The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom — Preorders, release date, and everything we know so far about BotW 2

Breath Of The Wild 2 Pulling Out Master Sword
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been referred to by many as one of the best games of all time. Thankfully, the adventure is set to continue when Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a direct sequel in 2023. Link travels around the familiar land of Hyrule but can also journey to the skies to explore floating islands and encounter new entities. There are a lot of new experiences in store for us. 


The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom 

This direct sequel to <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sees Link returning to save the world once more. You'll explore new places, take on new enemies, and discover new powers. 

Preorder from: <a href="" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" data-link-merchant=""">Amazon | <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" data-link-merchant=""">Best Buy

Tears of the Kingdom trailers

Nintendo Direct September 2022 trailer

The teaser opens by looking at a mural on a wall that seems to depict Princess Zelda as well as Ganon's forces. Then we cut to Link using special new abilities to go into the air. We see him land on a flying object with wings before the logo pops into view showing the official title and release date. 

E3 2021 trailer

E3 2021 brought with it another look at Breath of the Wild 2. While the plot wasn't explained any further, we did get some glimpses of Link's new abilities, the villain, and new floating island locations.

Plus, something weird happens to Link's arm giving him new powers that we didn't see in the original game. 

E3 2019 announcement trailer

During the E3 2019 announcement trailer, we see Link and Zelda exploring some ruins in Hyrule. They soon find an underground lair where an ancient emaciated (or maybe even undead) figure adorned with Gerudo symbols sprawls backward with a ghostly hand clutching its chest. 

Once Link and Zelda get close enough, the evil figure seems to awaken; Zelda spins in terror, Link's hand starts glowing green, and we cut away to a view of Hyrule Castle quaking and rising from the ground in the distance.

Breath of the Wild 2 release date

It's Gonna Be Me Justin Timberlake with Link ears

(Image credit: iMore)

During the September 13, 2022 Nintendo Direct, we finally learned that Tears of the Kingdom is releasing on May 12, 2023. It had originally been aiming for a 2022 release date, but Eiji Aonuma, the project manager for the Zelda series, revealed that the game needed more time. 

Why is it called Tears of the Kingdom?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

As of right now, we don't know the confirmed reason behind the name, but there are plenty of theories flying around the internet. The September 2022 Nintendo Direct trailer itself likely gives us some clues. In it, we got to see new footage that showed off a mural of a large figure surrounded by something that looked like tears. Link has often gone in search of jewels or other items to set the world to rights. It's not far-fetched to imagine that this will be the main task in the sequel.

Later in the same trailer, Link is shown running off of a floating island. Eagle-eyed fans spotted that he also had a new accessory on his belt that holds eight glowing canisters. It's possible that these are tears that he must collect, or they might be something else entirely. We'll keep our ears to the ground and will update when we learn more. 

Tears in past Zelda games

If nothing else, we know that tears as collectibles aren't foreign to Zelda games. They've appeared in at least three other main entries. 

Skyward Sword: Long-time Zelda fans will also remember that Link was tasked with gathering Sacred Tears in Skyward Sword during the game's infamous Silent Realm Trials. He needed these 15 Sacred Tears from each challenge area to prove himself to the goddesses. 

Twilight Princess: Link also collected something similar in Twilight Princess, but they were called Tears of Light. These glowing items were stored within the Vessel of Light and allowed our hero to get rid of the Twilight corrupting the lands as well as save animal Spirits of Light he encountered. 

Spirit Tracks: In order to power up Link's sword in Spirit Tracks, he had to collect three Tears or Light in various places. Otherwise, taking on Phantom enemies was impossible. 

Why were they so secretive about the title?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo was very reluctant to reveal the sequel's official name saying that it might give away too much about the next adventure. In an interview with IGN, Nintendo of America senior product marketing manager Bill Trinen said, "Those subtitles… they start to give little bits of hints about maybe what's going to happen." Seems like a flimsy excuse to us. 

