The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 news, trailers, release date, and everything else

Everything you need to know about the next mainline Zelda on Nintendo Switch

Breath of the Wild 2 Zelda Link freefalling Hyrule Castle enemy
(Image credit: Nintendo)

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 has quite a mountain to climb if it hopes of reaching the heights of the first Breath of the Wild. If anyone can pull it off though, it has to be Nintendo.  

Since being announced to the world three 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.

Breath of the Wild 2 – release date

Zelda holding torch with Link in a dark cavern in Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The sequel to Breath of the Wild 2 is currently scheduled to launch exclusively on Nintendo Switch in spring 2023. This was confirmed by Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma in a video announcement made in March 2022 revealing the game's delay from 2022.

"I have an update to share on the launch timing of the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," said Aonuma. "We previously announced that we were aiming for a 2022 release for this game. However, we have decided to extend our development time a bit and change the release to Spring 2023. For those of you who have been looking forward to a release this year, we apologise.

"As previously announced, the adventure in this sequel will take place not just on the ground as in the previous game but also in the skies above. However, the expanded world goes beyond that, and there will be an even wider variety of features you can enjoy including new encounters and new gameplay elements," he continued.

"In order to make the game's experience something special, the entire development team is continuing to work diligently on this game, so please wait a while longer."

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Nintendo previously looked to release Breath of the Wild 2 in 2022, yet decided to push the game back to help with development in an attempt to make the game "something special". 

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 when 2022 was slated as the current date, we were still a little apprehensive. 

Nintendo hosted a Nintendo Direct in February 2022 and there was no sign whatsoever of Breath of the Wild 2, a potential hint that it wouldn't make 2022. It then avoided E3 altogether, instead opting to host a Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase focused on third-party titles at the end of June 2022. 

The next expected Nintendo Direct is likely to take place around September, so that's a good bet for where Zelda will show up next. On the other hand, Nintendo might be holding the game back for a new model of Nintendo Switch. What better way to sell a system than with a new Zelda? 

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.

  • 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 

November might be the most common release date but we can now personally see a late March 2023 date being announced to coincide with the launch of the original Breath of the Wild. Spring 2023 takes place from March 20 to June 21. 

It's also worth being aware that Nintendo already has Mario Strikers: Battle League, Mario + Rabbids: Spark of Hope, Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Nintendo Switch Sports and Pokémon Scarlet / Violet planned throughout 2022, so it never really needed to rely on Breath of the Wild 2 for this year. 

Breath of the Wild 2 – trailers 

Breath of the Wild 2 – Link's arm becomes infected with red malice

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The first trailer for Breath of the Wild 2 was debuted during Nintendo's E3 showcase in June 2019. Amazingly, it's now been more than 1,000 days since its announcement. 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 (opens in new tab)) 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. 

A shadowy figure which resembles Demise yells while another hand reaches out from the shadows in the E3 2019 trailer for Breath of the Wild 2

Is this Demise? 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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. 

While not strictly a trailer, the latest video containing any sort of footage for Breath of the Wild 2 arrived in March 2022 alongside the game's delay to 2023. Again we see Link falling through the clouds as well as footage shown from previous trailers.

Most interestingly, we get a glimpse at Link standing in front of a mysterious glowing yellow orb and what appears to be a damaged Master Sword. How this all ties into the story is up for speculation. 

Breath of the Wild 2 – location and map 

Hyrule Castle raises into the air of Hyrule in the E3 trailer for Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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 death of Ganon at the end 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 (an open world Hyrule) 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."  This is set to take inspiration from Skyward Sword, so potentially the floating isles of Skyloft may return. Time travel is another aspect that may play a part in the story, with evidence shown for this power in the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer. 

Breath of the Wild 2 – news, rumours and leaks

Link merges through the ground on a sky temple in the clouds in the trailer for Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Every month 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 (opens in new tab) 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. 

Hidden title

Keeping with IGN (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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. 

Breath of the Wild 2 time reversal use as giant spiked balls are thrown back at boblokins

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Breath of the Wild 2 running on Switch Pro?

Following the delay of Breath of the Wild 2 in March 2022, tech analysis experts Digital Foundry sat down to discuss the news with the group believing the footage shown off as part of the announcement is not running on a native Nintendo Switch.

"This trailer was interesting because the image quality seemed quite good. I was a little bit surprised by how sharp and clear this looked compared to the original in general," said John Linneman. "It's up for debate whether it is actually running on the normal Switch hardware," added Richard Leadbetter.

The question of whether the footage was running on a Nintendo Switch was then posed to Alex Battaglia: "I honestly don't think it is, just because we have seen so very rarely volumetric clouds on Switch and these are like not breaking down super obviously," he said. "Another thing that was really obvious in the trailer was camera cuts have, like, perfect anti-aliasing, which is even rare for an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 game. I don't know what that means necessarily, it could be the next Switch..."

It's worth noting that Nintendo confirmed (via Nikkei (opens in new tab)) that it won't release any new hardware until the next fiscal year. This means there is no chance of a Switch Pro launching until after March 2023. 

Regardless, you can watch the full conversation below, beginning at the 24:28 mark. 

Wind Waker and Twilight Princess

Two games from The Legend of Zelda series – Wind Waker and Twilight Princess – might finally be coming to Nintendo Switch later this year, making up for the absence of Breath of the Wild 2. That's according to several comments made by VentureBeat journalist Jeff Grubb (opens in new tab) during an episode of his Last of the Nintendogs podcast.

"They want to have a Zelda thing every year, they've been holding onto this. Why wouldn't they just put it out this year? And if they don't put this out, or some other Zelda thing this year instead of just waiting for Breath of the Wild 2, I will just not understand," he said.

"I do believe it actually does come out in October. I think we get Metroid Prime one remaster in November and then I think we get Advance Wars 1 + 2 in December," added Grubb. 

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

(Image credit: Nintendo)

New Game Plus and Sheikah Slate return 

Another supposed leak in June 2022 surrounded the return of the Sheikah Slate and the addition of New Game Plus – a first for the Zelda series, if true. This originated from the Chinese social media application Weibo (via Reddit (opens in new tab)) with a user claiming to be working on 3D animation for Breath of the Wild 2. 

The main things noted that the user worked on "roaring dragon and flying dragon animation" as well as animation on the first time the player picks up the Sheikah Slate. This has further fuelled speculation that Zelda will be playable as Link's arm seems to replace the Sheikah Slate in the trailers we've seen so far. 

Congratulations you made it to the end! Just imagine hearing the iconic treasure chest opening sound as your reward. We'll likely hear more in the coming months, so make sure to come back for the latest Breath of the Wild 2 updates. 

Matthew Forde
Matthew Forde

Matthew is the Staff Writer for T3, covering news and keeping up with everything games, entertainment, and all manner of tech. You can find his work across numerous sites across the web, including TechRadar, IGN, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matthew is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattForde64