There’s something to be said for designing a game around the player’s ability to completely curate their experience. In Breath of the Wild, players could choose the order they completed story beats in and unlocking some or all of Link’s Recovered Memories, and these decisions impacted how they experienced the game. It shook up the Zelda formula significantly, with previous games like Skyward Sword being considered too linear. While I appreciate the amount of freedom Nintendo gave players to choose their experience of Breath of the Wild, when I revisit the game’s story now, it feels quite bare bones.

When you really examine it closely, the bulk of Breath of the Wild‘s story takes place in unlockable, optional flashbacks of the conflict from 100 years, meaning the present-day story lacks substance. Other than the opening sequence where King Rhoam assists Link on the Great Plateau, the rest of the story is purely optional and skippable. The driving force is to save Hyrule, but you don’t get to see the buildup leading up to the destruction. It’s almost hard to have a connection with the world and the people living in it. Imagine if Ocarina of Time began with Adult Link emerging from the Temple of Time into a destroyed world and all of his history with Zelda and collecting the Spiritual Stones of Forest, Fire, and Water were locked behind optional cutscenes and not playable events that could be experienced. So much of the narrative urgency and stakes would be lost!

With all of that in mind, should Tears of the Kingdom have a more linear story? I’m not opposed to the idea of an open-world game where players can tackle the story at their own pace, but I wonder if the story beats and events should be established in a preset order. I by no means want (or expect) Tears of the Kingdom to overcorrect and be so linear that it discourages exploration: but I feel like a couple of guard rails, at least around the story, may go a long way to enhancing the story and add to the already rich world Breath of the Wild laid the foundation for.

What do you think? Do you think Tears of the Kingdom should have a more linear story line? Let us know in the comments!

Feature art by Jasqreate

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