When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launched back in 2017, it definitely seemed like a turning point for the franchise; we all felt it, right?
3D Zelda games have generally always felt quite similar to one another in terms of structure ever since Ocarina of Time. Titles like The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword bent and stretched the formula to a certain degree, but there was undoubtedly a sense of familiarity with each entry. Breath of the Wild felt different, largely thanks to its focus on a vast open-world environment, and if Eiji Aonuma is to be believed, it looks like this will be the format for the series going forwards.
In an interview with Game Informer, the veteran producer stated that while Ocarina of Time created a set formula for the subsequent entries in the series, Breath of the Wild has now changed the rules and created a new type of formula for the teams at Nintendo to work from in future entries.
Here's what he had to say:
"With Ocarina of Time, I think it's correct to say that it did kind of create a format for a number of titles in the franchise that came after it. But in some ways, that was a little bit restricting for us. While we always aim to give the player freedoms of certain kinds, there were certain things that format didn't really afford in giving people freedom.
"Of course, the series continued to evolve after Ocarina of Time, but I think it's also fair to say now that we've arrived at Breath of the Wild and the new type of more open play and freedom that it affords. Yeah, I think it's correct to say that it has created a new kind of format for the series to proceed from."
Of course, while Aonuma is not explicitly implying that this means future Zelda games will be open-world, it's safe to say that this is one of the main reasons why Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom felt so different and allowed for such creative freedom in their gameplay.
Regardless, if you're not a fan of open-world Zelda, then buckle up, because it looks like we're in this for the long haul. As for us? We're thrilled with the news. That said, we'd definitely like to explore a location other than Hyrule for the next entry.