Tears of the Kingdom’s Big Delay Was To Meet Nintendo Standards

Few games arrive and immediately announce themselves as massive, surefire hits as thoroughly as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. With its surprising gameplay systems, its rich open world, and its impressively solid performance on the Switch’s aging hardware, TotK has broken sales records and delighted players, who continue discovering all sorts of opportunities to get creative with the game’s physics and building abilities. But as it turns out, TotK’s high level of polish may be thanks to Nintendo delaying it for a full year in order to ensure the game landed exactly the way its makers wanted it to.

Aside from a remake of 1993’s Link’s Awakening and an HD remaster of Skyward Sword, the last mainline Legend of Zelda game to hit Nintendo consoles was 2017’s Breath of the Wild. A remarkable entry in its own right, one that has since provided a template for the series moving forward, the six-year wait for a follow up wasn’t easy for fans. That wait might’ve been a little bit shorter, however, if series producer Eiji Aonuma hadn’t made the call to push the game back by a full year.

Perhaps that’s been for the better. You may have heard the widely quoted and likely apocryphal Shigeru Miyamoto statement about how “a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” That may have been the thinking here, as Aonuma told The Washington Post that the team needed to ensure “everything in the game was 100 percent to our standards.”

Read More: 15 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

If you’ve spent any time with Tears of the Kingdom, then you’ve no doubt encountered its impressive crafting system, which is both surprisingly quick and intuitive. Things just work the way you think they should as you slap wheels, turbines, and other machines to various objects. It was an undertaking to get that all working so well, but according to Aonuma, the development process also took into consideration the look of the crafting elements. In the game, when you combine objects, a bit of magical “glue” is seen linking the items together, a nice visual aid for players to convey where and how they are connected. Aonuma, who has worked as a wood carver in the past, struggled to accept the usefulness of this deliberate visual imperfection, as he told The Washington Post:

“When I would connect things and glue them together [in real life], I was always very picky about not seeing glue where those joints were, and I would always wipe that way because that really got on my nerves, [but] the staff really made an appeal to me…There’s a part of me that feels like I want to wipe that glue away [in the game] and make things look a little bit more neat and tidy. But in the end, they were right. Being able to clearly see where the objects you’re connecting are put together makes this kind of gameplay fit well and in line with the ethos of Zelda.”

This care and attention to making sure things work (which you can’t take for granted with video games these days) and are easily understood by the player has clearly made the difference for Tears of the Kingdom. Sometimes a delay is more than worth it.

Nintendo Patches Tears Of The Kingdom’s Duplication Glitches

Lotta Links

Image: Nintendo | Kotaku

Nintendo just updated The Legend Of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to version 1.1.2, and while the company’s official patch notes don’t mention it, users are reporting that many of the game’s notorious (and handy!) duplication glitches have been removed.

As we’ve reported, there have been a few ways found for players to get easy access to loads of resources and items in the game and even stack power-ups, but it appears that at least some of those are now gone as part of the patch.

Nintendo’s official notes only mention:

Ver. 1.1.2 (Released May 25, 2023)

Audio Bug Fixes

– Fixed an issue where the sound would play at an extremely high volume in certain conditions.

Additional Fixes

– Fixed an issue in the main quest, “Camera Work in the Depths”, where players could not progress beyond a certain point. Downloading the update will allow players to proceed past that point.

– Several issues have been addressed to improve the gameplay experience.

Anyone used to Nintendo’s vague patch notes won’t be surprised by this, but that “Several issues have been addressed to improve the gameplay experience” line can sure cover a lot of ground.

Users are reporting in this Reddit thread that various duplication glitches are no longer working, while our own internal testing has found that the paragliding one in particular has also been affected.

Because more of these glitches were being discovered seemingly every day, we don’t yet know if all of them have been patched out, or if there are still some lying undiscovered in the game waiting to be exploited. But if using these workarounds has made life easier for you, and you want to keep doing it, you might want to disable auto-updates for your console/game if you still have time to do it (if you hadn’t already by the time you’re reading this you might be too late, sorry!)

See Tears Of The Kingdom’s Horror-Filled Depths All Lit Up

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an incredibly polished game, so what happens if you try to completely break it? YouTuber Shesez pulls back the curtain on some of the game’s hidden secrets in latest video and reveals all of the amazing stuff Nintendo doesn’t want you to see, including what the Depths look like when it’s not shrouded in darkness.

Shesez’s Boundary Break series dives into all sorts of different games and shows players what’s going on beyond what they can usually see while playing. By using various mod tools to operate multiple cameras and change lighting effects, he was recently able to take control of Tears of the Kingdom’s in-game camera and show what’s actually happening during cutscenes, while exploring the sprawling map, or even during certain ability animations.

Credit: Shesez

You should watch the whole video above, but one of the coolest bits is what the game’s Depths look like when fully illuminated. Tears of the Kingdom’s underground map is completely dark until players begin activating Lightroots and using Brightbloom flowers. Even when the map is fully revealed, there’s still a pervasive sense of darkness.

Shesez managed to cheat and fully dial down the Gloom in the Depths, revealing the underworld zone in all of its glory. It has a ceiling complete with unique textures, and I actually got a sense of relief seeing all of the darkness removed. I wouldn’t want to play the game that way, obviously, but it provides a completely new appreciation for just how vast and different the game’s second map is. It also makes it look way less terrifying.

Gif: Nintendo / Shesez / Kotaku

Other highlights from the video include what happens when Link uses Ascend to travel up through ceilings. The game goes to dark and shows Link swimming upwards in a swirl of green colors, but Shesez reveals that, when this is happening, the rest of the world actually disappears. All that’s left is a giant black box with Link flailing around for a couple moments in the center.

Tears of the Kingdom is also full of particle effects that make the world feel alive and help mask some of the lack of detail in the backgrounds as you explore (the overworld is a seamless area with no loading screens after all). What happens if you remove all the wind, fog, and other screen effects? Hyrule looks very bright and super ugly, though I actually like the increased vibrancy of the colors. 

Tears of the Kingdom’s overall aesthetic is a bit too washed out for me at times. But it’s impressive to see how effectively the rest of the game’s effects help mask what an eyesore the world is when it’s not fully loaded. Stick around until the end of the video and you’ll even get to see King Zora’s feet.