We are inching ever closer to the release of the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We know the sequel’s name, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and have a few trailers. Nothing concrete is known about the game’s story, general gameplay, and whether we’ll see a return to traditional dungeons. The trailers show Link melding through rock and reversing time, which indicates these could be new gameplay elements, used in a similar way to the abilities of the sheikah slate from Breath of the Wild. Also, many of the trailers include gameplay in the sky, does this mean the new game has links (sorry for the pun) to 2011’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword?
Set in the Same World
It has been said that Tears of the Kingdom will be set in the same world as Breath of the Wild but the game has been being worked on for over five years so there must be some massive secret about the game world that we haven’t been told. A mirrored world in the sky could be a possibility, but there must be some story or gameplay hook’ that makes this so appealing.
Nintendo is using much of the same assets as Breath of the Wild, so unless Nintendo R&D1 has just been sitting back and taking their time, there must be a huge world that they’re keeping hidden from us. If we look at the mirrored worlds of the dark world in A Link to the Past, and the (seven years) future in Ocarina of Time we can see that this gameplay element has been done effectively before. But will Nintendo do this again? Across two games?
They could definitely pull it off and make it great. However, Nintendo doesn’t like to repeat previous ideas and my money is on them doing something completely new and surprising us. Will they pull a Majora’s Mask and make the game darker with a novel gameplay hook? This is very possible and the first trailer we had for the game definitely gave off this vibe. Also, There’s a high chance the skeleton/zombie in the trailer is Ganondorf which could be so exciting in respect of the story. Who knows where Nintendo will take us with this but considering they’ve been working on it for over five years the game will be very polished and it will probably run really well unlike the recent Pokemon games (which seem to have a two-year development cycle).
The Diversity of Dungeons
The dungeons in Breath of the Wild are set in the four divine beasts. With there only being four full dungeons and with people identifying this as one of the game’s major issues, it could be expected that there will be more dungeons in the next game with a bigger variety. Breath of the Wild had 120 shrines though which seems to have been a really wise move in comparison to six or seven large dungeons as in the previous games which could get tedious. It’s a similar move to what Mario 64 did with the 120 stars to collect.
I think it’s one of the best things that has ever been done in the Zelda series. Spreading puzzles out into more bite-size chunks peppered throughout the massive overworld really gave Breath of the Wild a sandbox feel and the game’s 25+ million copies sold are a testament to this.
However, Tears of the Kingdom can’t do exactly the same thing as what was done in Breath of the Wild so maybe a mixture of the old-style 3D games and the open-world form could be the answer. There could be a huge world to explore with shrines but also a dozen varied, extended dungeons that weaved nicely into the story and gave you valuable items with which you could use to open more areas of the overworld.
Master Sword and Green Energy
In the later trailers, we can see that the Master Sword is damaged, and the same green energy from previous trailers outlines how it’s meant to look once repaired (this is seen in the logo for Tears of the Kingdom). This energy seems like it could be the opposite of the red malice covering Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. I don’t want to get into wild speculation, but I’ve heard people link this to the Twili because of the similar color and style of the art/architecture of both the new stuff we’ve seen and the Twili from Twilight Princess. To add to this is that the Zonai (a presumably extinct race/civilization from Breath of the Wild) also have similar stylistic elements to the new stuff we’ve seen and to the Twil. So who knows, there could be some potential story links to Twilight Princess AND Skyward Sword.
Maybe people get carried away with themselves with all the potential lore implications. I mean the first thing that goes into a game is the gameplay, especially at Nintendo. I know Nintendo polish their games so that everything feels right, and they add loads of cool touches and secrets, but I think the story probably won’t be as deep as some people think. They’ve kept so much about Tears of the Kingdom a secret though. Now here we are, four months away, and still don’t really know what differentiates this game from Breath of the Wild.
Not Long to Wait
It’s been almost six years with no original Zelda game released. I would’ve thought that now that Nintendo only has one system to focus on they could have increased the output of software for that device but I don’t really think they have. Maybe, after the great success of Breath of the Wild, they decided they really didn’t need to rush out another new Zelda game for a while. We haven’t got long to wait for Tears of the Kingdom though as it’s due to release on 12th May 2023. Who knows, maybe that’s the day that we finally learn what happened to Ganondorf to turn him into that carcass beneath Hyrule Castle.