Update: On July 5, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild picked up a Best in Show award from this year's E3. Below, find our original reaction to the footage, plus new information on the highly anticipated game.
Gaming is a competitive field, and Nintendo's felt the heat over the last few years. Between high-caliber titles from Sony and Microsoft, rapidly advancing technology, and the sudden death of President Satoru Iwata in 2015, it's been a rocky road for the OG gaming company. Could a classic brand reignite interest?
At this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo unveiled the trailer for Breath of the Wild, the latest entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise. During the presentation, Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aime declared Wild to be "one of the biggest experiences ever created by Nintendo." Footage of the four-years-in-the-making game lives up to the hype. The game looks part screensaver, part open-world travelogue, and part Lord of the Rings epic. Wild bares little resemblance to series staples like Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, a Zen alternative to the usual demon-killing good time (but don't worry, there's demon killing, too). You can see that footage above.
A new Wired feature reveals even more about the ambitious sequel. According to the first-look, Breath of the Wild takes place 100 years after the ingrained Zelda mythology, Link awakening from a stasis sleep to find the world grown over, Hyrule Castle in ruins, and his memory gone. When Fils-Aime describes a sprawling open-world map, he isn't joking -- a look at the full (albeit greyed-out) map touts a traversable world bigger than Zelda: Twilight Princess or even open-world juggernauts like Grand Theft Auto or Witcher 3.
The unique spin is that almost everything Link does in the game is based on location. The hero's weapons will be culled from the landscape, everything from branches to wood-axes (there was no swordplay in this prelim gameplay). Weapons acquired throughout the game could also decay over time, prompting the player to repair or fashion new versions. The Wired writer also notes that reading environments is key. "You'll need a slow and steady ascent or if you can risk a faster climb ... Link can also tame horses to ride or, more fun for short distances, surf on any currently-equipped shield, skimming down hills or slopes."
As a former Nintendo devotee who never shelled out for the Wii U, this first footage of Breath of the Wild has me checking my bank account for available funds. I have time to save: the latest chapter in The Legend of Zelda is expected to arrive in 2017 on the Wii U and NX, Nintendo's new (and mysterious) console.