Tears of the Kingdom uses ideas that wouldn’t fit in BOTW

tears of the kingdom ideas

Tears of the Kingdom reintroduces ideas that had to be cut from Breath of the Wild due to the Wii U’s technical limitations


Out in just a few hours’ time, if you’re reading this on the 11 May, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom builds on the success of its predecessor Breath of the Wild in more ways than one. Not only does it reintroduce the same open world that made its forebear one of the most beloved games of recent times, but it also adds vast new areas in the sky and underground, as well as a range of new mechanics.

According to a new Nintendo interview with the series’ developers, though, Tears of the Kingdom also presented a chance to put things in the game that they couldn’t in Breath of the Wild.

Breath of the Wild, you may recall, was initially targeted for the Wii U, but a combination of delays and that console’s slow sales saw development expanded to include the Switch. Eventually released in March 2017 for both Wii U and Switch (it was one of the latter’s launch titles), Breath of the Wild was, of course, a huge success. Its Wii U origins, however, meant that several ideas planned for it had to be dropped.

“There were restrictions in development,” said programmer Takuhiro Dohta in that Nintendo interview (thanks, Kotaku). “There were a lot of ideas we wanted to implement during its development, but we made clear decisions on what we wouldn’t do in that game. For example, we decided that it wouldn’t involve flying. Then [Eiji Aonuma, producer] kept saying, ‘If flying is out of the question, I want to dig underground!’ And we’d respond, ‘Oh no! Please don’t make us develop that too!'”

Flying and going underground are now major parts of Tears of the Kingdom – and Dohta reveals that the sequel’s development began with a wishlist of things that couldn’t be added to Breath of the Wild due to the Wii U’s technical limitations. “For The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, we began by compiling and implementing ideas we couldn’t include in the previous title,” Dohta said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do so had we made a completely new world, so developing in the same setting as the previous game was significant in this sense as well.”

Incredibly, even Tears of the Kingdom's eye-catching Ultrahand ability – which allows Link to build vehicles from various materials found around him – had its origins in Breath of the Wild. Some early development footage from the BOTW era, captured by a Reddit user and spotted by IGN, shows Link using a cobbled-together raft in what is clearly an early version of Hyrule from Breath of the Wild.

In many ways, then, Tears of the Kingdom isn’t just a sequel to Breath of the Wild but a kind of Director’s Cut. Nintendo’s Zelda interviews are well worth reading in full, and provide a fascinating insight into the thought that goes into creating such a huge, multi-layered open world.

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