The upcoming Hard Mode in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s first add-on will indeed have its own save slot, publisher Nintendo confirmed on the game’s U.K. website.
Hard Mode will limit players to two autosaves, compared to the six that the game keeps on normal difficulty. (It appears that outside North America, the higher difficulty is known as Master Mode — that’s what it is called on Breath of the Wild’s U.K. and Japanese sites.)
This will assuage the fears of people who worried they wouldn’t be able to play Breath of the Wild’s Hard Mode without overwriting their normal-mode save files. Starting a new game in Breath of the Wild will delete all existing saves; the only way to maintain multiple concurrent playthroughs is to create a new profile on your Switch or Wii U and start another save file there.
Because Nintendo allows all user profiles on a console to access content that has been purchased on any of those profiles’ linked Nintendo Accounts, this method would’ve worked. A customer could’ve bought Breath of the Wild’s Expansion Pass on one account and then begun a Hard Mode playthrough on a different profile. Still, that’s a more complicated (not to mention less elegant) solution than simply keeping Hard Mode save files separate from normal-mode ones.
Hard Mode is included in The Master Trials, the first major piece of downloadable content for Breath of the Wild. The expansion will also add some other play options to the game, such as Hero’s Path Mode, which tracks Link’s footsteps; a “horde”-style challenge mode called Trial of the Sword; and the Travel Medallion, which lets Link create a fast-travel point wherever he’s standing. Nintendo announced during E3 2017 that The Master Trials will be released June 30.
The Master Trials will not be available for purchase as a stand-alone DLC pack. Instead, Breath of the Wild owners who want to play the add-on must buy the game’s $19.99 Expansion Pass. That package will also grant access to Breath of the Wild’s second add-on, a story expansion called The Champion’s Ballad, when it launches this holiday season.