Tears of the Kingdom could refer to all of the ghosts we met in the first game, the characters that died when Link was temporarily defeated 100 years ago. Nintendo has also alluded to the fact that Skyward Sword might have some significance for Tears of the Kingdom. As we said before, we know that this Wii game required players to collect Tears in the Silent Realm challenges, so perhaps it's a nod to that. 

Breath of the Wild sequel: What happened to the Master Sword?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

As part of the March 29, 2022 delay announcement, we got to see a short clip in which Link approaching a ball of yellow light pulls the Master Sword out only for us to see that part of it has been eaten away. Theories are flying all over the internet trying to determine what has happened to it, but the real reason remains unknown.

Taking away the Master Sword's power, or nerfing it, makes sense since this was a weapon that players had to work towards obtaining in Breath of the Wild. We'll likely be on a mission to restore its power in the sequel. That leaves us wondering how did the Master Sword get this way? Will this wake Fi (Skyward Sword) from the sword's slumber? We'll keep our eyes out for any news and will update when we learn more.

Is this a direct sequel?

(Image credit: Nintendo screenshot)

Yes, this will be a direct sequel to the first game. The story apparently takes place two years after the events in the original game, Breath of the Wild.

Link's glowing hand and new powers

(Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

At the start of the Nintendo's E3 2021 Zelda trailer, it showed a green force overtaking Link's right arm. Then in later shots, we see him moving distant objects with said hand and even going through walls. Who knows what other unique abilities this arm can do.

(Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

This aligns 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, hook shot, and more. It seems like we're seeing a refined version in the BotW 2 trailers.

Are there new tools and Sheikah Slate skills?

(Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

In the E3 2021 Nintendo Direct, we got a brief glimpse of Link holding some kind of Dragon head-shaped item in his left hand and using it like a flamethrower against an enemy. With this being the case, there are likely other gadgets in the game as well.

We don't currently know if changes will be made to the Sheikah Slate and Runes, which were so prominent in the first game. However, it's possible Link's glowing hand will take their place. Still, considering how central the Sheikah Slate was to the original game, it wouldn't be surprising to have more skills added. Maybe a hook shot skill, cloning tool, or animal hypnotizer? We'll keep our ears to the ground and will update when we learn more.

Is the game open world again, or is it linear?

(Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

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 into smaller Shrines or if it will have a more traditional, large dungeon-like those found in previous Zelda games. Our guess is that it will be a mix between the two, open-world exploration with more intensive locations to dive into. We'll update when we learn more.

Does it use the same map?

(Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

In the E3 2021 trailer, we got an up-close look at a Stone Talus on which Bokoblins had built a fort. The camera panned a bit during this shot, and we saw Death Mountain along with Dueling Peaks. From this, we know that at least part of the game takes place on the Hylian map we're used to from the original game. Whether this is simply cutscenes or actually an area we get to explore is unknown.

(Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

We also got to see Link exploring floating islands and diving from extremely high up in the clouds. It's possible that there will be a mixture of old and new places to explore.

WIll there be 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 Breath of the Wild.

"One thing we learned from Breath of the Wild is that when we focused on creating a dungeon with multiple solutions, it turned into this great title. That's one thing I want to polish up and use for inspiration in the future."

It's possible that a deeper dive into dungeons would allow players to find multiple solutions to complete puzzles and make their way through the game. Considering that the lack of traditional dungeons was one of the biggest complaints from fans, it wouldn't be out of the question for Nintendo to put more complex dungeons in the sequel.

Who is the main villain?

(Image credit: Nintendo screenshot)

It's more than likely the undead person from the teaser who has glowing red eyes. But who is this person? We're about to launch into potential spoilers, so if you don't want to read them go no further. 

You might notice a medallion with the Gerudo icon dangling beside this figure. Many people have taken this to mean that this person is none other than Ganon himself since he was born a Gerudo in Ocarina of Time. However, this theory has not been confirmed. Still, it would make sense since we only saw Ganon's crazy giant forms and not his humanoid form in the first game.

