While the rest of Nintendo's 2020 lineup is still a mystery, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 remains one of the most anticipated Nintendo Switch games currently in development. There's very little official information available, because the game hasn't been mentioned outside of Nintendo financial reports since its announcement at E3 2019.
In the many months since, other open-world games inspired by the first Breath of the Wild have come and gone, and one of them might actually have a mechanic that would work well in Breath of the Wild's sequel: Ghost of Tsushima.
Ghost of Tsushima was released on July 17, 2020 and with it came a surprising new navigation mechanic called the Guiding Wind. Instead of the less cinematic waypoint icons or other UI that most games use for navigation, Ghost of Tsushima lets players call on a "Guiding Wind" to lead them toward objectives. After a simple swipe of the touchpad, the wind will rush through the naturalistic environment, giving the player a better idea of where they're supposed to go.
While there are some traversal frustrations, you don't cut back to the map nearly as often in Ghost of Tsushima thanks to this mechanic. It's very refreshing in an open-world game that encourages exploration, and something that would be surprisingly fitting for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2's sense of exploration. It would even lightly call back to The Wind Waker, another classic Zelda game.
Breath of the Wild's open-air design philosophy is no secret, as it provides a sandbox for players to explore where they can go anywhere and do almost anything they want at any time. For navigation, the game still relies on the cutting back to Sheikah Slate to check the map so you can set a waypoint or check where you are on the map. If Breath of the Wild's sequel implements a mechanic like the Guiding Wind, the flow of exploration would almost never be interrupted, which can make an already engaging game even more immersive.
It doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to implement either. A mechanic like this could actually give a reason for the name "breath of the wild," realizing it an actual mechanic or entity that helps Link rather than an obscure title that has confused fans for years.
GameCube classic The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has also experimented with controlling the wind, so a guiding wind style system in Breath of the Wild could also serve as a callback to that game.
This mechanic could also be done in a somewhat gimmicky but cute way just like Ghost of Tsushima, where the Guiding Wind is activated by swiping on the PS4's touchpad. In handheld mode, you could swipe the touchscreen to activate; Or waving the Joy-Con or Pro Controller could do the trick in docked mode. Waving your hand in front of the Joy-Con's oft-forgotten AR sensor could even work!
It doesn't necessarily matter how Nintendo implements the feature, but conceptually it would make a lot of sense for Breath of the Wild 2, enhancing exploration in a way that makes it feel even more like a natural, living, and breathing environment. While Ghost of Tsushima can be negatively compared to Breath of the Wild, the Zelda game can still benefit from learning a thing or two from its peers.
The groundwork for a Ghost of Tsushima-style wind mechanic was already laid in Wind Waker, so doing something that resembled the Guiding Wind system in Breath of the Wild 2's open-world design could result in something truly special.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is in development for Nintendo Switch.