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What just happened? Nintendo's long-awaited sequel to Breath of the Wild finally has a firm launch date. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will arrive on the Switch on May 12, 2023. Nintendo announced the launch date and revealed the game's title as part of a teaser video that premiered during today's Nintendo Direct presentation.
Zelda is arguably Nintendo's richest original IP. The first game in the series was created by Japanese designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, and launched in Japan on February 21, 1986 as The Hyrule Fantasy: Legend of Zelda before finding its way to North America more than a year later as The Legend of Zelda.
Miyamoto's inspiration came from time spent as a child exploring fields, caves and wooded areas in Kyoto. The game was also unique in that it was among the first to feature non-linear gameplay, allowing the player to freely explore the world and tackle dungeons in (mostly) any order.
Fun fact - The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. were developed concurrently by the same team, and great care was taken to keep the two projects separate.
Nearly 20 mainline Zelda games have been published to date including fan favorites like A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. The last entry in the main series was Breath of the Wild, a Switch launch title that dropped alongside the console on March 3, 2017.
The title has proven wildly successful with sales of over 27 million units as of June 30, 2022. That is good enough for fourth place all time behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with sales of 28.82 million, 39.38 million and 46.82 million, respectively.
We got our first look at Nintendo's vision for the sequel during E3 2019 and saw the first gameplay footage last year. Nintendo originally planned to continue the story sooner but was forced to delay the sequel back in March to give the team more time to finish development.