- The Legend of Zelda has been a staple for Nintendo for almost four decades, appearing on every Nintendo console and spanning across mainline releases, spinoffs, ports, and remakes.
- The release schedule for The Legend of Zelda has changed over the years, with a pattern of two mainline entries releasing every other year until 2015. A new release pattern seems to have formed with a mainline Zelda entry releasing once every other year, including remasters/remakes.
- Based on the recent release pattern, fans might not see a mainline Zelda until 2025. After Tears of the Kingdom, a Zelda release in 2025 could be another remaster or remake, such as a Wind Waker remake.
Debuting all the way back in 1986, The Legend of Zelda has been a staple franchise for Nintendo for almost four whole decades now. Evolving right alongside Nintendo itself, there hasn’t been a single Nintendo console, both home and handheld, that The Legend of Zelda hasn’t made at least one appearance on. From gigantic mainline releases to spinoffs to ports, remasters, and remakes, The Legend of Zelda franchise runs the entire gamut of the modern gaming industry, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
One of the most anticipated video games of all time, last year’s Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom managed to sell over 10 million units in just three days, and that number quickly grew to 19.5 million by September 2023. It seems pretty likely that the Legend of Zelda franchise won’t be taking any big breaks anytime soon, but that being said, recent release patterns might suggest that fans still won’t see another Zelda release until 2025.
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Lets Down Ganondorf’s Story Role in One Regard
Ganondorf is one of the most iconic villains in gaming, but Tears of the Kingdom sells him short in a few key areas, which is a shame.
Why a Mainline Zelda Might Not Appear Until 2025
The Legend of Zelda’s Release Schedule Has Been Erratic
Having been around for about four decades now, it’s only natural that The Legend of Zelda franchise has seen quite a bit of change when it comes to its release schedule over the years. In the franchise’s first decade, a total of four Legend of Zelda games released, two appearing just a year after one another in 1986 and 1987, and the other two releasing much later in 1991 and 1993.
But with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 1998, the floodgates were seemingly opened. The years 2000, 2001, and 2002 saw a total of four Zelda games release, all of which were major mainline entries. And though 2003 saw the franchise take a mini break, 2004 delivered another two mainline Zelda entries. This pattern of two mainline Zelda entries releasing every other year continued right up until 2015 with the release of Tri Force Heroes and Majora’s Mask 3D. It should be noted here, however, that while these games are considered mainline releases, many second releases in a year were ports or HD remasters.
A New Zelda Release Pattern Seems to be Forming
With the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2017, a new franchise release pattern seems to have begun. Now, it seems to be the case that a mainline Zelda entry releases once every other year. This includes both remasters/remakes and new entries, with Breath of the Wild being followed by Link’s Awakening in 2019, which was followed by Skyward Sword HD in 2021, and then finally last year’s Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
If Nintendo ends up sticking with this new Legend of Zelda release pattern, then it seems very likely that fans won’t see a mainline Zelda release in 2024, but they could see one in 2025. With Tears of the Kingdom having taken six years in development, it seems extremely unlikely that 2025’s Zelda would be the next new entry in the franchise, but it could be another remaster or remake. Fans have been asking for a proper Wind Waker remake for a while now, so it would make complete sense for Nintendo to finally give in. Though with the Nintendo Switch 2 almost definitely on the horizon, this recently formed Zelda release pattern could be subject to change very soon.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- May 12, 2023
- Rated E for Everyone 10+ for Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes
- How Long To Beat
- 59 Hours