Let’s talk about the next Zelda game, what can we expect or hope from Nintendo? With BotW’s enormous success and critical reception it seems hard to fathom how Nintendo will be able to top themselves. Where do they go from here? Do they expand on the open world concept of BoTW and make a direct sequel to it or a whole other story and characters utilizing the innovations of BotW?
We know that Nintendo is not adverse to the idea of making direct sequels to the Zelda games and taking Link to different locales. Majora’s Mask saw Link leave Hyrule for Termina after returning to the child timeline of Ocarina of Time. Some games have seen their sequels jump to the current handheld platform. Links Awakening, a GameBoy title, takes place directly after A Link to the Past, where once again Link leaves Hyrule for reasons unknown and finds himself waking up on the shores of Koholint Island. Wind Waker saw its sequel jump to the DS with Phantom Hourglass. It seems plausible that Nintendo will want to capitalize on the positive reaction of BotW and make a sequel to it directly. If they choose that route, it would also seem likely that we would see Link leave Hyrule for a new adventure and location to explore. Perhaps they will make a sequel to a previous game in the series while applying what they learned from BotW success to it. I imagine we will likely not experience the more linear game design established from Ocarina onward outside perhaps Wind Waker and Twilight Princess HD ports to the switch or possible a HD remaster of Skyward Sword.
Besides a direct sequel, could they go in an even more extreme direction? From a recent developer talk at GDC this year and the release of a 3-part making- of documentary we learned that the direction BotW took was not what was originally designed. They explored sci-fi aspects with Link in a space suit (and a Metroid!) or even something more modern and real-world like with Link riding a motor cycle while wearing jeans. We also know they scrapped an idea for an Alien invasion aspect for BotW, even so far as initially referring to the game as ‘The Legend of Zelda - Invasion’.
These out-there ideas come into play with what we can speculate about the follow up to BotW. What better way to differentiate and avoid the inevitable comparisons to BotW by taking the series in an even bolder and wildly different approach? Nintendo seems to be doing this already with Super Mario Odyssey, having Mario experience a very New York like level that really stands out from the series’ norms.
So what do you think? Where will Nintendo go from here?
Josh Bland has been reading and lurking on Kotaku for over a decade and recently decided to become involved in the community. You can reach me over on twitter @jblano