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The Future Of Zelda Is Going To Look A Lot Like Tears Of The Kingdom

"The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" builds on the themes and mechanics that were established in "Breath of the Wild" in a lot of creative and interesting ways. Now there's reason to believe that future "Zelda" games will continue along this same path. Series producer Eiji Aonuma and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi recently gave an interview at Game Informer where Aonuma suggested that this format might become a template for several games to come.

There are a few reasons why Nintendo might choose to do this. "Breath of the Wild" was hailed as one of the best open-world games of all time when it was released back in 2017. It actually sold more units than the Switch itself at launch, so it wasn't much of a surprise when fans learned that the game would be getting a direct sequel. This set a pretty high bar for "Tears of the Kingdom," but critics have raved about its improved mechanics and its massively expanded world, arguing that it took one of the best games ever made and somehow managed to improve on it in almost every conceivable way. The "Zelda" franchise has a strong reputation for innovation, however, so fans might have understandably mixed feelings about the developers choosing to remain in the same space. Still, the developers have shared a few compelling reasons for why they want to.

The newer games are more flexible

In the interview, Game informer journalist Brian Shea asked Aonuma and Fujibayashi if they thought that "Breath of the Wild" would serve as "the new blueprint or foundation of the next several Zelda games for years to come" in the same way that "Ocarina of Time" for the N64 and GameCube generations of games.

Aonuma explained that the two are a little bit different because the technology available back when "Ocarina of Time" was released was a lot more restrictive. The developers could only create a single path for players to navigate or a single solution to a given puzzle. He said that the "Zelda" team enjoys giving their players freedoms that simply weren't available in the previous game structures, but that the structures used to create these newer games have that capability. "Yeah," Aonuma said. "I think it's correct to say that it has created a new kind of format for the series to proceed from."

It's unclear to what extent the next "Zelda" game will follow in the footsteps of "Tears of the Kingdom." The next title might have a new art design, a new map, and even new mechanics, but it seems like the developers want the themes of open-world exploration and creative problem-solving to remain.