Everything we know about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, as of April 2022

, posted

I’ve updated this! See the April 2023 roundup.

I’ve also posted this on Reddit.

This post tries to summarize everything we know about Breath of the Wild’s sequel. It’s arranged by time.

As much as I love rumors and speculation, I tried not to include those.

October 2017

In an October 2017 Creating a Champion interview, Eiji Aonuma said that “development of the next Zelda has already begun. I think it’s safe to say that there is another Zelda because of the kind of world we were able to create for Breath of the Wild.”

This means that the game has been in development for more than 4 years.

(Note: this interview was in October 2017, but the book was published later.)

March 2019

Monolift Soft, a subsidiary of Nintendo, started “large-scale recruitment” for work on the Zelda series.

June 2019

E3 2019 brought the first big news about the sequel. The first trailer was shown on June 11. Obvious things it revealed:

There’s lots more in the trailer, but those are some high-level beats. If you’d like more, there are plenty of trailer breakdowns.

Other information was revealed through interviews in the following days.

July 2019

Nintendo listed contract job openings for terrain designers to work on the sequel.

September 2019

Nintendo published an interview with members of BotW’s environment team as part of their recruitment process. They mentioned that they were recruiting landscape designers but were tight-lipped about specifics.

October 2019

Nintendo listed Scenario Planner and Level Designer contractor positions for the upcoming sequel.

December 2019

Nintendo updated their job recruitment site with pictures showing motion capture for the game, as well as partially-rendered screenshots and concept art. Monolith Soft continued to recruit as well.

May 2020

In Nintendo’s May 7 financial statement, the game’s release date was listed as “TBA”.

July 2020

In a shareholder document, Nintendo gave a general update about the production of their games in the face of the pandemic:

“While product development is a little behind schedule in some areas due to the impact of COVID-19, game releases planned for this fiscal year are currently not affected. However, if the impact of COVID-19 is prolonged or becomes more severe, we may not be able to release future titles in line with existing plans.”

I wasn’t able to find anything about the coronavirus’s impact on BotW2. Wikipedia’s “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the video game industry” has a good summary of the pandemic on video gaming at large, including Switch production issues.

February 2021

In the February 2021 Nintendo Direct, Aonuma said:

“Unfortunately, we don’t have anything to share [about the sequel] right now. We apologize. Development is proceeding smoothly, and we should be able to bring you some new information this year. For now, we’ll have to ask you to wait just a bit longer.”

Skyward Sword HD was announced immediately afterward, and was released the following July.

June 2021

A few months later, the second trailer was shown at Nintendo’s June 21 E3 presentation. It showed:

Again, check out the numerous trailer breakdowns for more details.

They said that they were “aiming for a 2022 release”. This release was later delayed (see below).

A small amount of additional information was revealed in later interviews.

Also, the game became available for preorder the same day.

December 2021

Gamereactor found three Nintendo patent filings that seem to closely match mechanics shown in the second trailer:

  1. A design for players to pass through “terrain objects”, such as floors. This idea was shown at the end of the second trailer.
  2. A design for players to rewind time for objects. This idea was shown midway through the second trailer.
  3. A design for players to perform “a special action including a shooting action” while falling through the air, and changing “the posture of the player character that is falling”. This idea has not yet been shown, but people speculate that this fits with the aerial shots of the game.

If you want to learn more, YouTuber Monster Maze has in-depth analyses of each patent: phasing through ceilings, rewinding time, and skydiving mechanics.

Please note that the patent news is speculative. IGN said it well: “while the mechanics seem to match up alongside actions performed by Link in the trailer pretty closely, it’s important to note that Nintendo hasn’t publicly commented on their purpose.”

Nintendo showcased showcased many of their 2022 releases at the 2021 Game Awards, including the sequel. No additional information was shown, but they maintained that the game would be released in 2022. Commenting on Nintendo’s relatively quiet Game Awards appearance, IGN boss Peer Schneider spoke confidently about a 2022 release. Again, the game was delayed a few months later, and this would no longer be true.

February 2022

Nintendo’s February 2022 financial report reaffirmed a 2022 release year but did not offer more information. (It was later delayed the next month.)

March 2022

On March 29, Nintendo announced that the game would be delayed until Spring 2023. Aonuma said the following:

“We previously announced that we were aiming for a 2022 release for this game. However, we have decided to extend our development time a bit and change the release to Spring 2023.”

Reuters reported that this announcement caused Nintendo’s stock price to drop by 6%.

Aonuma also alluded to some new features:

“As previously announced, the adventure in this sequel will take place not just on the ground as in the previous game, but also in the skies above. However, the expanded world goes beyond that, and there will be an even wider variety of features you can enjoy, including new encounters and new gameplay elements.”

The announcement also included about 6 seconds of new footage, showing Link with a glowing hand and a damaged Master Sword.

I think that’s everything we know about BotW’s sequel so far!