Nintendo finally shared the trailer Zelda fans have been waiting for: An extended look at Tears of the Kingdom that rivals Breath of the Wild's legendary release date trailer. This was our final glimpse of the highly-anticipated sequel before its launch next month, and Nintendo didn't hold back. From the confirmation of Ganondorf's return to some exciting lore implications for longtime Zelda fans to hints at new gameplay mechanics, there are a ton of secrets hidden in the four-minute trailer.
Here are 20 things we noticed from the best Tears of the Kingdom trailer so far.
Guess Who's Back, Back Again: The Demon King Ganondorf
Ganondorf is officially returning in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. If you've been following the other trailers, it's seemed clear that Link's longtime nemesis would take center stage in the Breath of the Wild sequel, but we now have confirmation. The trailer included an awesome new rendition of Ganondorf's theme music, as well as a closer look at the King of Evil himself. Can we please get an amiibo, Nintendo?
This marks Ganondorf's first appearance in a mainline Zelda game since 2006's Twilight Princess. Calamity Ganon was the central villain of Breath of the Wild, but he didn't appear in his human form. We also heard a voiceover line from Ganondorf, which said, "Do not look away. You witness a king's revival, and the birth of his new world." It appears that Ganondorf is not the only villain at play in Tears of the Kingdom, though.
Is This the Zonai Leader, or Someone Else?
Last month's gameplay presentation confirmed the presence of the Zonai: An ancient, unseen tribe in Breath of the Wild that appears to play a huge role in Tears of the Kingdom. At the 1:42 mark of today's trailer, you can spot a brand new character with a very sinister look on their face. The character has gold horns, dark skin, and long, pointy white hair.
Looking back at the first Tears of the Kingdom trailer for a revelation and all I can say is:
— Brendan Graeber (@Ragga_Fragga) April 13, 2023
We don't know this character's allegiances yet, but it's very possible they could be a member of the Zonai tribe. IGN's Brendan Graeber noticed that this figure closely resembles the character seen on the wall hieroglyphics from Tears of the Kingdom's first official trailer. The wall art clearly depicts this character as someone in power, and they're surrounded by seven magatama-like objects, which could lie at the center of Tears of the Kingdom's title.
Are These the Tears of the Kingdom?
We may finally have an answer to what exactly Tears of the Kingdom's title is referring to. Throughout the trailer, multiple characters are seen holding magatamas that are most likely the game's titular Tears. There's a close-up shot of Zelda holding one, and eagle-eyed viewers can catch the Zora Prince Sidon wearing one on his hand. Ganondorf's even got one on his forehead. Will Link have to track down the seven Tears of the Kingdom during the events of the game? Do these belong to the Zonai? How did Zelda come into possession of a tear? There are still far more questions than answers at this point.
The Zelda series is no stranger to MacGuffins. Over the years, we've collected medallions, mirror shards, Fused Shadows, and — yes — tears. In Skyward Sword Link must collect Sacred Tears, and in Twilight Princess he has to hunt down Tears of Light. It's yet another connection Tears of the Kingdom shares with these two 3D Zelda titles.
Zelda's Whereabouts Revealed
Speaking of Zelda, we see Hyrule's princess for the first time following her long fall into a deep chasm in an earlier trailer. She's now wearing new earrings and accessories that resemble Zonai iconography. Seriously, this tribe is just all over this game.
Zelda is seen talking to an unnamed figure about Link. We don't get to see the face of this character, only the Zonai-looking robes they're wearing. The voice mentions that Link is their last line of defense, and Zelda appears surprised to learn that the person she's speaking to knows who Link is. The trailer ends with Zelda saying, "Link, you must find me," while holding the Master Sword.
The Restored Master Sword, and a Potential Link to the Past
An earlier clip of Tears of the Kingdom showed a broken version of Link's iconic Master Sword. The game's logo even includes the shattered blade. So how is it that Zelda is holding a completely unharmed version of the weapon at the end of the trailer?
We don't have the answers yet, but I'm going to theorize that time travel is at play.
In Breath of the Wild, Impa shares a legend with Link from the first Great Calamity 10,000 years ago. We see an image of a hero with the Master Sword fighting Ganon, and a Princess or Goddess beside him sealing the beast away.
In Tears of the Kingdom, Link's tattered green tunic looks very similar to the hero's clothes from this legend. This has had fans theorizing for years that Tears of the Kingdom could take place in two significantly different times: Present day following the events of Breath of the Wild, and 10,000 years ago.
