Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: The Ascend feature was originally a cheat code

Eiji Aonuma enjoys deceit. Before The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s May 12 release, the longtime Zelda creator said in an interview with Polygon on Thursday, “I’m somebody who, if I can find a way, likes to do that kind of gameplay.”

This philosophy served as the foundation for Link’s new Ascend ability. Aonuma and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi used it to quickly and safely escape the caves in Tears of the Kingdom.

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: The Ascend feature was originally a cheat code

Aonuma confirmed with Fujibayashi that traversing the maze-like caves of Tears of the Kingdom on the way back was a “pain”. “When I heard that, I thought, Oh, I guess he would feel the same way that I would be feeling,” said Fujibayashi. “That is how Ascend came to be implemented. To be blunt and honest, it can be enjoyable to cheat. Therefore, we made the decision to insert it there.

Swimming through ceilings obviously needed to be turned into a legitimate in-game feature; it couldn’t just be thrown in as debug code. Nintendo experienced difficulties when “cheat-code-style abilities” like Ascend were implemented, according to Aonuma.

“There are a lot of options to take into account if you give someone the capacity to simply pass through a ceiling wherever. We need to ensure that there are no areas where you could pass through the roof and come out with nothing there due to a data loading problem or something similar.

A player cannot ascend into an empty world, but it may be acceptable for a Tears of the Kingdom developer to ascend into a location that is incorrect or faulty.

Giving people cheats like this is entertaining, but it takes a long time to implement, according to Aonuma. This is a problem that my own enjoyment of this kind of gameplay may have introduced during the creation process.

One of the four new skills introduced by Tears of the Kingdom are Ascend; the others being Recall, Ultrahand, and Fuse. All four of these give the player the impression that they are cheating by feeling like they are breaking the rules of the game.

Players can access locations using Ascend that might be out of their reach without it. There are restrictions, though; as Aonuma noted, don’t anticipate breaking through any ceiling.