New Tears of the Kingdom video shows Zelda doubling down on an interactive world
One of Breath of the Wild's best features is coming back in a big way. In a new preview of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, producer Eiji Aonuma shows off 10 minutes of gameplay from the eagerly anticipated (to put it lightly) sequel to 2017's hit.
The video dips into a little bit of low-level combat and includes some running around, but mostly it goes over new systems designed to encourage the kind of emergent gameplay that made Breath of the Wild such a joy to discover for so many people.
In the first game, you could sail high on the updrafts created by grass on fire, get struck by lightning if you were wearing metal armor or cook a steak by throwing meat on the ground near a volcano. Many of the game's environmental features were interactive and its shrine puzzles in particular nudged players to test out potential combinations of abilities, objects and their properties to come up with clever solutions.
Happily, all of that looks to be back and then some in the new game. Breath of the Wild introduced Stasis and Magnesis, two abilities that invited players to bend physics and move stuff around in dynamic ways. In Tears of the Kingdom, we'll be getting at least two brand new tricks like those, one called Fuse and another known as Ultra Hand.
First, some bad news. The new gameplay video confirms that Tears of the Kingdom will again give Link flimsy, destructible weapons that explode after giving enemies a few whacks. The good news is that players can create their own weapons from items in the game world — and hopefully at least a few of those combinations are more durable than last time around.
With the new Fuse ability, Link can splice together a giant makeshift hammer using a branch and a boulder or grab a long stick and combine it with a pitchfork for a really, reaaaally long pitchfork (if this is Zelda humor, we're here for it). Other combos are less obvious: Merging a monster eyeball with an arrow creates a homing arrow that can track your quarry and shoot it out of the sky.
A similar ability called Ultra Hand will let Link pick up heavy items and arrange them into something new. In the demo, Aonuma shows this off by creating a wind-powered airboat out of some big fans that happened to be laying around Hyrule and some logs. The same ability will apparently let players create all kinds of vehicles, including cars and flying machines.
Aside from the two new core abilities, Link won't have to spend so much time slogging his way up mountains this time around. Aonuma demonstrated a new mobility trick that lets Link swim up through any space with a ceiling, including buildings and apparently the giant caves within the game's many peaks. The emphasis on verticality tracks with the sky islands and otherwise very high up environments we've seen before in prior previews.
The new Tears of the Kingdom video packs a lot of promise into a brief 10 minutes. If you loved the environmental puzzle solving and clever interactions in Breath of the Wild, the upcoming game — due out on May 12 — looks like it will offer an even bigger scope of possibilities.