Breath of the Wild 2 release date, news and trailers

by 24USATVJune 16, 2021, 2 a.m. 45
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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 has been confirmed and, even though very little is known about it, it’s undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated games coming to Nintendo Switch.

With E3 2021 now upon us, and Nintendo’s E3 Direct kicking off today at 9am PT / 12pm ET / 5pm BST, many of us are hoping – nay, praying – that BOTW 2 will make an appearance.

The Nintendo E3 Direct will start with a 40-minute presentation, followed by three hours of gameplay footage – and it’s very likely Breath of the Wild 2 will be included. This is the year in which the franchise celebrates its 35th anniversary, and it’s been two years since the game was first teased (back at E3 2019), so we’re hoping that Nintendo will take the opportunity to make some timely announcements. We now that the Direct will focus solely on software, too.

Given Nintendo is a publisher known for keeping things firmly under wraps until they’re absolutely ready, it’s perhaps not all that surprising that it’s keeping quiet around Breath of the Wild 2. It is, after all, the sequel to Breath of the Wild, which is still hailed as one of the best Switch games ever, so expectations are extremely high.

Unfortunately, the number of questions we have is even higher. When will it release? What will its story involve? Is that rumored Nintendo Switch 2 going to play a part? Solid information on Breath of the Wild 2 is hard to come by at the moment but in the meantime, we’ve gathered up everything we know and suspect so far about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 for your perusal.

Breath of the Wild 2: what you need to know
• What is it? The upcoming sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild
• What can I play it on? Nintendo Switch
• When can I play it? TBC, but likely late 2021 or early 2022

Nintendo hasn’t shared much information on Breath of the Wild 2 other than an announcement trailer and a few sparse comments – which we’ll run through below.

At the time, back in 2019, the trailer closed with a line stating the game is “in development”, with no hints as to how long off release might be. Leaker Sabi (via wccftech) had suggested that Breath of the Wild 2 is due for release in 2020 – before changing that prediction to 2021, having warned that “Zelda release dates are historically delayed, internally or publicly”.

While it’s always worth taking rumors with a big pinch of salt, Sabi is a pretty reliable leaker. The Twitter user leaked most of the big announcements from E3 2019 before they happened – reportedly even earning a cease and desist order from Nintendo.

There have also been rumors that Nintendo is working on a Nintendo Switch Pro, a more powerful console than the original Switch. It’s been suggested that Breath of the Wild 2 would make an ideal launch title for a new console and if rumors prove to be true this could see Breath of the Wild 2 released in late 2021 or early 2022. However, this is all very much speculation at this point given the existence of such a console hasn’t been confirmed or denied by Nintendo and no update has been given on Breath of the Wild 2’s release date.

We got our first glimpse of BOTW 2 at E3 2019, with this spooky trailer that shows Zelda and Link exploring an underground chamber – with some mysterious runes, glowing hands, and a brand-new haircut that has set the internet on fire. Suffice it to say we’re excited.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 trailer is just 82 seconds long and there’s no dialogue whatsoever but there are some clues to be gathered from it.

It features a torch-carrying Link and Zelda traversing a dark dungeon beneath Hyrule (no big surprise there). Spirit-like tendrils creep around the musty tomb they’re exploring, with the pair riding a large elephant-like beast. Something shocks the pair, and then we cut to what appears to be the resurrection of some long-dead (and creepy looking) warrior. Could this be the return of Ganondorf?

The video then cuts to a long shot of Hyrule Field, with Hyrule Castle in the distance. There’s a tremor, the castle is smothered with dust… and that’s the end.

The clip finishes with a message that reads: “The sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is in development.”

We wouldn’t usually expect so much animation to be done so early in development, but it probably helps that Nintendo already has the in-game engine from Breath of the Wild.

Breath of the Wild 2 news and rumors

Nintendo E3 2021

The ESA has confirmed that E3 is to be an entirely digital affair in 2021, taking place between June 12 and June 15, and Nintendo has been confirmed as an attendee.

