One of Nintendo’s surprises this past E3 was a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, one of the most acclaimed entires in the long-running series. It’s said to be a darker journey than its predecessor, drawing comparisons to Majora’s Mask. Speaking with Kotaku at E3, Zelda figurehead Eiji Aonuma discussed the upcoming Link’s Awakening remake and why they opted to develop a second Breath of the Wild rather than a new take on the formula.
Breath of the Wild enjoyed several downloadable packs to expand its world, and Aonuma and his team brainstormed ideas to develop further DLC out of. However, the limitations that come with DLC weren’t capable of handling the meatier changes they wanted to make. “But when it comes down to technical things, DLC is pretty much data—you’re adding data to a preexisting title,” Aonuma explained. “And so when we wanted to add bigger changes, DLC is not enough, and that’s why we thought maybe a sequel would be a good fit.”
When asked if the Wild sequel began its life as DLC, Aonuma clarified they were just “thinking of just DLC ideas.” However, these ideas became so bountiful that they collectively said, “This is too many ideas, let’s just make one new game and start from scratch.” Mario aficionados are aware 2010’s Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii similarly began its life as an expansion of its predecessor, at one point even being dubbed “Super Mario Galaxy More,” and fellow Zelda sequel Majora’s Mask was likewise developed by re-using assets from Ocarina of Time.
The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild currently has no release date, and according to its teaser trailer – which can be seen below – it only recently entered development. Our own review praised the first Breath of the Wild, calling it a successful marriage of sandbox game design and the freedom the original 1986 Zelda offered.