Posted on September 16 2023 by Josh Wittmershaus
UPDATE: As of September 6th, there is now an understanding that as of right now, no DLC is planned for Tears of the Kingdom. While this may relegate this debate to the realm of pure speculation rather than optimistic hope, I feel like this article will serve to point out areas that weren’t used to their fullest potential in the game, or areas that left us with more questions than answers.
It’s fair to say that Breath of the Wild changed the way we view and judge open-world games, and Tears of the Kingdom only raised the bar higher. But I think it’s fair to say that in both games there were areas that begged for more, and didn’t receive it. Examples of places the second game elaborated on in an eloquent way include the Ancient Tree Stump, Rist Peninsula, and the Dracozu River. However, the additions of caves, chasms, and islands in the sky may have created even more questions about the nature and history of certain places in Hyrule. With DLC now on the record as unplanned, there is an open world for speculation on what – and in case of this debate, where – could be highlighted. So, here is a short list of places I wish were utilized more in Tears of the Kingdom and hope to see highlighted should they decide to pursue DLC:
1. Ancient Observatory Deck: Okay… am I missing something here? Was there some lore piece that went over my head? Aside from the crystalized charge chest, this place contains nothing of gameplay value, Located directly below Tuft Mountain – who in turn is directly below a flux construct – doesn’t add any indication to me as to what this area is supposed to be other than a relic of the Zonai’s past in the Depths. It’s almost begging for an addition to the storyline. Perhaps something to do with Mineru?
2. Akkala Citadel/Ancient Underground Fortress: Sure, they add a cave or two, some armor, Gloom Hands, and a Gleeok. But I’m still left asking: what’s inside this place? What secrets lay deeper inside the walls? Why is the Fierce Deity armor there? There’s some relatively concrete ideas on how this place operated based on context and conversations, but I would love to see this turn into a mini-dungeon at least, with its own boss, puzzles, and story. The Depths counterpart to this, the Ancient Underground Fortress, left just as much to be desired. I’ll recognize that the place got a much-needed boost of activity in the second visit, and being able to venture inside parts of the citadel were enjoyable, but there could be SO MUCH MORE. With the immense size and multiple levels, the Citadel could be a massive adventure, and the Underground Fortress containing its own layers and areas could have provided more information on what it was used for and how it’s connected to the fortress above.
3. Lanayru Promenade: What was this area before the calamity used for? Stretching from Kakariko to Mount Lanayru and going through the Peak of Awakening, And while the Eastern end was revealed to have a massive cave system leading to the Lanayru Bay, the underground path appears less-than man-made, save for the shrine inside. In the center of the Promenade there lies behind a waterfall a collection of Zonai devices and the jewel for a shrine quest – but why? What did the Zonai use for this area? What did the Sheikah use for this area, connecting their village to the mountain? What about the Zora, or the Hylians? I’d love to see this place as it was before, or at least some clues as to what it was used for. The place seems regal enough to have more hidden inside it, and screams “mini-dungeon” to me. If we’re assigning a side quest to each sage, this might be the one featuring Sidon.
4. Mekar Island: Zeltik pointed me towards the Mystery of Mekar Island in Breath of the Wild. In Tears of the the Kingdom, the overpowered skeleton crew is replaced by an electric Wizzrobe and a Gloom Spawn. I’m still trying to figure out what makes you get one or the other, as Gloom Hands did not respawn during the Blood Moon, only the Wizzrobe did. What’s most peculiar about this island, though, is that it is one of the very few places on the map with no Depths equivalent. While there may not be much to explore here necessarily, perhaps as part of a quest, we may be led to this infamous island, and perhaps finally get to see what lies underneath!
5. Arbiter’s Grounds/Gerudo Underground Cemetery: There was a great deal of speculation as to whether or not the Lightning Temple would in fact be the Arbiter’s Grounds. They’re practically on top of one another. So, while I understand a great deal of time has passed and repairs and reconstruction to things like this often take place adjacent to the original structure, I don’t think I was the only one that was let down when finding out I wouldn’t be revisiting one of my favorite Zelda dungeons. Underneath it is a small cemetery plot crawling with Gibdo, but nothing significant in terms of lore. What’s more, there’s a coliseum just next to the cemetery, which also has me reminiscent of the structure of the Arbiter’s Ground and where the Mirror of Twilight was placed. I’d love to see more of how these two or three structures are connected as part of a second quest with Riju.
6. Strock Lake: The lake lacks a lot, but gives this sense of importance to it. The towering island in the center has no Depths equivalent, there are no caves around the lake, not even a sub-boss. I just feel as if this is an area that has always lacked things, and could be an ideal spot to highlight in DLC. This would be Tulin’s new quest location.
7. The “Akkala Wilds Peninsula”: Northeast of Death Mountain and Skull Lake, there is a small section of land that juts out from Hyrule. It’s the end of the map, and there’s nothing incredibly noteworthy there. So… why is it there? What would it lead to? Is there something in the cliff behind it that’s been blocked off? Given proximity to Eldin, maybe this would be Yunobo’s new quest. There is no Depths equivalent to this one, either. It’s just so strange and… random? It leaves me wanting answers!
Honorable mentions for locations (and their Sage or NPC counterparts) include: Gut Check Rock (Yunobo), Hebra Plunge (Tulin), Oakle’s Navel, Pikida Stonegrove (Tulin), the mouth of Rutala River at the base of the East Reservoir Lake (Sidon), Military Training Camp (Monster-Control Crew), Seres Scablands (Penn), Tingel/Ankel/Knuckel/Davdi Islands (Beedle… because I’m chaotic like that), Old Town Prison, Royal Ancient Lab Ruins (Robbie/Josha/Purah), Tanagar Canyon (Impa/Turo/Paya), and Robred’s Dropoff/the Graveyard (yes, I’m aware there’s a cool cave here, but a graveyard is a graveyard.)
What areas would you want to see get more action in the Tears of the Kingdom if they decide to create DLC? What do you think of my list? I’m excited to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Josh Wittmershaus is a writer at Zelda Dungeon. Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, he now resides in Northern California. Aside from Zelda, Josh enjoys playing music, seeing live music, music history, and all other things music. He also enjoys skating, hockey, and the occasional political or philosophical thought exercise.