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PSA: Starting a new game in Breath of the Wild will permanently delete your saves if you don’t switch accounts first

PSA: Starting a new game in Breath of the Wild will permanently delete your saves if you don’t switch accounts first

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an amazing game by all accounts, with an incredibly high sell rate (as of last week, something like 93% of Switch owners bought BotW). Much has been written about the game, from how turning off Wi-Fi may improve performance to an in-depth comparison of how it plays against the Wii U version. But there’s one potential issue to be aware of, should you choose to hand the game to a different player to start from scratch.

If you try to start another BotW playthrough without first creating a new account, you’ll lose all of your saves, permanently. To be fair, Nintendo does warn you if you try to start a game, saying: “Overwrite previous save data?” But that’s simply not as clear as the company might think it is. “Overwrite previous save data,” could mean autosaves. It could mean that mission checkpoints and the list the game keeps of what you’ve accomplished in the game will be reset. It can also mean that every single save you’ve created, both manual and automatic, will be deleted — and apparently that’s exactly what it does mean, according to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier.


If you want to save your progress in BotW while still letting someone else play the game from scratch, you’ll have to create a new account every time you do it. What makes this somewhat confusing for players is that I’ve encountered various games that employed all of those definitions when asking if you want to start a new game. Not all at once, mind you, but in general. A vastly better message would be: “Starting a new game without first creating a new account will erase all of the saved games associated with this account.” It’s slightly longer, granted, but it also clearly communicates both what the user needs to do and what will happen if they don’t do it. Schreier himself notes that he initially misinterpreted the message, and he’s someone who plays games for a living.

This also underscores the need for Nintendo to offer some kind of game backup system. If the company can’t offer players a useful way to backup their games — either via allocating space on the Switch’s 32GB of internal storage or via microSD — this kind of problem is going to be a nasty surprise for players who either aren’t aware it exists or simply let someone else use their device that isn’t aware of the issue. Come on, Nintendo. It’s 2017 and you literally pioneered the use of save states in the original Zelda cartridge. If I could have three save slots then, why can’t I have more than one save now without risking my entire playthrough if I don’t remember to create a new account for someone else first?

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

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