The timing of the Nintendo Switch Pro’s emergence from the rumor mill seems oddly convenient given Zelda’s big anniversary next year.
The gaming industry and its fan communities are always in high energy when it’s time for a new generation of consoles. The PS5 and the Xbox Series X are coming up over the horizon, and their releases will likely mark a transition to next-level technology and open up new boundaries of gaming to cross. With Sony and Microsoft about to take this big step, some may wonder when Nintendo will upgrade its technology. The Switch is a revolutionary console in its own way, but it’s much younger than the PS4 and Xbox One. At face value, it would seem that Nintendo will take its time upgrading to a new console. However, as rumors of the Switch Pro swirl, the truth might be very different.
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Nintendo fans and leakers have been whispering about an upgraded version of the Switch for a while now. Without any statements confirming it for now, it’s hard to know what a Switch Pro would be capable of; there’s word about some series upgrades, like 4K graphics. Assuming the Switch Pro is real but being kept secret for now, the next question is what games Nintendo wants to use this new technology on. The most obvious and perhaps most likely answer is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been quiet for more than a year now, and the reason for that might just be that it’s going to be a Zelda experience unlike any other.
Breath of the Wild 2: Bold New Chapters
Nintendo likes making upgraded versions of its consoles, particularly the handheld ones. The Nintendo DS was followed by the DS Lite, the DSi, the 3DS, and then the 2DS and the New 3DS. Modular as the Switch is, it’s sort of the heir to Nintendo’s generations of handheld consoles, especially now that the Nintendo 3DS has been officially discontinued. Nintendo will also need a way to keep up with Sony and Microsoft’s titanic new consoles. As is always the case, consumer expectations will slowly change as next-gen technology starts to become the industry standard. Nintendo surely wants to get its hands on the next-gen technology that’s enabling unthinkable accomplishments like the death of loading screens.
However, as believable as the Nintendo Switch Pro is in a vacuum, Nintendo wouldn’t just want the console to replay extant Switch games and perform better than the first version. The Switch Pro will want some type of “launch titles,” even if it isn’t exactly starting a new generation of Nintendo consoles, and the perfect title for that is Breath of the Wild 2. The first Breath of the Wild was already extremely ambitious, taking great strides to reinvent the Zelda formula and getting a lot of acclaim for it. It released alongside the Switch, and it only makes sense for it to happen again. It wouldn’t be surprising if Nintendo wants to push the boundaries even further by making a version of Breath of the Wild 2 that greatly exceeds fan expectations a second time.
Nintendo Switch Pro: An Explosive Launch
Breath of the Wild 2 is the perfect launch title for the Switch Pro. Fans have been anticipating the exciting next step in the Zelda franchise for so long that its emergence as a Switch Pro title would make fans look forward to the new console even more. Similarly, the Switch Pro opens the possibility of fans getting the ultimate Zelda experience: playing Breath of the Wild 2 in 4K resolution and 120 FPS on a mini-LED screen seems like a thing of dreams.
The console and the game seem to go hand in hand so well that it surely isn’t a coincidence that both these mysterious products are being talked about at the same time. Breath of the Wild 2 is a sure thing and a hot topic even if information on it is scarce, and the insistent rumors and tweets about next-gen tech at Nintendo seem to make the Switch Pro feel more real every day. The technological implications aren’t the only way that these two things pair so well: the timing is uncanny.
It’s worth bearing in mind that next year is The Legend of Zelda‘s 35th anniversary, and as a result, Breath of the Wild 2 will likely get a larger reveal in the near future. Odds are that, if the Switch Pro is real, it’ll get revealed around the same time. A next gen console spearheaded by such a hotly anticipated game seems like a perfect way to celebrate one of the most famous and beloved action-adventure franchises on the market. One can already imagine a special edition of the Switch Pro decorated with Triforces or Sheikah Slate symbols, and the feedback loop of hype that these two things could create together would undoubtedly be something to rival the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Zelda: Holding One’s Breath
2021 might be a really big year for Nintendo. Things have been quiet with Nintendo for most of 2020, aside from big hits early on like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and smaller but significant recent announcements like Minecraft Steve’s invitation to Smash. With Age of Calamity, the Mario anniversary, and more anniversaries on the horizon, it does seem to be course correcting.
If the company does a full length Nintendo Direct in January or so revealing plans for 2021, there’ll probably be a significant focus on Zelda. If the Switch Pro is real, that could come up in January too. It’d stand to reason if Nintendo doesn’t want its console to compete for attention in the middle of the PS5, Xbox Series X launch. The Switch Pro might do much better in terms of publicity if things have settled down on that front.
It’s been a little while since Nintendo made a direct sequel to a Zelda game. Considering how different Breath of the Wild was from its predecessors, it’s hard to know what to expect. It could be that the sequel revolutionizes the franchise once again with the help of new technology. Even so, it might be wise not to hold one’s breath for the Switch Pro for now. Rumors have promised more and delivered less before. Still, the timing of the Switch Pro’s supposed emergence seems a little too convenient to be a complete coincidence. If Nintendo wants to take a big step forward in technology next year, a huge open world adventure with sharper graphics and mechanics than ever before seems like the right game to pair with it.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is in development.
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