The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (JP) (also known simply as Breath of the Wild or BotW) is the nineteenth The Legend of Zelda game, the third and final game released for the Wii U and the first not being an enhanced port from the GameCube. It is also the final first-party Wii U game.
Like Twilight Princess, it was a dual release, being a Nintendo Switch launch title as well. Nintendo promised it would redefine the formula of Zelda's adventuring and return to the sense of exploration that was felt in the first game.
After a 100 year sleep, Link awakes inside the Shrine of Resurrection. Then, guided by a mysterious female voice, and using a new gadget that he finds inside the shrine dubbed the Sheikah Slate, Link explores The Great Plateau. During his exploration, he encounters an Old Man. The Old Man tells Link that a monstrous being called Calamity Ganon had appeared one hundred years prior to Link’s awakening and destroyed much of Hyrule before being sealed away in Hyrule Castle by Princess Zelda. After Link finds the treasure hidden inside the four Shrines on the Great Plateau, the Old Man later reveals that he is in fact Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule, the former King of Hyrule, in spirit.
Link also learns that although Calamity Ganon is trapped, his power continues to grow and it will be a matter of time until Princess Zelda cannot contain him any more, which implies that Link must defeat him before he breaks free and destroys Hyrule.
Once Link reaches Kakariko Village, Impa tells Link that a hundred years before Link awakened, Hylians discovered the ancient relics that the Sheikah Tribe had constructed ten thousand years prior: the Guardians and the four Divine Beasts, which were constructed to protect Hyrule.
This discovery coincided with the prophecy about Ganon's return, thus King Rhoam decided to create a group of warriors to control the Divine Beasts. He called these warriors the Champions.
Commanded by Princess Zelda, their ranks included Link, her royal knight, and a representative of each major race of Hyrule. Princess Mipha of the Zora was chosen to pilot Divine Beast Vah Ruta. Of the Gorons, Daruk was to command Divine Beast Vah Rudania, while Urbosa, the chief of the Gerudo accepted the invitation to be in charge of Divine Beast Vah Naboris. Revali of the Rito was selected to control Divine Beast Vah Medoh. While the four Champions chosen to pilot the Divine Beasts began to control them, Princess Zelda went on a pilgrimage under Link’s protection, in which she prayed to the goddess Hylia for the sacred power required to defeat Calamity Ganon.
The gameplay has been refined to help fit the open-world aspect of the game. The game is focused on exploration with most of the key items unlocked in the beginning area and weapons and food available across the world. In place of the main story is a quest system which guides the player to the various regions of the world to help the survivors. There are also shrines scattered across the world replacing most of the dungeons which are built around certain concepts. The game does not require the completion of any quests or shrines past the Great Plateau to reach Hyrule Castle and face Ganon.
Weapons & Gear
Link has no base gear when he starts the game. Instead, he gathers weapons and gear from the environment and chests, the first two being clothes for Link to start with.
Link can use various weapons, though there are a few distinct styles such as swords, axes, bows, and spears. He can also obtain shields which he can use in conjunction with the sword or board on like a skateboard for mobility.
Many weapons can be taken from enemies, but higher quality weapons and gear have to be obtained from chests across the world.
The main item is the Sheikah Slate, obtained at the start of game. With the Sheikah Slate, Link gains numerous runes that give several powers, including the following.
- Magnesis: Allows Link to manipulate certain metal objects.
- Remote Bomb: Comes in two forms; Cube and Round. Round bombs roll with the environment, whereas Cube bombs are usually stationary. They can be exploded from any given distance by simply pressing the L trigger. Once upgraded, it increases its damage output and impact radius.
- Stasis: Freezes certain objects in time, allowing you to apply as much damage as possible. When it unfreezes, all the force applied while it was frozen is unleashed all at once, usually sending the object flying. Once upgraded, it can freeze enemies, and even Calamity Ganon.
- Cryonis: Summons a pillar of ice from bodies of water and mud.
- Camera: Allows Link to take pictures and save them to the album or upload them to the Hyrule Compendium. Up to 48 pictures can be saved in the album at any given time.
