The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – you love it or hate it because it’s “not a real Zelda game”.Many people are apparently unaware that things will never be the same again.And that’s a good thing!
A commentary by Nathan Navrotzki
2 reasons Breath of the Wild is the new standard
In 2017 the Zelda community was split into two camps.Some love the fantastic open world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, others hate that it’s nothing like what fans have come to expect from the series.I’m in the first camp and I have to say I strongly doubt that Nintendo will ever go back to the old formula.
Nothing is officially known about how things will continue after Tears of the Kingdom, the sequel to Breath of the Wild.But there are two big clues that suggest the open-world formula will remain.
Reason 1: sales figures
If you just look at the sales figures of all Zelda games that have been released to date, it immediately catches your eye: Breath of the Wild is by far the most successful offshoot of the successful series. 29 million copies sold far outnumber the second best selling installment in the series.
Twilight Princess has namely just under 8.7 million times sold and Ocarina of Time 7.6 million copies.So as many fans would like Nintendo to go back to the old, comparatively straight-forward formula, the numbers tell a different story.
Reason 2: Natural progression of the series
Who rests, rusts – Nintendo has understood that.The company keeps reinventing its own brands and developing them further instead of standing still.And that’s important too.Nostalgia is all well and good, but masterpieces like Breath of the Wild, or even then ocarina of time, are not created by doing the same thing over and over again.The development of the series into the open world genre was the next logical step and its features fix many problems of the older games, which I will go into in a little more detail in a moment.
So: why would Nintendo go back to straight-forward, puzzle-heavy games?There is easy no good reason for this.At most, a spin-off or a smaller game would be conceivable, but the chances of a main game in the style of Majora’s Mask or Twilight Princess are poor.
Tears of the Kingdom will also be an open world game again.You can check out the new gameplay video here:
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Nintendo shows 10 minutes of gameplay
What makes Breath of the Wild better?
I’ve already briefly touched on why I think the genre change is good: Older Zelda games had some problems that Breath of the Wild and its successor will probably fix – especially the straightness of most games.My favorite game in the series until Breath of the Wild came out was The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.Not only because of its happy atmosphere and the fact that it was my first Zelda, but also because it felt so much freer than other games in the series.
The key word is “felt”, because although the sea and the many islands were free to explore, there was one nonetheless fixed order for dungeons, Weapons and important story points.However, most of the other offshoots don’t even offer the feeling of freedom, but simply pull gamers from one place to the next – boring!
The dungeons then always follow the same pattern: You solve the given puzzles, beat up a few monsters, get a new weapon, use it for this dungeon and afterwards rots these often stay in your inventory for hours, so that you have forgotten them again until the next suitable puzzle.
In Breath of the Wild, on the other hand, anything can be your weapon.From the stick you just picked up to the modules you unlock at the beginning of the story.And because you can explore everything on your own, you get the feeling that you are make your own way – that you do what you want and not just follow the path that the game asks of you.That’s a lot more fun, at least for me.
By the way, you can find out what our community wants from Tears of the Kingdom in the following series of pictures:
I have to admit: I was extremely skeptical about the release of Breath of the Wild myself.I just didn’t like most open world games – at least those of the Ubisoft formula.But Nintendo owns the genre, right on the first try revolutionized.And the influences of Breath of the Wild can still be seen today, be it in a Genshin Impact, Pokémon Crimson & Crimson, or Elden Ring.
As sorry as I am for all those nostalgic, The Legend of Zelda will never be the same again.And that’s good.But hey, maybe there will be a few more remasters for the switch.