Skip to main content

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s sequel should go full Death Stranding

During my The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom playthrough, I couldn’t stop thinking about Death Stranding.

Hideo Kojima’s one-of-a-kind “strand game” sprung to mind every time I crafted an ingenious device that would let me traverse Hyrule more easily. I felt like Sam Porter Bridges laying down ladders and ziplines to cut through the rough landscapes of postapocalyptic America. I kept joking to myself that Tears of the Kingdom is a strand game. The more I see players sharing their creations, though, the more serious I’m becoming about that claim.

Tears of the Kingdom and Death Stranding have some similar DNA in terms of how players can get creative to conquer an open world. Zelda goes one step further by introducing an ingenious crafting system, but the experience isn’t too far off. The only thing that’s missing – and it’s crucial – is a social system that links players together. If the Zelda series is going to continue exploring Tears of the Kingdom’s format, it needs to go full Death Stranding.

Link stranding

So, what the heck is a strand game anyways? That genre term was invented by Kojima as a way to describe the unique gameplay of Death Stranding. It’s become a little bit of a running gag since then, as its meaning can be a little … unclear. Kojima says the term speaks to the “concept of connection” in the game. It’s a social experience that links players together and makes them feel like part of one network.

Death Stranding gameplay
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Or at least that’s what fans seem to agree on now. Death Stranding features a unique single-player experience in which structures that players place in their game world will appear in that of other players’. That creates the feeling that all players are working together to navigate the challenges of Death Stranding’s open world, even though they never see one another. It’s an excellent system that can feel oddly emotional. When you see a sprawling highway across America, you’ll know it’s there because players spent their resources to build it, just so the world would be easier to travel for strangers they’d never interact with.

Considering that Tears of the Kingdom has no social features whatsoever, it’s hard to say it’s a true strand game (whatever that means). However, players are interacting with it as if it is one. Following the game’s release, social media lit up as players shared their discoveries with one another. I had played over 90 hours of the game at that point and even I was learning things I never knew, like how to grind on rails by strapping a minecart to a shield. Every time I see an invention like that, it feels like someone is passing their knowledge on to me to better help me explore Hyrule.

While I love that social media has that power, I wish it were in the game proper. I’m left dreaming of a version of Tears of the Kingdom where I could have discovered that minecart shield by finding it in the world, rather than in a Twitter video. I’d love to craft a mech out of Zonai devices and upload it so other players could stumble upon it. That would help fill some of the empty spots on Hyrule’s map and make it feel like the world is always evolving, much like Death Stranding’s American wasteland.

Link rides a boat he made with Fuse in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Of course, that might create some content moderation headaches for Nintendo considering that people are building phallic robots and Korok torture devices. And I shudder to imagine how the company who still uses friend codes would implement any form of massive online component.

Even so, the creative crafts coming out of the sequel beg to be shared. Players are already treating the adventure like a social experience and no one should miss out on a moment like that just because they aren’t on Twitter. I want to feel connected to other players in the game itself, as if we’re all different reincarnations of Link bonded together. Together, we can unite Hyrule … or at least create some beautiful chaos together.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is out now on Nintendo Switch.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is almost perfect, but it could use these tweaks
Link looking shocked holding rice.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a monumental game. It unleashes player creativity with Ultrahand and Fuse, features three vast open worlds for players to explore, and still tells a rich and enthralling story that expands the mythology of The Legend of Zelda series. Still, no game is perfect. While Tears of the Kingdom will likely go down as my game of the year for 2023 and potentially one of my favorite games ever, there are still a few things that the game could do better.

And no, I’m not talking about removing weapon degradation. After spending hours upon hours with Tears of the Kingdom, some user experience quirks became more annoying and noticeable. None of them are game-breaking, but they are still areas where Nintendo can stand to improve as it updates and expand upon Tears of the Kingdom or potentially do another game in this style. Here's what I hope to see change to make this version of Zelda an even smoother and more seamless experience.
Make disconnecting Ultrahand creations easier
Ultrahand is a revelation for Tears of the Kingdom that allows players to create some really creative things and solve puzzles in any way their minds can imagine. That said, one aspect of its controls still baffles me: the only way to "Unstick" objects stuck to each other is by moving the right stick back and forth or shaking a Joy-Con remote. It's a bafflingly clunky way to do things for what is otherwise such a delicate and precise building system.

Read more
The best video games of May 2023: Tears of the Kingdom, Humanity, and more
Purah in Tears of the Kingdom.

When the video game industry looks back at May 2023, this month will most likely be remembered for just two things: the failure of Redfall and the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Redfall will serve as a cautionary tale about the industry embracing its worst impulses, while Tears of the Kingdom will likely be considered one of the best games ever made and serve as a North Star for video game design for the next several years, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild before it. Still, this month was about a lot more than that.
With this roundup, we hope to paint a broader picture of all the great games that were released over the course of May 2023; no single game can paint the picture of the entire industry. From Tears of the Kingdom to some of PlayStation VR2's best releases to beautiful indies to a game Nintendo temporarily blocked from release over a TikTok joke, these are the best games of May 2023.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

To get the obvious out of the way: yeah, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a really good game. We already considered Breath of the Wild to be one of the best games ever made, but Tears of the Kingdom's evolution of that game's open world and mechanics make Breath of the Wild feel like a beta. Not only do players have two new open worlds to explore with the Sky Islands and underground Depths, but systems like Fuse and Ultrahand ask players to embrace their creativity to solve puzzles and traverse around the open world.
"So long as you’re willing to meticulously survey Hyrule like an archaeologist digging for fossils, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an engrossing sequel full of mysteries to solve and experiments to conduct," Giovanni Colantonio wrote in his four-and-a-half star review of the game. "It’s a digital laboratory that I imagine will still be producing unbelievable discoveries 10 years from now."
Details big and small impress across Tears of the Kingdom, and at times it feels like this is the closest we'll get to the ultimate video game experience. Its complex controls do take a bit of getting used to, but those who get the hang of it will be able to enjoy one of the most impressive games ever made. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available now for Nintendo Switch, and this is the last time I'm going to mention it in this article. On to some other fantastic games!

Read more
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s new update removes item duplication glitch
Link aims a Ruby tipped arrow while riding a horse.

Two weeks after its release, Nintendo has patched out one of the most helpful exploits in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: a popular item duplication glitch.
When Tears of the Kingdom launched on May 12, it felt surprisingly polished considering how complex its open world and systems like Fuse and Ultrahand are. That said, it wasn't entirely free of bugs. Some of these glitches prevented progression, including one that was solved in the Ver. 1.1.1 update, but others were much more helpful, like item duplication. As Digital Trends' guide on the exploit details, players could duplicate items by fusing materials with arrows and then dropping two identical bows within a short timeframe.
According to players, Tears of the Kingdom update Ver. 1.1.2, which was released on May 25, removes this item duplication glitch from the game. Interestingly, this specific exploit isn't detailed in the patch notes, which simply say that "several issues have been addressed to improve the gameplay experience," among other audio and quest fixes.

You can check out the full list of Ver 1.1.2 patch notes below.

Read more