Leading up to the new The Legend of Zelda debut, Nintendo shared details about the game in a series of Ask the Developer interviews. Producer Eiji Aonuma, Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Technical Director Takuhiro Dohta, and Art Director Satoru Takizawa, and Sound Director Hajime Wakai weighed in on development in each installment. In the fourth entry, the focus was on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom building and fusing. That meant showing off a scythe people could craft, how glue peeks up at areas to show it is a customized item, and Takizawa explaining how “‘magic’ ultimately became…ahem, an electric fan.”
Things began with Producer Aonuma explaining Director Fujibayashi was the one who wanted to add The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom building and fusing elements for custom creations. Fujibayashi then explained how he made his case for that element:
Back then, I tried creating vehicles using only the mechanisms and parts available in the previous game and presented them. For instance, I used spinning cog wheels as tyres and attached four of them to a board to create a car. I also made a paddle steamer by attaching boards to those self-rotating cog wheels. By assembling stone slabs into a gun barrel and using a Remote Bomb, I also created a cannon that shoots Ancient Spheres. I attached it to a car to create a tank. (Laughs) By showing these ideas, I proposed that if Link had the ability to attach things together, we could create this new kind of gameplay using materials we already had available. This was how we came up with the idea of creating vehicles with the Ultrahand ability in this title.
After that, members of the team discussed some of the things people could accomplish when building or fusing in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom with Fuse and Ultrahand. Takizawa noted Fuse could be used to make a scythe weapon. He also noted the visually apparent glue would be present to show it was a new creation and fused item. Sound Director Wakai also noted distinctive sound effects were used to convey the connections.
Aonuma and Technical Director Dohta also talked about how the “magic gauge” this time around is a Zonai Devices, which looks like a battery. Dohta noted, “Using this power, for example, you can even create something absurd, such as an “omni-directional flamethrower”. There are many moments where you can cheat in a good way.” It was after that when Takizawa explained how something “supernatural” was transformed into something perhaps easier to understand:
The initial concept of this game was to use the “supernatural power” of an unknown civilisation, as opposed to the Sheikah civilisation’s “super ancient technology” in the previous game, so we decided to create lots of handy items with magical properties. However, even if we describe these items as “supernatural”, players won’t use them unless they know what they are. So, this thing we were calling “magic” ultimately became…ahem, an electric fan.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will come to the Nintendo Switch on May 12, 2023.