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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

The many questions for 'Tears of the Kingdom'

On Feb. 8, Nintendo released the second official trailer for "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom," the highly anticipated sequel to "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild." It has been six years since a new game was released in the extremely popular "Zelda" franchise, which typically features its heroes, Link and Zelda, solving puzzles and fighting the big bad, Ganon, to save their homeland. The wildly successful “Breath of the Wild” completely challenged the boundaries of the franchise by featuring a vast open world, allowing players to choose what monsters and puzzles they wanted to pursue, rather than following the traditional linear format of previous games. Because of how groundbreaking and fun “Breath of the Wild” proved to be, fans have been excited about the sequel since it was first announced in 2019.

Though the game’s story hasn’t been completely revealed yet, there have been hints that Ganon is back and that Zelda and Link are going to be separated somehow. None of this is super interesting and is very typical of "Zelda" games, but since the story hasn’t entirely been unveiled, I’m hoping there’s still a twist somewhere. 

Although some have expressed disappointment that "Tears of the Kingdom" uses mostly the same map as "Breath of the Wild," I’m very excited to revisit it. The map is so large that you could explore it for a hundred hours and still not have discovered every area and secret in the game. Additionally, there will be two completely new areas — the underground and the sky — that feel very promising. The sky brings back fond memories of "Skyward Sword," an earlier game in the series that featured traveling from a civilization in the sky to the surface world as one of its main mechanics. I’m really curious about who inhabits the sky and the underground in "Tears of the Kingdom" and what purpose these areas will serve.

The latest trailer highlighted a variety of intriguing new mechanics, but also raised some related story questions. Link seems to be wearing some kind of glove or arm prosthetic that allows him to telekinetically move certain objects, as he could with another piece of technology in “Breath of the Wild.” Where did he get this arm from? Is it an ancient technology, or perhaps a new invention?

Link can ride in various vehicles now, including what looks like a large lawn mower, a hover bike and a balloon. These vehicles are comically reminiscent of the range of ridiculous yet entertaining tricks players exploited in “Breath of the Wild” to get Link to places quickly, many of which would end up accidentally killing him because they often involved launching him too far and too fast.  

For years, fans have speculated that in "Tears of the Kingdom," Zelda might finally be playable alongside Link. A playable Zelda would be a fun way for the series to innovate upon its foundation. The possibilities for her abilities are vast, but I could see her functioning as a quasi-mage, using her magical powers in addition to Link's technology. Being able to switch between playing as Zelda and Link would also be a great way to learn more about Zelda’s storyline, which we often don’t see much of in earlier games. Zelda being playable is far-fetched, but if this happens I would probably spend all my money on the game immediately. It’s gotten to the point where I think I would be a little sad if it didn’t happen, despite the fact that there’s no reason to expect it at all. 

“Tears of the Kingdom” will be released on May 12, 2023. Until then, I will be eagerly awaiting news of a playable Zelda and more information about the game's plot.