Nintendo Moves On to the Next Zelda Game as TOTK DLC Becomes Unlikely

We may be at the point of another reset.
Published On September 19, 2023
The next Zelda game has always been inevitable, but growing complexity may result in a longer wait. Photos via Nintendo

Right from the opening moments of the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s first trailer, self-taught experts and analysts alike tied it to the hopes of an open-world genius surpassing its six-year-old predecessor. Presenting Lego-like capabilities, ambitious puzzles, and crafting uncommon contraptions, this version of Link was for the inventive genius — but never giving up on its primary narrative of a destined hero.

Tears of the Kingdom had a high bar to clear, with many considering Breath of the Wild one that would remain unbeaten for some time. Hailed as (one of) the best video game ever, Breath of the Wild set a clear template — more open-world shenanigans, and ingenious inventiveness that keeps you tinkering throughout your experience.

Gameplay mechanics from Hogwarts Legacy.
A screenshot from the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Tears of the Kingdom gave Link an accessory reminiscent of an old NES add-on, giving the hero the ability to topple boulders, pick up trees, and glue together parts to create anything from a cart to a rocket.
Photos via Nintendo
TOTK did just that — it made you the crafter of your own entertainment, somewhat drawing from the success of Minecraft. Everything sat wonderfully with fans, fueling Nintendo’s record-breaking summer.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom sold 10 million units within 3 days of release, increasing to 15.7 million copies by eight weeks.
  • Although it has since sold over 18.5 million units, TOTK still sits well behind Breath of the Wild’s record-breaking 30.65 million copies sold.
  • Mingling with the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Nintendo posted an operating profit of ¥185.4 billion ($1.3 billion) — an 82.4 percent increase from the previous year.

Switch owners have already caught wind of the next Switch, and along comes the hopes of the next Zelda game. According to Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma, there are no plans for a Tears of the Kingdom DLC. Instead, Nintendo might already be eyeing a sequel — one that currently lives in the head of director Hidemaro Fujibayashi.

Even if these reports are accurate, it’s likely that the next Zelda game is still in its early stages. Rumors have been all over the place: some suggest a game centered on Princess Zelda, others speculate a return to the Hyrule of BOTW and TOTK, and then there are the hopes of an entirely new game — the third being the most likely, according to Aonuma.

The ever-evolving complexity of Zelda has amassed religious followers to the franchise. The story has a convenient reset going for it at all times, one that has given multiple Zeldas and Links in a tale of tragedy. A similar reset came at the end of Tears of the Kingdom. With Ganondorf defeated, Zelda returns to the throne in servitude of Hyrule. This isn’t, however, a heroic victory, but the beginning of another tragic cycle.

The fates of Link and Zelda are inextricably tied to that of Ganon(dorf), one that will commence with another cycle of reincarnation. But a repetitive narrative can only run so deep. “Ganondorf is an ingredient that we use to supplement gameplay,” told Aonuma to the NY Times, as he teased the evolving status of the character and even a potential playable arc.

A game that took five years and nearly 300 people cannot be replicated overnight, and while inevitable, the next Zelda game is no close to release. But this break will likely be filled with ambitious mods to Tears of the Kingdom.