The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo. An entry in the longrunning The Legend of Zelda series, it was released for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U consoles on March 3, 2017. Breath of the Wild is set at the end of the series' timeline; the player controls Link, who awakens from a hundred-year slumber to defeat Calamity Ganon before it can destroy the kingdom of Hyrule.
Similarly to the original Legend of Zelda (1986), players are given little instruction and can explore the open world freely. Tasks include collecting multipurpose items to aid in objectives or solving puzzles and side quests for rewards. Breath of the Wild's world is unstructured and designed to reward experimentation, and the story can be completed in a nonlinear fashion. Development of Breath of the Wild lasted five years. Wanting to reinvent the series, Nintendo introduced elements such as a detailed physics engine, high-definition visuals, and voice acting. Monolith Soft, known for their work in the open-world Xenoblade Chronicles series, assisted in designing landscapes and topography. The game was planned for release in 2015 as a Wii U exclusive, but was delayed twice due to problems with the physics engine. Breath of the Wild was a launch game for the Switch and the final Nintendo-published game for the Wii U. Two downloadable content packs were released later in 2017.
Breath of the Wild received acclaim for its open-ended gameplay and attention to detail, and has been called one of the greatest video games of all time. Critics called it a landmark in open-world design, despite minor criticism for its technical performance at launch. It won numerous awards, including several game of the year honors. By 2019, Breath of the Wild had sold over 15.11 million copies worldwide, making it the bestselling Zelda game. A direct sequel was announced at E3 2019.