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Nintendo only just launched The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild back in March of 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and the Wii U. The game went on to sell gangbusters at retail and via digital distribution. Well, Nintendo isn't done with The Legend of Zelda just yet, and the designers are already hard at work on the next entry.
The news comes courtesy of an interesting source... the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild art book. The book was announced earlier in the year and was a highly anticipated collectible item from the house of Nintendo.
There's a small note in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Master Works art book from executive producer Eiji Aonuma, stating that he and the rest of the new blood at Nintendo are currently hard at work on the next entry in the long-lauded series from the Big N. This note was spotted recently by Game Informer, where the outlet went on to note that the team's dedication to working on a new entry so soon after release isn't surprising, especially given that they had already begun work on Breath of the Wild shortly after The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword wrapped up development back in 2011.
It basically took a team of hundreds of developers to finish up Breath of the Wild over the course of six years. They had designed the open-air concept for the latest outing, which took a stark departure from the previous games in the series by allowing Link to literally traverse, run, swim, and climb anywhere and on anything. Nintendo's top creative executive, Shigeru Miyamoto, absolutely fell in love with the ability to climb things in Breath of the Wild, and that's what he spent a good majority of his time doing in the game.
As pointed out by Game Informer, Aonuma and the rest of the crew who worked on the last game are definitely taking the open-air concept to the next level, and this is how Legend of Zelda games will be made from now on. Nintendo did use a similar design for Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, which centered around Link traveling between islands on a raft. In previous games there were usually segmented areas that players had to move through in order to access different locations.
Due to hardware limitations, Nintendo wasn't able to properly make use of the open-air concept until now. Even so, both the Wii U and Nintendo Switch struggled to properly run Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game had many occasions where it fell below the 30fps standard.
So, if the team is hard at work on the new game, and if it usually takes anywhere between five and six years to complete these games, expect the next outing, for whatever newer system Nintendo will be coming out with, four years from 2018. If it's just a more powerful version of the Switch then that might make things easier, but given that Nintendo likes to include gimmicks within its hardware, it could be some virtual reality-based device by the time 2022 gets here.