Fans are excited that they may have the chance to learn more about the Zonai in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, after references to the long-lost civilization surfaced in today’s 10-minute gameplay demonstration.
In looking to demonstrate Link’s new powers – Recall, Fuse, Ultrahand and Ascend – The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma was confronted with technological Soldier Constructs that, once defeated, dropped an item called a Zonai Charge.
References to the Zonai were scattered throughout The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, used in a way that the development team hoped “would make the world feel more real.” Their presence could be seen in Zonai Pillars that are believed to have been used for magical purposes, as well as the Zonai Ruins themselves, which, littered with many rock carvings, seemed to indicate that the civilization worshipped a water dragon.
“As we were in the process of creating the cities and people of every region of Hyrule, we thought that if we showed fragments of a civilization that collapsed long ago, it would make the world feel more real. That’s why we added Zonai relics throughout Hyrule,” senior lead artist of landscapes Makoto Yonezu explains in Dark Horse’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild – Creating A Champion.
“The ruins are primarily animal themed, but with the history of the Triforce from an ancient perspective in mind. The designs are symbolic – using dragons (courage), owls (wisdom), and boars (power). And, yes, their name is a pun. Zonai is a take on ‘nazo,’ a word meaning ‘mystery’ in Japanese. [laughs]”
In a section called Ruins From Times Unknown, the book, which was produced in collaboration with Nintendo, references that the history of the Zonai people was lost to time. There are rumours that they were a savage tribe based in Faron, something that perhaps relates to Link’s barbarian-like appearance in Tears of the Kingdom. Although there are ruins throughout Hyrule that have elements which connect them to the ancient shrines we had to overcome to strengthen Link and save the kingdom from Calamity Ganon.
Remaining as one of Hyrule’s greatest mysteries, the book states that the Zonai “are spoken of in hushed whispers as strong magic wielders who vanished suddenly thousands of years ago.”
The anticipated sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will take you across the land and skies of Hyrule, where you will once again have the chance to chart your own path through its sprawling landscapes and mysterious floating islands. You will need to harness the power of Link’s new abilities to fight against the malevolent forces threatening the kingdom.
The company recently revealed the game’s amiibo support and plans to produce the Nintendo Switch OLED Model – The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a themed Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Collector’s Edition, which will include a physical copy of the game, an artbook with concept art, a SteelBook case, an Iconart steel poster and a set of four pin badges.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will release at retail and digitally on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch worldwide on 12th May 2023.