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‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’: Nintendo’s rocketing success

Nintendo releases its biggest game in years: "Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom." (Courtesy of Nintendo)
Nintendo releases its biggest game in years: "Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom." (Courtesy of Nintendo)

Hear this interview on our podcast, Here & Now Anytime.

Nintendo’s having a blockbuster year. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” made more than $1 billion last month. This Friday, the company releases the hotly anticipated “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.”

For the Washington Post’s Gene Park, the new game is well worth the six-year wait.

“I think anyone who enjoyed the game ‘Breath of the Wild’ is going to absolutely love this one,” Park says.

Using fans, rockets, and other devices, Link can take to the skies or explore below. (Courtesy of Nintendo)

Back in 2017, the acclaimed “Breath of the Wild” revolutionized open-world game design and paved the way for the Nintendo Switch’s record-setting sales numbers. “Tears of the Kingdom” expands on its predecessor in scope and detail.

“The game is more than double the size of ‘Breath,’” Park wrote for the Post. “Islands, caves and dungeons dot the sky, while an underground region rests below the land of Hyrule.”

The biggest addition, however, lies in how “Tears of the Kingdom” rewards player creativity. Protagonist Link comes equipped with new abilities that can rewind time, manipulate objects and assemble complex contraptions.

“If you need a car to get across the world, you can just build yourself a car,” Park says. “There were many times where I needed to get across an endless pit, so I built myself a little roller coaster to go across.”

Protagonist Link in “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.” (Courtesy of Nintendo)

While train tracks aren’t new to the series, “Tears of the Kingdom” gives you the tools to construct rockets, airships or even fire-breathing robots — high-tech marvels for the otherwise fantastical Hyrule.

The story got tuned up as well. With spare dialogue and infrequent cutscenes, “Breath of the Wild” let its majestic world speak for itself. The sequel adds considerably more narrative, complete with side adventures.

“There’s even a quest where Link becomes a print journalist — there’s a whole newspaper company there.” Park says. “Part of your assignment is to find Princess Zelda.”

“Tears of the Kingdom” gives you the tools to construct rockets, airships or even fire-breathing robots. (Courtesy of Nintendo)

Zelda might be missing in “Tears of the Kingdom,” but Nintendo certainly doesn’t lack ambition.

“I think it’s safe to say that Nintendo is slowly approaching a Disney level in terms of being a multimedia company,” says Park.

But while it might enjoy success at the box office and in its theme parks, “Tears of the Kingdom” proves that the company still knows how to make games that keep people coming back to Hyrule.


James Perkins-Mastromarino and produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd Mundt. Perkins-Mastromarino adapted it for the web.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.