The future of The Legend of Zelda series will be open-world, according to series manager and Tears of the Kingdom producer Eiji Aonuma.
In an interview with Game Informer, Aonuma explained that Breath of the Wild has set a precedent for future games in the series - just like Ocarina of Time did back in the late 90s. "With Ocarina of Time, I think it's correct to say that it did kind of create a format for a number of titles in the franchise that came after it," Aonuma says, "But in some ways, that was a little bit restricting for us."
"While we always aim to give the player freedoms of certain kinds, there were certain things that format didn't really afford in giving people freedom," the developer continues. "Of course, the series continued to evolve after Ocarina of Time, but I think it's also fair to say now that we've arrived at Breath of the Wild and the new type of more open play and freedom that it affords. Yeah, I think it's correct to say that it has created a new kind of format for the series to proceed from."
It's not hard to see why Aonuma, and probably many of the other developers that worked on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, wish to further develop Link's open-world adventures. Fans and critics certainly want more; for starters, Tears of the Kingdom managed to obtain a 96 Metascore from Metacritic and now sits at the top of the site's best games of 2023 list. (Our own Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars.) It's also the third-highest-rated Zelda game in the review aggregate's best games of all time list, beaten only by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Ocarina of Time.
About to return to Hyrule? Take a look at our Zelda Tears of the Kingdom tips before you get started.