Very few games live up to the term legendary, and yet it only feels fitting that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild not only achieved that accolade but in many ways exceeded all expectations. Its sense of exploration and wonder and the concept of "what's over that hill" has arguably never been executed to a greater degree.
With so much critical acclaim and the highest number of sales in the series' history to date, it's no surprise Nintendo is working on a follow-up. As one of the most anticipated games in development right now, the currently untitled sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has quite a mountain to climb if it hopes of reaching the heights of the first game. If anyone can pull it off though, it has to be Nintendo.
Since being announced to the world more than two and half years ago, everyone has been obsessed with what exactly the new sequel will bring. Will it even follow the same template laid out by the original? Or will it be more linear with a darker story about Hyrule and the fall of the hero from 10,000 years ago? To make sense of all of this, we've scoured the web to compile everything there is that you need to know about Breath of the Wild 2.
We'll also be updating this feature regularly right up until the release of the game, so make sure to check back in for the latest news. Okay, let's jump in.
Breath of the Wild 2 release date
The sequel to Breath of the Wild 2 is currently scheduled to launch exclusively on Nintendo Switch sometime in 2022. This was confirmed by Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma during Nintendo's E3 showcase in June 2021.
"Development has been steadily progressing," said Aonuma during the presentation. "We'd like to ask you to wait a bit longer. We're aiming for a 2022 release, so I'll hope you'll look forward to it," he added.
The keyword used by Aonuma there is "aiming". Due to the global pandemic, numerous games around the world have been delayed as a result and it's only set to continue to affect the industry for the next few years. Zelda games also have a history of being delayed time and time again, so while 2022 is the current date slated, we're still a little apprehensive as to whether it actually makes that date.
Since The Legend of Zelda first made its debut on the NES all the way back in 1986, there has been over 26 games in the mainline series (including remakes). Looking back at its history and it doesn't particularly paint a clear picture.
If we just address mainline Zelda games that launched on console, the most common dates range between November and December. Most recently, The Legend of Zelda Game & Watch launched on November 12, 2021. I can personally see a November date being revealed in early 2022 before a delay pushes it to around March 2023. Either way, it shouldn't be too long before we find out more.
- The Legend of Zelda – February 21, 1986
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – January 12, 1987
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – November 21, 1991
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – November 21, 1998
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask – April 27, 2000
- The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker – December 13, 2002
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – December 2, 2006
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – November 18, 2011
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – March 3, 2017
Breath of the Wild 2 trailers
The first trailer for Breath of the Wild 2 was debuted during Nintendo's E3 showcase in June 2019. While only 86 seconds long, there's plenty to discuss.
It begins with a number of green symbols (Twilight magic?) circling a corpse in the darkness. Link and Zelda are then seen riding an elephant-like mount through a cave before finding the figure. Red smoke (known as Malice) follows and this is where all hell breaks loose, as it appears that a ritual is being performed to bring presumably Ganon (or Ganondorf) back to life.
We then get a flash of light showing the figure's shadow alongside a mysterious hand reaching out, a shot of Link with green magic surrounding his own hand and a look at the temple outside ever so briefly. The corpse then wakes with glowing red eyes before the location is revealed to be taking place underneath Hyrule Castle. The structure lifts into the sky, ending the trailer.
One theory (that I previously outlined for our sister site, TechRadar) is that flash of the figure's shadow is actually Demise, not Ganon. For anyone that's unaware, Demise the Demon King is the main villain in Skyward Sword and the manifestation of all evil that has ever come to threaten Hyrule.
As Nintendo chose to remaster Skyward Sword for the 35th anniversary of Zelda, instead of any of the much more popular games available, there has to be a reason behind this (aside from monetary value). That reason could be Demise.
Shown off during Nintendo's E3 presentation in June 2021, the second teaser begins with the same Malice engulfing the screen before brief shots of Link, the corpse and Zelda falling are shown. Triumphant music blares over the blank screen until what is thought to be Link (more on that later) is seen falling and paragliding through the clouds. He is then seen sporting longer hair, sprinting across a sun-drenched land with islands floating in the sky.
Various new and returning enemies are now shown, including Bokoblins riding on the back of a Stone Talus. Link's arm is then seen covered in green magic, potentially giving access to new powers, as the next shot introduces a new revamped Statis ability being used to reverse time by sending a giant spiked metallic ball back up a mountain to defeat a pack of Bokoblins. We then get Link using a shield with a dragon's face attachment, which breathes fire onto a new unknown enemy.
Finally, a water droplet is seen being reversed in motion (time travel?), while Link then pushes through solid rock as part of one of the islands in the sky. Something really cool is that if you play the music background it's the same main theme from the original game. Once again the trailer ends with Hyrule Castle rising into the air with Malice spreading from underneath the structure.
Breath of the Wild 2 location and map
Breath of the Wild 2 is expected to take place in the kingdom of Hyrule at the end of the Zelda timeline, following the conclusion of the first game.
While little is known about the location officially, fans have been piecing together footage from the trailer. An educated guess would say that the ginormous map from the original game is returning but with everything being updated or changed in some way. It's also been confirmed that "the setting for the adventure has been expanded to include the skies above Hyrule."
Breath of the Wild news, rumours and leaks
Every week there are dozens upon dozens of new rumours breaking across the web, fuelling more speculation about Breath of the Wild 2. This section will be used to address any rumours actually worth considering, or potentially just including because it's that out there that we needed to share it with the world. Either way, we'll do our best to only bring you the most relevant bits of information.
Is Link the protagonist?
One prevalent rumour that has not stopped since the second teaser was revealed is that Link is not actually the protagonist in the game. This all stemmed from the character's face purposely being hidden in the teaser trailer with some believing that you will actually control series antagonist Ganondorf.
Kinda Funny's Barrett Courtney uploaded a compelling theory video outlining how this could be true, highlighting Breath of the Wild's hero from 10,000 years ago, the reason the title is being kept so secret and the decision to port Skyward Sword to Switch in favour of more popular Zelda titles, such as Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. It's well worth a watch.
In December 2021, a new listing for Breath of the Wild 2 appeared on Amazon (via ScreenRant). Very little information is shared with no box art, price or further information about the game. It's likely this is just a holding page until more details are revealed with a tenuous release date of December 31st, 2022 noted.
IGN boss leaks release date?
IGN co-founder and chief content officer Peer Schneider mentioned a November release date during episode 591 of the NVC (Nintendo Voice Chat) podcast. Schneider shared that he spoke with "some people in the industry" at The Game Awards 2021, with the game still expected to make its current 2022 release. Later on, he nonchalantly mentions a November release date, when speaking about open-world games on Switch.
Keeping with IGN and Nintendo Treehouse’s Bill Trinen told the outlet that the real name for Breath of the Wild 2 is being kept secret for the time being, as fans may be able to work out what happens in the game.
"As for why we’re holding back on the name, you’ll just have to stay tuned because, obviously, Zelda names are kind of important," explained Trinen. "Those subtitles… they start to give little bits of hints about maybe what’s going to happen."
Patents point to new powers
A number of patents filed by Nintendo reveal a bit more information about the powers in Breath of the Wild 2. As reported by Gamereactor, the three new features appear to allow Link to go through a suspended platform from below its surface (just like in the second teaser trailer), utilise a "Rewind" feature on objects and shoot bow and arrows while free falling. All of which could set up some extremely exciting encounters.
Congratulations you made it to the end! Just imagine hearing the iconic treasure chest opening sound as your reward.