During their press conference at E3 2019, Nintendo announced a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - one of the best Nintendo Switch games of all time - is in the works. This was a huge surprise for fans and something that no one really saw coming. Now everyone at iMore is dying to play it. Here's everything that we know so far about this highly anticipated title.
Nintendo's E3 announcement trailer
During the trailer, we see Link and Zelda exploring some ruins in Hyrule. The ruins that they're in feature some dark dungeons. They soon find an underground lair, where an ancient evil grows. This dark force seems adorned with Gerudo visual cues. Once the evil seems to awaken, we get a view of Hyrule Castle quaking and rising from the ground in the distance.
Update: January 29, 2021: Austrian retailer Gameware has "leaked" Breath of the Wild 2's release date for Q2 2021.
On the Gameware website, a listing for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 has a release date for Q2 2021. However, we're incredibly skeptical that this is a true release date leak.
Update: September 8, 2020: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Nintendo announced that they are still hard at work on Breath of the Wild 2 and that they won't be ready to show anything to us for a while yet. However, the recently released Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity gives players a look into the events that took place 100 years before Breath of the Wild.
Update: August 18, 2020: French retailer listed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 Collector's Edition on their website.
French retailer WT&T posted a listing for "ZELDA BREATH OF THE WILD 2 COLLECTOR – SWITCH", which suggests that Breath of the Wild 2 will be getting a special edition.
Update: October 10, 2019: Supposed leak indicates a 2021 release date alongside a new Switch.
A 4chan user has gotten a lot of attention for posting a supposed leak about the sequel. This information is likely false, but we don't know for sure.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
During the September 8, 2020 announcement for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Eiji Aonuma, the producer for The Legend of Zelda series, stated the following:
"We mentioned in the June 2019 Nintendo Direct presentation that we had started development on the sequel to the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. . . Regarding the sequel, to make the vast world you enjoyed exploring in the original game even more impressive, the team is working hard on its development. So, you'll have to wait a bit longer before we can provide more updates."
In the meantime, Zelda fans can get their hands on Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which comes out on November 20, 2020. It follows the events that took place 100 years before Breath of the Wild. You'll be able to play as both Link and Zelda and will learn more about the Champions' struggle against Calamity Ganon.
Breath of the Wild 2 release date
The E3 2019 trailer was more of a teaser. Since then, Nintendo has only stated that the sequel is now in development, so there is no time frame when this game will be coming out, though we can guess it will likely be within the next two years.
Given that Nintendo can continue working in the same game engine and can reuse many of the same assets instead of creating everything from scratch, it's plausible that they could knock out a Breath of the Wild sequel in as little as three years — similar to how Nintendo created Majora's Mask only a few years after Ocarina of Time. The original Breath of the Wild title was released in 2017, which means that if the developers began work on the sequel shortly after it became popular, they could have spent over three years working on the sequel.
As such, it is possible that the game could release sometime in 2021. We will keep our ears to the ground and will update this article as we discover anything new.
Is this a direct sequel?
Yes, this will be a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild. The game apparently takes place two years after the events in Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild 2 rumors
As with any highly anticipated game, several rumors circulated about the follow up to Breath of the Wild. These should all be scrutinized heavily as they may or may not have any truth behind them. We've included rumors that seem more plausible than others.
Austrian retailer Gameware "leaks" release date
It's likely just a placeholder for when Nintendo announces the actual release date, but Austrian retailer Gameware's website shows that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel has a release date for the second quarter of 2021. As with any "leaks" this one is highly skeptical and likely doesn't have any real basis. Additionally, the box artwork shown is obviously fan art, which further gives this leak less credibility.
The supposed WT&T leak
As you can see in the screenshot above, French retailer WT&T posted a listing for "ZELDA BREATH OF THE WILD 2 COLLECTOR – SWITCH" with a price of 82,85 € (which translates to about $97.80) on their website in August 2020.
Considering the popularity of the original game, we are expecting a special edition of the sequel. What makes this potential leak worth paying attention to is that WT&T previously leaked The Witcher 3 for Nintendo Switch by creating a listing for the port almost a year before the game released on Switch. As always, take this information with heaps of sodium as it is only a supposed leak and not real evidence of anything.
The alleged 4chan BoTW2 leak
If you've been searching online recently for new Zelda information, you've probably seen that 4chan user Xhyll has gotten a lot of attention for posting "leaks" about the upcoming sequel. First off, we want to say that anything found on 4chan should be heavily scrutinized. Yes, there have been actual leaks on that site, but there have been even more false reports, so you'll want to take everything with heaping piles of salt. That being said, we can't trust that this is an actual leak, but there is a chance that it could be.
To build his cred, Xhyll starts by saying that he got the information from a former Nintendo employee. He states that the new Breath of the Wild sequel is called Breath of the Darkness. According to him, the marketing department members were shown a 10-minute video demonstration for Breath of the Wild 2 running at 60 fps and 4K on a Switch 2 prototype. The video allegedly showed Link fighting against a Dark Guardian while receiving magical protection and direction from Zelda.
He further states that the sequel will have a 2021 release date and that it will launch alongside the rumored Switch 2 (a.k.a. the Switch Pro) - a more powerful version of the original Switch that can support better graphics.
As we've said before, we're inclined not to believe his claims. However, if this information is true, the sequel is still in the early stages of development, and a lot could change between now and then, including gameplay and the game's title. We'll keep our ear to the ground and will let you know if we learn anything more.
Is the game open world again, or is it linear?
We're not sure about this yet.
