You rarely get surprises anymore in the world of video gaming. The majority of new big-name releases take years to make, and fans are aware of them months before they hit stores or become available to download. Often, a game developer will deliberately leak news of a new game to get fans excited and ready to buy the game on pre-order as soon as they’re able to. The hype attracts press attention, and that press attention becomes a vital part of the new game’s marketing strategy. Surprises are rare, and they’re welcome when they do appear. With 2020 rapidly running out, we didn’t think we’d get a big one this year, but we’re very glad to say that we were wrong. Nintendo has shocked the gaming world with the announcement of a brand-new “Legend of Zelda” prequel for the Switch console.
“Zelda” is about as classic as classic video games get. It’s been around since the days of the first Nintendo console in the 1980s, and it’s been through multiple revamps and reboots since then. There’s been at least one version of “Zelda” for every generation of video game consoles, and the franchise has found a life outside of those consoles. There’s even a “Legend of Link” game available on DoveCasino.com, marketed to fans of casino games. The absence of the “Zelda” name makes us wonder whether the online slots title is a licensed product, but it uses imagery from the game to draw players in. You can count on one hand the number of computer game characters that have appeared at online slots websites, so the fact that there are “Zelda” products there should tell you a lot about the appeal of the franchise as a brand – and also explain why Nintendo keeps coming back to it.
At the time of writing, it looks like the “Zelda” series is about to get a continuation in more ways than one. There’s already been a cartoon based on “Zelda” in the past, although it’s barely known outside of Japan. Now there’s going to be a live-action TV series based on the same intellectual property. If media sources are to be believed, former “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland has been persuaded to take the lead role of “Link,” and production will begin shortly. Netflix is said to be behind the project, which would mean that the end product is likely to be a Netflix exclusive. This comes as part of a move by Nintendo to create TV or movie vehicles for several of the company’s iconic characters; there’s a new “Super Mario Brothers” animated movie currently slated for release in 2022.
You’re not here to read above the movie or the tie-in products, though. You’re here to read about the new game, so here’s everything you need to know. It’s going to be a prequel to “Legend of Zelda: Beneath the Wild,” set one hundred years before that game. It’s going to be called “Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity,” and top-secret work must have been happening on the project for a long time. We say that because the release of the game is imminent – it will be available for Nintendo Switch owners on 20th November this year. That’s barely over a month away!
If the name “Hyrule Warriors” seems familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve seen it quite recently. “Hyrule Warriors,” a slasher game made by Koei Tecmo, was released in 2014. Tecmo is also responsible for the development of this 2020 release. Yosuke Hayashi, who’s attached to the development of the game as a producer, promises fans that “Age of Calamity” will stay true to the style of the “Warriors” series, but will allow players to experience the same landscape a full century before everything that happened in “Breath of the Wild.” The aim of the project is to combine the landscape of “Breath of the Wild” with the gameplay style of the “Warriors” games (including the famous one-versus-one-thousand battles), thereby creating something new in the process.
This isn’t the only “Zelda” sequel in the pipeline at present. Such was the popularity of the first “Breath of the Wild” game that Nintendo commissioned an official sequel. That’s currently being developed under the relatively unimaginative title “Breath of the Wild 2,” but is a long way ready from being complete. Nintendo has confirmed that while the sequel is an active project and work is happening on it right now, it’s still at a very early stage in development, and there’s no preview footage they’re able to share with fans for the moment. The company also suggested that it might be some time before they’re able to tell us anything definitive about the game at all, so we wouldn’t expect to see that within the next year. “Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity,” however, has somehow managed to creep up on everybody under the radar and remain a secret until barely over a month before its release.
If you’re a fan of the “Zelda” series and you want to play this game, we hope you have a Nintendo Switch already. If you don’t, you might struggle. The popularity of the platform has soared since the start of the year, and the unexpected surge in demand caught Nintendo unawares. The company is trying to produce new Switch units as quickly as possible, but demand is outstripping supply almost everywhere, and it’s thought that Nintendo has struggled to obtain the necessary parts for manufacture in some territories. This situation has led to over-priced Switch consoles turning up for sale on auction sites like eBay. Rather than overpaying for a Switch, it’s recommended that you hold on and wait for them to re-enter stock – Nintendo believes it has a handle on the situation now, and availability will increase back up to normal levels in the very near future.
For those who keep count of such things, this will be the 25th official entry into the “Zelda” series, continuing down a path that began in 1986 with the release of the first “Legend of Zelda” video game. The most recent entry into the series was “Link’s Awakening” in 2019. With the news of this game’s impending arrival and another game in development for either 2021 or 2022, we wouldn’t bet against seeing the “Zelda” franchise live on into the 2030s and beyond.