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Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Ascend ability started as a debug cheat, not meant for final release

Tiers for fears.

Link floating through the air with a green ray of light surrounding him, as the player uses the Ascend ability in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Image credit: Nintendo

In case you weren't aware, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom released today. Along with the sequel's new-look Hyrule, Link also has a range of new abilities that can help him on his journey to once again rid the kingdom of the many evils that have made their home there.

One such ability is Ascend, which allows Link to pass through solid objects above him. This is a game changer when it comes to traversal, as Link no longer has to necessarily negotiate the weather and his stamina to make his way up cliffs and the like. Now, he can find some kind of overhang and pop up and through to create seemingly impossible shortcuts.

However, this useful new ability wasn't always going to make it into Tears of the Kingdom's final release. In fact, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma and game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi revealed it actually started off as a debug cheat function not intended for the game.

Here's our The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom video review, complete with a load of new gameplay to show it all in action.Watch on YouTube

In conversation with Polygon, Aonuma stated his favourite of Tears of the Kingdom's new abilities is Ascend. "I'm somebody who, you know, if I can find a way to cheat, I like to do that kind of gameplay," he shared. "And so once I had the Ascend ability, I really was looking for all sorts of different places to make use of it."

Fujibayashi added: "You know, that reminds me - and I don't think we've shared this anywhere else, but - the Ascend ability was actually the result of a debug feature that we have in the game."

Fujibayashi went on to explain that when he was exploring through Tears of the Kingdom's caves, he would get to his destination and then use this early version of the Ascend debug to make his way back out again.

"And I thought, well, maybe this is something that can be usable in the game. And it was right around that time that Mr. Aonuma said, 'It's a pain to go back.' "

The pair then agreed cheating can actually be quite a lot of fun so "that's why [they] decided to drop it in there". And I am sure there are many out there that are thankful for it.

Meanwhile, in a time where every video game under the sun is optioned for film and TV, Aonuma said he is "interested" in a Zelda adaptation. However, the producer understands it takes more than his interest to make that sort of thing happen.

"Maybe the voice of the fans is what's important here," Fujibayashi added.

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