During the Tears of the Kingdom gameplay demo yesterday, the Zonai were confirmed to be in the game with the Zonai Charge item that dropped from the enemy construct. Today more Tears of the Kingdom artwork has surfaced through the Official Japanese Zelda Twitter account, and it shows off these contructs in more detail. Today I want to take a closer look at The Zonai in Tears of the Kingdom, including this new artwork, The Zonai Contructs we know about so far, Zonai charges, and speculate about the role of the Zonai related to Link’s design and getting his new abilities in Tears of the Kingdom.
Before we get into it today let me know in the comments what role you think the Zonai will serve in Tears of the Kingdom?
First of all today let’s have a look at the brand new artwork released from the Offical Zelda Twitter account in Japan. This depicts a Zonai Construct with a couple of items; in it’s right hand we can see the flame thrower in the shape of a dragon head. In it’s left hand we can see a bow, also likely to be a Zonai design, as we can see the Zonai pattern in the bow design. We’ve seen the flame thrower before, back in the E3 2021 trailer, we saw Link using this on his left arm as he was battling an enemy that appeared to be attached to a wall.
There’s also some text that goes with the tweet and it reads “[Golem] If he finds someone he sees as an enemy, he’ll start a fight, so be careful. It seems to be often seen on ‘Sorashima’, which floats in the sky above the clouds.”
The artwork is fantastic, and now we know where we get the flamethrower from. The dragon head design is distinctively Zonai by design, as they are a people we believe to worship strength. We have also seen a lot of other dragons in the game, some flying in the sky, some on the doors of the building Link burst out of in the name reveal trailer from September 2022, plus in te design for the logo for the game.
We met these Zonai Constructs for the first time in the gameplay reveal yesterday, and they appear to be the Guardians of the sky islands. We saw Link fighting against a couple of Soldier Constructs, plus when Link crosses the river on his makeshift boat, we briefly see a glimpse of another type of Construct called a Ranger. We have seen a much larger Construct before, again, in the E3 2021 trailer, although this Contruct looked much larger than the smaller ones we have seen on the Sky Islands. We don’t know the exact role of the Zonai Constructs yet, but they appear to be patrolling the Sky Islands. From the translated text we learn as much, being described as “If he finds someone he sees as an enemy, he’ll start a fight”.
One of the biggest moments of the gameplay trailer was when Link defeated one of the contructs and they dropped a Zonai Charge. Given the enemy drops the charge, then we can infer that the Constructs are of Zonai origin, perhaps designed and built by the Zonai people. The name, Zonai Charge, seems to indicate they will power something. We have seen a battery power design in the user interface, and I think these Zonai Charges that drop from enemies power our abilities, which could be Zonai in origin too.
When Link uses his Ultrahand ability to put together items to form vehicles, he activates certain items like fans with a quick hit of whatever he’s holding. For example, to activate the fan laying on the ground, he smacks it with a stick, turning it on, and bringing up the battery design in the UI. This appears to deplete quite quickly. Therefore, I think we’re going to have to collect Zonai Charges to power our vehicles. Whether this is directed related to using Ultrahand alone, or this also powers other abilities like Recall, Fuse and Ascend too. I didn’t see the battery in the UI when using the other abilities, so we’ll have to wait to find out.
Given we can infer that the Constructs are Zonai technology because they drop Zonai charges, does that mean the Sky Islands are also Zonai? If these machines are patrolling the sky islands, then they must be guarding something for a reason, because they have been programmed to do so, perhaps by the Zonai because the Sky Islands themselves are Zonai.
That brings me to Link’s abilities and Link’s design. Link looks dramatically different in Tears of the Kingdom, he has longer hair, his right arm seems modified, with that distinctive Zonai pattern running up his arm. If we require Zonai Charges to power our abilities, then does that mean Link’s abilities are from the Zonai too? We can see early in the game Link gets attacked by Ganondorf’s Corpse, he’s half burnt, desprate to save Princess Zelda. In a recent trailer, Zelda is heard asking someone to “lend him your power”… could this be Princess Zelda asking a member of the Zonai tribe to save Link, given his horrific injuries.
Previously in Breath of the Wild, Link has the Sheikah Slate, and this was the source of his runes, and the ways we could interact with the world. It appears as if we don’t have the slate in this game, and therefore we’d be looking for a new source of power. The Zonai seem like the perfect candidates for this source of power. The Zonai have been described by Nintendo themselves as “the greatest mystery in Hyrule that hasn’t yet been solved!”. It looks like we’re about to get to the bottom of that mystery.
The Zonai has never appeared in a Legend of Zelda game, but many clues have been left around Hyrule that paint a picture of prehistoric people. They had their own technology, but they were clearly advanced enough to create great temples and structures strewn around Hyrule. These structures can be visited and seen in Breath of the Wild. One thing that is surprising is their technology appears to be very advanced.
The Barbarian armour holds clues to the Zonai by saying “bolsters your fighting spirit and raises your attack power” plus it was worn by “an ancient warlike tribe from the Faron region”. This armour can be found by in the mazes in Breath of the Wild, plus you can find plenty of ancient clues in the Faron region itself.
We’ve speculated about the Zonai being in Tears of the Kingdom since 2019, and it’s great to see the Zonai confirmed. What role they will play in the story, we’ll have to wait and see, but it looks like their technology will play a massive role in gameplay, so I can only assume the Zonai will also play a huge role in the story too.
Let me know what you think about the inclusion of the Zonai in Tears of the Kingdom.