With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom finally out, newcomers may be wondering if they need to have played its predecessor, Breath of the Wild, before they can jump in.

Fortunately, if you haven’t played Breath of the Wild, you don’t need to worry too much. We’ll break down exactly what you should do prior to playing BOTW and what you need to know.

Do You Need to Play Breath of the Wild to Play Tears of the Kingdom?

No, you don’t need to play Breath of the Wild before Tears of the Kingdom. TOTK is very much its own game and can be enjoyed as a standalone experience.

Newcomers to the entire Zelda series or the latest games can rest assured that no prior knowledge is required to enjoy Tears of the Kingdom’s gameplay mechanics or story.

In fact, Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi actually confirmed this in an Ask the Developer interview.

In that interview, he stated that they wanted to make the story a comfortable experience for newcomers.

“We put in some effort to make sure that [the story] feels comfortable for both first-time players and those with experience of the previous game.”

Link holding the broken Master Sword and Link putting the Master Sword away

Players can access a Character Profile section that delves into each main character and their relationship with Link. So, if you didn’t play BOTW, you can catch up on all the important details while playing TOTK.

Of course, despite Tears of the Kingdom being set a fair while after the events of BOTW, players can expect characters from Breath of the Wild to reappear.

Additionally, there are a handful of references to events that occurred in BOTW mentioned throughout TOTK, but you don’t need to necessarily understand them to appreciate the overall story.

What Zelda Game Should I Play Before Tears of the Kingdom?

If you want to play more Zelda games before Tears of the Kingdom, we recommend Breath of the Wild. This is because TOTK is a direct sequel to BOTW, so there are minor references to it in the game.

It is also encouraged that you play Skyward Sword before jumping into Tears of the Kingdom. While this is in no way a requirement, it will give you a better understanding of the Zelda timeline and lore.

Of course, it is not necessary to play either game before playing Tears of the Kingdom. Both are very long, and considering TOTK is longer than both games, it could take a while to see them all to the end.

At the end of the day, it completely depends on how much prior knowledge you want to have before playing TOTK.

To understand every reference and minor nuance, we suggest you play BOTW. Otherwise, you’re absolutely good to jump into Tears of the Kingdom without playing any other Zelda games.

Breath of the Wild key art on the left and Skyward Sword key art on the right

Breath of the Wild Recap Before Playing Tears of the Kingdom

Fortunately, for those looking for a BOTW recap before they dive straight into Hyrule (literally), Nintendo uploaded a short, six-minute video that covers all the key information.

It explores the events before Breath of the Wild, Link waking up from his 100-year slumber, his adventures across Hyrule, the characters he met along the way, and his final battle against Ganon before saving Zelda.

This recap video is definitely the easiest way to get up to speed with everything Breath of the Wild before you play TOTK.

You can watch the full video below:

Former Staff Writer
Whether it's an indie platformer or a 100-hour JRPG, Tom loves talking about games. So much so, he made it his career. Since starting in 2020, he's covered a wide range of topics at sites including TheGamer and The Game Crater.