Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was always going to sell well. Zelda titles sell well. I don’t think anyone was quite ready for just how a good a game it was and how well it has sold. Nintendo’s president at the time, Tatsumi Kimishima, said the attach rate for Switch was “unprecedented” with a world wide attach rate of about 90% with a US attach rate of 100%. The Switch version even outsold the console itself at one point.
Breath of the Wild became the top selling Switch title in Japan upon release and has remained in Switch top ten sales charts since then. To date, the title has sold over 10 million units, making it the best-selling Zelda title.
Ocarina of Time for the N64 has been Japan’s best selling Zelda game since its release back in 1998, with 1,257,205 in sales. Within a week, Breath of the Wild had almost caught up with Skyward Sword, and now, after flying past The Wind Waker, Majora’s Mask and Phantom Hourglass a few months back, Nintendo’s latest effort has usurped the throne by toppling Ocarina of Time with 1,258,611 units sold. Keep in mind that this accolade includes both Switch and WiiU editions and ignores remasters/remakes.
The fact that Ocarina of Time has held that number for so many years is astonishing. The fact that Breath of the Wild has surpassed that number within 2 years of release is nothing short of remarkable.
Nintendo has been called out for its perceived lack of original IPs and reliance on staple franchises, but their willingness to finally bring Link into the modern world of gaming with a monumentally free playground in Breath of the Wild shows they’re not out of ideas yet. Breath of the Wild is an absolutely superb game and one that has invigorated the series.
Can it hold onto that position for 20 more years? I guess that depends on what the team is currently cooking up back at HQ.