After six years, "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" is finally going to see its long-awaited successor. Producer Eiji Aonuma has announced that development of "Tears of the Kingdom" has finally been completed, and showed off some new gameplay footage. Details have been scarce regarding the sequel's premise, but it looks to be adding elements of verticality and crafting to the sandbox formula introduced in the prior entry.

The Hero of Hyrule

"Breath of the Wild" is largely credited with revitalizing Nintendo's long-running fantasy action adventure series.

After "Wind Waker," subsequent "Zelda" titles went in a considerably more linear and hand-holding direction. Much of the mystery and exploration which had defined the franchise had been diminished in favor of bloated expository cutscenes and hardware gimmicks. The game was originally slated as a 2015 Wii U exclusive before it became one of the launch titles for the Nintendo Switch two years later.

Unlike "Skyward Sword," "Breath of the Wild" gave players the freedom to approach the main quest however they wished. Players could defeat the Divine Beasts in order to make the final showdown easier, or they could just skip everything to go straight to Ganon if they were so inclined. The game was lauded by fans and critics for its immersive world and trademark Nintendo polish.

New Mechanics And Features

"Tears of the Kingdom" was originally announced shortly after the release of "Breath of the Wild." However, after its initial E3 2019 reveal, Nintendo would remain largely radio silent on the game for about three years. In 2021, some more gameplay was shown off while a Nintendo Direct would unveil the game's title the following year.

"Breath of the Wild" director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma will once again fulfil their respective roles for this follow up. Aonuma has also stated that the team has looked at games such as "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" and "Red Dead Redemption 2" for influence.

During a 2023 direct, Aonuma showcased some new gameplay features.

On the surface, the game world looks remarkable similar to the previous game – with one notable exception being the floating islands which inhabit the skies. Players can traverse these areas by landing on a falling rock and using their new rewind mechanic.

However, one mechanic that truly sets the sequel apart is the new fuse system. Players can take seemingly disparate objects and essentially glue them together to create new and interesting tools. Aonuma showcased this feature by fusing a tree branch with a rock to create a makeshift hammer and fusing three tree logs with some fans to create a raft. "The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom" is slated for release on Nintendo Switch on May 12th, 2023.