According to USA Today, Nintendo has just released gameplay footage of the eagerly anticipated sequel to "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" at E3 2021. The sequel to "Breath of the Wild" was originally announced with a teaser trailer two years ago at E3 2019. The teaser showed what looked to be an undead Ganondorf. Series producer Eiji Aonuma introduced the new gameplay footage and stated that development has been progressing since the title's original announcement.

The hero of Hyrule

"Breath of the Wild" for the Wii U and Nintendo Switch provided a much-needed shot in the arm for the franchise.

After years of playing it safe with titles that followed that same formula and took a larger emphasis on hand-holding and linearity, fans and critics expressed the belief that the series' best days had long passed. Fortunately, "Breath of the Wild" brought back the feeling of discovery, challenge, and adventure that many critics claimed was missing from this series since "The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker" for the GameCube.

While previous mainline entries had a more structured formula broken up by dungeons that were unlocked with tools and abilities that the player would uncover, "Breath of the Wild" broke convention by giving the player all the required tools and allowing the world to be pretty much fully explorable.

No dungeon was inaccessible, no door was locked, no mountain was unclimbable- the world of Hyrule was yours to explore however you saw fit. None of the challenges of its forefathers was sacrificed for this freedom as mechanical monstrosities known as guardians were considerable threats that could only be downed with weaponry made specifically for them.

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It was also the first entry of the series to feature fully voiced dialogue with Patricia Summersett providing the first English voice for Princess Zelda in an officially developed title. While Zelda and the cast had been voiced in previous adaptions and unofficial media, this was the first Nintendo-developed "Zelda" entry in which characters spoke with more than just grunts and gibberish.

This larger emphasis on narrative and freedom drew comparisons with another fantasy video game series, "Elder Scrolls." In a GameInformer roundtable discussion with members of the industry, Ken Levine of "Bioshock" fame regarded "Breath of the Wild" as "Skyrim with more of a heart."

Skyward bound

At E3 2021, gameplay footage showcased some of the title's new mechanics and locales. Link's arm appears to have undergone a mechanical transformation which apparently has given him some new abilities such as shooting fire. Gameplay also showcases Link traversing with the glider and some enhancements to the time-freezing powers from the previous game. In addition, the "Breath of the Wild" sequel looks to be incorporating more elements from previous entries such as the floating islands from "The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword" and the ability to shift through objects as seen in the 3DS title "A Link Between Worlds."

Hidemaro Fujibayashi is confirmed to be reprising his role as director for the sequel.

The sequel will incorporate ideas that didn't make it in the previous title. Aonuma has also stated that narrative will play a larger part in the sequel, citing "Red Dead Redemption 2" as an influence. Details are still scarce as to the game's plot. Nintendo is being tight-lipped about the game's title, as Bill Trinen claims that "those subtitles… they start to give little bits of hints about maybe what’s going to happen." The unnamed sequel to "Breath of the Wild" will be the first direct follow up to a mainline "Zelda" title since "The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask" for the Nintendo 64. The game is slated for a 2022 release for the Nintendo Switch.