What to expect from the much-anticipated prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available now for Nintendo Switch. Nintendo / free use

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, the newest major game in the Zelda series since 2017, is scheduled for release in North America on November 20th. To know exactly what Zelda fans hope to see from this game, one must become familiar with the installment that preceded it, as well as dive into the Hyrule Warriors series as a whole.

With the ushering of the modern Nintendo era, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild rose to the top as one of the cornerstone franchises for the Japanese video game company. In the three short years since the game was released alongside the Nintendo Switch console, Breath of the Wild has racked up 14 and a half million sales. It was even granted by Game Awards as 2017’s official Game of the Year.

“Every element of the game’s structure has a clear effect on another,” Sam Byford, editor for The Verge, says. “But Breath of the Wild’s true achievement is the elegant synchronicity that the world shares with the design of the game itself.”

Zelda fans were especially impressed with these core aspects, but despite the fact that Breath of the Wild seemed to have done everything right in terms of the story, there’s no doubt that the game ended on a note that felt clueless even still. Zelda producer and developer Eiji Aonuma heard these questions about the game’s loose ends, so in a Nintendo presentation last month, he promised answers.

“In this game, you’ll be able to experience the events of the Great Calamity,” Nintendo producer Eiji Aonuma says of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

A fictional apocalypse known in the Zelda canon as the Great Calamity swayed the somber story with major impact. The concept was well-received, yet the lack of attachment between this event and the main hero’s quest was taken advantage of. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is expected to make up for what the last release lacked.

Hyrule Warriors is a series that merges the well-loved Legend of Zelda and hack and slash Dynasty Warriors franchises. The hack and slash genre prioritizes the action and adrenaline of each level, so Koei Tecmo – the company responsible for Dynasty Warriors – aimed to make a unique game out of Age of Calamity that did not follow the typical Zelda formula.

At the Tokyo Game Show held online in late September, Koei Tecmo producer Yosuke Hayashi revealed that the developing team was “100 times” more involved in this game than the first Hyrule Warriors installment. “[Eiji Aonuma] approached us with this great idea, and here we are working on this amazing game,” he says. “I’m sure it’s in-line with everyone’s expectations, and I’m excited for players to experience it. I hope we can make more interesting games like this in the future.”

What Hayashi means by “more interesting” is up for interpretation, but it is undoubtedly telling that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will be an experience that is finely-crafted, engaging and immersive, and worth every penny.