The news of a Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 delay doesn’t really come as a surprise. In fact, there almost seemed to be a collective assumption among many that we weren’t likely to see one of most highly-anticipated upcoming Switch games this year. This can be partly attributed to the fact that we didn’t have a set release date yet, and that we haven’t had any sort of big update on the adventure since a showcase during E3 2021 – it doesn’t even have an official name, and is still referred to by Nintendo as the ‘sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘.
In all honesty, rather than surprise, the delay comes as somewhat of a relief. There are so many exciting new games for 2022 coming our way, especially at the tail end of the year. To name just a few, there are the likes of Starfield, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, and potentially God of War Ragnarok. All of these releases will no doubt demand a sizable amount of time, and the price tag of games these days is nothing to laugh at, either.
It’s hard not to think about how much pressure there must be to deliver something that could follow on from what has become one of the most highly regarded games on Switch. Breath of the Wild opened up Hyrule to us like never before and shifted the Zelda series in a new, revolutionary direction. Offering complete freedom to explore its sprawling sandbox-like world with little-to-no guidance, players are still discovering inventive ways to make use of the tools and environment Nintendo released to us five years ago.
When the Switch launched in 2017 and Zelda: Breath of the Wild alongside it, it was the experience I – like many of you – first reached for to put the console to the test. Over the years, I’ve sunk countless hours into Breath of the Wild as I’ve attempted to uncover all of its secrets. And from everything we’ve learned about the sequel so far, there’s a good chance that I’ll be drawn to it in a similar way when Link does finally make his return in 2023.
After all, Nintendo does seem to be going in quite an ambitious direction, as it attempts to bring us something new and “special” in the same setting. One of the biggest takeaways from the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2 gameplay breakdown, for example, was the fact that it’s opening up Hyrule even more by allowing us to explore the skies above. With the prospect of some other new features that will take us to loftier heights, I’m glad that it will be released at a later date so I can really give it my full attention and time.
Room to breathe
There’s value in giving games (and players) a little room to breathe, as evidenced by the past months of 2022. It’s been an impossibly busy three months; the year kicked off with Pokemon Legends Arceus and then proceeded to drop big hitter after big hitter – Horizon Forbidden West, Dying Light 2, Elden Ring, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and countless others. Given the price and size of these games, it isn’t reasonable to expect players to jump between all new releases on day one, but the ‘fear of missing out’ is real and it can be a little overwhelming to juggle so many good games all at once.
There are so many factors that come into play when a game’s initial release date gets pushed back, and we’re seeing more video game delays in 2022 all the time – especially in light of the impact of the global pandemic in recent years. The size and scope of the first game was undoubtedly impressive and, if this sequel really is broadening its horizons even further, it’s no doubt been a herculean effort for Nintendo to achieve its ambitions. Given the impact of the original Breath of the Wild, I’m happy to hear that Nintendo is taking all the time it needs to get the sequel right.
Breath of the Wild 2 has the kind of draw and broad appeal that will undoubtedly be a major talking point whenever it does release, and it was set to be one of the biggest releases of the year. But even without the presence of the sequel, Nintendo has plenty of notable first-party releases in the pipeline for 2022. Splatoon 3 is currently still slated to launch this summer, and the recent announcement of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet revealed we can expect it in late 2022. As a fan of both series, the thought of having a new Zelda and Pokemon game around the same was certainly exciting, but the prospect was also overwhelming. After all, both are likely to be sizable adventures and I wouldn’t know where to start.
Interestingly, there are still rumors circulating about a supposed Switch Pro console. Given that the first Breath of the Wild was delayed and then released on Switch as a launch title around the same time back in 2017, there’s now speculation doing the rounds that perhaps Breath of the Wild 2 is following suit. As of right now, though, we have no official confirmation that the new hardware exists, but it would certainly be one very memorable way to launch it and showcase the new adventure. Still, new console or not, I’m glad that Breath of the Wild 2’s delay will free up just a little space in the world of games towards the end of the year.
See our pick of the 25 best Switch games you can play right now.