendo Direct where roughly a minute and 40 seconds of new The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 gameplay was shown. I'm incredibly excited for this game and was basically screaming nonstop during the presentation. (Editor's note: She was.) For anyone else who's hyped, I've captured several screenshots and am here to pick them apart with you. It's worth noting that the game is still in development, so the game might see some big changes from what was shown here by the time it actually releases.

Nintendo E3 Zelda trailer

Watch the full new Zelda E3 trailer here and then we'll dissect it further in the article.

Something happens to Zelda?

Undead Figure Zelda Botw (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Zelda Falling Botw (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Source: Nintendo (screenshot)

Near the start of the new video, we see an evil undead figure rising and Zelda falling into a dark abyss. Considering it's common for Zelda to be missing from the majority of a Zelda game, it's likely that Link is on a mission to save her.

It's interesting to note that the undead figure has holes on his body, similar to the ones we've seen on the Guardians. There are also holes in the palms of his hands. Perhaps he has some kind of hand powers that we haven't seen just yet as a foil to Link's own.

Zelda Botw2 Hand (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Speaking of which, it looks like Link's right hand gets overtaken by some kind of magical green force. It might not even be his own hand since it's shown with long pointed fingernails, very different from Link's dainty digits.

Zelda Botw2 Going Through Walls (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Zelda Hand Powers Ball (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Source: Nintendo (screenshot)

This glowing hand seems to bring new powers to our Hylian hero including the ability to move through walls using watery portals and the ability to move objects, similar to how we could in the original with the Shiekah Slate Runes.

New flamethrower tool

Zelda Botw2 Flamethrower Shield (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

In this shot, we see Link shooting fire at a plant-like enemy hanging from the ceiling while holding some kind of dragon head-shaped tool in his left hand (remember, his right hand is the weird one). This appears to be a new flamethrower tool of some kind. It might even be a special shield considering the way he holds it.

Still takes place in Hyrule

Zelda Botw2 Dueling Peaks Closeup (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Look between the legs of this Stone Talus and you'll see the iconic Dueling Peaks from the original Breath of the Wild game. From this, we can surmise that at least part of the game takes place on our familiar map.

Floating islands and new locations

Zelda Botw2 Going Through Walls Head (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

It seems that we'll be exploring new locations while jumping from one floating island to the next. I hope we have enough stamina to get that far!

Hyrule Castle Red Glow (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Another thing to note is that the red tendrils coming from the undead figure seem to also push Hyrule Castle into the sky. Perhaps this is related to the floating islands Link must explore. Although, the islands we see Link on do seem to have a very different feel to them.

The Glider returns

Zelda Botw2 Link Gliding (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

The Glider made it possible to do a whole lot of easy exploration in the first game. Since we're spending so much time in the clouds for the sequel, I'm very happy to see that it's returning (this time with tassels). Those islands look pretty far apart. Maybe the glider will get an upgrade to help us reach them easier.

Tie-in to Skyward Sword?

Zelda Botw2 Link Falling (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Skyward Sword Hd Link Diving Through Clouds (Image credit: Nintendo)

Source: Nintendo (screenshot) and Nintendo

Considering some of the imagery we saw in the new Breath of the Wild sequel trailer, perhaps it's not just a coincidence that Skyward Sword HD is coming to Nintendo Switch later this year. After all, Skyward Sword is the first game in the Zelda timeline and has Link exploring floating islands and falling down to the world below, with his arms and legs spread wide similar to what we see in the screenshot above.

Perhaps the two stories directly tie into each other in some way? Nintendo hasn't officially revealed where Breath of the Wild fits into the Zelda timeline after all, but it does seem to be near the end.

Here's another thing to chew on. Those Goddess Statues that we first saw in Skyward Sword are all over Breath of the Wild. Perhaps these two games serve as bookends to the current timeline.

Falling Link Botw2 Closeup (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Speaking of falling, while in the sky areas, Link is shown wearing Roman-style sandals and clothing that looks a lot like a toga with a green sash. Not to mention, his hair is floating free from any hair ties and he doesn't seem to have any weapons on him.

This is peculiar considering we also saw moments where he was wearing the traditional Champion's Tunic and carrying his full arsenal including the Master Sword. Could there be a time travel component? Perhaps something will happen and Link's journey will span several years. Or maybe he'll lose his gear and have to start over. It does seem to be the same Link though, given that his right arm is still overtaken.

New shield

Link Running Botw (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

In this shot, we can clearly see a white and red shield that wasn't in the original Breath of the Wild game. As such, I'm pretty sure we can expect new weapons and armor.

New enemies and upgrades to existing enemies

Zelda Botw2 Mech (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

We see some strange green mech creature with white teardrop crystals on its shoulders. I suppose it could be friendly, but it just seems too imposing for that. Though, come to think of it, those eye shapes do put me in mind of the Shiekah symbol with the teardrop falling from the eye. Or the Yiga Clan symbol which is the same thing but upside down. Maybe they're related in some way.

Zelda Botw2 Dueling Peaks (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Moblin And Bokoblin Zelda Botw (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Source: Nintendo (screenshot)

Additionally, we see Ganon's porky Bokoblin and Moblin henchmen returning, only this time, they seem to have sharp horns or helmets on their heads and they've become crafty enough to build their fort on top of a Stone Talus. Imagine trying to take down that big beastie while arrows are being shot at you!

So much to look forward to!

It looks like a whole lot is in store for us with the Breath of the Wild sequel and we can't wait to learn even more. If you haven't played the original Switch game yet, now's the perfect opportunity to do so before the next game releases. No exact release date has been given yet, but the Zelda team is shooting for a 2022 release. I'm guessing this is going to be a big game that will require plenty of room on our microSD cards.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.