Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi has revealed Nintendo’s reasoning behind the dissappearance of Sheikah technology in the latest entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise, and hinted at why NPCs haven’t bothered to investigate the vanishing.
While the setting in Tears of the Kingdom is the same as that of Breath of the Wild, the Hyrule experienced by players exploring Tears of the Kingdom is radically altered when compared to that seen in 2017’s Breath of the Wild. For one, the sky is quite literally falling, and vast chasms have opened leading to a new hidden realm below. Amid the confusion, the Sheikah technology and shrines that once dotted the landscape have disappeared, as have the guardians and the four divine beasts that watched over it, leaving many fans to wonder why.
“They disappeared after the Calamity was defeated (sealed),” revealed Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi in a new Telegraph interview. “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.”
Fujibayashi went on to note that the people of Hyrule are accustomed to seeing dramatic changes overtake the world around them, so it makes sense that they would accept the disappearance of the tech as just another happening in a world gone mad. The desensitized nature of Hyrule’s citizens also explains why NPCs rarely if ever talk about the conspicuous absense of the shrines and other oddities. After all, compared to witnessing the rise of a demon king and seeing a castle borne into the sky atop pure malice, the fact that some tech has gone missing barely seems worthy of discussion.
“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,” continued the director.
Thankfully, the content gap that might have been left by the missing Sheikah tech in Tears of the Kingdom has been amply filled by the appearance of an entirely different breed of mysterious and ancient shrines, monster forts, an archipelago of floating islands, and the cavernous expanse of the deep.
There’s also a wealth of new gameplay options and opportunities for shenanigans afforded by Link’s newfound Zonai abilities, which have already been harnessed by the community to build constructs that have revolutionized travel, defied the laws of physics, and elevated Hyrulian warefare to an entirely new level.
Last month Nintendo confirmed it had no plans to release additional content or DLC for Tears of the Kingdom at this time. Instead, the company will focus on the next game in the beloved franchise, though Zelda boss Eiji Aonuma left the door ajar for Nintendo to revisit Tears of the Kingdom’s take on Hyrule in upcoming titles.
“In the first place, the reason I decided to make this a sequel to the previous work was because I thought there was value in experiencing a new game in that Hyrule place,” said Aonuma at the time. “If that’s the case, if a new reason arises, we might return to the same world again. Whether it’s a sequel or a new work, I think it’s going to be a completely new game, so I hope you’re looking forward to it.”
Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video gaming news for IGN. He has over eight years experience of covering breaking developments in multiple scientific fields and absolutely no time for your shenanigans. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer