Five Things I’m Hoping to See from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Sequel
With Nintendo confirming a sequel to Breath of the Wild in the works, here's what I'm hoping to see in the follow-up to a Zelda masterpiece.
From the moment that Link first stepped out onto the open plains of Hyrule in the opening moments of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I knew I was playing something special. As the first game that I owned when getting my Switch at launch (as I’m sure was the case for many of us), Breath of the Wild just had a certain magical quality to it that instantly made me fall in love with it in a way that I wasn’t sure could be replicated…at least until now.
As the perfect capstone to Nintendo’s jam-packed E3 2019 Direct last week, we got the surprising (but not unexpected) reveal that Nintendo is at work on a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Given that we’ve only had a handful of direct sequels to previous Zelda games, especially to one of the series’ best entries yet, it’s not hard to imagine what the possibilities are with a sequel to a game as beloved as Breath of the Wild. That said, following up Breath of the Wild itself will surely be a challenge given how much the title broke new ground for the series, giving a slight sense of “Where does Nintendo go from here?”
While details on the exact nature of the sequel are still pretty vague, here are a couple of things that I am hoping to see from the Breath of the Wild sequel based on our first glimpse of it from the reveal trailer.
Deliver a deeper, darker story
By the far the most striking element of the trailer for Breath of the Wild‘s follow-up was the fact that things seem to be moving in a bit of a darker, more ominous direction. Starting with Link and Zelda as they explore what appears to be a catacomb in the underground of Hyrule, things take a turn quickly at the appearance of a shriveled corpse-like figure that points toward a dark new force (or perhaps a familiar one) for the heroes to face.
The Zelda series has been no stranger to taking things into a darker direction, as we saw most notably with titles like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess. Even the brighter, more colorful games like Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild had their moments of darkness, but what we’ve seen from the trailer so far gives off a far more intimidating and nefarious vibe, more than I can ever remember from the series before.
Given the especially eerie skeletal being that we saw near the trailer’s end, it makes me all the more curious of how far Nintendo is willing to go to push the Zelda series into a darker direction, within reason. While I don’t expect Zelda to go fully Dark Souls any time at all in the near future, the reveal trailer still intrigued me as far as what this can mean for the story direction of the Breath of the Wild sequel.
Bring us to new and unseen parts of Hyrule
If there was anything to be taken away from the experience of playing through Breath of the Wild for the first time, it was the fact that the game not only delivered a fresh 3D open-world take on the Zelda series, but immersed us in an open-world that rivaled some of the genre’s best titles out there.
Breath of the Wild was immediately gripping for the fact that it gave players so much more freedom than ever before in a Zelda game, and its take on Hyrule captured a breadth and scope unlike any other. With the wide range of environments that players traveled across in Breath of the Wild, from the opening in the Great Plateau to the great expanse of the Gerudo Desert, the game was rich with diverse landscapes to explore, and I hope to see its sequel expand on that even more.
That said, it would be too easy to simply drop players back into the familiar world of Hyrule that we last explored in Breath of the Wild, as rich and detailed as it was. This is why I’m hoping that the sequel to Breath of the Wild either brings us to either a completely new area removed from the action of Hyrule (or adjacent to it) or, as hinted at by the reveal trailer, that we might get to explore entirely new environments that give us new dimensions to a place we’ve come to know so well before.
Expand on how players can interact with the world
Along with the expanded scope that its open-world brought, one of the other most impressive elements of Breath of the Wild was how open it was to giving players the opportunity to explore the world in their own way. From the game’s weather system that brought its own unique challenges, to cooking food and crafting, Breath of the Wild excelled at making players feel like a part of its world and for providing nearly limitless possibilities, and I can only imagine that the sequel will deliver in some ways on what made Breath of the Wild‘s open-world so vivid and memorable.
What exactly that is…well, I’m not exactly sure yet. Breath of the Wild was pretty extensive in delivering a vast world with plenty of player choice and variety, but it still feels like it only laid the groundwork for giving players so many choices in taking on its world. I still am continually surprised at the ways that players have utilized its physics and weather systems to pull off some insane stunts, or how players have mined some of Breath of the Wild‘s most obscure secrets.
In that way, I can only hope that its sequel manages to bring in some new elements — whether gameplay, storytelling, or otherwise — to give players an expanded scope of their interaction within Hyrule. Though some of Breath of the Wild‘s mechanics are ones I typically don’t enjoy in other games — like its survival elements and weapon degradation — they managed to coalesce perfectly here, and I can only wonder how deep the upcoming sequel can go to further that player connection with the rest of the world.
Give us a new threat to face
If there’s anything that you can surely bet money on when it comes to a new Zelda game, it’s the fact that we’ll most likely be fighting Ganon in some capacity by the game’s end. As was the case with Breath of the Wild‘s climactic fight against Calamity Ganon, the reveal trailer for its sequel suggests that some dark force is afoot threatening the realm of Hyrule, and there’s a pretty safe chance that the shriveled up corpse we saw at the reveal trailer’s end belongs to the one and only Ganon himself.
That said, while watching the trailer, a pretty big part of me hopes that this isn’t the case and that it might be some other darker, more nefarious force being awakened. Or, perhaps a bait-and-switch that sets up for a return fight against Ganon, only to have players encounter another more pressing force to face in the Breath of the Wild sequel.
While Ganon has taken on various forms and shapes over the past Zelda titles, I just can’t help but hope that this sequel will take the opportunity to give players an entirely new enemy (or some other evil force in hiding) to battle against, if only to give the sense that there are darker, more mysterious forces at play in the realm of Hyrule.
Let us play as Zelda
This is a pretty obvious request that comes up with nearly every Zelda game, so it’s what we might call a “no-brainer.” That said, if there’s any element from a follow-up game to Breath of the Wild that would help make it stand out from the previous title (or from the series at large), it would be finally giving players the opportunity to take on the role of Zelda in a more engaging, meaningful way by playing as her.
While she has been playable in the series’ spinoff games like Hyrule Warriors and the recently-released Cadence of Hyrule, giving players a chance to play as Zelda in a mainline entry would not only be a huge moment for the series, but also provide a great opportunity for deeper storytelling in the sequel. Breath of the Wild already featured a great foundation for Zelda’s development as a character beyond just having to be saved by Link, and giving players the chance to experience the journey as her (or at the very least alongside her) would be a monumental shift for this series that has spanned so many decades and generations.