It’s looking likely that Nintendo will follow its usual approach of a Direct stream and while it’s not confirmed what it’ll be bringing to the table just yet, we’re hoping the show will include an update on the progress of Breath of the Wild 2. Perhaps even a release date if we’re really lucky.

It would be the perfect time for Nintendo to reveal more about the game, particularly as the last significant news drop was all the way back at E3 2019 and series producer Eiji Aonuma has previously said that more Breath of the Wild 2 news would be coming in 2021.

More information coming in 2021

Nintendo’s Direct presentation in February 2021 didn’t bring any more details on Breath of the Wild 2 but it wasn’t completely absent. Zelda series producer, Eiji Aonuma, shared a small update during the presentation (via NintendoLife), noting that development is “proceeding smoothly” and that there’s going to be more information on the game later this year.

“I’m sure a lot of you saw me and thought there might be news to the sequel to the Breath of the Wild game.” Aonuma said, “Unfortunately, we don’t have anything to share right now. Development is proceeding smoothly and we should be able to bring you some information this year. For now, we’ll have to ask you to wait just a bit longer.”

In the meantime, Zelda fans can look forward to Skyward Sword HD which is coming to the Switch on July 16.

A potential release window?

Nintendo hasn’t given any release window for Breath of the Wild 2 but prominent leaker Emily Rogers has said on Twitter (via GamesRadar) that the sequel could arrive in the 2021 holiday season, saying there’s an “85-90% chance”.

Rogers has accurately predicted Nintendo release plans before and their estimation lines up with other rumors that the game will release in late 2021, which is, coincidentally, when it’s rumored that Nintendo might also release a new and more powerful Switch console.

However, at the moment this is all just speculation and we can’t be sure until Nintendo announces something official. Even if the plan is, at the moment, to release Breath of the Wild 2 in late 2021, games are frequently subject to delays, particularly during the ongoing pandemic, and Nintendo isn’t likely to confirm anything until it’s ready.

Hyrule Warriors and a longer wait for news

Nintendo and Koei Tecmo Games have released a prequel to the original Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild titled Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Set 100 years before the original game, it has Link, Zelda and friends (including the four Champions, who will be playable for the first time) battle hordes of enemies in Hyrule before it was destroyed in the Great Calamity.

While it was exciting to have the chance to return to Hyrule in 2020, the release of this prequel did suggest it could be another while before we hear anything more about a sequel.

In revealing Age of Calamity, series producer Eiji Aonuma acknowledged the relative lack of news for Breath of the Wild 2 and said:

“In order to make the vast world you enjoyed exploring in the original game even more impressive, the team is working hard on its development, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can provide more updates.”

Could Switch Pro rumors offer Breath of the Wild 2 hints?

There have been numerous reports that there’s a Nintendo Switch Pro in the works for a 2021 release date. Reports of the new console come from the Economic Daily News and Bloomberg both of which suggest a more powerful Nintendo Switch console with upgraded interactivity and improved display quality could be coming next year. Along with these hardware upgrades, Bloomberg also suggests that Nintendo has a bunch of new games up its sleeve to launch alongside the console.

Given the original Breath of the Wild launched with the original Nintendo Switch back in 2017, launching Breath of the Wild 2 alongside a more advanced iteration of the console would be some nice symmetry. A 2021 release date for Breath of the Wild 2 doesn’t seem completely ridiculous either given it’s been in development for some time.

That said, all of this is mere conjecture until Nintendo confirms the existence of a Nintendo Switch Pro or gives us an update on the progress of Breath of the Wild 2.

Voice acting misunderstanding

In a sign of just how much fans are looking for news on Breath of the Wild 2, an interview with the voice actors behind the Spanish dubs of Zelda and Revali in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Spanish podcast A Coffee with Nintendo was seized upon and caused some controversy (via IGN).