There is also an optional rune for amiibo functionality. The runes can be upgraded as well once the player acquires parts from various ruins or merchants.
During his adventure, Link also obtains other items, including:
- Spirit Orbs (From Shrines)
- Korok Seeds (From Koroks)
- Horse Amour
Shrines & Dungeons
There are four dungeons in Hyrule plus Hyrule Castle. Each one is closely tied to a Zelda race and their champion from 100 years ago. Aside from the initial shrines found in the Great Plateau, none are required to go to Hyrule Castle and face Calamity Ganon, however, they do provide helpful improvements and abilities to better face the challenges. The dungeons are:
In addition to the main dungeons, there are 120 shrines in total, not accounting for DLC. They are like puzzle-focused mini-dungeons. Each shrine rewards a Spirit Orb upon completion. Players can exchange four of them for either a Heart Container or a Stamina Vessel.
There are 900 Koroks to encounter in the game. They can be found all over the world, but require a small scale puzzle to be solved in order to appear and give Link a seed. Link can then trade these seeds with Hestu in order to expand his inventory. 441 seeds are required to fully expand the inventory, but if you find all 900, then you will be rewarded by Hetsu, with Hetsu's Gift. Though not specified, this is a piece of poop.
Cooking in this game increases the health for the player. The cooking systems come in 2 variations. You can cook on a fire, or a cooking pot. A cooking pot increases the amount of health you get from eating food, while also allowing you to make recipes with up to 5 ingredients. There is also different types of food. An example would be adding a hearty durian to get you extra hearts. On the opposite side, if you decided to cook something like a gem you will get hard rock food, this will always get you only quarter a heart. Dubious food is made when you cook monster parts. If you cook monster parts with a frog, insect or lizard, you will get an elixir. Elixirs can be used for traveling hot or cold whether, but most notably is used to first get into the Eldin Region. (A fire-proof elixir is used here.)
Thorough the game, Link can visit certain places that causes him to recover parts of his memory. There are a total of 18 memory locations. One location is inaccessible until you finish all the other memories. This memory is the final place when all of Hyrule is defeated, and Link has to go to the Shrine of resurrection.
The game is known to support the following amiibo:
- Wolf Link
- Link (Archer, Rider, Super Smash Bros., Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda, The Wind Waker)
- Zelda (Super Smash Bros., Breath of the Wild, The Wind Waker)
- Toon Link (Super Smash Bros., The Wind Waker)
- Princess Mipha
Tapping certain amiibo will; summon a companion character to help defeat enemies, summon a random amount of food, summon a random amount of barrels containing food or rupees, summon a random amount of fish, summon a random amount of plants and herbs.
The game runs at 30fps. It has a maximum resolution of 900p on the Switch version (docked), and 720p on the Wii U version (same applies to the Switch's handheld mode).
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was first shown at E3 2014's Digital Direct. In it was hinted at being in production in 2013. In the January 2013 Wii U direct, Eiji Aonuma hinted that the game would break the conventions of the Zelda series including elements like completing dungeons in an order and multiplayer.
It was originally planned to come out in 2015, however, in March of that year, Nintendo producer Eiji Aonuma announced that the release date would be delayed until 2016, as he stated that 'our priority is to make it the ultimate and most complete Zelda game'.
In April 2016, Nintendo formally announced that the game would be delayed to 2017, as well as releasing on the NX (Now known as Nintendo Switch). On top of that, it would be the sole playable game at E3 2016 from Nintendo. During the January 2017 Nintendo Switch Presentation, it was revealed that the game would launch on March 3rd, 2017 alongside the Nintendo Switch, as well as for Wii U.
Between both versions, some features have been cut as Nintendo planned to make the game "more or less identical". One example is the Switch's HD Rumble, according to producer Eiji Aonuma, whom he expressed regret on its removal due to the Wii U version's limitations.
