We’re Convinced These ‘Tears of the Kingdom’ Theories Are True

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As we creep closer to the “Tears of the Kingdom” release date, fans are busying themselves crafting elaborate theories about what the game might have in store. It launches on Nintendo Switch on May 12, BTW.

Since it was announced in 2019, fans have been diving deep into Zelda lore, trying to predict “Tears of the Kindom’s” story, villain and place in the timeline.

The first trailer made up for its sub-1.30 minute runtime by being packed with clues, cliffhangers, and creepy music. (Fans also have theories about that.) Nintendo has released three other trailers and one extended gameplay video since, which have all fuelled the fire of theories about time travel, the Triforce, and Ganon.

Because we hate to miss out on any kind of fun, we’ve rounded up all the best “Tears of the Kingdom” theories we’ve seen so far. We’ll update this list with any new theories that make the (plausible) rounds between now and release day.

We Can Play as Zelda In “Tears of the Kingdom”

Chalk it up to wishful thinking, but some fans are convinced we’ll be able to play as Zelda in “Tears of the Kingdom”. The theory comes from observations Twitter user TAHK0 made about the 2019 announcement trailer. In the trailer, Zelda and Link are exploring a cavern or dungeon together. They’re both wearing adventurer’s gear, reminiscent of the Champion’s Tunic in “BOTW”, and different moments of the trailer show either one of them — but never both of them — holding a torch. TAHK0 posits that the torch switching hands is a clue that players will be able to choose between playing as Link and Zelda in “Tears of the Kingdom”, with their character being the one holding the torch.

It is possible these clips are taken from different parts of the game, or, that Zelda and Link are simply passing the torch between themselves, but the theory has stuck with hopeful fans. TOTK” seems like it’s expanding on a lot of the things players loved about “BOTW”, and what would be a better way to do that than with a new playable character?

“Tears of the Kingdom” Is a Prequel to “Skyward Sword”

This one requires some understanding of the Zelda timeline, but here’s the TL;DR: “Skyward Sword” is the first game in the series chronologically, with the events of “BOTW” taking place hundreds of years later. In “Skyward Sword”, humans live on floating islands that the goddess Hylia created a myriad ago when the Demon King Demise invaded the surface. And you know what we’ve seen in the “TOTK” trailers? A lot of floating islands.

Ergo, one of the most popular theories is that “Tears of the Kingdom” is actually a prequel to “Skyward Sword”, and will directly explore the epic battle between Hylia and Demise that led to the creation of the sky islands. If true, this would prove that the Zelda timeline is one big loop of death and rebirth. Whether “Tears of the Kingdom” is a prequel or a sequel will be the final piece in the puzzle.

Ganon Won’t Be the Villain of “Tears of the Kingdom”

That leads us into the next theory, which posits that Demise will be the real “Tears of the Kingdom” villain. That leads us into the next theory, which posits that Demise will be the real “Tears of the Kingdom” villain. But wait, all of the “TOTK” marketing has shown us something that looks a hell of a lot like Ganon’s reanimated corpse???

One theory is that the game’s first act will involve Zelda and Link destroying Ganon for good, and just when they think the danger has passed, Demise will invade Hyrule and take his place as the true “Tears of the Kingdom” villain.

There is some evidence to support this theory: Demise is the villain of “Skyward Sword” — which would be especially telling if the prequel theory is true — and the overarching villain of the Legend of Zelda series. It’s also Demise who curses Link and Zelda to be eternally reborn and tortured with a physical manifestation of his hate and rage. That the physical manifestation of his hate and rage is Ganon is further evidence, especially if “TOTK” is both the start and end of the Zelda timeline.

And from a gameplay perspective, this theory also makes sense because a new villain would be more satisfying. We already beat Ganon in “BOTW”. Give us a bigger, badder villain for the sequel!

The Deku Tree Is Gone In “Tears of the Kingdom”

This one’s pieced together from mere glimpses, but they’re convincing glimpses. During the gameplay trailer, a Korok wearing a traveller’s backpack calls out for help, saying “I need to reach my friend!” Coupled with the fact that the place where the Deku tree should be is bare during the other “Tears of the Kingdom” trailers, many fans are convinced something bad has happened in Great Hyrule Forest. They’re less sure what that something bad is — or maybe the tree ascended on a sky island — but all the evidence so far points to the Deku tree being missing in “Tears of the Kingdom”.

“Tears of the Kingdom” Will Have An Underground Map

Fans were hesitant when they learned “TOTK” would reuse the “BOTW” map, but Nintedo has assured us there will be differences. Besides the obvious sky islands, one change fans are hoping for is an underground map à la Siofra River in “Elden Ring”. For evidence, they’re citing one particular moment in the second trailer when we see a group of Bokoblins and Lizalfos standing in what appears to be a dark cave or mine. Lore experts like Monster Maze have pointed out the stalactites and the reverberating sound effects suggest a large, hollow space. But they’re going even deeper and looking at the otherworldly vegetation and the blue flames — which are typically seen around spirits — to suggest we may even visit the Underworld in “Tears of the Kingdom”.

The Sky Islands Are Falling Apart

Early on in the gameplay video, we see Link use his Recall ability on a rock that fell off one the sky islands. The ability sends the rock floating back up, giving Link a quick lift to the islands. Now, it’s likely that these rocks fall to the ground sporadically simply to give you more opportunities to quick travel between the ground and the sky; but perhaps it’s symptomatic of the islands slowly being destroyed – a tantalizing prospect for fans. This would, of course, go against the “Skyward Sword” prequel theory, but hey — a theory’s a theory!

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