The Legend of Zelda has once again redefined its genre and space in the gaming world. What can it possibly do next?
It’s very likely that The Legend of Zelda will outlive everyone. It has survived for 37 years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The franchise has often reinvented itself and grown with the industry, and that trait will keep it going for a long time. There’s no reason to cancel one of the biggest and best gaming franchises of all time, so that’s not of concern.
But Zelda finds itself at a crossroads now. Following the absolute smash hit The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, they have once again reached the apex. A genuine Game of the Year contender, it redefined gaming after its predecessor did so six years ago.
Breath of the Wild was, literally, a breath of fresh air. It pushed the franchise into the modern age and completely reinvented itself. Tears of the Kingdom did the same thing, and it’s a bit unrealistic to expect the next entry to do that again.
There are a host of different game types found within this single franchise. The originals were top-down adventure games with small dungeons to explore. The 3D games expanded the worlds and dungeons for massive, sprawling adventures. BOTW and TOTK pushed the open world to its limit and changed dungeons in a big way. The future could truly hold any of the three types.
It’s impossible to predict what the technology will allow and in what way the franchise will try to redefine the genre and its own legacy. It is possible to make a prediction on what they might be interested in doing.
Based on the critical and fan success of both BOTW and TOTK, it’s safe to say another open world game is likely. There was some criticism over the lack of true Zelda dungeons, so they may try and find a hybrid to appease both sides of the community.
That could be for the Nintendo Switch 2. The rumored console is expected to arrive sooner rather than later, and a new Zelda with whatever new capabilities the hardware has would be completely unsurprising.
In the meantime, there is a rich history of games to remaster and remake. For many, Breath of the Wild was their first real foray into the Zelda world. Even with several games accessible through Nintendo Switch online and other titles on the console, there’s a big library of unavailable games.
Currently, one could theoretically play these games:
- Tears of the Kingdom (release)
- Breath of the Wild (release)
- Link’s Awakening (remake and Switch Online)
- Skyward Sword HD (remake)
- The original Zelda (Switch Online)
- A Link to the Past (Switch Online)
- Ocarina of Time (Switch Online Expansion)
- Majora’s Mask (Switch Online Expansion)
- Minish Cap (Switch Online)
Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages are expected to come to Switch Online Expansion at some point. However, that still leaves more than a few classic titles that could be remade or remastered. Even those above on Switch Online could be remade and resold.
Spirit Tracks, Phantom Hourglass, Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, and A Link Between Worlds are unavailable right now. Some of these are considered among the best games of all time, and Nintendo hardly misses a chance to rerelease something and capitalize.
While the developers have said there’s no DLC for Tears of the Kingdom on the way as they prioritize a new game, expect remakes galore while the community anxiously waits. That’s not a bad thing, especially for new Zelda fans.