Gaming Reviews, News, Tips and More.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Tears Of The Kingdom Devs Reveal The One Zelda Spin-Off They’d Never Make

Zelda’s most recent adventure was designed with creativity in mind, but not in a way that would restrict the fun

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Link looks down on Hyrule from a Sky Island in concept art for Tears of the Kingdom.
Image: Nintendo

Though it didn’t snag the GOTY at this year’s Game Awards, there’s no doubting that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is one of 2023’s many gaming highlights. Featuring an intuitive and versatile crafting system, players are free to accomplish tasks in the open-world RPG in wild, unexpected ways. But in a recent interview, Nintendo made it clear that it wanted to encourage, not require, creativity in the game.

Tears of the Kingdom’s director, Hidemaro Fujibayashi and the game’s producer, Eiji Aonuma were recently asked by Polygon whether TotK’s crafting system would make for a great standalone experience, ala Super Mario Maker. The game’s impressive physics and ability to combine nearly every in-game object together to create tools and problem-solving resources would be a good fit for such an experience. But Aonuma explained that such a thing wouldn’t work with how the team envisioned the role of creative problem solving in the game:

When we’re creating games like Tears of the Kingdom, I think it’s important that we don’t make creativity a requirement. Instead we put things into the game that encourage people to be creative, and give them the opportunity to be creative, without forcing them to. There are people who want the ability to create from scratch, but that’s not everyone. But I think everyone delights in the discovery of finding your own way through a game, and that is something we tried to make sure was included in Tears of the Kingdom; there isn’t one right way to play. If you are a creative person, you have the ability to go down that path. But that’s not what you have to do; you’re also able to proceed to the game in many other different ways. And so I don’t think that it would be a good fit for The Legend of Zelda to necessarily require people to build things from scratch and force them to be creative.


The “opportunity to be creative” is key here. TotK has tons of puzzles and challenges that require creativity to solve them, and some puzzles are initially cryptic enough to invite unconventional approaches. But there’s almost always a more direct path, one that, as Aonuma said, wouldn’t burden players with starting from scratch.


When it first arrived earlier this year, not a week would go by without fans showing off their latest creation in Zelda. It was an impressive display of ingenuity and creative solutions.


Read More: 19 Hilarious Tears of the Kingdom Fails
Buy The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

We saw players do everything from using logs to traverse just about any distance, measuring the in-game weight and physics work , using Link’s time-warping abilities to decimate tough foes, making music, manipulating the game’s physics to soar high into the air, crafting a simple but universally effective “Air Bike,” building the foundations of computers. Sometimes, though, things wouldn’t totally go according to plan.


Hopefully Link will hang onto his love of arts and crafts for his next grand adventure.