GameCentral begins a new series looking at the most exciting new games of 2023, starting with the most anticipated title of the year.
2023 is stacked full of interesting looking games but we can say, with some degree of authority, that : Tears Of The Kingdom is the most anticipated. It won exactly that accolade at last month, beating out the likes of Starfield and Resident Evil 4 to do so. That’s not surprising given it’s the sequel to – widely recognised as one of the best video games ever made – but does that automatically mean Tears Of The Kingdom will be just as good?
Not every Zelda game is a classic and, depending on your point of view, a few of them have been actively bad. We wouldn’t go that far when talking about Twilight Princess or The Wind Waker but they’re certainly not our favourite entries and, together with , it’s their formula which Breath Of The Wild was trying to break away from.
Given the game’s enormous success (it sold almost three times more than anything else in the franchise) it seems reasonable to assume that Tears Of The Kingdom will reuse the same template. Prior to the reveal of its final name, Nintendo did refer to it specifically as, ‘the sequel to Breath Of The Wild’, but what will that really mean, for both fans of the original and those that wished it had been closer to the traditional formula?
Officially we know very little about Tears Of The Wild. Nintendo has explained nothing about the plot and while you can make a number of inferences from the trailer, the closest thing to any official information is . Beyond that though there is no confirmed information, no matter how many fan theories there are about being able to play as Zelda (and we certainly hope those are true).
The new rune powers are fairly clearly demonstrated in the trailers and one seems to involve phasing through scenery, like Kitty Pryde out of the X-Men, and the other allows you to rewind time but localised to a specific object – like moving the spikey balls in the trailer below.
One of the patents is simply for performing manoeuvres, like firing a bow and arrow, while moving through the air, which, according to the trailers, does seem to be a large part of the game – and surprisingly similar to elements of Skyward Sword.
Given the first trailer showed Hyrule Castle rising from the ground, it seems clear that much of the game is spent exploring islands in the sky. The fan rumours suggest that Link remains there and Zelda is adventuring at ground level but, again, we emphasise there’s no actual evidence for this, beyond interpretations of what might be going on in the trailers.
It’s very hard to guess what the deal is with Link’s robot arm though, which also seems to double as a flamethrower and, no doubt, more besides. In the first trailer it seemed to be made of the same ancient technology as the Guardians, so their origins seem likely to be a key plot point.
In the newest trailer it doesn’t so much look like Link has a robot arm but a corrupted one, with long, sharp fingernails and strange, angular tattoos – not dissimilar to the look of bad guy Ghirahim from Skyward Sword or the general style of the Twilight Realm. Something bad also seems to have happened to the Master Sword, which is seen to be twisted and perhaps melted.
For many, the biggest questions are things that no trailer, or patent, has ever hinted at, and that’s the presence of weapon degradation and bigger dungeons. Many old school Zelda fans hated the former and wanted more of the latter and while Nintendo are not known for bending to fan demands they’re not entirely blind to them either, so while there’s no evidence either way, we’d expect changes when it comes to Breath Of The Wild’s most controversial elements.
Despite the various clues, what exactly the story is about is a mystery and while that dead body in the first trailer might be Ganondorf it could also be a hundred other things, including characters we’ve never seen before. However, one theory suggests that Link’s arm either belongs to the corpse or is what is restraining it, as seems to be the case in one of the trailers.
There certainly seems to be plenty of gameplay references to Skyward Sword so it wouldn’t be a surprise if there were plot references too, perhaps pertaining to Fi and Ghirahim having being sealed in it by the end of the game.
Chronologically speaking, Skyward Sword is the first entry in the franchise and Breath Of The Wild is the last (of three forking timelines), so there’s much speculation that Tears Of The Kingdom is setting up some kind of giant time loop.
already featured a lot of timey-wimey stuff but while that was originally thought to just be a simple excuse for more action it may actually have been inspired by the plot of Tears Of The Kingdom.
No matter how much we speculate, though, the truth is that there is almost nothing we know for certain about Tears Of The Kingdom, other than it’s the sequel to Breath Of The Wild and it’s by the same creative team. Although it’s worth pointing out that the considerably less revered Skyward Sword also had exactly the same people behind it, so there are no certainties here, when it comes to the game’s final quality.
However, after multiple delays it appears they’ve been given all the time they need to make the new game and while it seems unlikely Tears Of The Kingdom will be the same sort of groundbreaking milestone as its predecessor that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as entertaining.
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