'Tears of the Kingdom' May Be the Last Zelda Game (For the Switch, at Least)

Sara Belcher - Author

Apr. 14 2023, Published 3:13 p.m. ET

'Tears of the Kingdom'
Source: Nintendo

Since it was first announced at E3 in 2019, Tears of the Kingdom has been one of Nintendo's most-anticipated titles for the Switch. The game is the second new mainline title in the Legend of Zelda franchise to hit the console, and the trailers alone promise it will be bigger and better than its predecessor.

But is Tears of the Kingdom the last Zelda game? Having completely reinvented the wheel with Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, is it possible the franchise is coming to an end?

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Is 'Tears of the Kingdom' the last game in the 'Legend of Zelda' franchise?

There are some fans who are worried that Tears of the Kingdom may be the final game to be released in the Legend of Zelda franchise. Though there is no official statement from Nintendo to indicate it's considering retiring Link and his cohorts, there are some theories as to where this new game fits in the franchise's overall timeline that leave many wondering where else it could go.

'Tears of the Kingdom'
Source: Nintendo
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For those who don't know, the Legend of Zelda timeline is a confusing one, with it splitting into three different branches following Skyward Sword. Officially, Breath of the Wild was placed at the very end of the timeline, though it's not officially linked to a specific path, suggesting it's a final converging of the various splits in the current timeline.

Based on the trailers, some even started to speculate that Tears of the Kingdom is actually a prequel to Breath of the Wild (though this is not true, as Nintendo has confirmed the events of the upcoming game take place after the 2017 hit). There's a running theory that the game will act as a connector between Breath of the Wild and Skyward Sword, turning the timeline into a loop. This has also not been confirmed, though it likely won't be clear until the title is released.

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If the game were to circle back to Skyward Sword, it would ultimately close the current timeline available, though that doesn't necessarily mean that this will be the last Legend of Zelda game ever created. The franchise has been a staple for the video game company since its inception, and closing out the franchise likely wouldn't go over well with fans.

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All that said, it's heavily speculated that Tears of the Kingdom will be the last Zelda game made for the Switch. Breath of the Wild was the very first game made available for the console when it was released in 2017. The Nintendo Switch has had a longer lifespan than many of its competitors, and there are rumors the company is working on a Switch 2 behind the scenes that could release as early as winter 2023.

Again, there's no official confirmation from Nintendo on any of these rumors at this time, but Tears of the Kingdom is expected to be one of Nintendo's final first-party releases for the console before it ushers in a new generation — but that doesn't mean Link, Zelda, and Ganon won't all face off in a new title to be released for the company's next-generation console.

Tears of the Kingdom will release for the Swtich on May 12.

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