Breath of the Wild is officially receiving a sequel and fans couldn’t be happier. But will the game bring back any features from classic Zelda games? Here are the 7 returning features we most want to see in BOTW2.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a masterpiece. But no game is totally perfect, and some fans did miss some legacy features after the Zelda series got an overhaul.
Now, the surprise announcement of a Breath of the Wild sequel at E3 has got us wondering; will any missing features from the old games be making a return? We’ve compiled a list of the seven returning features we most want to see in BOTW2.
1 – Traditional Dungeons
Until Breath of the Wild, the Zelda franchise had followed the same formula when it came to dungeons. In prior games, Link would traverse Hyrule and tackle diverse dungeons one by one, collecting a specialist item in each.
As an example, almost every Zelda gamer will be able to remember the water temple from Ocarina of Time because of the dungeon’s unique puzzles, themes and style. Plus, managing the water level mechanic was an unforgettable nightmare.
In BOTW, Nintendo ditched unique dungeons and gave the player four (five including the DLC dungeon) very similar dungeons to play around in instead, the Divine Beasts.
While the Divine Beasts weren’t without their moments, some fans missed the large number of dungeons that were present in previous games. And while the freedom to choose the order of which Divine Beast to face off against was appealing to some gamers, others wished that there had been a more obvious route through the game.
With BOTW2, many fans are hopeful that the developers will bring back a series of vastly different dungeons, each with their own distinct vibe and mechanics. We feel the same.
2 – Return of Companions
Link’s travelling companions are a big part of previous Zelda games. From talking caps and boats to fairies and even residents of other realms, Link has had a variety of friends guiding him on his adventures.
However, BOTW left Link without a companion. Talking to Game Informer on the matter, BOTW series producer Eiji Aonuma stated:
‘Companion characters in the past have always navigated and shown the path, and because we wanted players to choose their own path, we didn’t want the companion element there to distract the players.’
However, in previous titles, Link’s companions have played other roles in the game’s story, generally helping Link’s character grow through the game. They also provided some great character moments of their own, for example, Midna’s sassy dialogue in Twilight Princess.
Perhaps less favourable characters such as Fi from Skyward Sword also influenced Nintendo’s decision to remove travelling companions. It would be great if BOTW2 managed to bring back these lovable sidekicks though. Possibly only for set sections of the game to still allow players the freedom they had in the BOTW.
2 – More Varied Bosses
In line with the previous point, many fans wanted more diversity when it came to BOTW’s bosses. The four different blight versions of Ganon were undeniably cool, but they pale in comparison when compared to the diverse array of dungeon masters in previous games.
Known as the Scourges of the Divine, BOTW’s bosses are commonly referred to as ‘siblings’ and therefore share a common appearance. It was only really their attack patterns that varied.
In the old games, at the end of every new dungeon, you had very little idea of what you would come face to face with. Fights were riveting because everything was so new and unexpected to begin with (okay, except those classic shoot the eye bosses).
Adding new and more diverse bosses to BOTW2 would elevate the excitement that comes with reaching the end of a dungeon. Plus, some of the bosses in previous games provide some of the series’ most striking visual moments.
4 – More Villains
While Calamity Ganon was a striking main adversary, BOTW was decidedly light on sub-villains, someone for Link to face on the way up to Ganon.
In other games, this role has been filled by Zant, The Skull Kid and Ghirahim, all dark and greedy villains who provide secondary antagonists for Link to fight against at pivotal points of the game.
Some may say that bosses can fill these roles, but sub-villains add depth to the story. Take Zant from Twilight Princess, for example. His growing, aggravating presence throughout the game means that, when you do eventually fight him, the battle is filled with determination to take him down.
There’s also the benefit of extra villains fleshing out the lore of Zelda games and helping piece together a powerful backstory, one which ties in with the rest of the series. From the reveal trailer for BOTW2 it seems that Ganondorf will have a large role, but could his revival come from a smaller scale villain? A commander? A follower of Ganon? Only time will tell.
5 – Return of the Hookshot and Other Classic Items
Recently fans have been speculating that the beloved hookshot item (first used in A Link to The Past) may be returning to the franchise after being absent from BOTW. Specifically, a magical hand holding back Ganondorf in the BOTW2 teaser is cited as being a possible hookshot reinvention.
BOTW employed runes to replace the items and tools that Link collects as he moves through each temple and dungeon. Runes allow Link to interact with the environment by manipulating the world around him. These new tools worked well with the open-world layout, letting players find new collectibles and traverse Hyrule and its shrines with relative ease.
However, there was always something exciting about sourcing a new item in a dungeon and then using that tool to advance the story. Plus, there are a few Zelda item staples missing from the BOTW inventory.
Some fans are hoping for the return of the aforementioned hookshot as well as other classic items such as the mirror shield and the lens of truth. Perhaps they could be reimagined in BOTW2 though; a truth lens that pinged when people lie to you? A mirror shield that could absorb projectiles and then fire them off whenever and however many times you liked?
6 – More Variation in Enemies
There seems to be a smaller pool of different enemies in BOTW when compared to most other Zelda games. Different varieties of the same species populate BOTW’s Hyrule, and the world feels slightly homogenous because of the tiny pool of enemies.
In other games, every area of the map would contain its own biosphere and unique enemies. BOTW reuses the same designs and simply changes enemy colour to signify water variants, fire variants and ice variants.
Perhaps this is due to the lack of dungeons in BOTW. Dungeons are a hub for monsters and with different themed dungeons come new adversaries. Because BOTW focused on just four Divine Beasts instead, Nintendo may have lost the opportunity to expand on enemy design.
Of course, new enemies are all but certain to be included in BOTW2. We just hope there are lots and lots of them!
7 – New Link Transformations
One of the most memorable moments in the Zelda franchise comes from sections of gameplay where Link physically changes or transforms as part of the story. Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess made superb use of this dynamic.
In Majora’s Mask, to save the town of Termina from the crashing moon, Link has to equip masks which transform him into a Goron, Zora and more. These alternate forms were great fun to play around with, and species-specific abilities were an inventive gameplay dynamic.
Once Twilight Princess was released the transformation feature made a reappearance with Wolf Link. In Twilight Princess the world of Hyrule is shrouded in darkness and, once Link enters it, he’s transformed into a wolf.
In both of these games transformations helped keep the gameplay fresh and exciting. Action-adventure gameplay is always going to be the selling point in a Zelda game, but changing up the formula by adding new forms for Link is always a welcome dynamic.
It’s a feature that has only appeared a few times in the franchise, but it leaves a lasting impression. Will we see a return of transformations in BOTW2? Here’s hoping so!
BOTW2 is still in development and it may be a while until we hear more information about the game.
Until then, what returning Zelda features would you most like to see? Let us know in the comments!