The latest entry into the Zelda series, Breath of the Wild, has certainly managed to make some serious waves since its release alongside the Switch back in March of 2017. Early sales reports suggested it having, at one point, a 102% or higher attachment rate, meaning it outsold the number of consoles themselves (surely due in part to console shortages). And even though the previous attachment figure may no longer apply today, Breath of the Wild remains in the #3 spot of best-selling games on the Switch to date at a staggering 10.28 million units sold as of September 2018, not counting sales of the Wii U version.
But really it is no surprise that it has performed so well, considering it was both a launch title and a Zelda game at that. But if we set the sales figures aside and just look at the game for what it was, was Breath of the Wild the Zelda game that people really wanted? It was obviously a huge departure from the norm of a Zelda game with its massive, seamless open world and more RPG-centric design. Not to mention the lack of traditional dungeons was a bit of a shock to some, and we won’t even get into how angry the whole weapon system made some people.
Regardless, I for one loved the design of Breath of the Wild, but I’ve also never been the biggest fan of the series as a whole. Sure, I liked the original NES Zelda, A Link to the Past, and Ocarina of Time well enough, but the series has never really felt entrenched enough in RPG design for me to get fully invested in its games. But all that changed for me with Breath of the Wild, as to me it felt the most like an RPG since Zelda II on the NES.
Then there is my wife, who has dabbled in gaming over the years but has never really been sucked into anything long-term. But now, she has almost 400 hours into Breath of the Wild, and that is a little more than a dabble if you ask me. I’ve tried to get her into other games similar to Breath of the Wild, but none have come close to providing the longevity and enjoyment factor she has gotten out of Link’s endeavor on the Switch. Clearly, there is something special about it, at least to my wife.
So, my wife and I would absolutely love to see another entry into the franchise that is akin to Breath of the Wild, but I do see why others would prefer for them to abandon the new in favor of a more traditional design. And I’m not even suggesting that Breath of the Wild is without flaws, because it certainly has some, but I have faith in Nintendo that they will improve on things in the next iteration of the framework. Personal desires aside, I can’t see them ever not considering a true open-world Zelda game again since Breath of the Wild has been one of the best-selling, non-remastered Zelda games to date. I’m not entirely convinced that the very next Zelda game to come on Switch will use the same (or similar) engine, though.
What are your thoughts on Nintendo building another game in a similar image to Breath of the Wild? Would you prefer a return to the franchise’s “proper form”?