Need a 'Breath of the Wild' Recap Before Diving Into 'Tears of the Kingdom'? Here’s What to Know

Jon Bitner - Author

May 8 2023, Published 4:11 p.m. ET

Link fighting an enemy in Breath of the Wild.
Source: Nintendo

Launching on May 12, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom might be the biggest release of 2023. It’s billed as a direct successor to Breath of the Wild, with plenty of familiar faces and places returning for your latest adventure across Hyrule. But since the iconic game launched way back in 2017, you might need a quick refresher on what took place during its lengthy runtime.

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If you need some help remembering what happened in Breath of the Wild, or missed it entirely, here’s a recap to get you caught up before playing Tears of the Kingdom.

What happened in 'Breath of the Wild'?

Breath of the Wild takes place in Hyrule a century after an event known as the Great Calamity. This event saw the land torn apart by Calamity Ganon, which is now home to fearsome beasts and machines and has pushed civilization to its limits.

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Zelda looking worried in Breath of the Wild with a forest in the background.
Source: Nintendo

You take control of Link, who was injured in the fight against Ganon years ago and is just now awakening from his long slumber, as he travels Hyrule and helps put an end to Ganon’s reign. The only problem is he doesn’t recall anything that’s happened over the past 100 years, and he’ll need a bundle of assistance to help Zelda seal away Ganon.

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Link’s journey brings him into contact with the four Champions of Hyrule — Mipha, Daruk, Revali, and Urbosa — who have been selected to pilot machines known as Divine Beasts. These towering contraptions can be used to weaken Calamity Ganon and give you (and Zelda) the upperhand in your battle.

A Divine Beast in Breath of the Wild walking through Lava.
Source: Nintendo
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It’s up to you to restore these slumbering Divine Beasts to working order, slay Ganon, and once again save the world from near destruction. Along the way, you’ll be able to recover the legendary Master Sword, discover Koroks hiding throughout Hyrule, and tackle a variety of side quests that have you pulling off wild maneuvers such as shield surfing and paragliding.

Once you’ve had your fill of exploring Hyrule and you’ve managed to get all the Divine Beasts operating again, you’ll face off against Calamity Ganon in a boss fight of epic proportions. It takes place across a variety of stages, with the final showdown culminating in Ganon’s defeat and Zelda sealing him away.

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Link using his glider to travel through the sky with a rocky biome in the background.
Source: Nintendo

Of course, there are plenty of side stories in Breath of the Wild (some folks have sunk hundreds of hours into the game), but it’s unclear how many of these side stories will resurface in Tears of the Kingdom.

However, if you’re new to the franchise (or just need a refresher before checking out TotK), the main story should be enough to get your new adventure started.

Tears of the Kingdom appears to take place several years after the conclusion of Breath of the Wild, with Zelda and Link attempting to rebuild the war-torn land. However, Ganon seems to have found a way to unseal himself from Zelda’s magic, and the duo will once again be charged with saving the land of Hyrule.

Tears of the Kingdom will release exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on May 12.

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