The Legend of Zelda celebrated its 35th anniversary on February 21, 2021, and many from across the world shared incredible and heartwarming memories of this beloved franchise. However, Nintendo itself was surprisingly quiet about Link’s latest birthday.
The Legend of Zelda released on the NES in Japan on February 21, 1986, and it began a series that many regard as one of the best in all of video games. As its 35th anniversary drew closer, many expected a big celebration for The Legend of Zelda in the same way that Nintendo celebrated Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary.
Last Wednesday, for the first time since September 4, 2019, we were treated to a proper Nintendo Direct. Many hoped and dreamed, especially with it occurring just four days before Zelda’s 35th anniversary, that we would hear of Nintendo’s plans to celebrate those who call Hyrule home.
While we did get the exciting reveal that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and themed Joy-Con will be released on the Switch on July 16, the only other big Zelda news we received was that an update for Breath of the Wild 2 will hopefully arrive later this year and that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will be getting an expansion pass.
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Nintendo’s social feeds made no mention of The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary on Sunday, February 21, though that’s not particularly unusual for the company. For context, while Nintendo also did not celebrate Metroid’s 30th Anniversary on Twitter in 2016, it did celebrate Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary on Twitter on the actual date.
However, this didn’t stop so many, including those from IGN (and me!), from sharing wonderful memories of how much Link, Zelda, and Hyrule mean to them.
Happy 35th, The Legend of Zelda, my favorite game series of all time! This overture was performed at E3 2011 for the 25th anniversary. It speaks volumes that the best game in the series hadn’t even been dreamed up back then. Can’t wait to see what’s next! https://t.co/7ndZ2xbqp3
— Peer Schneider (@PeerIGN) February 21, 2021
Happy #Zelda35th! Let’s remember how happy we were when this Breath of the Wild trailer dropped and we realized the game was coming out in 2 months pic.twitter.com/q724MkaZsm
— Gene Park (@GenePark) February 21, 2021
Now, it’s very important to remember that we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and that plans have obviously been impacted by it. Another important thing/date to consider is March 31, 2021. This appears to be the date that the Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary celebration will come to a close. This will also be the time that Super Mario 3D All-Stars will seemingly be removed from the Nintendo eShop and when Super Mario Bros. 35 becomes unplayable.
It may very well be that Nintendo is waiting for Mario’s party to end before jumping into one for The Legend of Zelda. That being said, it should also be mentioned that 2021 is the 35th anniversary of Metroid and the already teased 25th anniversary of Pokemon, which falls on February 27, 2021. Will we get a themed Nintendo Direct to celebrate Pokemon this week? Will we hear more of the much-anticipated Metroid Prime 4 this year? Only time will tell.
If we look at Nintendo’s past, it hasn’t always celebrated a franchise’s anniversary on the exact date. For example, The Legend of Zelda’s 30th anniversary wasn’t fully unveiled until around September 2016, when it was revealed that special Zelda amiibo were on the way and that Skyward Sword was available on the Wii U eShop.
While we may yet not know Nintendo’s full plans, or whether we’ve seen them already, The Legend of Zelda is obviously very important to them and remains so, given the anticipation for Breath of the Wild’s sequel. But for now, everyone is celebrating The Legend of Zelda’s meaningful anniversary, and we hope to celebrate 35 more years and beyond.
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.