Posted on October 11 2023 by Rod Lloyd
For all the acclaim Tears of the Kingdom has received over the past five months, there have no doubt been criticisms, big and small, laid at the game’s feet in that time too. Some particularly prominent complaints relate to perceived discontinuities between the game and its predecessor Breath of the Wild, as players have felt certain events and alterations to the world between the two titles were brushed aside or left unexplained. The question of what happened to the Divine Beasts is a common example.
Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma recently sat down with UK-based publication The Telegraph to talk the decision-making behind the latest game in the series. While much of the interview covers some well-trodden ground regarding Tears of the Kingdom‘s development, such as the size of the game’s world and the conception of the Ultrahand ability, one particular exchange involving series continuity has been making headlines this week.
The Telegraph‘s Jack Rear noted the discourse within Tears of the Kingdom‘s player-base surrounding certain changes made to Hyrule between the game and Breath of the Wild, such as the unexplained disappearance of Sheikah Towers and Shrines.
Nintendo apparently has its own “internal explanations about what happened,” as explained by Fujibayashi:
“They disappeared after the Calamity was defeated (sealed)… 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.
“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. The main civilizations in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom are completely different, so we thought about the game based on concepts that match each of these civilizations.”
There you have it. The Sheikah tech in question simply disappeared by some unspecified “mechanism or reason.” One could assume this explanation applies to the missing Divine Beasts as well.
How satisfying one finds Fujibayashi’s explanation here is completely up to the person. At least we have a definitive answer, right? In any case, I personally find the explanation fairly weak, especially because it did not come from the game — the primary text — itself. Some dialogue or a cutscene included near the start of Tears of the Kingdom communicating the disappearance of the Sheikah technology would have done a lot to pacify, in this instance at least, the little frustrations I had with the game’s storytelling.
I have to ask though: Did Kass disappear by some mysterious “mechanism or reason” too? I jest, of course.
You can read the entire Telegraph interview right here.
Fujibayashi and Aonuma do share a few other interesting tidbits about Tears of the Kingdom, such as the fact that the development team briefly considered including Skyward Sword‘s Skyloft in the game and a humorous application for Cuccos during gameplay.
What do you think of Fujibayshi’s explanation for the missing Sheikah technology? Are you satisfied? Are you frustrated? Let us know in the comments below.
Rod Lloyd is the Editor-In-Chief at Zelda Dungeon, overseeing the news and feature content for the site. Rod is considered the veteran of the writing team, having started writing for Zelda Informer in 2014 as a Junior Editor. After ZD and ZI officially merged in 2017, he stepped into the Managing Editor role and has helped steer the ship ever since. He stepped up to lead the writing team as Editor-In-Chief in 2023.
You can reach Rod at: email@example.com