Sequels are common across almost all mediums. Film sequels are often met with some apprehension, but in the world of gaming, sequels can be a chance to improve on something great. Many fan-favorite games are sequels, including games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Street Fighter 2. Yet, direct sequels have been a rare thing for The Legend of Zelda. Many games in the series make references or allude to being connected in one way or another, but Nintendo has seemingly never made a direct sequel in quite the same way it is with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (for lack of an official name). With this unique situation, Nintendo has an opportunity to create a Zelda game like few before it, and here are some of the reasons why.
We usually get attached to characters in each Zelda title. Sometimes these characters only appear in a single game, or they appear as different versions of the same character from game to game. However, as the world and its inhabitants are the same this time, we can now revisit our favorite characters and experience new fun moments with them.
As a result, the stories introduced in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can now be fleshed out further. Maybe Kass has a new musical-themed adventure to take part in, or Hudson has more elaborate construction plans to help with. Some fans, including me, found great joy in the interactions between Link and Zelda in Breath of the Wild‘s memory sequences. Building on these with some added depth and character development could make these the definitive iterations of Link and Zelda.
It’s clear that the story was not the main focus of Breath of the Wild, but the sequel has the opportunity to expand upon all the underdeveloped plot elements. For example, the darker lore behind Zelda’s royal family could lead to moments of inner conflict or quests involving the Sheikah tribe. Various undercooked characters like the champions — and frankly, Calamity Ganon — could have more screen time to develop.
The reveal trailer for Breath of the Wild 2 seems to already be placing a deeper emphasis on story and lore, not to mention a more humanoid (albeit… dead?) Ganon. Side characters and villains will now have a second chance to shine, and the lore and world-building of Breath of the Wild can be put to use in ways that we hopefully don’t see coming.
Fresh yet familiar gameplay
Beyond the potential benefits to storytelling, a sequel can also improve on the gameplay experience. In most Zelda games, the player starts with nothing and must collect weapons and abilities throughout. As Breath of the Wild 2 is a direct sequel, it could be more interesting to start the game with the majority of weapons and items you ended the first game with. Building on an already existing and familiar arsenal of weapons would drastically change how progression works (slightly reminiscent of what the first Breath of the Wild did, incidentally). It’s an idea that not many game sequels try, but it’s worked to great effect in games like Batman: Arkham City.
Refining a winning formula
Innovations to gameplay and story are somewhat expected with game sequels, but they also let developers improve on their formula. Simple improvements to issues like the inconsistent frame rate would be great, but we also know that Nintendo was overflowing with ideas for this sequel. The reveal trailer ends with Hyrule Castle rising into the sky, which could open the way for new underground areas that were inaccessible in Breath of the Wild. In a similar vein, perhaps other story events will cause the landscape to change and make things feel fresh, despite being on ostensibly the same map. Rumors point to this in fact being the case.
Additionally, the Divine Beasts were a fun twist on what Zelda fans had come to expect, but the fact that they looked similar and lacked the depth of past Zelda dungeons was an issue. Likewise, the magic of shrines eventually wears off for some due to the lack of visual and musical variety. Of course, Nintendo could just go back to traditional dungeons, but as this is a sequel, it’s a second chance to bring these ideas to their full potential. Could a Divine Beast-style dungeon be improved upon with a mixture of more classic Zelda puzzles? Perhaps some added visual variety or puzzles that take place across multiple shrines could spice things up.
For many players, Breath of the Wild is one of the best games in the Zelda series. With Breath of the Wild 2 being a direct sequel, Nintendo has the opportunity to make this formula perfect. What would you like to see Breath of the Wild 2 do as a direct sequel on Nintendo Switch?