The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is just under a month away, and Nintendo has been pretty tightlipped about the game, even after several trailers. The mystery of it all has been exciting, and has led to a ton of speculation and theory-crafting around Link’s next adventure. But because of that speculation, it can be tough to nail down what’s a theory and what’s actually been confirmed. So let’s go through everything we know about Tears of the Kingdom.
Yes, Tears of the Kingdom’s weapons break again
Love it or hate it, weapon degradation was a key pillar of Breath of the Wild. Based on the footage Nintendo has shown, that will remain a mechanic in Tears of the Kingdom. If that’s a make-or-break (sorry, sorry) issue for you, maybe catch a Let’s Play, because swords, spears, and sticks will shatter as you use them in the sequel.
Breath of the Wild’s Zonai will be involved somehow
It’s still unclear how, but Tears of the Kingdom’s trailers have hinted at new information about the Zonai tribe. This group was absent in Breath of the Wild, but you can find remnants of their architecture and iconography within some areas in Hyrule. Beyond that, there’s very little tangible information about the Zonai in the games, though lore books have delved a bit more into their ideology. All that aside, Link is seen looting an item called a Zonai Charge from an enemy in Tears of the Kingdom’s 10-minute gameplay showcase, hinting that the long-lost tribe might be a major player. For more on the Zonai, check out our explainer.
Link can fuse items now
Resource management was already paramount to Breath of the Wild, but Tears of the Kingdom is taking that a step further by letting you craft new items with the materials you find across Hyrule. This ranges from homing arrows that combine arrow and monster eye to a makeshift hammer from a boulder and a stick. This adds a new dimension to your inventory when Breath of the Wild was already pretty systems-heavy to start with. Now it’s not just about keeping weapons on hand for when yours eventually break, it’s about remembering how something you’ve found could be crafted into something more useful later. It will make storage space all the more valuable because you never know what fusible item you might find before you throw something out. We don’t know all of what Link can craft in Tears of the Kingdom, but here’s a list of everything we’ve seen thus far.
Link can build entire new vehicles in TotK
Move over Banjo, it’s time for another beloved video game mascot to take on the Nuts & Bolts mechanic of building vehicles to ride around on. From what we’ve seen, Link can build land, water, and air vehicles, as well as combinations of these depending on which parts you put together. The 10-minute showcase video showed Link making a fan-powered raft that, when altered, could also fly into the air. This, along with the item fusing, is one of Link’s new abilities courtesy of whatever glove-like tech he’s got on his hand in the game, though we don’t know the origin of it just yet.
Link can rewind objects
In Breath of the Wild, Link is able to stop objects in place with a time-manipulating ability called Stasis. In Tears of the Kingdom, the time shenanigans continue with Recall, a new power that lets Link rewind objects around the world. This was illustrated with a rock that fell from one of the sky islands, which Link was able to stand on top of it, then rewind until it was high enough for him to reach the floating platforms. Producer Eiji Aonuma says this is one of several ways to reach these high areas.
Link can ascend through anywhere with a ceiling
Traversal is a big part of the modern era of Zelda, and Link gets new abilities to help with that in Tears of the Kingdom. Along with building vehicles and rewinding objects, Nintendo also demonstrated a new ability called Ascend, which allows Link to move upward through structures with a ceiling and pass through the surface Kitty Pryde style. While climbing and using stamina is a pillar of these games, this feels like a solid, balanced middle ground to at least help players move through environments a little quicker.
Link will fight alongside companions
While most of Breath of the Wild was an isolated, lonesome experience for Link, it looks like Tears of the Kingdom will have him fighting alongside his friends in some key moments. We’ve already seen footage of Link taking out enemies with returning characters like the Zora Prince Sidon, a returning character from the previous game and also the love of my life, so we’ll see if other characters pick up a blade and join the fight. But it will be interesting to see how these team-up moments will affect combat in the full game.
The map will be of the same Hyrule as BOTW, but with notable changes
Because Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, it will take place in the same iteration of Hyrule. Most previous games got around this thanks to technical advancements and changes in art style, or in Majora’s Mask’s case, removing Link from what we traditionally know as Hyrule entirely. But comparing footage of Tears of the Kingdom to Breath of the Wild, we can even see some significant geographical changes. On top of this, there are shifts happening in the game that will bring new dimensions to the world, such as the floating sky islands Link is seen traversing, or possible underground segments we’ve seen hinted at in trailers.
