After only teasing us with brief glimpse and snippets, Nintendo finally unveiled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles. The latest instalment in the 68+ million action fantasy series will be released for both Wii U and Nintendo’s upcoming NX console (which has yet to be officially unveiled), but it’s launch date has yet to be set in stone.
So we may not be seeing it for sometime yet, which is fine really, because as Nintendo maestro Shigeru Miyamoto famously said “A delayed game will eventually be good, a bad game is bad forever.” So Nintendo should have however much development time they need to make Breath of the Wild all that it can be.
And with most of the games in the Zelda series being nothing short of masterpieces, let’s take a look at five specific reasons why we’re so hyped for Breath of the Wild.
1. It has a huge open world
Free roaming, open worlds have always been a staple of the Zelda series, but Breath of the Wild will take this aspect further than ever before.
Its enormous map will be 12 times the size of the area in Twilight Princess (and that’s saying something, as Twilight Princess was huge), and will put as much focus as possible on exploration and discovery in this living, breathing incantation of Hyrule.
There won’t just be a few interconnected hub areas that take about ten minutes each to explore, there won’t be a vast open sea with a few small islands scattered here and there, this will be a huge, huge, area of towns, plains and forests that will contain so many things to see and do, that full completion will probably take tens, if not hundreds, of hours.
2. It has voice acting
Yeah, okay, the fact that a game has voice acting really doesn’t seem like something that should be praised today but for the Zelda series, it’s certainly a welcome new addition. Because bold and innovative as each new game in the series was, they never actually embraced fully voiced dialogue. Well, aside from the occasional “Hello”, and “listen” from Navi in Ocarina of Time, and a few other random words scattered here and there.
Breath of the Wild will finally ratify this however. As we saw from the reveal trailer, the Zelda series will finally, finally, embrace spoken dialogue. Now the question is, will Link remain a silent protagonist, or will he finally open his mouth and get a few words out?
3. It will be a more traditional fantasy RPG
An endless debate that’s been raging among the legions of Zelda fans in whether the games in the series can truly be classed as RPGs in the vein of, say, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. And the answer that seems to usually win is that they ultimately don’t fall into this category.
Sure, The Legend of Zelda series has always been about exploring fast magical worlds, interacting with characters, embarking on quests, and exploring mysterious dungeons, but many of the more core gameplay elements accosted with fantasy RPGs, such as character statistics, levelling up, item durability, and health boosts, have been absent in favour of a much more straightforward and simpler approach.
While Breath of the Wild won’t go all out Final Fantasy on the series (don’t worry, there certainly won’t be turn-based combat!) it still appears to taking a much more complex, RPG approach that will reward players for playing close attention to small details such as the amount of damage that a particular weapon can inflict at any given time.
While this will likely turn away many more casual gamers, we’re just thrilled to see the series going in such a radically different new direction.
4. It’s the series that we know and love, but different
Despite all its radical departures from the previous games in the series, Breath of the Wild is still Zelda through and through. Link will have to battle familiar enemies like Bokoblins, Moblins and Stalfos. The beautiful, cel-shaded visuals still work like a charm. Extravagant, larger than life characters still show up and bring a smile to your face. And most unsurprisingly of all, Link is still the hero who rises in Hyrule’s time of peril.
Still no word on whether fan favourite characters like Ganondorf or Princess Zelda will show up (or even if we’ll be seeing more loathed characters, like Tingle), or if we’ll be seeing other staples of the series, such as the Master Sword or Link’s familiar green tunic, but it’s a safe bet that they’ll be showing up. After all, it just wouldn’t be Zelda without them.
This may be a new Zelda in terms of gameplay, but rest assured, it’s still the series that we’ve known and adored for the last thirty years.
5. It will be a huge moneymaker for Nintendo
Nintendo have fallen on harsh times as of late. Sure, Pokemon Go is doing gangbusters at the moment, but they only receive 30% of its overall revenue, and its novelty is bound to die off pretty damn quickly.
And while their Amigos and first party titles still sell like crazy, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the Wii U was a complete and utter disaster from the start, thanks to its terrible marketing (most people still think that it’s simply another version of the original Wii console), terrible Youtube copyright policies, and limited hardware capabilities. And with the market for handheld consoles drying up pretty quickly in favour of mobile devices, the 3DS’ days are numbered.
And while Breath of the Wild won’t single-handedly put an end to Nintendo’s monetary woes (that lies on the success, or lack thereof, of the NX), it still have the potential to be a gigantic moneymaker that will remind people that they’re still a hugely innovative and relevant company in today’s convoluted gaming industry.
As no expense was spared in Breath of the Wild’s lengthy development, it needs to sell over 2 million copies worldwide to break even. And this should be no trouble at all, seeing as how, after Mario and Pokemon, Zelda has always been Nintendo’s third most profitable franchise. So with the hype machine now in full swing, it’s a safe bet to say that Breath of the Wild will sell like crazy.