Many have heard complaints, or complained themselves, over the years that they have not heard or seen enough to get excited for the next installment of The Legend of Zelda series until the final trailer that aired April 13th–one month from its release date. Tears of the Kingdom was first announced at E3 2019, and since then, there has been a slow trickle of teasers and safe trailers. Only within 4-6 weeks prior to release did Nintendo provide gameplay and a meaty trailer. Did Nintendo butcher their marketing for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will release six years after Breath of the Wild, which made for one of the largest stretches between mainline Zelda games in franchise history. Of course, the COVID-19 made substantial impact on the industry which can explain away some of the extra time, but fans grew impatient, especially when the game got delayed from 2022 to 2023.
Many people found the bite-sized teaser trailers inexcusable after such a longs stretch of time and a delay. It’s understandable though, as Nintendo would be utilizing the same engine and Hyrule as Breath of the Wild. Also, people who played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has explored this map up and down, so questions arose as to whether the sequel could bring anything fresh to the table. In a game about exploration, what was Nintendo going to do if everything was already explored?
In total, there were two teaser trailers, one in 2019 then another in 2021 at the respective E3 events. The first got the hype train going with “dehydrated Ganon” and the mysterious green swirls. The second teaser provided footage of Link free-falling with the presence of islands in the sky. There were even glimpses of new gameplay mechanics that we had no idea what they were.
The first full trailer debuted September 2022, complete with title reveal. Despite Nintendo’s concern that the title would have spoiled the game, the consensus was that…we still didn’t know the game’s hook. However, more theories on the Zonai surfaced. A second trailer premiered February 8th 2023 with what seems to contain Ganondorf’s voice (but we weren’t sure at that time!), then Eiji Aonuma played about ten minutes late March to showcase several gameplay mechanics. Then, at long last, the final trailer provided much more substantial content–such as the confirmation of Ganondorf, the Champion’s descendents, and new faces.
We had two teasers, three trailers, and one demo all in a span of six years since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is a long stretch of time, but taking a step back, I feel that Nintendo still are marketing geniuses. Delay aside, they provided so little for the longest time, then slap us hard in the face with gameplay and story near the end. Why do I think they are genius? Just take a look at how The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom trended on social media after the final trailer.
Many of us may not have like the slow trickle of content over the years, but the dedication to the surprise element works in Nintendo’s favor. They also revealed merchandise in two of the announcements in 2023: the Link amiibo after the second full trailer in February and the Tears of the Kingdom Nintendo Switch OLED after Aonuma’s demo on March 28th. No doubt the hype train has been revitalized!
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