Instead of removing weapon durability, Nintendo changed it to make it more fun than it was before.
The most recent presentation for Tears of the Kingdom showcased some new gameplay mechanics, and one of them addresses a major problem that many people had in Breath of the Wild. The new Fuse mechanic will allow players to combine multiple items and materials they find on their journey in order to create unique weapons. Not only will this let people get creative with resources, but it will also serve as a solution to weapon-breaking.
Weapon breaking was a new concept in Breath of the Wild. For the first time in a Zelda game, weapons like swords and shields had a durability system in which they would eventually break after repeated use. When the durability ran out, it would shatter and become unusable.
Ultimately, this frustrated many players because these items could not be repaired. Some found it too stressful to worry about item management and often held onto powerful weapons without using them because they did not want them to permanently break after several uses.
In the gameplay presentation, producer Eiji Aonuma used the example of tree branches that would break after a few swings at enemies. After one of Aonuma’s tree branches was close to breaking, he took it over to a nearby boulder. With the press of a button, he showcased Tears of the Kingdom’s Fuse mechanic: Link fused a piece of the boulder onto the top of the stick, creating a brand new hammer-like weapon.
The game’s producer went on to explain that this will be just one of many combinations of fusions that can be done to create unique weapons in Tears of the Kingdom.
The flimsy branch that would have broken on its next hit became a fresh, stronger weapon thanks to the Fuse mechanic. This is the solution to weapon-breaking that frustrated so many in Breath of the Wild.
Many developers, when making a sequel to a successful game, might listen to negative feedback about a feature and simply remove it entirely from the next entry. It would have been easy for Nintendo to get rid of weapon durability after hearing fan complaints and go back to unbreakable ones like in previous Zelda games.
But instead of reverting to older ways, Nintendo asked, “how can we change weapon durability to make it more fun than it was before?”
While it’s true that yes, weapons in Tears of the Kingdom will still break if used too many times, we now have a way of dealing with that problem. A predictable solution would have been to take inspiration from other franchises and include some kind of repair system, like a blacksmith that could sharpen weakened blades.
Nintendo didn’t take that predictable route. Fusing weapons with items to make new, better ones is way more interesting and exciting than simply repairing what we already have. With the wide array of items we’ll find in the game, there could truly be hundreds or even thousands of possible combinations of swords and shields in Tears of the Kingdom.
Not only does it look like it will be a fun mechanic, but those who felt frustrated by weapon durability will have a solution when the sword or shield they are using is about to break. All it will take is finding inspiration in the world around them and seeing how they can change a fragile piece of equipment into something bigger and better.
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