Tears Of The Kingdom Player Beats Game Without Touching Surface

Link is shown falling through the sky toward a sky island.

Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

So much of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is spent jumping between Hyrule’s landscape and the floating islands above it that I can’t fathom somehow beating the game without traversing both the sky regions and Hyrule proper. But that’s exactly what one player miraculously managed to pull off.

TotK subreddit user Black_Hand_Gotthard shared a post (h/t Polygon) with a screenshot of both the ending cutscene and a map of the game’s sky layer filled out with all of the airborne fast-travel points, proving that they did indeed complete the game without visiting the surface of Hyrule. They responded to questions about how they pulled this off, and it sounds like they used a lot of the Zonai tech that gives you navigation tools like gliders to move through the air or rockets that propel you up higher. But it also sounds like the game’s highly popular makeshift hoverbike came in handy as well.

A screenshot of a Reddit post shows the map of Hyrule's sky islands.

So yeah, in theory, you could get around in Tears of the Kingdom without touching the ground for several hours. However, beating the game does require you to go down to the surface…but not necessarily touching down on Hyrule’s ground.

Spoilers for Tears of the Kingdom follow.

The final boss fight against Ganondorf takes place underneath the floating Hyrule Castle. Reaching this area would usually require something like the paraglider, which you have to go to the surface to get, but Black_Hand_Gotthard says they were able to survive by using fairies, which will revive Link should he lose all his health. Barreling from the sky islands to the core of Hyrule—bypassing the surface entirely—is nothing when you’ve got a little magical person stashed in a bottle in your pocket.

All of this is made possible by Tears of the Kingdom’s open structure, which doesn’t really require you to do anything specific at any time after you pass the prologue. That freedom means you can easily miss things like the paraglider that are ostensibly on the main path because you can simply fuck off and do other things.

Tears of the Kingdom has been out since May, and I’m still fascinated at how people are finding new ways to play it. It’s a shame we’re not getting DLC, because adding new toys and tools would no doubt give the community yet more oft-strange, definitely fascinating new ideas.

Buy The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

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Tears of the Kingdom Director On Missing Sheikah Tech

Hidemaro Fujibayashi, director of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, finally shed some light on what happened to all the Sheikah technology that was practically ubiquitous in Breath of the Wild but strangely absent in its sequel.

In Breath of the Wild, players discover relics of the Sheikah tribe’s technology littered across Hyrule in the form of towers, weapons, and mechanical enemies. However, in Tears of the Kingdom, practically every trace of Sheikah Technology has disappeared. Even characters like Purah and Robbie, who led research efforts into the tech in BotW, don’t utter a word about its sudden disappearance in TotK. In an interview with The Telegraph, Fujibayashi revealed that the disappearance of Sheikah technology in TotK basically boils down to the tech being a thing of the past that evaporated once its purpose was complete.

“They disappeared after the Calamity was defeated (sealed),” Fujibayashi told The Telegraph. “All of the people of Hyrule also witnessed this, but there is no one who knows the mechanism or reason why they disappeared, and it is considered a mystery. It is believed that since the Calamity disappeared, they also disappeared as their role had been fulfilled.”

Read More: The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom: The Kotaku Review
Buy The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Fujibayashi also went on to explain that Sheikah technology’s sudden disappearance wasn’t an out-of-the-ordinary phenomenon for Hyruleans but an unremarkable occurrence with the many mystifying events that transpire in Hyrule.

“It is, anyway, commonplace for mysterious events and strange phenomena to occur in Hyrule. Thus, people have simply assumed the reason behind the disappearance to likely be related to ancient Sheikah technology and it seems there is no one who has tried to explore the matter further,” Fujibayashi said.

Read More: Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Players Are Building Tanks, Planes To Commit War Crimes

Fujibayashi’s explanation about Sheikah tech being largely forgotten makes sense considering Hyruleans in Tears of the Kingdom have plenty of new stuff on their minds, as they need to deal with players constructing bomber jets, Korok torture devices, and statues with flame-spewing dicks thanks to Link’s new Fuse ability. See, you’re probably thinking about Link’s flamethrowing dick statue right now.