Breath of the Wild 2 needs to steal an intriguing mechanic from Age of Calamity
Leave Hyrule a little better than you found it.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will surpass our expectations if the demo released for Nintendo Switch in October is any indication, blending fast paced action with the Zelda gameplay we know and love. While Breath of the Wild 2 does not yet have an official release date, there's reason to believe we could see the sequel as soon as next summer, given the longstanding rumors that Nintendo's got a more powerful Switch console in the works.
While Breath of the Wild 2 could take inspiration from Age of Calamity's rapid-fire combat, the spin-off's region-based reputation system could add even more depth to an expanded world of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild 2.
Age of Calamity's reputation system is quite simple and easy to understand — Link can make "Contributions to Hyrule" by completing quests and other objectives in the regions around Hyrule. Doing so increases Link's standing with that area of Hyrule, though the ultimate results of this system aren't seen in this demo.
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So far, it feels like little more than a progress tracker that's thematically appropriate for a Kingdom that is at war. Still, it establishes the idea of a reputation system where players can build up their relationship with a certain reigion depending on their actions, and that's a system that other open-world games have found success with.
For example, you reputation and actions preceded you in a game like Read Dead Redemption 2, and you had to be wary if you were entering an area that didn't like you. In Watch Dogs: Legion, you have to complete certain objectives in order to get each area of the city on side and get special operatives. Those games show that such a mechanic wouldn't be out of place in Breath of the Wild 2.
In a Hyrule that's starting to restore itself and reconnect following the events of the first Breath of the Wild, it' wouldn't be suprirsing if the game put more of a focus on the story of Hyrule rebuilding and how all of the regions get along with each other within it. As such, it could be fun to have to balance Link's reputation in the regions around Hyrule, which may become more defined as the world gets bigger than before.
You could increase affinity by doing sidequests or making decisions that help a region during the story. Like Watch Dogs: Legion, you could even gate certain rewards behind this system, asking players to get max affinity with the Gorons for a Biggoron's Sword, for example. Players could then lose reputation by terrorizing local citizens, making story decisions that area, or ignoring the sidequests within it.
While this mechanic is not implemented in Age of Calamity to that extent, the upcoming Switch game teases how mechanics like that could work in a more traditional The Legend of Zelda game like Breath of the Wild 2.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is in development for Nintendo Switch.