Nintendo never fails to make audiences anticipate a future game. To close its E3 Direct, Nintendo announced a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If there was anything that could surpass Banjo-Kazooie's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, this might be it. We knew Nintendo was working on something Zelda-related based on job postings here and there, so this project might be the culmination of those. It appears Nintendo isn't done with the Breath of the Wild world. The trailer below will be a major talking point until the next news announcement.
As you can see, Nintendo appears to be going for a darker tone in the Breath of the Wild sequel. If this idea sounds familiar, it's because Nintendo did something identical in the franchise. To date, there has only ever been one direct 3D Zelda sequel: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Let's look at this a little deeper.
Breath of the Wild's Sequel Is Already Grimmer
The trailer for Breath of the Wild's sequel kicks off with some eerie music reminiscent of Twilight Princess. Soon, we see Link and Zelda inside an underground place. They eventually run into what appears to be the mummified remains of Ganon. Mummies are always creepy, but it's what happens next that is truly unnerving. A mysterious arm is holding the mummy, and after that, a bunch of quick scenes flash across the screen. It looks like Link and Zelda get separated, and the mummy gains sentience. Clearly, Nintendo is going grim. Breath of the Wild was an adventure game with some serious moments, but its tone was light. Link was on a quest to free the Divine Beasts and prevent Calamity Ganon from destroying Hyrule. In the sequel, the character appears to already be on the losing side.
It's the same with Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Ocarina of Time was an inspiring adventure game with Link becoming the Hero of Time, while Majora's Mask begins with Link losing his horse and ocarina to a character called Skull Kid. Soon, Link finds himself in a place called Termina. Unfortunately, in three days, the Moon is going to crash into Termina, completely destroying the land and killing any inhabitants. So, Link has to race against the clock to stop Skull Kid. There is a feeling of constant dread as the Moon looms over Clock Town, a feeling that wasn't present in Ocarina of Time. There are plenty of creepy scenes (every time Link puts on a mask will send a chill) in Majora's Mask, showing that Nintendo purposely went in a darker direction with the sequel.
Breath of the Wild's Sequel Is the First 3D Direct Followup In Years
When it comes to the 3D Zelda titles, Nintendo has typically been in favor of reinventing Link's journey. The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword are all completely different games, for example. However, after Link's first adventure on Nintendo 64, Nintendo decided to follow up with a direct sequel.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is perhaps the most interesting game in the series. Following up on Ocarina of Time's success was no easy feat. Ocarina of Time was an instant success, and many still call it the greatest Zelda game ever made. Breath of the Wild found itself in a similar position when it released in 2017. The Wii U/Switch title was the recipient of numerous game of the year awards. Like with Majora's Mask, Breath of the Wild's sequel has a lot to live up to.
Breath of the Wild's Sequel Is The New Majora's Mask
Fans still debate if Majora's Mask is superior to Ocarina of Time. Is Ocarina of Time's grand adventure design better than the more complex tale of Majora's Mask? It's a fun debate and shows that Majora's Mask doesn't necessarily live in the shadow of its predecessor. Still, Ocarina of Time is better according to many critics. It is the only game on Metacritic to achieve a 99. (The score for Majora's Mask is 95.) The problem is that Ocarina of Time was a gaming phenomenon, revolutionizing the adventure platformer genre going forward. In comparison, Majora's Mask didn't feature many innovations.
It seems almost inevitable that Breath of the Wild's sequel won't be as acclaimed as the first one. Like Ocarina of Time, Breath of the Wild was a revolution, showcasing landmark open-world design. It will be difficult for the sequel to live up to it. However, Nintendo has proven with direct sequels that they somehow can. (In addition to Majora's Mask, just look at Super Mario Galaxy 2.) The sequel to Breath of the Wild appears to be going darker, grimmer, and creepier - just like Majora's Mask did. Many fans would not have it any other way.