One of the most surprising features to come out of the most recent trailer for Tears of the Kingdom, is the amount of vehicles that appear to be in the game. Nintendo added a motorcycle in Breath of the Wild DLC, however, it looks like Nintendo are going one step further with Tears of the Kingdom, and there is some evidence to suggest we are about to build our own vehicles from objects we find around Hyrule. Today I want to look closer at vehicles in Tears of the Kingdom, what we know so far, plus have a go at predicting how this could work.
Before we get into it today, let me know in the comments what you think about vehicles in Tears of the Kingdom. Are you excited to build your own car or flying machine, and how do you think it’s going to work?
Vehicles we saw in the trailer
The latest Tears of the Kingdom trailer was pretty exciting, and was packed full of good information. Nintendo manage to strike the balance between showing a fair amount, but not really giving anything away. Roughly half way through the trailer, just after Link appears to be given his new powers, he reaches out with his right arm, uses this power to grab something in the water and pull it out. This isn’t magnesis, this is a new green power, most likely given to him by Princess Zelda or Godess Hylia. Link pulls this item out of the water, which appears to be a wheel with a partial axel attached to it.
In the very next shot in the trailer we see Link driving what looks to be a car, although it looks like it’s been put together in a fairly ad hoc manner. The item Link just pulled out of the river looks like it’s now attached to this makeshift vehicle as one of the back wheels, and both back wheels appear to be glowing green. Link is standing at the front of the car, hands on some kind of steering mechanism, and the vehicle looks like it’s out together with old wood at the back. It looks rickety, like a go-kart put together by pieces you might find around Hyrule. It has two front lights, plus what looks to be some kind of engine or energy cell in the middle at the back. Both back wheels are glowing green, so that energy could be related to Link’s new powers vai his arm. Green energy certainly seems to be a large theme of Tears of the Kingdom.
Next we can see a hot air baloon travelling over Hyrule. We can just about make out a character standing on the hot air baloon, and it’s probably Link. It looks likle there could be some green energy in the middle there, perhaps acting as a power source once again. The base of the hot air baloon looks like it’s made from wood, although the baloon part of the vehicle looks like it’s specifically designed to be just that.
Finally, we see Link flying high in the sky on a third vehicle, this time it looks like a make-shift hover craft, but flying much higher in the sky amongst the sky islands. Here we have wheels on each side of a square or rectangular base. The base looks similar to one of the metal doors you can interact with in Shrines in the original Breath of the Wild, but it could just as easily be concrete or wood. The wheels on each side look like propellors or engines, which look similar to floor fans. Link is very high in the sky, and it doesn’t look like he’s very secure up here on his vehicle. Once again we have glowing green icons on the sides and bottom of the wheels or engines, which could be linked to the green energy in the game.
Going back to the previous trailer for the name reveal we also saw Link flying on a wooden wing in the air. I don’t think anyone thought at the time this would be a build your own kind of feature. Looking back on it now with this new information we have, and given it looks like its made from wood then it’s not beyond the imagination to think Link could build this wooden flying wing and use it to travel across the sky.
How the vehicles could work
We’ve seen Link picking out the pieces of a vehicle from the water, so it looks like we have to find these items around Hyrule and then put them together. How we determine the features of the vehicle remains to be seen. For example, is it just a car or does it fly? We have seen Link find a wheel, but what happens after that? Does he have to find all the pieces and put them together there and then, or do you collect pieces and take them to some kind of Hyrulian Garage. All of the individual pieces look large, and it’s going to be strange to grab them all with the green magic and drag them around until you find all the pieces you need for a full vehicle. I’m really interested in what the UI looks like to build a vehicle, if that is what we’re going to do.
The four vehicles we’ve seen so far look very different. The first one looks like an off road vehicle, the second one is a hot air baloon which seems like a pretty chill way to travel through the skies. The third one looks like a death trap, and the final one seems like something the hobgoblin would ride from Spider-man.
The green energy on the vehicles appears to be a clue. We’ve seen these green energy spirals in a few locations around Hyrule. We’ve seen one green spiral over Ganondorf, btu we’ve seen a couple of green spirals dotted around hyrule. One at the start of the new trailer, we can see it glowing in the night sky. We can see another one when we see Hateno Village. Previously I thought they could be warp points, but given the elements of the vehicles are glowing green then perhaps these green swirls are refueling stations. It’s not really clear where these vehicles get their power from at the moment, and they both glow green, so Link could use these glowing green points of interest to help refuel the vehicles.
The durability of these vehicles isn’t clear at the moment either. Given the DIY nature of the vehicles, it could be they fall apart after a few journeys. The weapon durability system could be applied to traversal too.
I’ve seen a few questions since the Nintendo Direct, and a few jokes related to the vehicles. Lots of people are comparing the game to Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts. If we are about to get a system where we can build out own vehicles, then I think that sounds pretty good. The vehicles we’ve seen so far are leaning into the physics elements of what made Breath of the Wild feel so good, and also gave the game such longevity. One of the reasons people are still playing Breath of the Wild to this day, is the physics engine and all the cool tricks you can perform. We could create make-shift hot air balloons before with enemies and items in the game, now we can do it for real and this could open up a whole new world of physics and traversal tricks. I imagine Nintendo took a look at what fans were doing with Breath of the Wild, and have decided to lean into it.
Nintendo did include a motorcycle in the DLC for Breath of the Wild. That proved very popular with fans, so it looks like that is coming back, although this time we’ll have an element of control over the vehicle feature.
The Master Cycle Zero is a recurring Item in The Legend of Zelda series. As part of the “EX The Champions’ Ballad” Main Quest, it is revealed that the Hylian Champion can acquire a Divine Beast of his own through completing the trials given by Monk Maz Koshia. After defeating the monk as part of his final trial, he will award Link with the Master Cycle Zero, a Divine Beast created for the “true hero”. Like the other Divine Beasts, it is modelled after an animal, specifically a Horse though unlike the other Divine Beasts it is much smaller in comparison and takes the form of a motorcycle with a horse motif. Due to its Horse design, certain characters like Konba identify it as such. Link can activate it via the Master Cycle Zero Rune which allows him to summon the Master Cycle Zero, though he is unable to do this in certain areas such as Gerudo Desert. Like a Horse, Link can mount and ride it, engage in mounted combat while riding it, and use it to run over enemies. However unlike Horses, it requires Fuel which can be produced by filling its tank with materials.
Tears of the Kingdom logo
Finally today I wanted to draw your attention back to the logo for Tears of the Kingdom. Yes, it’s two dragons connected, eating their own tails, and it could be an indication that the Zelda timeline is a loop. I subscribed to this theory, and even made a video about it. However, looking again at the logo, while it is 2 dragons, it also looks very much like a tyre. Was it staring us in the face this whole time? The outline of the logo looks very much like a tyre with track marks on it, similar to the tyres on the back of the off road vehicle we see in the trailer. Therefore, the logo for Tears of the Kingdom, could be giving us a big clue about the one of the mechanics. Zelda logos are often informative when it comes to mechanics in the game, Wind Waker being a good example, where it shows us one of the main traversal methods in the game.
Let me know in the comments what you think of the vehicles in the game, and do you want this ‘build your own concept’. As always, I’d love to hear from you.