With the massive commercial and critical success of this year’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (selling 4.7 million copies and garnering praise as one of the greatest video games ever made), it was only a matter of time before Nintendo began production on the next entry in the beloved series. According to a recent note in the official Breath of the Wild artbook, LoZ producer Eiji Aonuma has confirmed that his team has already begun working on the game’s successor.
The confirmation was first reported by Game Informer, which observed that the production of Breath of the Wild‘s sequel fits the normal development pattern for Legend of Zelda games, with production on Breath of the Wild beginning almost immediately after 2011’s Skyward’s Sword. Nevertheless, it may be some time before the next game’s actual release. Aonuma has also said that the series will continue to stick with BOTW‘s open world format, according to Game Informer.
The news is a departure from Aonuma’s stance six months ago, when he stated in an interview that he and his team have “no plans for a future Zelda, we are still far from all this unfortunately for you. Today, I’m at a stage where I’m trying to gather a number of ideas for a sequel, but I cannot do it alone. It’s a lot of work that will have to be done over a long period of time, and we’re still far from having planned anything. Leave us a little time…”
Despite the confirmation of production, specific details of the upcoming game remain vague, though in an IGN interview this month, LoZ director Hidemaro Fujibayashi said the team is very motivated to push the series forward and that their creativity is firing on all cylinders.
“I can’t say at this point if it will be in sequels or in continuations, or what form it will take, but I definitely have lots of ideas and lots of motivation right now,” Fujibayashi said. “I think while we were working on both the main game and the DLC, it was a process of constantly getting lots of different, new ideas as we refined the game, and finding new things we wanted to do. Even in situations like this, talking to people and finding out that people want to pet dogs gives me a lot of motivation, a lot of ideas for things we could put into the game.”
Since its release in March, Breath of the Wild has been accompanied by two DLC expansion packs, The Master Trials and The Champion’s Ballad, introducing new challenges and story elements to the game.
In the same IGN interview, Aonuma said the DLC has offered himself and his team the opportunity to enhance the game’s world without starting an entirely new game from scratch.
“What we learned from the DLC this time around is that it’s almost like raising the world or enhancing the world,” he said.“In the past, we always had to start from zero again, to completion. Usually we’d be thinking, ‘oh, I wish we could add this, we could do that.’ What we couldn’t do in that game, we would start fresh in a new game. But because we did a DLC, we realized it’s a great way to kind of just improve that world, and kind of enhance it, and kind of raise it like your own child.”
It will be fascinating to see how Aonuma and Co. build on Breath of the Wild‘s universe when they do create an entirely new entry in the series. The bar has been set incredibly high, but given the level of quality the franchise has delivered for more than thirty years, there is little doubt the team will deliver.