No one’s sure what The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will entail, but it’s bound to add a lot of new elements to the popular formula set by Breath of the Wild. The map of Hyrule is one of the few constants that fans know about, and even that will be altered with new equipment, puzzles, and NPC locations. Tears of the Kingdom will also feature entirely new airborne and underground areas with what will likely be the bulk of the brand-new content. Link’s green arm should also present a refreshed set of abilities on-par with the old Sheikah Slate.

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Another unknown is the state of Tears of the Kingdom‘s monsters. A number of old foes like Moblins, Bokoblins, and Stone Talus are already confirmed to return with updated designs, and most of Breath of the Wild‘s enemy roster will likely return in one form or another. A couple new foes have been spotted as well, like an underground worm and a considerably different-looking machine to BotW‘s Guardians that may be the Zonai equivalent. Battles should feel novel again, but one of the biggest innovations Tears of the Kingdom could make is bringing back one of Zelda‘s strangest types of monster, the friendly kind.

RELATED: How Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Could Address BotW’s Enemy Variety Criticism


Not All Beasts In The Legend of Zelda Are Foes

Throughout the Zelda franchise, there have been a number of otherwise dangerous monsters that do not attack Link. In the first game, players could discover a Moblin in a cave who pays Link while stating, “It’s a secret to everybody.” In Zelda 2, Link could stumble upon a house that contained a slime stating its master is away. A Link to the Past has several examples, including certain thieves who talk to Link and give him treasure, gold bees who will protect Link upon being caught and freed, and the mysterious Cukemen. Only appearing in a few games, Link can use items on Buzz Blobs to turn them into these strange-looking beings, which are possibly the only entities in the franchise to both deal contact damage and have a speech prompt.

Sociable monsters show up at least once in most Zelda titles. Deku Scrubs in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask attempt to sell Link things after being defeated. Equipping the Captain’s Hat in Majora’s Mask, Link is able to freely walk through the Stalchildren encampment and talk to the skeletal soldiers. Twilight Princess is largely devoid of these, although the Bulblin King will surrender after his final defeat, and will become an ally if the scenario is recreated in Hyrule Warriors. Possibly the strongest friendly monster in the franchise is Batreaux from Skyward Sword, who is a demon that has rejected his species’ nature. In some ways, friendly monsters have become an understated staple of The Legend of Zelda.

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Breath of the Wild Deemphasizes Friendly Monsters

It’s notable, then, that Breath of the Wild almost totally ignored this trend. The three dragons are the first example that players might propose, but they act more like neutral forces. Only Naydra will intentionally reward Link if he saves it from Malice. The Stalhorses will also yield to Link if he mounts one, though they often spawn with malicious riders and crumble like any skeleton once the morning comes. The friendliest monsters may be Sky Octoroks, and they only spawn in Master Mode to hold floating platforms. Link is mostly alone on his travels, and if he’s not on a well-worn road, he isn’t likely to encounter any friendly faces.

A lot of this has to do with Breath of the Wild‘s focus on isolation, and the fact that in this title, most enemies are made from or possessed by Malice. Tears of the Kingdom would need to do some extra legwork to justify monsters being more than roving packs of barbarians. As past examples have shown, this common nature doesn’t exclude monsters from being civil and talkative, but instances are rare. Perhaps the obsessive merchant Kilton could have succeeded in building a monster-only town that Link can navigate with the masks he sells. There could also be Easter eggs like certain creatures who become peaceful when fed, or a Mask of Truth analog being used to read the mind of any biological enemy that hasn’t detected Link.

How Friendly Monsters Could Work in Tears of the Kingdom

Regardless of the method, amicable monsters would be a great addition to the enormous map of Tears of the Kingdom. Players would be more likely to encounter Bokoblins and Moblins trying to build a civilization or practice trades in the far corners of the world, which would make for great side quests. A speaking Lynel could replace the Tests of Strength from Breath of the Wild, and keep them available for subsequent runs in one location. There’s even the distinct possibility that Link could stumble across battles between enemies in the open world, like some of those found in Elden Ring. Unlike that game, one side would be non-hostile towards Link if he does not attack them, but the outcome offering better rewards would demand fighting for the weaker side.

Guardians would be good for this, but it’s unclear if Sheikah technology still works in Tears of the Kingdom, so Zonai relics could be used instead. Speaking of which, the sky islands and underground ruins seemingly tied to the Zonai would make for great places where a friendly monster race could appear. Zonai have been implied to be reptilian, and could be the origin of Lizalfols. A tribal Zonai area could take inspiration from the Mantis Village in Hollow Knight, losing all aggression after its defeat in an inversion of the Yiga Clan Hideout.

The final place that friendly monsters could be found is in the rumored past world. It’s unclear if Tears of the Kingdom will have distant past segments aside from the expected flashbacks, but they would be a great place to not only interact with Zonai, but potentially see different takes on modern monsters. Tears of the Kingdom could do more than any prior Legend of Zelda game with friendly foes, and with any luck Nintendo has come to the same conclusion.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will be released May 12 for the Nintendo Switch.

MORE: Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Might Feature a Number of Companion Characters

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