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Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity release date, trailer, and plot - What we know so far

Fans of The Legend of Zelda franchise already knew a sequel to Breath of the Wild was coming, but Nintendo and Koei Tecmo surprised gamers on Sept. 8 with the announcement of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. This game, set in The Legend of Zelda universe 100 years before Breath of the Wild, is basically a prequel. It details the events that unfolded before Link was hurt and put into a restorative sleep for a century following the destruction of Hyrule at the hands of Calamity Ganon.

The Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma says Age of Calamity is intended to combine "the well-detailed world of Breath of the Wild with Warriors gameplay." Thus, you can expect a mashup of story elements from the action RPG heavy Zelda titles, combined with the hack-and-slash dynamics of the original Hyrule Warriors game from 2014 and its 3DS and Switch ports. With that in mind, let's take a look at some more key Age of Calamity details.

What is the release date for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity?

Nintendo has announced that Age of Calamity will launch on Nov. 20, 2020 for the Nintendo Switch. You can pre-order it now on Nintendo's site for $59.99, although things are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will be available in both digital and physical editions. If you pre-order the digital edition you'll get the Lucky Ladle, which won't be immediately available to owners of the packaged version — but might be a paid item later.

Assuming it comes out on time, this Hyrule Warriors installment will be a great stocking stuffer for everyone who purchased Nintendo Switch units as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns. It'll also give Switch fans something to look forward to as PlayStation and Xbox users unpack their new console systems and launch titles. Plus, the game can keep Zelda players occupied until news about the Breath of the Wild sequel comes out. While Aonuma assures all that development of the followup is happening, he also said fans will have to wait longer for updates.

Is there a trailer for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity?

Age of Calamity, as a hybrid of two series in the same world, could be a great way to tell the more linear story of what happened 100 years before Breath of the Wild — even if everyone already knows what happens at the end. Be prepared for the heartbreak.

The trailer does show a bit of gameplay, including what looks like a remote bomb and a new sword wielded by Link. Shield-surfing seems to be making a return, too. You also get glimpses of other weapons of mass attack, including one used by playable character Zelda.

Like Hyrule Warriors, the art style is crisp and clean but definitely gets some cues from Breath of the Wild, which is a visual choice sure to please die-hard fans. But the main thing that has captured the interest of gamers is how the latest installment will expand the story of Hyrule and fill in blanks in the canon of Breath of the Wild, including Link's relationship with Zelda and the Champions.

What is the plot of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity?

Age of Calamity zeroes in on the struggle that devastated Hyrule a century before Link wakes up in Breath of the Wild. It'll bring Zelda, the King of Hyrule, the four Champions, and Link together as they try to save the kingdom during a terrible time of war and strife. Enemies include Bokoblins, Lynels and other troops — and they'll attack the heroes in massive hordes that must be defeated Hyrule Warriors-style. This will be a strategic combat heavy game that answers some narrative questions.

From the trailer, players can infer that Link, Zelda and the four Champions — Revali, Daruk, Mipha, and Urbosa — will be playable, but it's unclear at this point if there will be additional playable characters. Some think that the cover art points to the fact that you might be able to play as a new Guardian. Also, Nintendo is relaunching Amiibo for the four champions alongside the title, and they'll be available Nov. 20 as well.

Beyond that, there's still plenty to learn about this title. Fortunately, Nintendo has promised an update regarding the game on Sept. 26, so it won't be long before the world hears more.