What’s next for Zelda after Breath of the Wild?

The internet is buzzing in the wake of the second and final planned DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. On one hand everyone is freaking out about the fact that it’s now possible to ride a motorcycle through the wilds of Hyrule, of all things, but on the other hand everyone is wondering: what’s next?

Luckily, Zelda’s producers have been very active in trying to answer our questions, but their responses are only adding fuel to the fire. In a mysterious Breath of the Wild art book that’s currently only been released in Japan, series producer and manager Eiji Aonuma hinted that work has already begun on the next title, and then in an interview with IGN, director Hidemaro Fujibayashi said, “I can’t say at this point if it will be in sequel or in continuations, or what form it will take, but I definitely have lots of ideas and lots of motivation right now.”

Given the amount of time that typically transpires between major Zelda releases (5 years between Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, 6 years between Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild) it’s way too early to begin speculating about a new title any time soon, but the possibility of more content for Breath of the Wild has our imaginations running wild. Where will they take us next? Will they play it safe and continue a new trend based on Breath of the Wild, or continue to try new things?

No matter what’s in store, here’s a list of five things I’d like to see implemented in whatever’s next, whether it be a full-fledged sequel or additional DLC:

5. Create a wider variety of bosses for us to fight.

The Champion’s Ballad DLC sort of addressed this issue (except for the fact that you fight the same bosses from the Divine Beats a second time), so I go back and forth on this one, but I’d really like to see more bosses in the future, specifically at the end of each dungeon.

The thunder-, water-, wind-, and fireblight ganon fights were all well and good, but I really missed the colorful variety of bosses at the end of dungeons, like in past games. This is something I think they should bring back in the future, but at the very least they should consider adding more large-scale enemies to the wild than just the Guardian, Hinox, Talos, and Lynel.

4. Improve/rework rewards for the shrines.

There are 120 shrines in Breath of the Wild, and yet every single one of them offers the exact same reward: a spirit orb. I love that the shrines are basically mini-dungeons, and I think they should be carried on into future titles, but I think they should definitely consider the ways in which they can break the repetition of it all.

Wouldn’t it be so much cooler to find a shrine that rewards you with a piece of the guardian armor set at the end? Wouldn’t it be even cooler to find different kinds of orbs that offer different kinds of upgrades, perhaps as a replacement method for upgrading armor?

I understand that the orbs have a pretty specific and important purpose—upgrading hearts and stamina—but I think they could offer these upgrade in a different way: like, for instance, changing fairy fountains to possess the ability to upgrade hearts and stamina, instead of just lame armor upgrades from giant drag queens.

3. Develop longer, more complicated side quests.

One of the things I love about open world games is the fact that you never know when a simple side quest (such as, “please go to the Pelagius Wing in the Blue Palace and talk to my master about my returning from vacation”) will turn into a full-fledged narrative (such as, “you’ve just been transported to the mind of a long-dead king, now complete these tasks in order to escape and then maybe I’ll think about letting him come back from vacation”). This is something I was disappointed with in Breath of the Wild, and I think the developers missed an opportunity to remedy that in the DLC.

DLC Packs 1 and 2, for example, add more than a dozen new outfits and armor to the game, but finding each of these items involves something of a scavenger hunt, rather than engaging in any kind of challenge or side quest.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love that they added these items into the game, I just don’t like the way we obtain them. Instead, I would have loved if they’d implemented a special sort of side quest for each item. This could have involved tracking down a thief who tells you the legend of Midna’s helmet, with long instructions on how to locate and obtain it; and for Majora’s mask, you could have found a child that wants to be like a skull kid, or even an actual skull kid, who asks you to track down the mask and show it to them (when you do, they’re so frightened by it that they ask you to keep it). Something like that would have been loads better than just finding a journal in the middle of nowhere that basically tells you where each specific item is located.

2. Give us longer, more complex dungeons.

This is another thing that The Champion’s Ballad DLC addressed in a way, and is also another thing that I go back and forth with, but I’d really like to see longer more complex dungeons in the future.

The dungeons in Breath of the Wild—specifically the Divine Beasts, and not the shrines—just feel way too short. I understand that a big contributing factor to their length might be the fact that Breath of the Wild was exploring previously uncharted territory for the series, but I definitely think that future iterations of the Divine Beasts, or whatever might replace them, should be longer.

The final dungeon at the end of the Champion’s Ballad is a good example of what this might look like, but I wouldn’t mind if they made it even longer.

1. Let us play as a female / add in character customization.

Zelda fans of all ages and sexes have been steadily getting louder about wanting to play as a female, and I am one of the many in that chorus. With Breath of the Wild, the series attempted to break from tradition and challenge the conventions of the past. Unfortunately, series director and manager Eiji Aonuma said in an interview with GameSpot that the only way playing as a female would work is if it were Princess Zelda, but that “…if we have Princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do? Taking that into account, and also the idea of the balance of the Triforce, we thought it best to come back to this [original] makeup.”

I think this excuse is weak, and I think it completely misses the point. Link is, after all, portrayed as a mute with little-to-no background because his sole purpose is to provide a link between the player and the game. So, why does he have to be male?

If Eiji Aonuma and the Zelda team are serious about shedding conventions, then I think they should try leaving Link’s gender behind next. Link seems to have taken on an identity of his own at this point, one that the developers should consider leaving behind. While they’re at it, if they wanted to take things one step further, they should allow us to customize the character we play.

For example, we might be given the option to play not only as a male or a female, but a Gerudo, a Zora, a Kokiri, a Rito, or a Goron. Beyond simple aesthetics, this kind of customization would allow Link to become what he’s always meant to be in a much bigger, more personal way. And they could always give us the option to play as a default version of Link, for those who believe Aonuma’s reasoning, or those who don’t really care either way.

What do you want to see in a Zelda sequel or Breath of the Wild DLC? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on Instagram and Twitter!

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