The most important thing to know is that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is definitely coming. That’s worth a celebration in itself after the trail-blazing success of Breath of the Wild, made available on Nintendo Switch in 2017. Breath of the Wild stunned players with its vast, open-world map, multiple endings, and breakthrough game mechanics that included weather and daylight sequences independently affecting how the player interacted with the world of Hyrule.
Diehard Zelda fans, and brand-new Switch owners, were in for a pleasant shock in 2019 when a trailer teased the confirmation that a second Breath of the Wild title coming. Of course, in typical Nintendo style, there was very little information on release dates and fans were left to wait for another teaser to drop.
Unfortunately, the rest of 2019 didn’t bring any more grand reveals. 2020 was also disappointing on the Zelda front as we didn’t see any teasers or gameplay leaks, not even a logo tease. However, some details have been uncovered during interviews and by the fanbase, and they hint at everything we could want from the next Zelda instalment.
Breath of the Wild 2 is Really Coming
The biggest and most assured proof that Breath of the Wild 2 is definitely coming is the trailer released by Nintendo.
In June 2019, Nintendo dropped a trailer on their official Youtube channel that shocked and gave hope to Zelda fans worldwide. The same trailer was launched at the 2019 E3 event which saw fans cheering for every morsel that the short clip offered up. The trailer, though short at just over a minute long, was undoubtedly beautiful. There were plenty of hints and hidden messages to break down and analyse.
The video begins with some ethereal light ribbons rippling through the air in a spookily purposeful way, with the screen then panning out to show us that the lights have formed a slowly swirling tornado shape. The lights appear to form into Hyrulian characters at the top of the swirl that some Reddit sleuths have attempted to translate with no luck. The video then focuses on Zelda and Link exploring an underground chamber, worryingly quiet, atop what looks like an elephant decorated in Hyrule royal colours.
From here on, it appears the trailer wants us to understand that our favourite blonde-haired duo is being followed in this strangely eerie cave system. The follower is something very familiar to players of the first Breath of the Wild game. With the black and deep-purple tendrils reaching out and slithering along the darkened stone steps, we get the feeling that Ganon might not be defeated after all. If not Ganon, this dark source of power is certainly something evil and is likely what Zelda and Link are searching for through the underground chambers as they cross a ruined, ancient bridge.
This is where the pause button comes in handy. In a series of quick flashes, we see what seems to be a new enemy; a skeletal, gaunt figure that grabs a powerful pedestal at the centre of a stone circle. This could be the next challenger of Hyrule, perhaps wielding the same power as Ganon. We then see a flash of two hands clasping, then one of the hands becomes that of the skeletal figure’s. Next up in this dizzying exposition, is a shot of Zelda and Link balancing precariously as the bridge around them spontaneously crumbles and the music builds the tension. Finally, the trailer reaches a crescendo with the skeletal figure rolling over to reveal some terrifying glowing eyes, and a face only Impa could love. The next and penultimate shot might be the most interesting, though. It looks like, in the distance, Hyrule castle begins to shake and shudder as a shock wave rolls through the land. This hints at even more about Calamity Ganon’s involvement, as Hyrule castle is where Zelda managed to capture him in Breath of the Wild.
But if all of that detail doesn’t convince you that Breath of the Wild 2 is on its way, the creators kindly added a final encouraging message that ‘the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now in development’. This is where we can start to guess at an actual timeline for release.
Breath of the Wild 2 Development Timeline
Assuming Breath of the Wild 2 was in the development stage in mid-2019, it’s safe to assume the Coronavirus pandemic may be the crux of what feels like a delay. The creators at Nintendo are people too, so we’ve got to account for their adjustment to the pandemic in order to continue with the game’s development safely.
But don’t worry, because Breath of the Wild 2 development has a couple of things going in its favour. The average timeline for a Zelda game, judging by the most recent editions, is around 3–4 years, which would appear to set a release date for 2022. There’s one more thing working in Nintendo’s favour, though. Breath of the Wild 2 will be using the same game engine as the original, which means a reduced development period compared to Breath of the Wild’s 6-year wait.
Industry insiders like prominent ‘leaker’ Emily Rogers, even cite that there’s an 85-90% chance that Breath of the Wild 2 will release during the holiday period of 2021. Supporting this is the appearance of Breath of the Wild 2 for pre-order on sites like 365games. Altogether, this has given fans fresh wind in their sails as they look forward to new details later this year, hopefully confirming the timeline that’s being speculated.
With the cancellation of E3 2020, it seems even more likely that gamers with their digital ear to the ground will be the first to get a glimpse of future teasers, trailers or gameplay snippets. Nintendo has confirmed that they will dedicate themselves to keeping fans updated in other ways, so it’s only a matter of time until the internet sees their first exclusive glimpse of Breath of the Wild 2.