One small slice has me ready for the whole thing
This week, we got a solid look at Link’s next adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. It was a roughly 10-minute slice of gameplay, the most we’ve seen of the game thus far. And for me, I don’t think I need to see any more of it until launch.
Zelda‘s gameplay showcase, hosted by series producer Eiji Aonuma, might seem unassuming compared to other big gameplay spotlights. It had the same tenor as the character reveals for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; rather than make a big production or splice together a sizzle reel, it was just a chopped-and-guided tour through the new Hyrule. For one of year’s biggest presumptive hits, it was a chill stream that let the game speak for itself. And it really did talk.
Showing off Link’s new abilities to Fuse weapons and Ultrahand mechanical contraptions together into makeshift cars, boats, and ships was, by itself, mind-blowing. Its predecessor, Breath of the Wild, has seen players use its simple but expressive toolset to concoct incredible evolutions of its gameplay. These new abilities felt like a recognition of that player ingenuity, as if Nintendo was giving us the “yes, and” to make even more weird stuff in Tears of the Kingdom.
Its gameplay alone was incredible, and of course there were hints of lore scattered about. There was plenty Aonuma and co. didn’t show, however. We still don’t definitively know why islands are rising into the skies of Hyrule. The origin of these mean green machines isn’t clear either, though there are plenty of theories. Heck, we don’t know why Link’s arm received the Princess Mononoke treatment. But after seeing this slice of gameplay, I think I’m content to wait.
Since Tears of the Kingdom was first revealed, known then as “the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild“, it’s been shrouded in mystery. The memorable teaser from E3 2019 felt like a massive surprise, filled with eerie tones and flashes of images.
Since then, fan theorists have run amok analyzing all the details they can. Heck, even the 10-minute gameplay showcase is getting diced up and examined, as every mini-map icon and distant pixel is scrutinized for hints. To be clear, I love all that. The guesses and close examinations, the cork-board theorizing, it’s all good fun.
Still, there’s some sentiment that Tear of the Kingdom wasn’t building up momentum. Just looking at the Tears of the Kingdom subreddit’s comments on the gameplay announcement shows how eager they were to hear more about this game. Going into it, I was the same. We’d seen so many teasers, but actual gameplay? Sign me up.
But after seeing so much information, presented so frankly and directly while leaving so much open for speculation? I’m ready for the full game, and don’t need to see any more of it.
Rebuilding the kingdom
Part of this is because Tears of the Kingdom is building up on the base of Breath of the Wild. The notion seems to be that while things have obviously shifted, especially on the Z-axis, this is the Hyrule we know from Breath of the Wild. Many of the systems still remain too, from Link getting chilly to his weapons shattering after clubbing enough Bokoblins with them.
The hints we’ve seen so far promise iterations on that formula, in ways that are exciting to speculate about. But that’s the thing: I want to wonder. I’m loving this feeling that, even though we’ve learned more, only more questions remain. Nintendo’s earned a fair bit of goodwill with Breath of the Wild, enough that them saying “we’re making a sequel” was enough to sustain the hype through years of development.
Maybe this is also the news-hound in me talking. By nature of my job, I have to be plugged into nearly every major release, following all the news hits. It’s been refreshing to see Tears of the Kingdom show less, rather than more. I enjoy that I have so many questions unanswered, and ones that will hopefully stay that way until the full game.
So yes, I’ll probably rewatch this trailer over and over again a few more times. But I feel like I’ve seen all I need to of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. It already promised more Breath of the Wild, a strong-enough pitch, and now it brings in ideas of fusing and manufacturing new creations within this world. I’m eager to know what awaits, but with the days and weeks until then getting shorter, I’d rather be surprised than have it all laid out.
Related: Is The Legends of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom multiplayer? on Dot Esports