Deciding when to create a sequel to a popular game is always a complicated question. But Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma and his team knew exactly the answer when they decided that their plans for Breath of the Wild were too big for simple DLC, based on his recent interview with Kotaku.
Aonuma explained that the team had been working on Breath of the Wild DLC, but their ideas for that add-on content kept piling up until they realized DLC wasn’t enough.
“… When it comes down to technical things, DLC is pretty much data — you’re adding data to a preexisting title. And so when we wanted to add bigger changes, DLC is not enough, and that’s why we thought maybe a sequel would be a good fit.,” Aonuma said.
When asked if this sequel was originally planned as DLC, Aonuma responded that “initially we were thinking of just DLC ideas, but then we had a lot of ideas and we said, ‘This is too many ideas, let’s just make one new game and start from scratch.’”
Nintendo has done this before
Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy 2 in 2010, and that game had also begun its life as a series of new levels for the original Super Mario Galaxy, but was ultimately expanded into a full sequel.
While we may not know the exact release date of Breath of the Wild 2, it should be in-line with other main Legend of Zelda sequels. Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and The Wind Waker were all released with around two years between them.
So the quick turnaround here is notable, but not unprecedented. There were five years between Twilight Princess (2006) and Skyward Sword (2011), and four years between A Link Between Worlds (2013) and Breath of the Wild (2017).
The earliest release date that seems possible for the Breath of the Wild sequel would be sometime in 2020. That would mean three years between entries, well within the normal time frame for Zelda releases.