Looking at the sales and scores of the major Zelda games

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#1  Edited By SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29971 Posts

As of March 31, 2020.
GameYearUnits sold
(in millions)
GameRankingsMetacritic
The Legend of Zelda19866.51[134]NES: 84%[135]
GBA: 79%[136]
GBA: 84[137]
The Adventure of Link19874.38[134]NES: 78%[138]
GBA: 69%[139]
GBA: 73[140]
A Link to the Past19914.61[134]SNES: 93%[141]
GBA: 92%[142]
GBA: 95[143]
Link's Awakening19933.83[134]GB: 90%[144]
GBC: 91%[145]
Ocarina of Time199813.82[n 1]N64: 98%[147]
GC: 90%[148]
3DS: 94%[149]
N64: 99[150]
GC: 91[151]
3DS: 94[152]
Majora's Mask20006.64[n 2]N64: 92%[153]
3DS: 90%[154]
N64: 95[155]
3DS: 89[156]
Oracle of Seasons and Ages20013.96[134](Seasons) 91%[157]
(Ages) 92%[158]
Four Swords2002DS: 85%[159]DS: 85[160]
The Wind Waker20026.76[n 3]GC: 94%[162]
Wii U: 91%[163]
GC: 96[164]
Wii U: 90[165]
Four Swords Adventures2004GC: 85%[166]GC: 86[167]
The Minish Cap20041.76[134]GBA: 90%[168]GBA: 89[169]
Twilight Princess20069.98[n 4]GC: 95%[172]
Wii: 95%[173]
Wii U: 86%[174]
GC: 96[175]
Wii: 95[176]
Wii U: 86[177]
Phantom Hourglass20074.76[134]DS: 89%[178]DS: 90[179]
Spirit Tracks20092.96[134]DS: 87%[180]DS: 87[181]
Skyward Sword20113.67[134]Wii: 93%[182]Wii: 93[183]
A Link Between Worlds20134.16[146]3DS: 91%[184]3DS: 91[185]
Tri Force Heroes20151.34[146]3DS: 72%[186]3DS: 73[187]
Breath of the Wild201723.14[n 5]NS: 97%[189]
Wii U: 97%[190]
NS: 97[191]
Wii U: 96[192]
Link's Awakening20194.38[193]NS: 87%[194]NS: 87[195]

Wow, Skyward Sword sold only 3.7 million units? That seems really low. Especially considering that Wii is Nintendo's best selling system. As you can see, Nintendo has a history of porting over the games to boost sales. Breath of the Wild was technically a port, but at least it was a simultaneous release. Sold 23 million! No wonder Breath of the Wild 2 is in the works lol.

Thoughts, SW? Do these numbers surprise you or were they what you were expecting? Ocarina of Time is my favorite Zelda, but it's hard to tell how successful it was initially. Same thing with Twilight Princess.10 million units, but that seems to be after it was ported over twice. All in all, it looks like Breath of the Wild is really the first major selling Zelda, relatively speaking.

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rzxv04

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#2 rzxv04
Member since 2018 • 2455 Posts

Botw is insane.

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Gym_Lion

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#3 Gym_Lion
Member since 2020 • 522 Posts

Skyward Sword required the Wii motion + attachment. Wonder if that hurt sales.

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Juub1990

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#4 Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 10687 Posts

I’ve noticed this a while ago. People think Zelda is a consistent 10M+ seller when only two games in the series broke that plateau and OOT didn’t even do it on the N64. It sold 8-9M originally if I remember.

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#5 DaVillain-  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 45569 Posts

Never care about MC on the games I play, but the sales is also more important to notice and take notes. I'm a huge fan of the Zelda series since A Link to the Past came to SNES and I was blown away as it was my first Zelda game but OoT is we're its at for me. Skyward Sword is and will always be the least favorite Zelda game I enjoy. That said, while the Wii may have been the biggest hit for Nintendo, not everyone was on-board with the games that requires the wand motion and Skyward Sword kinda throw people off, so not surprise the sales are low than they appeared.

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R4gn4r0k

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#6 R4gn4r0k
Member since 2004 • 36461 Posts

@gym_lion said:

Skyward Sword required the Wii motion + attachment. Wonder if that hurt sales.

I guess people were just really over the gimmicks by 2011 and were returning to HD or PC gaming.

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R4gn4r0k

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#7 R4gn4r0k
Member since 2004 • 36461 Posts

Wow, I had kinda forgotten that Twilight Princess was a Wii game too and Nintendo tried putting motion controls in that one as well.

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#8 DaVillain-  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 45569 Posts

@R4gn4r0k said:
@gym_lion said:

Skyward Sword required the Wii motion + attachment. Wonder if that hurt sales.

