Update: We've given this article a thorough sweep and added a whole bunch of new information on the biggest game of 2023. Feel free to delve into our
BOTW2 TOTK trailer breakdowns and, hopefully, find some answers to your burning questions...
Polishing off the last few shrines and giving Calamity Ganon what-for in the final battle of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a bittersweet act. After such a wonderful, rich journey it was time to bid farewell to Link, Zelda and the largest, most expansive iteration of Hyrule we’d ever visited - what were we going to do with ourselves?
Of course, we returned to devour the DLC and burn across the kingdom on our motorcycle while vacuuming up several hundred Korok seeds, but then began the wait for the next 'proper' Zelda game. Sure, in the intervening time we've had Cadence of Hyrule, the Link’s Awakening remake, the Skyward Sword remake, and Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity, and there are plenty of Zelda-like games available for Switch, but there’s nothing quite like a full-fat Zelda experience.
We already knew that a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild was in development, after Nintendo revealed it during their E3 2019 Direct presentation. But after E3 2020 was cancelled, we didn't get another peek at the game until Nintendo's E3 2021 Direct presentation.
In March 2022, the game was delayed to Spring 2023, as the series producer Eiji Aonuma took to Twitter to announce further delays... and a (very short) clip of the game! Then, in September 2022, Nintendo finally announced a name — The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom — and a solid release date: May 12th, 2023. Clear that day in your calendar, pals.
So, grab that Master Sword and let’s get lost (in the woods)...
Zelda: TOTK FAQ
When is it coming out?
12th May, 2023.
Will there be a physical version?
Absolutely — here's the box art:
How much does it cost?
We would guess $60/£60/€70. Maybe more.
What's it about?
We're not really sure. Link seems to be in it, Zelda's in it (for a bit, at least), plus a dead guy that looks like Ganondorf, and a Hyrule that has been torn up, with many new islands being launched into the sky by... something. Something bad, presumably. And there are tears... of the... uh... kingdom. Whatever that means.
Is it set in the same world as Breath of the Wild?
Yes and no. The Hyrule below seems very similar, but the islands above seem new — they're covered in yellow foliage and temples we've never seen before. There's also evidence of caves we haven't yet explored... but otherwise, a lot of the world does seem very similar. It's up to you whether that's a good or bad thing!
Is it a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild?
Hard to say. It was, for a long time, called "the Sequel to Breath of the Wild", and some trailers have shown Link and Zelda looking more or less like their BOTW versions... but there are also plenty of elements that could take place before BOTW, too. So who knows!
Is there DLC?
Slow your Eponas, pal! The game's not even out yet! But... we'd venture a guess at "yes". Eventually.
Is Zelda dead?
She might be. That would be a bit of a bummer.
Release date and title reveal, September 2022
The day we had all been waiting for: The reveal of the release date. And the title! An unexpected double-whammy. This September Nintendo Direct was leaked a little bit ahead of time as a "Zelda blowout", only to be a bit more of a Zelda gentle breeze, but we didn't mind too much with a new 90-second trailer, a release date, and a title.
That title: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
What does it mean? We don't know! You think Nintendo tells us anything about Zelda? Absolutely not.
However, we can speculate... and boy, have we. Read our three pages of Zelda lore theories right here.
But to summarise what we learned for certain from this latest trailer that we didn't already know:
- The release date is the 12th May, 2023
- The title is "Tears of the Kingdom"
- Link has a new glider
- There are seven... somethings. Tears? Dungeons? Bosses? Collectibles? We don't know.
- Link's time-rewinding power is important and useful
- Link can still climb, run, and dive
- Hyrule is messed up
- The terrain has changed from BOTW
- There are dragons in the logo
- Link has some new equipment — strange teal vials on his belt
Oh, and we've done a video, too:
Breath of the Wild sequel delay announcement, March 2022 Trailer Breakdown
Eiji Aonuma announces that the game has been further pushed back to Spring 2023, breaking the hearts of Zelda fans everywhere... but possibly leaving 2022 open for a Wind Waker HD remake, right? Right?
Not much new info was included in this 90-second video, but a small snippet of new footage is still worth analysing and dissecting, so here we go!
We begin the new footage with Link climbing out of the ground, as we've seen before...
But this transitions into Link looking at some glowy orb-thing. Is it important that his sword is glowing blue, and the glowy orb-thing is yellow? Who knows!
Link then reaches for the Master Sword, which we recognise from the hilt, and we see those long, manicured nails... which we mentioned in the E3 2021 teaser breakdown, too (see page two).
But... oh no! The Master Sword is all... melty! And Link's hand is also glowing yellow! The blue/yellow glow has been a prominent feature of past trailers and teasers too, so presumably it means something.
In past Zelda games, the colour blue has represented many things: Magic, the goddess Nayru, the "Wisdom" part of the Triforce, and anything to do with water, like the Zora race. It's also a colour that represents Zelda herself (who possesses the Triforce of Wisdom), and anything to do with spirits and guidance, like Navi in Ocarina of Time, and Fi, the embodiment of the Master Sword, in Skyward Sword.
Yellow, on the other hand, usually represents the desert levels and electricity, but the other two goddesses — Din, the goddess of Power, and Farore, the goddess of Courage — are green and red. It's hard to say if this is even the right avenue to go down! It could just be nice colours!
Link's hand appears to be glowing on the back, which is usually where the Triforce appears. Link's Triforce wedge is the Courage one (Zelda is Wisdom, Ganon(dorf) is Power) — so perhaps yellow represents Courage/Farore in this game? That would make sense, since the dragon Farosh is the equivalent of Farore in this game, alongside Dinraal and Naydra, and Farosh is an... electricity dragon. INTERESTING.
The Master Sword being melty seems quite important, though — in past trailers, we notably haven't seen the Master Sword, as Link's always been using some other weapon. What melted the sword? Is it going to be okay? Is the quest in BOTW 2 going to be all about re-forging the sword? We'll have to wait about a year to find out.
Other important features to note: Link has tattoos, lovely long hair, and an entirely black arm (which could be tattoos, or some kind of arm-curse), and most importantly of all, Link does not have nipples. Is this a plot point? It could be.
Head over to pages two and three to read our breakdowns of the 2021 teaser and the 2019 reveal trailer...