Today's trailer lends even more credit to this theory because of the Master Sword. What if present day Link's Master Sword is destroyed by Ganondorf, and Link has to travel back in time to before the sword was broken to recover it? When Zelda says Link must find her, what if that's because she's in a completely different time than he is? Knowing the Zonai are an ancient tribe, it seems inevitable that time shenanigans will play a part in Tears of the Kingdom's story. Or who knows, maybe this will all be proven wrong a month from now.
Is That Din, the Goddess of Power?
I've got just one more lore-heavy theory for you before we get into some of the gameplay specifics of the trailer. But given that today is easily the most story information Nintendo has shared about Tears of the Kingdom, it's only fair you let me go off the Zelda deep end a little bit.
We see another unknown character for just a split second in the trailer. She's got orange hair, pointy Hylian ears, and she's using light magic that resembles Zelda's magic from Breath of the Wild.
One possible answer for this character's identity is the Goddess of Power, Din. Din and her sisters Nayru and Farore are at the center of Hyrule's creation myth. When the trio departed Hyrule, they left behind the three pieces of the Triforce. Din is the Goddess of Power, Nayru the Goddess of Wisdom, and Farore the Goddess of Courage. The character in this trailer looks very similar to Din's appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. If the three Goddesses are in the game, it would mark their first proper appearance as characters in a 3D Zelda title. Tears of the Kingdom is bringing in elements from all over the Zelda franchise, so it's certainly possible that it's time for these characters to make a comeback.
Another theory is this could be a transformed version of Zelda. This character is wearing the same earrings and accessories as Zelda at a different point in the trailer, and she's wearing the yellow magatama/tear around her neck.
Link's not alone in Tears of the Kingdom. While Breath of the Wild was a very solitary experience, it seems our hero will have some companions by his side in the new adventure. Namely, we saw the Zora Prince Sidon and the Gerudo Chief Riju fighting alongside Link. These characters were the present day Divine Beast pilots in Breath of the Wild. While present day Goron champion Yunobo and Rito champion Teba didn't appear in this trailer, Teba's son Tulin was also seen flying around with Link.
It's worth noting there was no sign of the champions from 100 years ago. We'll have to wait and see if Revali, Mipha, Daruk, and Urbosa play any role in this story.
Hyrule's Villagers Take Arms
It's not just the champions taking Link's side in battle. The new footage shows multiple instances of Hyrule's citizens taking arms to fight back against invading Moblins and Bokoblins. At 1:38 in the video, Link is riding across a battlefield filled with villagers equipped with swords and shields taking on enemies.
For even more villager interaction, Link is also seen riding on horseback, pulling a cart filled with passengers. Breath of the Wild lacked meaningful interactions with NPCs, and it appears Tears of the Kingdom is expanding on those mechanics in a big way.
Hyrule Is Rebuilding, Hateno Village Is Back
When they're not on the battlefield, it seems Hyrule's citizens are working to rebuild the kingdom in the aftermath of Breath of the Wild. The 2017 game's final scene showed Link and Zelda setting out to repair Hyrule, and it looks like it's come a long way in the time that's passed.
A new settlement is forming at the fountain outside of Hyrule Castle, and there are some new updates to the returning Hateno Village as well. The official Tears of the Kingdom website confirms that new towns are waiting to be explored.
This Journey Begins in the Sky
As we suspected following last month's gameplay demonstration, Tears of the Kingdom will begin on the Sky Islands. On Nintendo's website, the company confirmed that "Link begins his journey on one of the many mysterious floating islands that have suddenly appeared in the skies high above Hyrule. It’s there our hero will have to gain new abilities before returning to the surface world to begin his epic adventure." This sounds very similar to Breath of the Wild's Great Plateau, where Link had to gather the four Sheikah Slate abilities before setting out to explore the rest of Hyrule. It's probably safe to assume we'll get Fuse, Ascend, Ultrahand, and Recall in the opening moments of Tears of the Kingdom just like its predecessor.
Taking Things Underground
The sky has been the focus of Tears of the Kingdom's marketing to this point. But, it seems like there will be a ton to discover underground as well. We saw Link exploring caves in this trailer, including a minecart section where he was fighting a Construct enemy on another set of tracks. Nintendo's website confirmed the inclusion of underground exploration, saying there are "dank caves, and mysterious gaping chasms springing up across the world—all waiting to be explored."
Classic Zelda Bosses Make a Comeback
Lack of overall enemy variety was a fair criticism lobbied at Breath of the Wild. Nintendo is significantly upping the boss variety this time around, as we caught glimpses of at least three different bosses Link will have to face.