Something’s up with the Master Sword in Tears of the Kingdom
The Master Sword is an iconic weapon in the Zelda series with the power to repel evil, but acquiring the blade wasn’t required to finish Breath of the Wild. In Tears of the Kingdom, it seems like it’s playing a bigger role in the story. In a 2022 trailer, the sword is seen to be damaged and discolored. We don’t know how this came to be, but it does seem like the Master Sword will be a key item in Link’s next adventure.
Where we dropping, boys?
Because the floating islands around Hyrule are such an important part of Tears of the Kingdom, Nintendo has added some traversal elements both for reaching these structures and for getting back down to ground level. You spend a lot of time falling while moving around Breath of the Wild’s open world, but Tears of the Kingdom takes it to a new level with a battle royale-style drop where Link is given a lot more control as he falls toward the surface. You can look around the map for your destination, speed up your descent, or pull out your paraglider to gently fall to the ground.
What are the constructs?
The trailers we’ve seen reveal Tears of the Kingdom will have a new type of enemy called constructs. Not much is known about these machines yet, but they do seem to be charged by Zonai technology, the aforementioned Zonai Charge. There seem to be combat and non-combat constructs, as Link is seen fighting a soldier construct but there are also ranger constructs that tend to the floating islands. So while some might be in your way, others will play a different role we don’t quite know yet. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding them at this point.
Ganondorf is back in Zelda (and sexy)
Series antagonist Ganon is almost always an acting force in the Zelda series, even if he doesn’t make a tangible appearance. In Breath of the Wild, the antagonist is called Calamity Ganon, which is a malice-driven entity that laid waste to Hyrule. Zelda tethers Ganon to Hyrule Castle for a hundred years. When Link wakes up in the modern day and slays Calamity Ganon, Zelda is able to seal it away. However, while the Calamity may be gone, Ganondorf is making a long-awaited return in Tears of the Kingdom. The character hasn’t been used in a mainline game since Twilight Princess in 2006, and his resurgence in the new game raises questions about the game’s place in Zelda’s timeline. Especially because the nature of Breath of the Wild’s place as a converging point was already a subject of serious discussion. He’s also beefy and the girls and gays are having a field day about it. Critical Role’s Matthew Mercer voices the character in Tears of the Kingdom.
Amiibo give you custom paragliders in Tears of the Kingdom
Tears of the Kingdom will have Amiibo support, specifically for figures from the Legend of Zelda series. Scanning your figures will give you in-game materials and weapons, as well as paraglider fabric based on whichever Amiibo you scan. For example, scanning the Majora’s Mask Link will give your paraglider a pattern based on the titular mask.
Tears of the Kingdom is more expensive than your average Switch game
As PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games rise in price, the Switch has kept the $60 price point for most big games. However, Tears of the Kingdom costs $70, for some reason. Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser says the increased price point “reflects the type of experience that fans can expect when it comes to playing this particular game.” Which doesn’t actually mean anything beyond the company believing it’s worth a premium price and can get away with selling it as such. While Bowser says this won’t become the standard for Switch games, I’m curious to see what tune it’s singing when Tears of the Kingdom inevitably sells millions of copies at $70.
Is there a new Tears of the Kingdom Switch console?
As is the case with most big Nintendo games, there’s a new Switch console coming alongside Tears of the Kingdom. The $359 OLED console comes with gold joy-cons and a white dock, each with some lovely white and green decals evocative of the constructs and other in-game architecture. The console will launch ahead of the game on April 28. A pro controller bearing similar art will launch on May 12.
Does Tears of the Kingdom have pre-order bonuses?
Depending on where you buy it from, Tears of the Kingdom has different pre-order bonuses. They range from pretty normal stuff like the Best Buy art print to the weird like Amazon Japan’s spoon and fork set. GameStop includes a wooden plaque. Walmart was selling a wall scroll, but it’s since sold out. There is also a collector’s edition that includes a steelbook, art book, pin set, and a poster, but it’s sold out from most retailers this close to launch.
What is Tears of the Kingdom’s release date? When does it come out?
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will launch for the Switch on May 12.