Nintendo teased The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom as far back as 2019. The sequel to the beloved and acclaimed Breath of the Wild had fans eager for its eventual release, but it wasn’t until this week that we learned the game’s name and its release date of May 12, 2023.
With how much everyone loved BOTW, there has obviously been a ton of speculation about what Nintendo may have in store for the sequel. One big debate has been whether they should use it as an opportunity to go back to tradition and create large dungeons, puzzle solving, and bags full of items, or if they should use this as an opportunity to create a new direction for the franchise.
For now, the only thing we can do is speculate about what that future may look like, but in the meantime, we wanted to take some time to mention a few things we really want to see The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Flesh Out Link’s Character
Breath of the Wild is the first game in the Zelda series where they actually named the main character of the game, Link. Before this, the player has always been able to name Link to whatever they want. This was largely because, as a silent protagonist, they wanted the player to feel that they were represented by Link going on an adventure. However, with BOTW also featuring fully-voiced cutscenes, the devs decided to go ahead and name the main character Link from the start.
As a result, Link is now his own character, and in a way, this created a fault in BOTW. He is silent throughout the game, and while he has facial expressions, he never gives his input at any given moment. The sequel feels like a great opportunity to take a character who now exists on his own, separate from the player, and give him agency. He doesn’t have to speak if they want to continue that tradition, but find ways to let us know more about this version of Link. We learned about the heroes of the past, and Zelda, through memories in the previous game, so they can absolutely find a way to flesh out Link in this one.
More Dungeon Variety
One of the best parts of BOTW is the freedom it gave the player. As soon as they finish the prologue area, they are free to go do whatever they want, whether that’s go straight to the castle to try and rescue Zelda or go on a quest to free the Divine Beasts from Ganon’s control. An unfortunate downside of this is that the player who chose to go on the latter quest noticed that the four divine beasts all felt largely the same. This was likely so no dungeon felt more difficult than the other to players, but the lack of variety was definitely a disappointment for traditionalists and those of us who are fans of the new systems.
This one’s a simple request: Whether they go back to having multiple varied and lengthy dungeons or stick to the smaller, more bite-sized Divine Beasts, we want some more variety. Different challenges, unique bosses, and some more varied themes would go a long way to making a weakness of the last game and improving on it in a huge way. That said…
Keep The Mini Shrines
The shrines in BOTW are fantastic and one of the best parts of the game. They’re bite-sized, can be tackled at any pace you choose, and each one was an opportunity for the devs to create a fun puzzle, regardless of theme. If a puzzle was too complicated for any reason, there was no reason to sit there and force solutions until one was found, because you can always just come back and try it again with a clear head. There’s no sudden stop in the adventure because you can’t complete a puzzle and you’re stuck in a required dungeon.
The shrines also acted as great guiding points on maps as you explore the world of Hyrule. Completing the map is one of the best feelings in the entire game and having those little shrines as markers on the adventure was really valuable. These need to make a return in the next game.
A Super Weapon
Broken weapons aren’t fun, but the sheer amount of options available to players in BOTW was cool. It forced players to constantly change out their arsenal, try new things, and be creative. However, one of the biggest disappointments in the entire game was finally finding the Master Sword, using it, and discovering that its energy will drain. While it won’t break, it can’t be used permanently in place of broken weapons. After going through an entire adventure and grinding through weapon durability, finding out that the Master Sword itself was not a super weapon was an extreme bummer.
The solution here is simple: Fix the problem and make the Master Sword and Hylian Shield super items. No durability or recharge time, just let gamers use these items as much as they please. This is supposed to be the most powerful sword and shield in all of Hyrule, and players who don’t want to deal with the durability system should be allowed to take advantage of that.
Keep Atmospheric Music
Some people really love the bombastic open world themes of previous Zelda games. The music that plays as you sail the seas of Windwaker, or cross the grass of Hyrule Field, is iconic. And yet, the atmospheric music of Breath of the Wild was really something special. As one of the main composers of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it may have seemed weird to put Manaka Kataoka as a primary composer for BOTW, but she knocked her assignment out of the park.
What works so well in the BOTW soundtrack is that the subtlety lends itself perfectly to exploration. Atmospheric tones like the ones of BOTW never create an earbug feeling of the same tune playing over and over again while players are just trying to climb mountains. It’s something that, if you listen for it, you’ll hear and enjoy, but it’s not meant to overwhelm players. This is something that some people may disagree with, but it’s this writer’s opinion that the atmospheric music needs to return in Tears of the Kingdom.
BONUS: Let Me Pet The Dog
You could not pet the dog in Breath of the Wild despite it being a good dog.
You cannot pet the dog in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild pic.twitter.com/04bvlkI5Ui
— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 5, 2019