Breath of the Wild was all about the vast open world and exploration, and you could explore Hyrule freely, without any real linear order. While this game will be a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, Nintendo did not reveal any details about whether it will continue that open-world exploration or be a more traditional Zelda game formula, with temples and dungeons that require specific items to progress through.
Does it use the same map?
This is another area that we are unsure about at present.
Considering how thoroughly players got to explore the land of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild, it would make sense for the sequel to take place in a different location. As we can see from the E3 announcement video, Zelda and Link are shown underground in what appears to be a cavern of some sort. Perhaps the sequel has players exploring a buried world underneath Hyrule.
Or, perhaps the game will take a cue from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and have Link and Zelda travel to a distant land to give players a fresh new sprawling map to explore. We'll have to wait and see.
Are there more traditional dungeons than we saw in BotW?
It's hard to say at this point. However, in an interview with Kotaku, Eiji Aonuma explained some things the Zelda team learned while creating the original Breath of the Wild game.
One thing we learned from Breath of the Wild is that when we focused on creating a dungeon that has multiple solutions, it turned into this great title. That's one thing I want to polish up and use for inspiration going forward.
It's very possible that a deeper dive into dungeons would allow players to find multiple solutions into completing puzzles and making their way through the game. Considering that the lack of traditional dungeons has been one of the biggest complaints from fans, it really wouldn't be out of the question for Nintendo to put more complex dungeons in the sequel.
Who is the main villain?
It's more than likely the undead person from the teaser who is emanating the green swirls and tendrils of darkness. But who is this person?
You might notice a medallion with the Gerudo icon dangling beside him. Many people have taken this to mean that this undead figure is none other than Ganon himself since he was born a Gerudo. However, we don't know for sure if that is true. There's also the creepy glowing hand that seems to be attached to his chest, which might indicate another villain Link will need to face.
There's a brief flash of light at the 0:45 second mark of the teaser trailer that throws a shadowy silhouette on the wall. It seems to show just what this undead person looked like when they were alive. We'll update you on who the sequel's main bad guy is as we learn more.
Do weapons still break?
We haven't learned the specifics on the weapon mechanics just yet. However, it's likely that the sequel will employ something similar to what we experienced in the first game. We'll update when we learn more.
(Spoiler Alert): You can click the link below to see some speculation about new weapons in Breath of the Wild 2.
Something also seems to be happening to Link's right hand in the teaser trailer that Nintendo released. Some folks have speculated that this might line up with an idea for the original game that wasn't actually implemented. In some concept artwork that Nintendo showed at GDC 2017, we see Link with a hand that can morph into various weapons. This includes things like a bomb, arrow, hookshot, and more. It's possible this is what we are getting a glimps of in the BotW2 teaser trailer.
My guess is that if Link does have weapons attached to his arm in Breath of the Wild 2 that they wouldn't break during use. However, it is possible they would have a cool down period like the skills of the Sheikah Slate.
Are there new Sheikah Slate skills?
As with many other things regarding the sequel, we don't know if changes will be made to the Sheikah Slate. However, considering how central it was to the original game it really wouldn't be surprising to have more skills added to it. Maybe some kind of hookshot skill, cloning tool, or animal hypnotizer. We'll keep our ears to the ground and will update when we learn more.
Will you play as Link or Zelda?
No information was revealed regarding who you play in this sequel, but you see both Link and Zelda in the trailer. By default, we can only assume that Link is the playable character as he always has been, but maybe there will be some moments that we can play as Zelda, which would be a nice change of pace.
Kotaku was able to ask producer, Eiji Aonuma, if Zelda would be playable in this sequel. The esteemed man initially acted with surprise and maybe some confusion at the question, but then simply said, "I can't tell you."
It looks like we'll have to wait and see how many playable characters there are.
Will there be any DLC?
It's currently too early to know if there will be any DLC. However, it is interesting to note that Aonuma has stated that this sequel's ideas initially started as DLC for Breath of the Wild.
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. But when it comes down to technical things, DLC is pretty much data—you're adding data to a preexisting title. 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.
If we're lucky, they'll have so many ideas for the sequel that it will either result in a decent amount of DLC or a third Breath of the Wild sequel. But that's just us getting our hopes up and getting way ahead of ourselves.
What about amiibo?
Nintendo released several Breath of the Wild amiibo for the original game and also made other Zelda amiibo compatible with it as well. When scanned, these figures allow players to acquire special in-game items or even Epona, the horse from Ocarina of Time.
We currently do not know if the sequel will also work with these figurines; our guess is that they will. After all, we recently saw the amiibo for the four champions got reprints. We'll update you when we learn more.
Can you play Breath of the Wild 2 on Nintendo Switch Lite?
We're guessing that the sequel will have sections where players can use motion controls to solve puzzles just like the original did. Most of these puzzles could also easily be solved by simply using the joysticks. We're guessing the sequel will be the same way. But if not, Nintendo Switch Lite will want to invest in an external pair of Joy-Cons, so they can get in on the action. We'll update you when we learn more.
Is Nintendo releasing a special Breath of the Wild 2 Switch console?
Nintendo hasn't revealed any plans to release a special Breath of the Wild 2 Switch console. However, considering how much attention Breath of the Wild has received and how highly anticipated the sequel is, it would be ridiculous for Nintendo not to cash in on the hype like they did with the Animal Crossing Switch. One thing is for sure, if Nintendo does create a special Zelda-themed Switch to release with Breath of the Wild 2, I'll be one of the first in line making a purchase.
Breath of the Wild 2
We absolutely loved Breath of the Wild and cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel. We'll keep our ears to the ground and will update this article with any news, rumors, or official updates that we learn about. Check back often!
Updated February 1, 2021: Added info on the Gameware "leak".
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