Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will make up for an earlier Zelda game’s mistake in ways that Breath of the Wild couldn’t manage.

In more ways than one, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will continue the mission of Breath of the Wild, but can also deliver on a promise where its predecessor fell short. Link and Zelda will of course carry on with their battle against evil, but beyond that, TOTK will see Zelda director Eiji Aonuma finally fulfill the goal he set for BOTW.

Aonuma brought The Legend of Zelda to an entire new level of adventure with BOTW. No other entry in the series comes close to its map size, with a few of them even fitting within the game’s opening area, the Great Plateau. The amount of unique, interesting spaces in BOTW‘s unmatched open world also makes it special: Aonuma rewards players for venturing off the beaten path by filling Hyrule with engaging environments. Aonuma’s reasons for making BOTW as big and exciting as it is likely had to do with the more advanced hardware available, but they also were directly tied to his dissatisfaction with a particular Zelda entry: Skyward Sword​.

Related: What If BOTW 2 Isn’t Actually Open World

Zelda: TOTK Will Correct Skyward Sword’s Open World Problem

Link and Zelda riding Loftwings in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Aonuma felt that Skyward Sword‘s open world had a problem that BOTW needed to fix: empty spaces. As revealed in a Nintendo of America YouTube video on the making of Breath of the Wild, Aonuma said I actually really wanted to explore the space that connected [Skyward Sword’s] areas, and I think it’s really unfortunate that we weren’t able to do that,” and that “[Breath of the Wild] is a result of what we wanted to expand and make a better Skyward Sword.” While BOTW succeeded over Skyward Sword in making a true open world, it didn’t do so in an aerial environment, but it appears TOTK will improve Skyward Sword‘s sky world as well.

Zelda: TOTK’s Aerial Environments Are Connected In Interesting Ways

Link standing on the edge of a floating platform in Tears of the Kingdom, with other floating islands in the distance, and the surface of Hyrule far below.

The February Nintendo Direct’s new Tears of the Kingdom trailer, now viewable on Nintendo of America‘s YouTube channel, showcased just how Aonuma found a way to better connect aerial environments in TOTK. The original problem with Skyward Sword was that it relied too much on flying to get between locations, turning the spaces between them into empty sky. But with TOTK, it appears Aonuma has found new ways to traverse such locations that make them feel like an interconnected whole. Of the methods shown in the trailer, TOTK‘s floating islands appear connected through puzzles, railways, and even portals.

Trailers have confirmed that players will still be able to fly between aerial locations, by way of a large glider or Tears of the Kingdom‘s unexpected craftable vehicles. However, the new methods of travel will likely have a significant impact on players’ experience of the game. Instead of thinking of the journey between important locations as empty space, the journey will become an important part of the game’s traversal itself, building on BOTW‘s emphasis on exploration. Solving puzzles with Link’s new abilities will make traversing through aerial environments engaging in the way that BOTW made the open spaces of Hyrule engaging. And with that, Tears of the Kingdom will fulfill Aonuma’s goal for BOTW.

More: Zelda: TOTK Can Improve BOTW’s Combat With One Simple Change

Source: Nintendo of America/YouTube (The Making of Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom Official Trailer #2)

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