The arrival of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is fast approaching, but I know in my heart of hearts I won't be playing it anytime soon. That's partly due to my own personal desire to finally finish Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, but it also comes down to a growing sense of intimidation at the sheer size and scope of the world the sequel promises to deliver. I mean, if I thought the Hyrule setting in Breath of the Wild was absolutely massive, the follow-up is only going to build on that by opening up the skies to us. If I didn't finish Link's first sprawling open-world adventure, what chance do I have of carving out time for one that's even bigger?
But with the admission that I won't be playing Tears of the Kingdom at launch comes the inevitable FOMO I'm sure to feel. The fear of missing out is very real when it comes to big game launches that practically everyone you know is either talking about or planning to jump into. I often think back to 2020, for example, and how it must have felt to not be playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons at a time when it engulfed the gaming landscape. Hell, I even felt it to an extent when it came to the likes of Elden Ring, a game I know just won't float my boat.
I'm sure I'm not alone in deciding to bench Link's upcoming return to the Switch until I'm ready. In my case, it's time commitments. But outside of it not being everyone's cup of tea, the price tag coupled with the deluge of releases elsewhere this year are sure to give other players a moment's pause, among the myriad of other reasons some may not play. While I think it's important to take all games at your own pace and not feel pressured to play something, conversations are already abuzz surrounding Tears of the Kingdom before it's even officially out in the wild. So, I'm already readying myself to ride that FOMO wave in the weeks ahead.
Wii U welcome
The reason I didn't finish Breath of the Wild actually dates back to the original launch in 2017. At the time, I didn't own a Switch and I certainly couldn't afford to buy one out of my own pocket. What I did have, though, was a Wii U, and since my excitement for the latest Legend of Zelda game was so high, I decided to get it on Nintendo's less successful previous gen console. As a game that was originally intended to release as a Wii U exclusive before it was delayed, I was thankful it still landed on the platform so I could get stuck right in. Fast forward several months later that same year, and I got my hands on a Switch of my own. I decided to heck with it: I'll retire the Wii U version and start Breath of the Wild over on my shiny new machine. I figured it was the kind of game I enjoyed enough to justify a redo, but this choice wound up preventing me from finishing the game in the long run.
See, the trouble was I'd already gotten pretty far into the game on the Wii U. Naturally that meant that my commitment to beginning again on the Switch had me repeat a lot of what I'd done before. By the time I reached the same point all over again, I was entirely burnt out on the whole thing and I just couldn't bring myself to keep going. So, in need of a break, I hung up my paraglider and weapons for adventures new. The longer I left it, the less encouraged I felt to return, fearing that I would be unable to pick back up where I left off with ease. Soon enough, years passed by and before I knew it the sequel was announced… but Breath of the Wild was still there waiting for me to finish it.
I can't quite get past the idea of leaving Breath of the Wild behind for good, and now that enough time has passed, restarting the adventure feels like the right move. Of course, my goal of finishing Link's first open-world adventure before Tears of the Kingdom is more of a self-imposed rule than a need. Nintendo recently confirmed that you don't have to have played the first game in order to tuck into the sequel comfortably. But given my desire to complete Breath of the Wild, there is something quite daunting about even thinking about diving into Tears of Kingdom at some stage afterwards given just how big it looks set to be.
While there's a host of massive open-world games out there, Breath of the Wild feels big because of just how much there is to discover with virtually no signposting to guide you. This aspect was also why it felt quite magical; its expansive Hyrule setting encourages you to explore and experiment. Tears of the Kingdom is set to bring us back to the same landscapes, and open up it all the more. It's hard not to already imagine just how much more there will be to discover and explore this time around.
After all, in an interview with Nintendo, the development team said that they've taken "a world originally made up of things we'd designed to fit it perfectly, and then bolt a new layer of surprises on top of it". With more surprises in store, and Breath of the Wild still calling my name, I think it's safe to say that it'll be some time before I'm ready for Tears of the Kingdom.
That's totally okay of course, and I'm genuinely excited for everyone who will be diving into the game when it lands in a matter of days. But I also know that I need to be ready to feel that FOMO wash over me as the community takes to the skies of Hyrule.
Keep track of everything on the way with our roundup of upcoming Switch games.