By now, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild needs no formal introduction. Hailed by many as a masterpiece, the game won several awards, including the prestigious Game of the Year award at 2017 The Game Awards. It beat out PUBG, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, and even Super Mario Odyssey. Despite this acclaim, however, it may be surprising to hear that the game is still selling massively well in Japan.
In a tweet linking to an article to 4Gamer.net, we can see that Breath of the Wild is still in the top 20 best-selling games in the Japanese market.
To reiterate: Breath of the Wild has remained, since its release on March 3rd, 2017, in the top 20 sales chart in Japan. This is astounding for a number of reasons, one being that there has been no additional content in a while. The Master Trials and The Champions' Ballad are DLC that was implemented in 2017. However, it's important to note that the Nintendo Switch itself has been dominating sales in the console market. The Switch has quickly outsold the Wii U's lifetime sales according to Nintendo, meaning the Switch is reaching a larger consumer market. The Switch, like when the Wii launched, is the "hot item" to get (In the US, the console outsold its competitors in December and January.) Breath of the Wild is one of the most recommended games for the console, so it begins to make sense how it has remained such a big seller.
Breath of the Wild has a score of 97 on Metacritic. This puts it in the top 15 highest-rated games on the aggregator site. Not only that, but it's also rated higher than Zelda titles such as Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. One primary thing is credited for Breath of the Wild's success: its open world. Never before in a Nintendo title had there been such an expansive land to explore. It's a game where players willingly want to travel and see the land. It was bold, grand, and came off as a new thing for the company. That's not to say exploring was absent in previous Zelda titles. But for the first time, you could go anywhere, and climb any mountain.
Everything else complements the open-world design. The game does not have a lot of cutscenes, but they were not needed to tell the epic story of Link's journey to defeating Calamity Ganon. There is an emotional element to the story, and the bosses are memorable. The dungeons are less daunting than in previous titles, but still substantial. It will be difficult for Nintendo to follow up on Breath of the Wild's success, but knowing the company, it will likely somehow be accomplished.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available for Nintendo Switch and Wii U.