Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Creation Tool, Structures, Vehicles – Part Of The Satisfaction
Our first thought upon seeing the new ultra-hand feature in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was, wow! We couldn’t even have thought that developers would come up with such a versatile and complex creation tool simultaneously. The fans of Zelda games were surprised because the trend of user-generated content was going to be embraced, following the fashion of titles like Minecraft, Terraria or Fortnite, but always within the logic of Zelda.
Shocked by such a feat, which we first saw in the trailer introduced by Eiji Aonuma, our next thought was: how the hell is this going to work? Yes, something could be glimpsed through the gameplay, but it all seemed too complex to be viable. You could pick up objects, move them where you wanted, rotate them 360 degrees, and precisely attach them to other elements in ZTOTK. And all with just two sticks and a few buttons … Impossible! We asked ourselves a lot of questions and doubted that something like this was possible.
The novelty of Zelda: TOTK in which Nintendo could not fail
we thought in our gut that it had to work, because otherwise it was going to be an indelible stain, and above all in a saga as beloved as Zelda. Here Nintendo could not fail. The funny thing is that we have tried to look for patents related to this construction tool because we are sure that its programming did not cause a few headaches. Interestingly, we have found the patent for the infiltration ability, one related to the ingenious rewind technique, and even one that refers to the novel descents from the heavens, when Link dives head first.
But nothing about the creation tool! Maybe ultrasound isn’t something patentable after all, but something that just had to be done right. In this sense, it has reminded me a lot of what was achieved with the fantastic Dreams. We are sure it has served as a source of inspiration. Media Molecule came up with a system where you could rotate and place items very precisely, and only using the DualShock controller. It seemed easy, but behind it was a rather powerful engineering work.
At ZTOTK, We are convinced that the work has not been minor, although it has been adapted to the Nintendo canons: that is, giving precedence to accessibility. And if you look at the latter, the key is in the visual guides. When you activate the power of the ultra hand, the interactive elements appear orange and turn green when you are manipulating them. Likewise, they present a virtual shadow to guide you spatially before placing them, and they even present the X and Y axes to help you when rotating the objects in question.
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Everything is full of help and references, even showing you broken lines to know the exact point at which two elements are going to be connected. Finally, a kind of greenish glue represents the effective union of the materials, indicating to the player that something has been correctly linked. There’s even a very distinctive sound to tell you that something has come together or come loose! Eiji Aonuma (producer of the Zelda saga) was surprised by the incorporation of this strange viscous element, but he understood that this type of key was very important for the success of the dynamic.
Ultimately, if the Tears of the Kingdom creation tool works so well, it’s because Nintendo’s designers and programmers put a lot of effort into it. According to Takuhiro Dohta (technical director), “a lot of variables had to be adjusted”, probably the same ones that prevented the game from breaking. However, it has been confirmed that this playable feature was proposed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi (game director) during the early production phase, something that surely made it possible for everything to go well.
That… and that ZTOTK had a wide margin of development
New ways of playing were needed to make this sequel stand apart from Breath of the Wild … and this was one of the biggest. Eye, it’s not perfect. The drag-and-drop process is frustrating and requires some training – maybe a few hours of play to get the hang of it. However, given the intentions of the game (build certain structures and vehicles), as well as the limitations given by the type of control (basically the Nintendo Switch controller), it seems to me that the technical and design solutions adopted have been simply formidable.
We haven’t gotten to the point of creating our mecha robot with a built-in flamethrower yet, nor many other excited things that users have achieved. But we have a great time helping to stabilize Kabalit’s posts, building simple but effective vehicles, and solving puzzles making use of our unsuspected engineering imagination. And you, how are you handling the use of this powerful creation tool in ZTOTK? Are you comfortable making your inventions? Do you think it could have been better or are you satisfied with the technical solutions adopted?