Prior to release — and especially before a couple of presentations gave us a better idea of what to expect in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom — there were doubts as to exactly how different it would be from its immediate predecessor.
Reusing Breath of the Wild's open-world Hyrule didn't sound like a very 'Nintendo' move, and while that kingdom provided a large canvas to explore, many of us spent years discovering its every secret. What could a new game based on this template offer us beyond a few new tools and a handful of sky islands to hop between? Why define and confine this new game by what came before?
Well, Nintendo answered our questions emphatically and delivered a vision of a familiar Hyrule which riffs on the old but brings so much new that it feels totally fresh and massively expanded. TOTK's Hyrule really does feel unfathomably enormous, stretching above and below the land we explored for over six years prior.
We're still deep in the middle of Tears of the Kingdom, but our thoughts are starting to turn to the future. Could Nintendo feasibly mine another game out of this version of Hyrule? Would we even want that? And what might it look like?
Let's see what Team NL thinks. Have your say in the poll at the bottom and feel free to leave a comment, too...
When it was confirmed that Tears of the Kingdom would feature the same world as Breath of the Wild, I must admit to feeling a tad disappointed. When it comes to Zelda games, I want something completely new, and yet here was a direct sequel that basically just reused the same environment. Pooey!
Oh, how wrong I was. The changes made in Tears of the Kingdom are frankly astounding, and it makes the idea of a third game set in the same Hyrule infinitely more palatable. We've now seen what the game can do with increased verticality; namely, the Sky Islands and the Depths, so I'd love to see this explored even further. How about some underwater segments in the lakes and seas? Why not go even further into the sky? Can you imagine a Zelda game with Super Mario Galaxy-inspired physics and gameplay?
Failing that, I'd like to see another realm within the Zelda universe given the open-world treatment, since TotK's version of Hyrule is likely the best we're ever going to get. How about Termina, or an expanded Koholint Island? Just imagine seeing Mt. Tamaranch in the distance with the Wind Fish's egg resting on top - so cool!
Did I want a second Zelda game with the same Hyrule? No, I did not. Do I now want a third game with the same Hyrule? You bet your Bokoblin Guts I do.
There are a lot of different ways that I would love to see Nintendo implement a new factor into the old world. Sure, you could make it bigger, deeper or denser, but the Zelda fan in me would really love to see a third game go the route that we have seen in so many before and give me some realm hopping.
Think of the Dark World from A Link to the Past or Lorule from A Link Between Worlds. These games take a 'Hyrule with a twist' and stick it on top of the map that we grow to know so well. Who's to say that 'Breath of the Wild 3' (working title) couldn't do the same? Perhaps there would be certain rifts in this huge Hyrule, which, stepping through, reveals a world just like the original, only different. How cool!
Yes, I am basically saying that I would like to see those poor developers build an entirely new world in the image of the one we already have and somehow seamlessly implement it into the current environment. Is that really too much to ask??
I think there are tons of ways that a Tears of the Kingdom sequel can build upon Hyrule, but I can't lie and say I don't want something a little different for whatever follows. We know this open-world gameplay is going to be the standard for the series going forward, so it's time to explore Zelda's history and expand upon some of our favourite Zelda worlds.
So the correct answer is Termina from Majora's Mask, right? With the abundance of sidequests in Tears of the Kingdom, it's time to go back to one of the weirdest Zelda games and the best hub town in the series and let all of those unusual stories, characters, and events take place in a bigger world.
I'm not saying remake Majora's Mask at all, but there's so much potential in Termina that surely Nintendo could come up with a really disturbing open-world adventure? We've seen what's capable with one of the maps in TOTK, so why not just ramp up the dread for the whole game? Plus, there's Tingle. We need more Tingle in our lives.
Alternatively, why not embrace what Four Swords and Four Swords Adventure did but improve upon it? Yep, I'm talking multiplayer. Perhaps not co-op, but I would absolutely love to play a Breath of the Wild-style game with my friends and muck around doing nothing of any meaningful value. I can't imagine this is easy to do at all, but I can dream, right?
I'm definitely leaning towards a Termina-style twist on the template, as Alana mentioned above. I'm a sucker for doppelgangers and dual characters, and how they can deepen our impressions of people we thought we knew. While my memories of BOTW are dominated by exploration and moments of discovery, returning to the same place in TOTK has also highlighted how much I enjoyed the people and interactions in that world.