Ultimately, the developers had so many ideas, they just decided to make a sequel instead.
We don’t often see Nintendo doing direct narrative sequels for Zelda games, but even among those, the recently announced The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel is a unique case. It’s using a lot of the same assets (as, for instance, Majora’s Mask did), but it’s also going to be revisiting the same Hyrule we saw in the first game.
Cynics might call it Breath of the Wild 1.5- as it turns out, the game actually started life as DLC. In an interview with Kotaku, series producer Eiji Aonuma revealed that after working on the Champion’s Ballad expansion for Breath of the Wild, the development team realized adding to the game with more DLCs was something they wanted to continue doing. However, ultimately they just had so many ideas to put into the game as DLC, they just decided to make a fully fledged sequel instead.
“When we released the DLC for Breath of the Wild, we realized that this is a great way to add more elements to the same world,” said Aonuma. “But when it comes down to technical things, DLC is pretty much data—you’re adding data to a preexisting title. And so when we wanted to add bigger changes, DLC is not enough, and that’s why we thought maybe a sequel would be a good fit.”
“Initially we were thinking of just DLC ideas,” Aonuma added when asked if the sequel was initially envision as DLC for Breath of the Wild. “But then we had a lot of ideas and we said, This is too many ideas, let’s just make one new game and start from scratch.'”
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s sequel is currently in development, but when it launches is among the many, many things we don’t know about it. We do know, however, that it’s going to be a much darker game than its predecessor.