One of the biggest E3 announcements for Nintendo fans was that of a full on and direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. An interesting tidbit from a Kotaku interview with series producer Eiji Aonuma revealed that this actually grew from plans for the DLC expansions to Breath of the Wild that outgrew the scope of being DLC.
When asked by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier why they decided to make a direct sequel, Aonuma explained:
Schreier: What made you and the team decide to make a sequel to Breath of the Wild as opposed to a new Zelda game?
Aonuma: When we released the DLC for Breath of the Wild, we realized that this is a great way to add more elements to the same world. But 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.
Schreier: Was this sequel originally planned as DLC?
Aonuma: 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.”
Used to cap off a slightly mixed E3 Direct (there were a lot of game trailers for already announced games and Animal Crossing was delayed), the trailer featured Link and Zelda journeying underground, facing new and interesting dangers as eerily reversed music played in the background. However, it also showed a wide shot overall world and Hyrule Castle that looked very similar to that of Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild was the first game in the series to receive post-release expansions (of course, there were plans for an expansion of Ocarina of Time on the doomed 64DD console update, which became the Master Quest version of the game), with the first of these adding a new Trial of the Sword mode, Master Mode and game features, and the second adding a new dungeon for The Champions’ Ballad story and the unlockable Master Cycle Zero motorbike.
It’s interesting to hear the distinction that Aonuma made between making DLC and a whole new game. It makes sense, to a certain extent, that DLC is typically additive and doesn’t dig too deep into revising the game world, and so if their plans went beyond that remit Nintendo would decide to expand the game into a full game release. It’s also not the first time that Nintendo have made this decision, with Super Mario Galaxy 2 originally planned as added content to the first Wii Mario platformer.
What’s certain is that, having been changed from DLC to a full game, the end product is going to be much larger than anything that would have been bolted onto the side of Breath of the Wild. Here’s looking forward to how Nintendo can transform Hyrule from Breath of the Wild and the new journey that they plan to take us on.