My predictions for the Zelda 35th Anniversary

After the Mario celebration, what is in store for Zelda?


Mason Hardy

The Mario 35th anniversary celebration ends on March 31, so what is next?

Why, Zelda, of course!

“The Legend of Zelda” released for the NES on February 21, 1986, beginning the long and convoluted timeline of games we know and love today. Games like “A Link to the Past” and “Ocarina of Time” are largely considered masterpieces and solidified the series’ place among Nintendo’s greatest-selling franchises.

I grew up playing Zelda. “Link’s Awakening” for the Gameboy Color is the first title I ever played, and my love for the series has just grown more and more with every game since. I’ve put over 100 hours into “Breath of the Wild”, I’ve replayed “Ocarina of Time” and “Majora’s Mask” more than I can count, and played almost every single game in the series. To say I’m excited for a potential anniversary celebration of “The Legend of Zelda” would be a bit of an understatement.

“The Legend of Zelda” has always been a series to change up the formula. Link has traveled through time in “Ocarina of Time”, sailed across the seas in “Wind Waker”, turned into a wolf in “Twilight Princess” ventured into a parallel dimension in “A Link Between Worlds” and finally had a complete gameplay overhaul with “Breath of the Wild”. Nintendo has never shied away from experimenting with Zelda, and that is why the series should be celebrated.

Here’s what we know so far.

During the February 17 Nintendo Direct, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma revealed the upcoming release of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD” for the Switch, coming July 16. The game will include updated controls to work with Joy-Con and the Switch Lite and play at 60 frames per second, a first for 3D Zelda. Along with “Skyward Sword HD”, Aonuma mentioned that more news will be revealed about the “Breath of the Wild” sequel later this year, solidifying my theory that a dedicated 35th Anniversary Zelda Direct is inevitable.

The Direct also revealed an upcoming season pass DLC  for “Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity” and special edition blue and purple Zelda Joy-Con.

The Age of Calamity season pass will be available May 28, and be released in two waves, June and November.


I anticipate we will hear more about Zelda’s anniversary in mid to late May. Nintendo will want to give more information on the Age of Calamity DLC prior to its May 28 release, and putting that information in a dedicated Zelda direct would make the most sense.

So, we already have the beginnings of an anniversary celebration with the HD remaster of “Skyward Sword” and the addition of the  “Age of Calamity” season pass, but what else could be announced for Zelda’s anniversary?

Here’s what a theoretical Direct could look like.

I predict “Ocarina of Time” and “Majora’s Mask” will be revealed for the Switch. These would not be just straight ports of the Nintendo 64 versions, but either the 3DS remakes of them or further improved versions. These two titles are iconic entries in the Zelda series and more than deserve to be on the Nintendo Switch. 

Along with those announcements, I fully expect to see a compilation much like the “Mario 3D All-Stars” collection, including “Wind Waker HD” and “Twilight Princess HD”. Rather than three games, the Zelda collection would include just the two. Unless, of course, we see “Ocarina of

The left Joy-Con is themed after the Hylian shield and the right, the Master Sword. Just look at them, they’re gorgeous!

Time” and “Majora’s Mask” included, but that doesn’t seem as likely to me.

In addition to software releases, Nintendo will likely release a plethora of merchandise as they did for Mario. We will probably see clothing collaborations, LEGO sets, collectors’ items, and of course, we’ve already seen the special edition Skyward sword Joy-Con controllers and their stunning colorations, so there’s got to be a special edition Switch console coming too. 

Of course, all these announcements will conclude with the highly-anticipated “Breath of the Wild” sequel getting a trailer and release date.

Five Zelda games brought to the Switch, the release of the Breath of the Wild sequel, and some merchandise; That seems like a pretty good celebration, right? Probably. But as a Zelda super fan, I want to dream even bigger, even if it may be a bit far-fetched.

My ( less likely ) hopes for the anniversary.

The Nintendo Switch already has the early Zelda titles on the NES and SNES Online apps, so the earliest parts of the series are already represented, but what about after that? “Link’s Awakening” is the only other legacy title represented on Switch, but where are the other games? The Wii U had such a vast collection of past games available on it’s Virtual Console, but the Switch lacks that same content.

In a potential Zelda 35th anniversary Direct, I would love to see that remedied. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a brand-new Gameboy Advance Online app is announced to go alongside the NES and SNES Online apps. This would include games like “The Minish Cap”, the original “Link’s Awakening” and “Four Swords”. These games would be great additions to the earlier library of the handheld Zelda titles on Switch and bring them to a brand new audience.

Two amazing games with a linking story would be a perfect fit for the Switch.

I also want to see a re-release of the Oracle games initially released for the Gameboy. “Oracle of Ages” and “Oracle of Seasons” could share the same art style as the remake of “Link’s Awakening” (except hopefully with a more consistent framerate!) and since the Oracle stories were interconnected, it would be amazing to see them packaged together. Let’s be honest here though, if these games were re-released, Nintendo would probably separate them into two separate purchases. And as much as I’d like to see them in one package, I’d still buy them separately. Does that make me a sucker? Maybe.

“Super Mario Maker 2” introduced some Zelda content with the inclusion of Link as a power-up character, so I’d love to see the release of a Legend of Zelda Maker game. It would allow players to mold 2D dungeons into any formation, create their own puzzles, put in traps and monsters, then share the dungeons for other players to navigate. It would be a blast to create custom dungeons in different 2D Zelda styles like “A Link to the Past” or the remastered “Link’s Awakening”.

Hey, I can dream, right?

Final thoughts.

Who knows what Nintendo has in store for Zelda’s anniversary, but if it’s anything like what we saw for Mario’s anniversary, I think we’ve got a great year for Zelda fans coming. But if nothing else is announced, at least we’ll still have those beautiful Zelda Joy-Cons and “Skyward Sword HD” to look forward to!


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