Do We Want Another Breath of the Wild?

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”?

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1 year ago

I’d rather have a middle ground. A basically open world but wth sections closed off until they’re opened during the story or by getting an ability. One of my problems with BotW was, that after leaving the initial area, you basically had everything you’d need to unlock every puzzle and beat every enemy. I’d rather that unlocks worked to give a 3D metroidvania type feel, with backtracking a necessity to use new skills and get items you couldn’t previously access. I’d also like more towns and villages, the populated areas where a little underwhelming with only the main 3 being… Read more »

Chris Rothenberger
Reply to  jonnydarkfang
1 year ago

“basically open world but wth sections closed off until they’re opened during the story or by getting an ability”

Isn’t this just a roundabout way of saying you want Ocarina-era maps back? Because that’s how the games were structured: you have open fields where secrets were hiding if you used X ability, and the submaps would be accessible once you progressed far enough in the story.

I’m not opposed to that, but I personally found BotW’s focus on letting you go anywhere refreshing.

Reply to  Chris Rothenberger
1 year ago

I think it can be more integrated than simply lopping off a set piece of the map if you don’t have an ability. Consider something like past games’ iron boots, or equipment that lets you breathe longer underwater. These in a game like Breath of the Wild could allow extra underwater exploration all over the game world.

Reply to  jonnydarkfang
1 year ago

I agree with most of this. Something I’ve wanted to see is a combination of big open world with new capabilities that let you explore it more fully with time, and I thought BOTW was going to be that game, but it mostly wasn’t. Only a few things like the ability to swim up waterfalls added anything past the very beginning. EDIT: Having a low amount of stamina early in the game also prevented you from getting quite anywhere, too.

Jeremy Rice
1 year ago

I’d love to get another BotW style game, but I’d make two major changes. First, I’d reintroduce traditional Zelda dungeons. Second, I’d beef up the game world to include more robust towns and quests – ala Elder Scrolls.

1 year ago

I would rather have a traditional Zelda game with the BotW engine. Pretty game, but I found it lacking overall.

1 year ago

“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?” Speaking for myself: oh god yes. A fan of the old Zelda games, but over the years grew more tired of the old formula. In 2011 when I saw Skyrim looked really interesting, I basically flipped a coin as to whether to start up Skyward Sword or Oblivion. Ended up playing Oblivion and loving it. Later on fell in love with other open world games like Just Cause 2. The… Read more »