Details about the content of the fist DLC of the game were communicated on may 2nd. During the E3 2017, a recap of the content of the first DLC was made as well as a first look at the second DLC and the announcement of amiibo for Daruk, Revali, Urbosa, and Princess Mipha.
The second DLC was released on December 7, 2017 just after its presentation at the 2017 Game Awards ceremony. The DLC contains new trials and a new dungeon with an exclusive reward. On April 25, 2019 the game was updated to be compatible with the VR Toy-Con kit.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the first game in the Zelda series to feature voice acting. Credits for voice actors are as follows.
- Kengo Takanashi : Link (worldwide)
- Yu Shimamura : Princess Zelda
- Hiroshi Naka : King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule
- Kouji Takeda : Daruk
- Mayu Isshiki : Princess Mipha
- Noboru Yamaguchi : Revali
- Rei Shimoda : Urbosa
- Shoko Tsuda: Impa
- Kumiko Watanabe : Yunobo
- Arisa Sakuraba : Riju
- Takuya Masumoto : Teba
- Kousuke Oonishi : Sidon
- Hideaki Nonaka : Great Deku Tree
- Atsuyoshi Miyazaki : Master Kohga (worldwide)
- Patricia Summersett : Princess Zelda
- Bill Rogers : King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule
- Jamie Mortellaro : Sidon
- Sean Chiplock : Great Deku Tree/Revali/Teba
- Joe Hernandez : Daruk/Yunobo
- Amelia Gotham : Princess Mipha
- Elizabeth Maxwell : Urbosa/Riju
- Andi Gibson : Impa
- Kate Higgins : Purah (DLC only)
- Adeline Chetail : Princess Zelda
- Gérard Dessalles : King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule
- Sylvain Lemarié : Great Deku Tree
- Jérémie Covillault : Daruk
- Donald Reignoux : Yunobo
- Bruno Méyère : Prince Sidon
- Caroline Mozzone : Princess Mipha
- Hervé Grull : Revali
- Benoît DuPac : Teba
- Laëtitia Lefebvre : Urbosa
- Charlyne Pestel : Riju
- Brigitte Aubry : Impa
- Valérie Bachère : Purah (DLC only)
- Nerea Alfonso : Princess Zelda
- Domenech Farell : King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule
- Pepe Antequera : Great Deku Tree
- Ramón Canals : Daruk
- Carlos Lladó : Yunobo
- Sergio Mesa : Prince Sidon
- Laura Monedero : Princess Mipha
- Marcel Navarro : Revali
- Manuel Gimeno : Teba
- Marta Barbará : Urbosa
- Joël Mulachs : Riju
- María Luisa Magaña : Impa
- Maribel Pomar : Purah (DLC only)
Spanish (Latin America)
- Jessica Ángeles : Princess Zelda
- Octavio Rojas : King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule
- Rubén Moya : Great Deku Tree
- Ricardo Tejedo : Daruk
- Alan Velázquez : Yunobo
- Pepe Toño Macías : Prince Sidon
- Alondra Hidalgo : Princess Mipha
- Enzo Fortuny : Revali
- Edson Matus : Teba/Sheikahs
- Kerygma Flores : Urbosa
- Monserrat Mendoza González : Riju
- Yolanda Vidal : Impa
- Lupita Leal : Purah (DLC only)
- Martina Felli : Princess Zelda
- Natale Ciravolo : King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule
- Marco Balbi : Great Deku Tree
- Pietro Ubaldi : Daruk
- Alessandro Germano : Yunobo
- Paolo De Santis : Prince Sidon
- Sabrina Bonfitto : Princess Mipha
- Massimo Di Benedetto : Revali
- Massimiliano Lotti : Teba
- Tania De Domenico : Urbosa
- Tiziana Martello : Riju
- Elisabetta Cesone : Impa
- Deborah Morese : Purah (DLC only)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was very well received and highly acclaimed. It currently has a 97/100 on Metacritic, making it the highest scoring game this decade, and the fourth highest scoring game of all time. The game also holds the record for having the most perfect review scores. It was later crowned "Best Action/Adventure Game 2017" and "Game of the Year 2017" during the Game Awards ceremony.
