Tears of the Kingdom’s Focus on Freedom Was a Direct Reaction to Fans Messing With Breath of the Wild

If you posted gameplay or fanart – or really, anything at all – about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild over the past six years, congrats: you may have had a small hand in influencing its sequel.

In a long interview published by Nintendo, producer Eiji Aonuma, director Hidemaro Fujibayashi, and designer Satoru Takizawa talked about how the reaction to the previous game guided their approach to Tears of the Kingdom, and how it encouraged them to give players even more freedom.

When asked if they ever watch fan gameplay videos, Aonuma answered, “there was some talk about them among the development team.”

“The direction of giving players the freedom to do anything in this game came about precisely because of the reactions of people who played the last game,” he said.

“Even though it’s been six years since the last title was released, many fans still post drawings, comments and videos on social media,” Takizawa added. “Especially when the team is facing difficulties during development, these things light up the eyes of our staff and make them think, ‘Alright, let’s show ’em what we’ve got!’ “

“Letting players come up with their own solutions to puzzles gives them a stronger sense of being the only one to have figured them out.

After all three thanked the fans, Aonuma went into more detail about how the reception to past Zelda games impacted their approach to Tears of the Kingdom’s puzzles.

“I’ve seen some fans say that the Legend of Zelda games make them feel like they’re the only player to have solved the puzzle, and that’s what they like about the series,” he said. “I think letting players come up with their own solutions to puzzles gives them a stronger sense of being the only one to have figured them out than if we got them to use pre-defined solutions. In a sense, this is something unique to the Legend of Zelda series, and I think it’s something that’s brought out even more in this title.”

Elsewhere in the interview, they also gave advice to those who’ve been eagerly awaiting to start playing tonight – especially since Aonuma has finished Tears of the Kingdom 20 times already.

That sense of freedom and exploration is certainly something that’s come up a lot around Tears of the Kingdom, with IGN’s Tom Marks writing in his 10/10 review that it “both revamps old ground and introduces vast new areas so immense it somehow makes me wonder if Breath of the Wild was actually all that big.”

For even more on Tears of the Kingdom while you wait to start playing, check out our spoiler-free preview. And once you do dive into Hyrule all over again, be sure to keep up with our guide pages to help you out with all that exploration.

Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.

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