Game Theory

Tears of the Kingdom Trailer Hints at the Return of a Wild Zelda Feature

Link takes a dip.

Breath of the Wild Link swimming official art
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The sky may not be the limit in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The hotly anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild has put a large focus on the introduction of sky islands to the Hyrule map, new lands to explore above the familiar map from its predecessor. However, Link may have more than just land and sky to explore, with a new theory suggesting he will be exploring the waters of Hyrule as well.

During the most recent Tears of the Kingdom showcase, Nintendo showed off several new abilities for Link. While the star of the show was the Fuse ability, which offers near-endless possibilities for player creation, the Ascend ability could signal greater possibilities for Tears of the Kingdom.

The Ascend ability appears to be useable when submerged underwater.


In the gameplay shown during the showcase, Ascend is used to help link instantly ascend to the next level of a structure he is underneath. This is shown off inside a small structure, which Link can push through the ceiling of, as well as inside a larger cave which when Ascend is used sends Link to the top of the large hill the cave was within. The ability looks to help players conserve stamina and time by using Ascend in place of large climbing sections. By using Ascend, Link can traverse an entire structure with one click of a button.

Eagled-eye viewers were quick to point out that when Link is falling from the sky islands to the main map, the option to use Ascend is unavailable to the player, yet in the split-second Link lands in a body of water and is submerged, the ability becomes available to use again. This blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment suggests that the main use case for Ascend might not be on land but in the water.

This wouldn’t be the first time Link has gotten his shoes wet. Wind Waker obviously has water, but Link wasn’t able to actually dive into the ocean depths. Diving and underwater exploration is available in Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Twilight Princess. Through the use of an item Link is able to either sink to the bottom of bodies of water (with the Iron Boots) or stay underwater for prolonged amounts of time (with miscellaneous Zora items).

Ascend’s animation looks like swimming.


While Breath of the Wild does let Link swim, the amount of underwater exploration he does is very minimal. Tears of the Kingdom seems to be changing this though. The use of Ascend becomes even clearer in a water exploration scenario. With Link only being able to hold his breath for a finite amount of time the ability to Ascend to the surface with the click of a button makes exploring the depths of Hyrule’s bodies of water even easier.

Another key piece of evidence that Ascend will be used for water exploration is in the animation of the ability. Link jumps up towards the ceiling in a swimmer's position, with hands pointed upwards like an arrow cutting through the air. When the ability is used to push Link through the cave ceiling a brief interim animation happens since the journey is longer and Link is shown in a blueish-green environment in the same position but this time he is kicking his legs as if they were propelling him through the water.

All of this may be linked to the appearance of Zonai tech and architecture in Tears of the Kingdom footage. The Zonai worshipped a water dragon, so Link could be exploring more water-based areas in the pursuit of some knowledge from the Zonai. Hopefully, the game also gives Link some cool bathing suit options or a full-on diving suit to wear in the water, we love a good costume.

“It's dangerous to go alone!” Check out more of Inverse’s Tears of the Kingdom coverage:

Related Tags