All Aboard the Hype Train for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Once again, I an interrupting my planned schedule so that I can write about The Legend of Zelda. This time, though, instead of writing about streaming Breath of the Wild on Twitch in the month remaining before Tears of the Kingdom comes out, I’m writing about Tears of the Kingdom itself. After all, a new trailer just dropped. Speaking of which, if you’re planning to avoid spoilers or any information at all about Tears of the Kingdom before it is in your hands, you should absolutely leave now because this whole post is just going to be one long, enthusiastic gush about the trailer and everything I know about the game (which isn’t much, sure, but I’ve picked up a lot of stuff from the existing trailers and I’ve got literally no other outlet for this enthusiasm these days). You have been warned.

The biggest impression I got, and the thing that fills me with the most excitement, enthusiasm, and hope for the game’s excellence, is that the trailer already nails the “familiar but different” feeling that made me love every second of Breath of the Wild. It takes a world I know super well and leaves just enough of the form there for me to think “I recognize this place” while changing it enough that I immediately also think “I have no idea what is happening here and I need to figure it out.” Breath of the Wild accomplished this by taking forms and names of important places from previous games and displaying the ruins that remain of them after the attack of Calamity Ganon’s forces. There were so many places I found that felt familiar enough to get me thinking but that required looking at them on the map or exploring them thoroughly to understand that yes, they were a place I remember from a prevous game and no, it had not survived the years since I last knew it. It put us in the same position as the game put Link, with just enough familiarity to remind us that we knew this place long ago with just enough change to show us the price of having lost that first series of battles 100 years ago.

I have no idea what the premise and plot are going to be in Tears of the Kingdom, but the added verticality and the way the world looks more broken-up than it used to makes me hopeful that it will be doing something similar but better. It already feels clear from the trailer, from the state of the mastersword and Link’s arm, that something horrible is going to happen. After all, we wrapped up everything from the previous game and there will need to be some pretty significant changes to the status quo to plunge us back into the required conflict and adventure that make up the core of the story the trailers have been hinting at. It seems like the game is suggesting there will be more and more brought into the present from the time of legend 10,000 years prior (the source of all the “advanced technology” stuff from Breath of the Wild), mostly through the floating islands that seem to have a some elements of the gear-shaped designs present in most other constructions and objects reportedly from that time period. Plus, we saw a little Guardian tech critter (that I learned is called a Construct thanks to the gameplay video from two and a half weeks ago) chopping at a tree on one of those islands. It is clearly some kind of beginner enemy, as shown in the gameplay video, but I’m hoping we meet some nice ones, too. I’d love to have a little robot friend.

Plus, with so many of the action sequences from the latest trailer involving major characters from Breath of the Wild, it looks like making friends and working alongside other people is going to be a significant element in this new game. Maybe only in bigger plot moments, sure, but there was enough of it in the latest trailer that it must be an important piece of the game. There also seemed to be some battlefield type moments, so I’m very excited to see how that plays out in the game. Not to mention the two mysterious characters wearing an outfit we see Zelda in (one who looks like some kind of altered Zelda). Plus, there’s the abilities shown in the gameplay video, that let you fuse things and build various structures and vehicles. There’s so much cool stuff here that I bet I’m going to spend even more time on a single play-through than I ever did on Breath of the Wild. I love building things and figuring out ways to use existing mechanics creatively. This is my entire jam. This is my whole deal. Let me make stuff and explore a kick-ass world!

I think I need to stop here, though. I’m giving myself heart palpitations because I keep thinking about this and really need to focus on other stuff. Like work or figuring out what’s wrong with my nightbot commands for my Twitch streams. Or, you know, anything but this game that doesn’t come out for another month since thinking about it this obsessively is only going to drag out how long said month feels. I’ve plenty of other stuff to do, anyway. More Infrared Isolation chapters to write, a wedding to prepare for, and finding an apartment to rent/house to buy that doesn’t fill me with dread and sadness. At least I’ll have this bright spot to return when I need it. It’s definitely a nice thought to have in the back of my mind these days.

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