One returning boss is Gleeok, the three-headed dragon from the original Legend of Zelda game. You can also spot some sort of spider-like ice monster that briefly appears in the trailer. Plus, what the heck was that ink blob-looking thing? Returning foes like the Stone Talus and Lynels also made an appearance.
Did Nintendo Finally Show Us a Dungeon?
Longtime Zelda fans have been eagerly awaiting the confirmation of classic Zelda dungeons in Tears of the Kingdom. While the Sheikah Shrines and Divine Beasts certainly have their fans, they were a big departure from the lock-and-key-based dungeon design the series is known for.
After today's trailer, the jury's still out on what Tears of the Kingdom's take on dungeons will look like. However, in Gerudo Desert, we see a massive structure start to emerge from underground early on in the trailer. There are also gameplay snippets shown where it looks like Link is indoors solving puzzles. Could this be the classic dungeon experience we've been wanting? For now, we can only hope.
Fuse Gets Crazier With a Sword Shield Combo
Fans were already going nuts for Tears of the Kingdom's Fuse ability after it was revealed last month. From the moment Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma slapped a stick and a rock together, fans were sold. But today's trailer showed arguably the most unhinged example of Fuse yet: A sword and a shield fused into one. Is it a shord? A swield? I'm not sure, but what I do know is that it's freakin' awesome.
Enemies Can Fight One Another
Some of the funniest moments from Breath of the Wild came when players would find ways to make enemies interact with each other. Like most aspects of Breath of the Wild's sandbox, Tears of the Kingdom appears to be doubling down on everything that made the original great.
This time, an early shot of the trailer shows a Zonai Construct throwing hands with a Chuchu. In Breath of the Wild, enemies would only really interact with each other if you found a way to make it happen. Now, it seems like enemies will have beef with each other completely independent of Link, which is a small detail that could go a long way to help Hyrule feel even more alive.
Is That a Flying Squirrel Suit?
This is the exact kind of Zelda weirdness I was hoping to see today. The trailer has a shot of Link gliding through a tunnel, avoiding dozens of red lasers, while wearing what appears to be a flying squirrel-like gliding suit. Amazing!
Whether this laser-filled tunnel is part of a dungeon or not remains to be seen, but the glider suit has a lot of implications for moment-to-moment gameplay. If it's not just aesthetic and actually improves Link's air movement, it could be a game-changer for getting around the various Sky Islands and plotting your course back down to the world below.
Speaking of traversal, there was a lot of platforming shown in today's trailer. We see Link hopping across platforms in lower gravity and jumping into a very Mario-like bubble to cross a gap.
A New Sheikah Slate?
The Sheikah have been entirely absent from Tears of the Kingdom so far. We haven't seen even a hint of the Sheikah Towers, Divine Beasts, or even Guardians. But today, we got a very short glimpse at what could be the return of the Sheikah Slate.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene, Link is riding up a Shrine elevator while holding what is probably a Sheikah slate. We don't know if this marks the return of the Sheikah slate abilities, but it's interesting to see confirmation that Sheikah tech still exists in Hyrule even following the Zonai invasion.
Make Way for the Construct Mech
We've seen a few instances of the Zonai already thanks to the 10-minute gameplay chunk, but today's trailer added a Zonai big boy into the mix. At the 1:45 mark of the trailer, you can see a huge, mech-like Zonai emerging from its place in the wall. So far, it's a split of which Zonai are enemies and which are friendly, but it doesn't look like this guy is messing around.
A UFO Invasion
This trailer teased a ton of never-before-seen structures and enemies, but one of the most fascinating was the fleet of flying ships descending from the sky. They appear twice throughout the trailer, and like everything else in Tears of the Kingdom's Hyrule, appear Zonai in origin. Could the Zonai have returned to Hyrule from outer space? We know an alien invasion was in the cards for Breath of the Wild, so it's definitely possible.
If all this wasn't enough for you, the Tears of the Kingdom trailer had a shot of Link blasting off from the ground on a literal hand rocket. It's possible Link built this using the new Ultrahand ability, or maybe it's just a new type of item that was lying around. Either way, Tears of the Kingdom's hard lean into new technology is a ton of fun to see. I can only imagine how players will take advantage of all the new systems once they get the game in their hands.
We're officially less than a month away from Tears of the Kingdom's May 12 release date. For more while you wait, check out our breakdown of the Zelda gameplay demonstration, and everything we noticed in Tears of the Kingdom's second trailer. And, prepare yourself for the big day by checking out our ultimate Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom preorder guide.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over seven years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.