Tracking the release of Zelda titles is an exercise that can help explore and analyze development trends in the series. Looking at the data, the time gaps between 3D console Zelda games has been growing over the past fifteen to twenty years. The growing time gap between 3D Zelda games is first noticeable in the five year gap between Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. Up to that point, the longest gap between 3D Zelda titles in North America was roughly three years. Since the release of Twilight Princess, there has regularly been five to six years between major 3D releases.

With this information in mind, is five to six years the new standard wait fans should expect for 3D Zelda games going forward?

Overall, while I might hope otherwise, I do think that five to six years could be the standard wait for new 3D Zelda titles. As the size of the game worlds has expanded over the past two decades (particularly since the series moved to the open world format), it takes significant time to create the massive game worlds and to ensure that the games run smoothly. Additionally, Tears of the Kingdom was a major outlier in that it was built off the same game world as Breath of the Wild; most Zelda games have completely new worlds and gimmicks that are time-consuming to develop. The counterpoint to the five-to-six year gap becoming the new standard is that now that Nintendo has developed its open world formula and created a complex physics system that it could use to build its future games on. Reusing these design concepts and systems could help Nintendo speed up development or keep the gaps between games from being too long.

What do you think? Is five-to-six years the new standard gap between 3D Zelda games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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