We’re now only 6 weeks away from the release of the next Zelda game! The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom builds on everything great about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, is the game just glorified DLC or will it live up to Zelda’s legacy and be an epic adventure that captures the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere?
New Gameplay Trailer
So, last week we finally got a gameplay trailer of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The trailer was around ten minutes long and was presented by the legendary Zelda developer Eiji Aonuma. The trailer shows that the game uses a very similar engine to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with animations identical in places and textures similar. This is different from every single direct Zelda sequel we’ve had, and in particular contrasts with the different vibe and atmosphere when you compare The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
However, new gameplay mechanics were revealed and the big ‘take-away’ from the trailer is that weapon fusing will be a big part of the new game. Basically, you can combine items in the environment to create weapons and tools, and it seems enemies will also have this ability. It’s certainly a thought-provoking concept and will allow players to experience the overworld (which is the same one as in Breath of the Wild) in new, novel ways. Together with the reversing time rune ability (and more abilities we don’t know about yet), it seems there are going to be loads of new ways to play in the sandbox, open world of Tears of the Kingdom.
Scope of the Game
Breath of the Wild was a massive game, maybe the biggest Nintendo has ever created, and it was easy to put over 150 hours into one save file. With Tears of the Kingdom using similar rune mechanics, and explorative gameplay elements as Breath of the Wild, should we expect a massive game, similar in scope to Breath of the Wild?
I think that from what we know about Tears of the Kingdom and the fact that it’s been in development for 5+ years, it will be a huge game, maybe even surpassing the level of content of Breath of the Wild. Hopefully, in terms of story (which wasn’t Breath of the Wild’s strongest element), and general epicness, it’ll be up there with the best in the series. We know that Ganondorf is making a return, and the story and lore possibilities are so exciting because of this. Overall, Tears of the Kingdom is sure to be one of the biggest games Nintendo has ever created.
Underworld and Skyworld?
We know that Tears of the Kingdom will use the same overworld, but with changes, as the Hyrule used in Breath of the Wild. However, we also know that there are underground areas (as shown in the first teaser), and also sky islands (maybe similar to those in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword). How extensive will the above and below-ground areas be? I think, because the game has been in development for so long, these areas will be huge, and each will rival the size of the main overworld that we are familiar with.
The first teaser trailer showed Link and Zelda traveling through dark, foreboding, underground caverns, with what looked like a yak or an ox that was carrying items and tools. The trailer showed malice infecting things, and eventually, Zelda fell down a chasm. This implies that in Tears of the Kingdom, Zelda will be lost in the underground realm below Hyrule and that Link may have to make progress journeying through this underworld to make contact with her and save her. The role of the sky-world, in terms of story, is more a mystery, but maybe it’ll have some links to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Return of Dungeons?
whether traditional dungeons will return in Tears of the Kingdom is still an open question and one that I know loads of Zelda fans will be interested in. Breath of the Wild mainly used shrines, and small puzzle dungeons, rather than diverse, weapon-specific dungeons like those of Zelda games from the 2000s. It seems Tears of the Kingdom as it’s following the framework of Breath of the Wild (as far as we know), is unlikely to feature traditional dungeons. However, you never know with Nintendo, and I’m sure we’ll get some puzzle-based dungeon iterations that will surprise and please fans.
Dungeon diversity in terms of environment, theme, and vibe has been great in previous Zeldas. The Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time, an abandoned mansion with ivy and trees growing through ancient stone, was a highlight of the series in terms of both dungeon design and artistic flare. Breath of the Wild, on the other hand, had four divine beasts as dungeons which had almost identical themes. There was no variety, and the dungeons became monotonous by the end of the game (although the great overworld gameplay loop more than made up for this). Tears of the Kingdom will surely innovate, and mix up dungeon design and theme (if it has dungeons at all).
So, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases very soon. It has been one of the most hyped Nintendo games ever, and while some of the gameplay trailer that was recently released, may be disappointing at times, never underestimate Nintendo. The game may have three complete overworlds, and the game will definitely be more than just DLC. I’m so excited for this game, even despite the 5+ year wait. It could forge a new path for Zelda and there are still many mysteries about the game that we are yet to find out about. We can all experience this potentially great game in less than 6 weeks!