In the interview it seemed to be suggested that the voice actors had finished their work on the sequel, leading fans to think that the game might be further along in its development than originally thought. However, this proved to be incorrect. It was later clarified that the voice actors were joking and that context was lost due to translation issues. In fact, it’s not even confirmed that they’re working on the sequel. So we’re left with no further clues as to progress on Breath of the Wild 2.

Rumors spreading

It’s been a long time since anything solid on Breath of the Wild 2 has been announced and, as ever, in the absence of solid news rumors tend to creep in.

One rumor has come from Tyler McVicker. Known primarily for his YouTube channel dedicated to Valve rumors, McVicker announced back in 2020 that he was setting up a Nintendo news channel and on a stream in March 2020 (around the 11-minute mark) teased some unconfirmed information (via NintendoLife) on the Zelda sequel.

According to McVicker, Breath of the Wild 2 will take players back to the same Hyrule layout but introduce new things like “miasma”-like corruption and dungeons to add depth and detail to the map, taking inspiration from Red Dead Redemption 2 and another unnamed game.

Anything said about Breath of the Wild 2 that hasn’t come from Nintendo itself should naturally be taken with a huge pinch of salt.

All the DLC that never was

In an interview with Kotaku, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma said there were originally plans for more DLC content for BOTW, after The Champion’s Ballad and Master Trials add-ons that came in 2017.

“Initially we were thinking of just DLC ideas,” says Anouma. “But then we had a lot of ideas and we said, ‘This is too many ideas, let’s just make one new game and start from scratch.'”

A darker turn for the series

All we really know at this point is how little we know. But boy, are there rumors. The unexpected trailer sparked a huge amount of speculation, hopes and hot takes on what the next mainline Zelda title might include.

We’ve heard from Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma that the game is going to have a darker tone than Breath of the Wild, and will even be “a little bit darker” than Majora’s Mask (via IGN).

The trailer certainly supports this, with what looks like Ganondorf’s corpse being resurrected by a disembodied hand, and seemingly imagery from 2006’s Twilight Princess, which saw Hyrule turned into a bleak shadow realm – largely in response to the far cheerier and cartoonish The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

The Twilight realm

The glowing blue hand in the trailer is the biggest clue that we’ll be seeing more of the Twili – shadow people descended from Hylians who tried to take the power of the Triforce for themselves. The hand is wrapped in twisting shapes reminiscent of Twilight architecture, while the swirling magic could remind some of the portals that let Twili invade Hyrule in the 2006 game.

We know that BOTW’s dev team originally toyed with the idea of an alien invasion, and seeing shadow creatures teleport out of the sky could well have been what they have planned this time around.

A clue in the audio

Showing just how far some Zelda fans will go, reddit user u/ReroFunk (via ) pieced together a pretty convincing theory regarding Twilight Princess villain Zant, a Twili who served Ganondorf in the game. If you listen to the trailer’s audio in reverse, there are certain notes that seem to echo the music played during your final encounter with Zant – who, while defeated, is adamant he’ll return through the power of his “god”.

u/ReroFunk also suggests we could see the demon king Demise return for the next Zelda game. Demise was the final boss in Skyward Sword, and revealed to be the original form of Ganondorf. The below still from the Zelda trailer also looks a lot like Demise when you think about it.

Lots of dungeons (and an extended map)

Rumors about the Breath of the Wild sequel suggest that we could be in for a treat in the form of a new map that’s not like anything we’ve seen from Zelda before. What’s more, a couple of new job listings suggest that Nintendo is looking for people to work on designing some dungeons and hidden bosses for the game – so far, so exciting.

Zelda’s turn in the spotlight?

One of the favorite fan theories doing the rounds regards the Hyrule princess herself. She’s shown in the trailer with a practical short haircut, and is dressed in a manner pretty similar to Link’s own adventurer’s gear – leading some to think she may be a playable character.

Zelda’s devs have seemed pretty dismissive of the idea of a female Link in the past – sadly – but we may in this game see sections playing as Zelda, or at least with her playing a more active role in the story.

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