Tears of the Kingdom is only a scant 44 days away. To celebrate the game’s impending arrival, Nintendo dropped a 13-minute mini Direct featuring gameplay and a sneak peek at Link’s new abilities.
Tears of the Kingdom, formerly known as The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, was originally slated for a 2022 release. (It’s now coming out on May 12th.) Eiji Aonuma, the game’s producer, released a video in March 2022 stating that Nintendo decided to work on the development a little bit longer “in order to make this game’s experience something special.” We can see some of that specialness in today’s gameplay presentation.
One of the biggest, most interesting features shown off today was Link’s new Fuse ability, whereby he can take everyday objects like a log or a rock and mash them together to create weapons. It was fascinating watching Aonuma create useful weapons on the fly, and his demonstration of creating a homing arrow by fusing a monster eyeball with an arrow was seriously impressive. But be careful, weapon degradation, that mechanic from Breath of the Wild that players either wildly loved or viciously hated is back with Link’s stick swords breaking after only a couple of swipes.
Ultrahand is another of Link’s abilities and assists him in creating larger objects beyond weapons. That car we saw in one of Tears of the Kingdom’s earlier trailers wasn’t something Link found in the wilds of Hyrule but something he made himself using Ultrahand. He’ll also be able to craft boats and flying contraptions out of junk lying around.
In Tears of the Kingdom, Hyrule seems to have undergone a vast transformation in which large landmasses now appear in the sky. (Skyward Sword redemption arc anyone?) To demonstrate how Link can reach one of the sky islands, Aonuma used another ability from Link’s new kit — Recall. It seems to allow you to rewind time for a certain object. In this case, Aonuma used Recall on a rock that fell from an island and basically used the rock like a fancy elevator. Once he was high enough, Aonuma busted out Link’s trusty paraglider to reach the sky island of his choice. Aonuma also hinted that there are other ways Link can reach the sky islands, and I’m deeply curious to see what weird contraptions players will make.
Ascend is the last ability Aonuma let us see. It’s basically like the Escape Rope from Pokémon. Are you in a cave? Would you like to get out of it? Hit Ascend to essentially teleport to the cave’s roof. I have full confidence that the Zelda speedrunning community will use Ascend to break the hell out of this game. I can’t wait.
I didn’t know what to expect from Tears of the Kingdom. I knew whatever it was, it was going to be good, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of detail this game seems to be going for. This game looks like it’s combining Breath of the Wild’s openness with the infinite possibilities of Tears of the Kingdom’s new abilities. It’s like Nintendo made its own Elden Ring by way of Zelda, and I have a feeling we’re all going to happily give up a good chunk of our spring and summer figuring out all the neat new things we can do.