I guess people were just really over the gimmicks by 2011 and were returning to HD or PC gaming.

Its really a yes/no to that. The lack of a left hand option ruined my experience for the Wii port of Skyward Sword😢

It's a somewhat good game but easily the worst 3D Zelda. Very disappointing...for me that is.

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SecretPolice

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#9 SecretPolice
Member since 2007 • 37752 Posts

My goodness that's a whole lotta milking..

:P

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SolidGame_basic

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#10 SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29971 Posts

@SecretPolice said:

My goodness that's a whole lotta milking..

:P

Lol. Yea, and that's why I'm thinking Breath of the Wild 2 will also come to Switch 2. Not sure if Switch Pro is really a consideration at this point. We're already at the 4 year mark.

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#11 SecretPolice
Member since 2007 • 37752 Posts

@SolidGame_basic:

Yeah, I agree Pro highly unlikely at this stage of the game. Likely Switch 2 a ways off as well.

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WonderWinner

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#12 WonderWinner  Online
Member since 2021 • 377 Posts

SSHD will easily outsell its original version.

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madsnakehhh

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#13 madsnakehhh
Member since 2007 • 17102 Posts

The fact that Skyward Sword sold that low tells you everything you need to know about how cumbersome the game was in many areas, i mean it required a Wii Motion Plus and it wasn't that memorable. I'm glad BotW has that many sales since it will show Nintendo the right path to follow from now on.

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Eoten

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#14 Eoten
Member since 2020 • 2924 Posts

@gym_lion said:

Skyward Sword required the Wii motion + attachment. Wonder if that hurt sales.

Absolutely. It required that motion plus thingie that could either be had as an attachment or required buying a new controller. The Wii-U was announced to be released in 2012 on April 25, 2011. Skyward Sword came out in November 2011 so people knew the next console was around the corner and many didn't want to spend money on accessories for a console that was about to become obsolete.

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I_P_Daily

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#15  Edited By I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 21538 Posts

Sheep better start saving because when the Switch 2 does come out Nintendo won't be doing BC and will remaster its first party Switch games for you to re-buy 🤣🤣🤣

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I_P_Daily

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#16 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 21538 Posts

I still have my Nintendo 64 and finished both Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask, while i thought they were good games, they felt like 7.5/10 games to me, fun but did nothing outstanding, and you were glad when they were over.

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BenjaminBanklin

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#17 BenjaminBanklin
Member since 2004 • 7763 Posts

There's a simple reason for the newest game selling the most. Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game... period. A bunch of Nintendo weirdos will try to tell you different and say the old lock-and-key gameplay with tedious dungeons was great. They're wrong. Were they good games? Sure. Were they limited as hell? Absolutely. Once Zelda caught up to the modern age of gaming, the series was reborn.

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SolidGame_basic

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#18 SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29971 Posts

@i_p_daily said:

I still have my Nintendo 64 and finished both Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask, while i thought they were good games, they felt like 7.5/10 games to me, fun but did nothing outstanding, and you were glad when they were over.

Did you dress up as Link for Halloween?

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I_P_Daily

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#19 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 21538 Posts

@SolidGame_basic: Geez man you come up with the cringiest shit, i'm an Aussie and don't celebrate made up American shit 🤣🤣🤣

On a serious note, that's what's wrong with Americans in general, you guys think everyone around the world celebrates your crappy holidays 🤣🤣🤣

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hardwenzen

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#20 hardwenzen
Member since 2005 • 7050 Posts

@SolidGame_basic said:
@i_p_daily said:

I still have my Nintendo 64 and finished both Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask, while i thought they were good games, they felt like 7.5/10 games to me, fun but did nothing outstanding, and you were glad when they were over.

Did you dress up as Link for Halloween?

He dress up as a kangaroo. Here's IP with his costume on, actually

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SolidGame_basic

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#21 SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29971 Posts

@hardwenzen: 😆

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AhReQueNoMori

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#22  Edited By AhReQueNoMori
Member since 2020 • 478 Posts

@hardwenzen: ROFL. I don't think that's him though, he's not crying.

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NathanDrakeSwag

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#23 NathanDrakeSwag
Member since 2013 • 14778 Posts
@hardwenzen said:
@SolidGame_basic said:
@i_p_daily said:

I still have my Nintendo 64 and finished both Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask, while i thought they were good games, they felt like 7.5/10 games to me, fun but did nothing outstanding, and you were glad when they were over.

Did you dress up as Link for Halloween?

He dress up as a kangaroo. Here's IP with his costume on, actually

I thought he'd have a copy of Forza in his pouch.