During its first month, 2,76 million copies of the Switch version of Breath of the Wild were sold while "only" 2.74 million Nintendo Switch were sold, meaning that Nintendo had an attach rate above 1 for Breath of the Wild. Nintendo also said that in the U.S., Breath of the Wild is Nintendo’s fastest-selling launch title of all time and the fastest-selling game in the history of the Zelda series.
As of June 2017, Breath of the Wild sold 3,92 million copies making it the best-selling Nintendo Switch game before Mario Kart 8 Deluxe And 1-2-Switch. As of September 2017, Breath of the Wild sold 4,70 million copies. As of the end of December 2017, Breath of the Wild sold 6.70 million copies.
As of the end of April 2018, Breath of the Wild sold 8.48 million copies, making it the third most successful game on the Nintendo Switch, as well as the best selling Zelda game of all time if we add the 1.5 million copies sold on Wii U. As of the end of June 2018, Breath of the Wild is the third most successful game on the Nintendo Switch with 9.32 million copies sold. At the beginning of September 2018, Breath of the Wild became the 3rd best selling Zelda game in Japan with 1.258 million copies sold, now only behind the original The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link which both sold over 1.6 million. As of the end of September 2018, Breath of the Wild is still the third best selling Nintendo Switch game, now with 10.28 copies sold on the system alone. As of the end of December 2018, Breath of the Wild sold over 11.68 million copies, now the fourth most successful Nintendo Switch game.
As of March 2019, the game sold 12.77 millions copies, maintaining its place as the fourth most successful Nintendo game on the platform. It reached 13.61 million copies sold worldwide by July 2019. As of the end of September 2019, it managed to sell 14.54 million units. As of the end of December 2019, it reached 16.34 million units sold worldwide on the Nintendo Switch alone. As of the end of March 2020, it reached 17.41 million units sold and climbed back to the spot of third best-selling Nintendo Switch game by outselling Super Mario Odyssey by less than 10,000 units. As of June 30th 2020, the game sold 18.60 million units but fell back to the 4th place of best-selling Nintendo Switch game due to Animal Crossing: New Horizons taking over the 2nd place. The game reached 19.74 units sold worldwide by the end of September 2020. The game passed the 20 million units sold milestone at the end of 2020. It became the fourth game to achieve this after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with 21.45 million units sold. The game reached 22.28 million units sold at the end of March 2021. The game reached 23.20 million units sold worldwide by the end of June 2021. It reached 24.13 million units by the end of September 2021. As of the end of 2021 it reached 25.80 million units sold worldwide. The game surpassed 26.55 million units by the end of March 2022.
- It is Nintendo's first and only game to release simultaneously on the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch systems since its launch on March 3, 2017.
- Originally planned to be a Wii U exclusive, it is also Nintendo's very last game produced for the system after it's discontinuation in January 2017.
- This is the first mainline Zelda game to utilize full voice-acting.
- The art style is very similar to The Wind Waker, featuring heavy usage of cel shading.
- Bill Rogers, the English voice of King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule, has also voiced Brock from the Pokémon anime series.
- With the combined global sales of 20.27 million copies, Breath of the Wild is the best-selling Zelda game in the series, to date, and also the first to surpass 10 million in sales. It has also been the Switch's best-selling game until January 2018 when Super Mario Odyssey has taken over the record at the time.
- Masafumi Kawamura, one of the game's sound programmers, has previously worked on The Wind Waker and Super Mario Galaxy.
- It has been reported that the game has helped in preventing suicides, namely a journalist at Games Radar.
- 2021CESAゲーム白書 (2021 CESA Games White Papers). Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association. 2021. ISBN 978-4-902346-43-5.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild runs at 900p docked and 720p undocked, and performs really well (VG247) Date: January 16, 2017. Author: Brenna Hillier.
- Wii U Games Facts - Did You Know Gaming? extra Feat. Greg (Nintendo) - YouTube - (0:45-1:45)