The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2's release date feels further off than expected after the announcement of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. While Zelda fans got a brief update on Breath of the Wild 2 and now have a new prequel set 100 years before Breath of the Wild to look forward to, there's still no word as to when the next mainline Zelda game might arrive.
If rumors of a more powerful upgrade to the Nintendo Switch are true, however, then it would make a lot of sense if the so-called Switch Pro and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 were connected in some fashion, especially with the series' 35th anniversary coming up.
The Switch Pro — An upgraded version of the Nintendo Switch has been rumored for years, but those reports gained more steam in early September when Bloomberg reported that "Nintendo is making preparations for an upgraded Switch model and a beefed-up games lineup for 2021." Nintendo was reportedly also asking developers to start supporting 4K resolution with their games. If true, then it would make a lot of sense for Breath of the Wild 2's release date to line up with the launch of the new upgraded Switch.
While 2020 has had some big games for Nintendo like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the upcoming Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, it has been a relatively quiet year dominated by remasters like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, Super Mario Bros. 3D All-Stars, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe.
Because of that, it makes sense that Nintendo could be saving heavy-hitters like Breath of the Wild 2 and Bayonetta 3 for the launch of the hypothetical Switch Pro. The first Breath of the Wild launched alongside the Switch initially, so there is precedent for Nintendo doing something like this with a Zelda game.
Lead Zelda designer Eiji Aonuma also teased during Age of Calamity's reveal that Breath of the Wild 2 would "make the vast world you enjoyed exploring in the original game even more impressive." As a more demanding Switch game, it would be a very sensible game to market alongside a more powerful version of the Switch. At the very least, it'd make a lot of sense a game demoed frequently to show the power of the new hardware.
Zelda's 35th anniversary — A 2021 release for Breath of the Wild 2 works for another major reason: It's the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series.
Specifically, February 21 will mark 35 years since the first game's release, so that's probably the earliest date we could expect Breath of the Wild 2 to be released on, especially if Nintendo plans to put as much effort into celebrating that anniversary as they are for Mario's 35th anniversary.
It is also possible that the game doesn't come out exactly on its anniversary as Nintendo is still saying they need more time on the game and the rest of their fiscal year seems very Super Mario Bros. focused. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury even comes out just a couple of weeks before that on February 12, so Mario's anniversary will still be a major thing during that period.
If Nintendo wants to celebrate The Legend of Zelda's anniversary throughout the rest of the year though, it would make a lot of sense to see Breath of the Wild 2 come out towards the start of the next fiscal year or alongside at Switch Pro. For most companies like Nintendo, the new fiscal year begins in April, so to save a surefire hit like Breath of the Wild 2 for April or May feels like good strategic business sense.
We'll just have to wait and see what release date information Nintendo gives the next time they decide to update fans on Breath of the Wild 2.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is in development for Nintendo Switch.