Nintendo has played its cards pretty close to the vest when it comes to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Since the game’s announcement all the way back in 2019, only a couple of brief trailers have been shown off, and details beyond that have been few and far between. Recently, however, over 10 minutes of new gameplay footage for the highly anticipated open world sequel were showcased, accompanied by commentary from series producer Eiji Aonuma, revealing a healthy chunk of new information. Here, we’re going to go over those details.
OPEN WORLD CHANGES
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is going to be a direct sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild, which means it’s going to take place in the same Hyrule as its predecessor. But does that mean the map is going to be unchanged in the sequel? That’s a question that’s been asked more than a few times since the game’s announcement, and though it hasn’t been answered with any real specifics yet, Nintendo has assured that the map won’t be brought over as is. During the gameplay demonstration, Aonuma briefly touched on this topic, saying that the Hyrule of Tears of the Kingdom has “changed in many ways”- though he did not elaborate on that any further.
While there are plenty of questions about how the surface world of Hyrule will have changed in Tears of the Kingdom, something that we do have a bit more clarity on is what lies above the kingdom. Scattered throughout the sky in the game will be numerous floating islands of varying sizes called Sky Islands, populated by enemies, structures, wildlife, puzzles, and more. Exactly where they will fit into the game’s structure remains to be seen though. Meanwhile, it’s also been confirmed that there will be several ways to reach Sky Islands, one of which was revealed during the gameplay demonstration. Speaking of which…
The primary focus of Tears of the Kingdom’s recent gameplay reveal was to showcase some of the new abilities Link will have access to in the game. Of the four abilities that were talked about, the first to be revealed was Recall, which can rewind an object’s movement. In the gameplay demonstration, Link was shown climbing on top of a rock that fell from a Sky Island and using Recall on it to ride it up to the sky as its movement rewound. Based on what was shown, there will be a limit to how much you can rewind an object’s movement, while players will also have the option to stop the object at any point before it hits that limit. Is Recall something we will be able to use on enemies as well, or perhaps on arrows being fired at Link from a distance? That remains to be seen.
Fuse is another new ability that Link will have access to in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. As its name suggests, it will allow Link to stick multiple objects together to create new makeshift weapons. So, for instance, you’ll be able to use Fuse to stick a stick and a rock together to create a giant hammer, or a long stick and a pitchfork together to create a hilariously long spear with extremely long reach. Weapons created this way will not only have unique effects and properties, they will also have increased durability. How creative will players be able to get with the Fuse ability? Will there be a limit to how many objects you can stick together to create a single weapon, or what objects can be stuck together? That’s something that Nintendo hasn’t gone into, but given how much Breath of the Wild emphasized player freedom and expression, we’re hoping Tears of the Kingdom won’t place too many restrictions on this ability.
MORE USES FOR FUSE
Other uses for Fuse were also showcased during the recent gameplay demonstration to give an idea of how it can be used for combat purposes, and the extent of what you can fuse with your weapons and the kind of effects it can have. If you prefer to stick to archery when it comes to combat, you can fuse your arrows with elemental materials to give them different effects, like being able to freeze enemies. Similarly, if you’re trying to shoot at enemies that are fast moving and hard to pin down, you can fuse your arrows with something like a Keese eyeball – which you get from defeating Keese – to allow your arrow to home in your target by just firing in its general direction. Meanwhile, you can also fuse your shield with a puffshroom, so that when an enemy attacks you while you’re blocking, they’ll hit the mushroom, releasing a cloud of smoke that will temporarily blind them, allowing you to either deal a sneakstrike attack on them from behind or, if you choose, to flee from the fight altogether.
Fusing objects together isn’t something that’s just going to be limited to combat in Tears of the Kingdom. It’s something that will have a big role to play in the game’s traversal and exploration mechanics as well. This is where the new ability called Ultrahand comes in, which will allow players to stick together objects found in the environment to create vehicles from scratch. In the gameplay demonstration, Link was showing using Ultrahand on wooden logs and propellers to create a raft. Meanwhile, in the game’s recent trailer, which was showcased in February’s Nintendo Direct, several other vehicles were shown as well, including a giant car and a variety of flying vehicles. According to Aonuma, none of these vehicles will be available as is in the game, and players will instead have to craft all of them from scratch using Ultrahand.
The fourth and final new ability that was revealed at Tears of the Kingdom’s recent gameplay demonstration was Ascend. It’ll do pretty much exactly what its name implies- if you’re in a room or a cave with a ceiling above you, using Ascend, you can float up in the air and through the ceiling to emerge on top of that structure. Aonuma said during the demonstration that there will be some limits to where and how Ascend can be used, and though he didn’t offer details on what those limitations will be, he did say that you’ll be able to use it at any time as long as you’ve got a ceiling above you. So if you’re looking to climb a giant mountain, instead of wasting time and stamina to scale it all the way up, you can instead just look for a cave inside it and use Ascend to quickly get to the top.
It’s become abundantly clear by now that all of Tears of the Kingdom’s massive open world is going to allow seamless travel- there are no load times when traveling between the surface and the Sky Islands. How exactly do you get to the surface if you’re up in the sky though? Why, you just fall down. This is Zelda, after all. Players will be able to freely skydive out of Sky Islands at any point, and while doing this, you’ll be able to view the full surface world below you and spot points of interests that you want to head toward. You’ll also be able to speed up how quickly you’re falling, while you will, of course, also be able to whip out your paraglider at any time to slow your descent.
NO MORE DELAYS
Mainline Zelda games have almost always gone hand in hand with delays, to the point where it’s hard to think of the last time Nintendo released a new console Zelda game without first delaying it at least once (if not more than once). Tears of the Kingdom has, of course, been delayed as well, but it seems like that’s not going to happen again. Right at the beginning of its recent gameplay demonstration, Eiji Aonuma confirmed that the game has wrapped up development, which means it’s well on track to launch on may 12 as intended.
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