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#24 pyro1245
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Minish Cap needs more love.

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I_P_Daily

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#25 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 21538 Posts

Look at all the cows i trigger getting group therapy 🤣🤣🤣

#rentfreein2021

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#26  Edited By Silentchief  Online
Member since 2021 • 549 Posts

Lol the Wii was such a shitty console. Eventhough the hardware sold great I recall reading somewhere that over half the people that owned the system never purchased a game.

It was the casual gaming console that almost ruined the industry. At least the Switch has attracted actual gamers.

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SolidGame_basic

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#27 SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29971 Posts

@silentchief said:

Lol the Wii was such a shitty console. Eventhough the hardware sold great I recall reading somewhere that over half the people that owned the system never purchased a game.

It was the casual gaming console that almost ruined the industry. At least the Switch has attracted actual gamers.

Switch is like the first all around console Nintendo has had in a while. There's a great opportunity for Nintendo to perfect the Switch formula with the Switch 2.

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#28 GirlUSoCrazy
Member since 2015 • 11492 Posts

Adventure of Link got robbed

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Jag85

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#29 Jag85
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It's worth noting that Ocarina of Time was the best-selling game of 1998. It sold about 8M back then, which was a lot for the time. The game industry wasn't as big as it is today, it was single platform, and it was an expensive cartridge ($60 back then is equivalent to nearly $100 today). In other words, you can't directly compare the sales from different generations.

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SolidGame_basic

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#30 SolidGame_basic
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@Jag85 said:

It's worth noting that Ocarina of Time was the best-selling game of 1998. It sold about 8M back then, which was a lot for the time. The game industry wasn't as big as it is today, it was single platform, and it was an expensive cartridge ($60 back then is equivalent to nearly $100 today). In other words, you can't directly compare the sales from different generations.

I agree that Zelda Ocarina of Time was really big for its time. Some interesting numbers on N64 game sales.

Game was bundled with Nintendo 64 consoles during its lifetime
No.GameDeveloper(s)[a]Publisher(s)[a]Release date[b]SalesRef.
1Super Mario 64Nintendo EADNintendoJune 23, 199611,910,000[1]
2Mario Kart 64Nintendo EADNintendoDecember 14, 19969,870,000[1]
3GoldenEye 007RareNintendoAugust 25, 19978,090,000[2]
4The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeNintendo EADNintendoNovember 21, 19987,600,000[3]
5Super Smash Bros.HAL LaboratoryNintendoJanuary 21, 19995,550,000[4]
6Pokémon StadiumNintendo EADNintendoApril 30, 19995,460,000[5]
7Donkey Kong 64RareNintendoNovember 22, 19995,270,000[5]
8Diddy Kong RacingRareRareNovember 14, 19974,880,000[5]
9Star Fox 64Nintendo EADNintendoApril 27, 19974,000,000[5]
10Banjo-KazooieRareNintendoJune 29, 19983,650,000[5]
11Pokémon Snap
  • HAL Laboratory
  • Pax Softonica
NintendoMarch 21, 19993,630,000[5]
12The Legend of Zelda: Majora's MaskNintendo EADNintendoApril 27, 20003,360,000[3]
13Star Wars Episode I: RacerLucasArtsLucasArtsApril 30, 19993,100,000[5]
14Wave Race 64Nintendo EADNintendoSeptember 27, 19962,940,000[5]
15Yoshi's StoryNintendo EADNintendoDecember 21, 19972,850,000[5]
16Mario PartyHudson SoftNintendoDecember 18, 19982,700,000[5]
17Star Wars: Shadows of the EmpireLucasArtsNintendoDecember 3, 19962,600,000[5]
18Pokémon Stadium 2Nintendo EADNintendoDecember 14, 20002,540,000[5]
19Perfect DarkRareRareMay 22, 20002,520,000[5]
20Mario Party 2Hudson SoftNintendoDecember 17, 19992,480,000[5]
21Mario TennisCamelot Software PlanningNintendoJuly 21, 20002,320,000[5]
22Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Factor 5
  • LucasArts
NintendoDecember 7, 19982,170,000[5]
231080° SnowboardingNintendo EADNintendoFebruary 28, 19982,030,000[5]
24Excitebike 64Left Field ProductionsNintendoApril 30, 20002,000,000[6]
25Mario Party 3Hudson SoftNintendoDecember 7, 20001,910,000[5]
26WCW/nWo Revenge
  • AKI Corporation
  • Asmik Ace Entertainment
THQOctober 26, 19981,880,000[7]
27Hey You, Pikachu!AmbrellaNintendoDecember 12, 19981,830,000[5]
28Kirby 64: The Crystal ShardsHAL LaboratoryNintendoMarch 24, 20001,770,000[5]
29Cruis'n USAWilliamsNintendoDecember 3, 19961,720,000[5]
30Tony Hawk's Pro SkaterEdge of RealityActivisionFebruary 29, 20001,610,000[7]
31F-1 World Grand PrixParadigm EntertainmentNintendoJuly 31, 19981,600,000[5]
32Turok: Dinosaur HunterIguana EntertainmentAcclaim EntertainmentMarch 4, 19971,500,000[8]
33Banjo-TooieRareNintendoNovember 20, 20001,490,000[5]
34Mario GolfCamelot Software PlanningNintendoJune 11, 19991,470,000[5]
35Turok 2: Seeds of EvilIguana EntertainmentAcclaim EntertainmentOctober 21, 19981,400,000[9]
36Paper MarioIntelligent SystemsNintendoAugust 11, 20001,370,000[5]
37WCW vs. nWo: World Tour
  • AKI Corporation
  • Asmik Ace Entertainment
THQNovember 30, 19971,300,000[7]
38Kobe Bryant in NBA CourtsideLeft Field ProductionsNintendoApril 27, 19981,190,000[5]
WWF No Mercy
  • AKI Corporation
  • Asmik Ace Entertainment
THQNovember 17, 20001,190,000[7]
40Jet Force GeminiRareRareOctober 11, 19991,160,000[5]
41WWF WrestleMania 2000
  • AKI Corporation
  • Asmik Ace Entertainment
THQOctober 12, 19991,140,000[7]
42Pilotwings 64
  • Nintendo EAD
  • Nintendo R&D3
  • Paradigm Entertainment
NintendoJune 23, 19961,120,000[5]
43F-Zero XNintendo EADNintendoJuly 14, 19981,100,000[5]
44Pocket Monsters' Stadium
  • Nintendo EAD
  • HAL Laboratory
NintendoAugust 1, 19981,094,765[10]
45007: The World Is Not EnoughEurocomElectronic ArtsOctober 17, 20001,080,000[7]
46Namco Museum 64Mass Media GamesNamcoOctober 31, 19991,040,000[7]
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#31 Jag85
Member since 2005 • 15454 Posts

