It’s been a long wait for fans looking forward to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the game is so close we can almost taste it. Nintendo’s shown off a good bit of gameplay, but most of it is fairly scattered across various streams and showcases. To help figure out what you’ll see in the new Zelda, we here at EGM have put together a guide of everything we know so far.
What we know we know
Where can I go in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? After fans’ complaints about the closed-off nature of Skyward Sword, Breath of the Wild is offering a completely open experience. From the very start, you’ll be able to go anywhere and complete tasks in any order—though you may not be strong enough to take on some of the stronger enemies you’ll encounter. Link has some nifty new traversal options, too, with his new stamina meter allowing him to scale cliffs, walls, and other vertical obstacles. Don’t forget to hang-glide, snowboard, or sail when you’re tired of traveling on foot.
What can I do in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Breath of the Wild has a few more survival elements to it than the more recent Zelda games. You’ll be able to chance the world around you by chopping down trees, lighting campfires, and gathering food.
Wait, is there food in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Yep! You’ll be able to pick apples off of trees, hunt for wild game, scout out mushrooms, and even cook up some dubious-looking monster meat. Depending on the dish and how well it’s made, you’ll be able to earn some health back, gain extra stamina, or even get some unique special effects. (Hint: Try heating up a plate of chili peppers to brave the cold.)
Is there weather in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? In addition to a full day and night cycle, Breath of the Wild also features a weather system. You’ll be able to see grass bend and trees shake as a storm approaches. Head too far into the mountains or another snowy area, and Link will start to shake with cold. That means it’s time to dress appropriately for the weather.
Can Link wear clothes in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? This time around, Link has a ton of outfits to choose from, and they’re more varied than the standard Zora, Goron, and Kokiri tunics. You’ll be able to swap his pants and shirt independently, and pick up more clothes that are hidden away throughout the game. It’s important to dress appropriately, whether you’re hunting, venturing out into the mountains, or suiting up for battle.
What weapons can Link use in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Like his clothes, Link is able to pick up different weapons from all across Hyrule to use. They’ll have limited durability, but don’t worry about them being in short supply. Link can grab clubs, spears, axes, bows, and much more from his fallen foes. It’s even possible for him to club a Stalfos to death with its own arm!
The Basics (skip)
What platforms is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launching on? Breath of the Wild will be launching on both the Wii U and the Switch. Nintendo’s confirmed that there will be a few differences between the versions, though the company hasn’t yet said exactly what. Since the Wii U has two screens, it seems likely that we’ll see a few differences in the UI (including, perhaps, Link’s inventory and the map).
Where can I see the trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? You can see the game’s official trailer from E3 2016 on YouTube. And, if you have the time, check out this 30-minute video introduction to the game presented by Nintendo.
Do Amiibo work with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Yes! The game is getting its own special line of Amiibo, starring Archer Link, Rider Link, and a Guardian. Past Zelda-related Amiibo, such as the Zelda figures, have been confirmed to have “special functionality,” though Nintendo hasn’t revealed much more. Finally, the Wolf Link Amiibo from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD will allow for a unique wolf companion to appear in the game and hunt by Link’s side for a period of time.
What we think we know
How do dungeons work in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Some of the gameplay that’s emerged from E3 centers around the Shrines of Trials. According to Nintendo, there are over 100 of these Shrines throughout the game, and each appears to contain a mini puzzle or mini dungeon. At the end of each one, you’ll either be rewarded with a Spirit Orb—a type of mysterious collectible—or a Rune for Link’s Sheikah Slate.
What powers does the Sheikah Slate have in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Link finds this mysterious glowing tablet at the beginning of the game, and it soon becomes one of his most useful tools. The Sheikah Slate serves both as a map and as a way to enter many of the Shrines across the land. When Runes are added to it, the Slate can be used to recreate many magical effects, essentially becoming a multipurpose tool. So far, Runes we know of include Magnesis (the ability to lift and manipulate metal objects), Remote Bombs (which appear in both cubed and spherical shapes), and Cryonis (the ability to create pillars of ice from water). With all of the shrines, however, there are bound to be many more powers we haven’t discovered yet.
Are there boss battles in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? There’s only one true boss we’ve seen so far, a massive living cluster of boulders called Steppe Talus. Like most Zelda bosses, it has one weak point Link can target after weakening the gigantic golem with bombs and various other attacks. There are likely to be other monsters of incredible strength and size out there in the world, and if you venture forwards without proper armor and equipment, expect even regular enemies to provide a challenge.
What we still want to know
Is the Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Link is seen swapping out tons of weapons throughout the game, and it seems likely that the Master Sword is out there somewhere. It hasn’t been seen in any promotional material, though, so it’s possible that it won’t appear until fairly late in the game. Since the other weapons degrade and break over time, perhaps the Master Sword could be the one weapon that will always stick by your side.
Who is Link’s companion in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Whether Navi, Midna, Fi, or the King of Red Lions, Link almost always has someone by his side to serve as a guide. From what we’ve seen so far, though, he’s alone—at least for the first area of the game. If you own the Wolf Link Amiibo and scan it in, a version of Wolf Link will appear in the game to hunt and fight by Link’s side, though he can’t speak or otherwise help out. We know very little about the plot of Breath of the Wild, so Link’s companion could be someone who shows up later in the story.
Is Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? We haven’t gotten an official sighting of Zelda yet, but one of the latest teasers from Nintendo offered a glimpse of a blue-robed figure that just might be the latest incarnation of the princess. Since the series is named after her, it’s likely that she’ll play a major role, though it’s possible that she could appear in a different role, much like pirate leader Tetra from Wind Waker or Sheik from Ocarina of Time.
When does The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild take place on the timeline? Again, we don’t know for sure, but there have been a couple of clues in the gameplay Nintendo’s shown off so far. First of all, it’s clear that the game takes place far into the future of one of the timeline branches. Early gameplay clearly shows the famous Temple of Time in ruins, meaning that Breath of the Wild takes place long after Ocarina of Time. We may be able to narrow it down further, however. Some players at E3 ran into a Korok, the cute little leaf-like race said to be descended from the Kokiri in Wind Waker. Another item description made mention of salt from the Great Sea. These two clues seem to point to Breath of the Wild taking place on the “Adult” branch of the timeline, long after the events of Wind Waker, when the sea levels have dropped again. (And yes, there’s land in Wind Waker sequel Spirit Tracks, but that’s a new continent—we wouldn’t be seeing the Temple of Time there). This means that Breath of the Wild may be the latest game we’ve seen on the timeline so far.
When is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s release date? Nintendo has yet to reveal Breath of the Wild‘s release date, though rumors have been flying around. Some place the game’s release as early as March 2017, when the Nintendo Switch makes its debut. It would be a strong launch title, and there are a few Zelda amiibo out around that time. Others, however, claim that the game isn’t quite ready yet, and is more likely to release in early summer. The only date we know for sure is “2017.”