Everything we know about Breath of the Wild 2

Jon Bitner

When Nintendo released the teaser trailer for Breath of the Wild 2 last year, it unleashed a whirlwind of rumors and speculation. As the dust started to settle, a few things were made clear — but much remained up in the air. Nintendo is notoriously scarce with information regarding first-party titles, and that holds true for this much-anticipated sequel.

That said, we actually know quite a bit about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. Nintendo has given us a brief glimpse into the world of Hyrule, and eagle-eyed viewers have been able to piece together a lot of the clues seen in the trailer. Plus, we’ve heard a few things directly from the legendary game designer Eiji Aonuma, which has only added fuel to the fire. From playable characters and returning enemies, to the release date and storyline, here’s everything we know — and don’t know — about the forthcoming sequel to Breath of the Wild.

Further reading

Release date

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Sadly, there is no confirmed release date for Breath of the Wild 2. Many have speculated that it could launch around the 2020 holiday season, but every week that passes this seems more unlikely. And with the current pandemic, the development and shipment of games — at least physical editions — has drastically slowed down.

As if that wasn’t enough, Nintendo probably doesn’t want to pit one of its biggest moneymakers up against the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 — which are also scheduled to launch this holiday season. They may not be direct competitors to the BOTW sequel, but why take that chance?

In all likelihood, the sequel won’t see the light of day until at least 2021. The first Breath of the Wild made its debut during E3 2014 and didn’t launch until 2017. Breath of the Wild 2 wasn’t teased that long ago — Nintendo made the announcement at E3 2019 — and even then Nintendo claimed it was merely in development. If past schedules are any indication, we’ve still got a bit of a wait ahead of us.

A return to Hyrule

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While the release date is up in the air, we’re pretty confident that players will be returning to the Hyrule seen in the original Breath of the Wild. Eiji Aonuma, producer of Breath of the Wild and its upcoming sequel, said that he would love to visit the world again and introduce new gameplay concepts alongside a new story. He later went on to say that Breath of the Wild 2 will indeed be a “continuation” of the original, meaning we should expect to see more of the Hyrule we’ve come to know and love over the past few years.

Prepare for a darker adventure

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One thing everyone picked up from the trailer is the fact that this entry is looking to be a much darker adventure than its predecessor. Aonuma went on to confirm this, saying the entry will be similar to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask in tone — easily the darkest and most disturbing game in the series. How exactly that will play out is unknown, however, it’s been confirmed that it will not tie into Majora’s Mask in any way. It might be going for a similar aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean any story elements from the hit Nintendo 64 title will make an appearance.

Built from DLC ideas

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Apparently, the driving factor for making a Breath of the Wild sequel came from the development team conjuring up too many DLC ideas. While DLC works to add small changes to a game — it essentially functions as an expansion — you’re often limited to the existing structure of the title. Aonuma said that the team had some big changes they wanted to implement, but they couldn’t do this using DLC. As time went on and more ideas began percolating, it became clear that a new game was the only way to make these a reality.

A whole lot of rumors

As soon as the trailer was revealed at E3 2019, the internet exploded with rumors and speculation. Not all of it is reliable, but we’ve compiled a shortlist of the most realistic rumblings. Nintendo hasn’t commented either way about the following claims, so it’s possible that some of these great ideas might make it into the final product:

  • The E3 trailer shows Link and Zelda exploring some sort of underground chamber, but Zelda looks markedly different than we remember. Her hair has been cut short into a type of bob, and fans are speculating that’s because she will be a playable character. Shorter hair has less of a chance of clipping into other objects and makes it easier to pull off a clean look without any janky animation. We’re not sure how likely this is — but we can’t deny it would be great to run around Hyrule as someone other than Link.
  • Watching Link and Zelda together in the trailer gave some fans the impression that this might be a co-op title. Aonuma was asked about this possibility and didn’t give a direct answer. While it probably won’t be the driving force of the game, we’re hopeful that you’ll be able to partner up with a friend this time around.
  • Several cave paintings seem to reference a time before the Calamity occurred. Does this mean the title could be a prequel to the original?
  • Traditional dungeons might make a return. Since players are already familiar with the map of Hyrule, it makes sense that new locations will have to be underground or indoors.
  • Ganondorf is the most likely villain, as he fits the appearance of the slumped-over corpse seen in the trailer. Some are also speculating that Zant, one of the antagonists of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, might also make a return, but there isn’t much evidence to back up this claim.

When will we know more?

Nintendo has changed up its method for announcing new games over the past few months. Instead of holding its popular Directs, the company has instead been dropping individual trailers for upcoming games. Its latest announcement was Paper Mario: The Origami King — and it’s slated to release in less than two months. With no future Directs scheduled, a one-off presentation like this is our only hope for more info on Breath of the Wild 2.