Going back to the original teaser trailer, there's a brief flash of light at the 0:45 second mark that throws a shadowy silhouette on the wall. It seems to show what this undead person looked like when they were alive. There's also the creepy glowing hand that seems to be attached to his chest, which might indicate either a companion or another villain Link will need to face. We'll update you on who the sequel's main bad guy is as we learn more.

Do weapons still break?

Link's Boko Bat breaking in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. (Image credit: iMore)

We haven't learned the weapon mechanic specifics just yet. However, the sequel will likely employ something similar to what we experienced in the first game. We'll update you when we learn more.

Since the game already had the ability to cook food and create potions using ingredients, it wouldn't be that far of a stretch for the sequel to provide some kind of crafting or forging option. That way, players could repair damaged weapons, strengthen them, or maybe even create new weapons using different ingredients. 

For instance, what if we could forge a sword with a Red Chuchu Jelly to turn it into a Flameblade? It would give us more reasons to use all of those ingredients and items we collect on our journey. 

Do you play as Link or Zelda?

(Image credit: Nintendo screenshot)

The shots we've seen so far have only shown Link running around the map. And unfortunately, it seems Zelda might be playing the damsel in distress once again as she's shown falling into an abyss in the first teaser trailer.

Kotaku was able to ask Aonuma if Zelda would be playable in this sequel. He 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.

It would be awesome if there was the option to play as both characters and with how popular the split-screen mod for the original game has been some kind of co-op would be more than welcome. However, it's hard to say if this is something Nintendo would ever actually do. 

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 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."'

Nintendo often releases DLC for its bigger games, so it's very likely that we'll see some for the Breath of the Wild sequel. After all, it's a win-win since it gives the Japanese gaming company more revenue while giving fans more to explore.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2: What about amiibo?

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Nintendo released several Breath of the Wild amiibo for the original game and made other Zelda amiibo compatible with it. When scanned, these figures allow players to acquire special in-game items, fight alongside Wolf Link, or even get Epona, the horse from Ocarina of Time.

We currently don't know if the sequel will work with these figurines, but we can assume they will. After all, we recently saw the amiibo for the four champions got reprints when Age of Calamity released and a new Zelda & Loftwing amiibo released for Skyward Sword HD in 2021.

How much will it cost?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Most big Nintendo titles these days sell for $60, so that's what we expect for a standard copy of Breath of the Wild 2. However, given that the original also had a Special Edition for $100, Master Edition for $130, and Deluxe Collector's Edition for $140, we expect some special versions for the sequel as well. The pricing for each one will depend on what exactly comes with the game.

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. So we're guessing the sequel will be the same way. 

But if not, Nintendo Switch Lite owners 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 Tears of the Kingdom Switch OLED 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 as they did with other special edition consoles like the Animal Crossing Switch or the recent Splatoon 3 Switch OLED. 

One thing is for sure, if Nintendo does create a special Zelda-themed Switch to release with Breath of the Wild 2, we'll be some of the first in line to make a purchase.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Anyone who can't wait for the sequel can get a bit of a Zelda fix with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. During the announcement E3 2019 trailer, 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, the team is working hard on its development to make the vast world you enjoyed exploring in the original game even more impressive. So, you'll have to wait a bit longer before we can provide more updates."

Age of Calamity follows the events that took place 100 years before Breath of the Wild. You play as Link, Zelda, the four champions, and additional characters from Breath of the Wild as you struggle against Calamity Ganon.

Breath of the Wild 2

We absolutely loved Breath of the Wild and cannot wait to get our 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 September 2022: Added info from the Nintendo Direct.


The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

This sequel has Link traveling around, exploring new places, and using new skills in his attempt to save the world.

Preorder from: <a href="" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Amazon | <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Best Buy

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.