@SolidGame_basic: Since N64 cartridges were really expensive, if you convert those numbers to gross revenue figures and then adjust for inflation, those N64 games grossed about as much revenue as what a game today would make from selling almost twice as many units.

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#32 Planeforger
Member since 2004 • 18594 Posts

@BenjaminBanklin said:

There's a simple reason for the newest game selling the most. Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game... period. A bunch of Nintendo weirdos will try to tell you different and say the old lock-and-key gameplay with tedious dungeons was great. They're wrong. Were they good games? Sure. Were they limited as hell? Absolutely. Once Zelda caught up to the modern age of gaming, the series was reborn.

I assume you're talking about Windwaker onwards, because Ocarina of Time was the cutting edge of modern console gaming when it came out. Games still imitate it to this day.

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#33  Edited By Jag85
Member since 2005 • 15454 Posts
@Planeforger said:
@BenjaminBanklin said:

There's a simple reason for the newest game selling the most. Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game... period. A bunch of Nintendo weirdos will try to tell you different and say the old lock-and-key gameplay with tedious dungeons was great. They're wrong. Were they good games? Sure. Were they limited as hell? Absolutely. Once Zelda caught up to the modern age of gaming, the series was reborn.

I assume you're talking about Windwaker onwards, because Ocarina of Time was the cutting edge of modern console gaming when it came out. Games still imitate it to this day.

Good point. The mainline Zelda games up until Ocarina (and Majora) were each at the forefront of gaming when they came out, and each of them shaped the modern age of gaming. Modern action-adventures, action RPGs, open-world games, third-person games and hack & slash games were shaped by Zelda in some form or another.

Breath of the Wild itself was a throwback to the original Zelda, which was already open-world to begin with, before the sequels starting going in a more linear direction. When creating BOTW, Nintendo first developed an 8-bit prototype based on OG Zelda, which was then transformed into 3D...

...Come to think of it, Nintendo should seriously consider actually releasing this 8-bit BOTW prototype.

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#34 vl4d_l3nin
Member since 2013 • 2752 Posts

@silentchief said:

Lol the Wii was such a shitty console. Eventhough the hardware sold great I recall reading somewhere that over half the people that owned the system never purchased a game.

It was the casual gaming console that almost ruined the industry. At least the Switch has attracted actual gamers.

It was a flash in the pan console. It catered to the casual demographic very well, but once mobile gaming took off, that's when Wii's started collecting dust.