Spoiler Warning: This article features spoilers for a major gameplay element of Tears of the Kingdom. If you want to discover everything for yourself, turn back now!
What the heck happened to all the Sheikah technology in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom? Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule was absolutely littered with the orange and blue Sheikah machinery — from Guardians, to the Towers, to the 120 Sheikah Shrines — but it’s basically completely absent from the Zelda sequel.
Traces of Sheikah tech show up in a couple of places, like in the new Skyview Towers and Purah Pad, but its spot in the limelight has been usurped by Tears of the Kingdom’s shiny, new Zonai gear. This is causing many Tears of the Kingdom players to wonder what exactly happened to Breath of the Wild’s Towers, Guardians, and Shrines.
On Reddit, u/Xananaboi posted an observation that most of Tears of the Kingdom’s Chasms are located in the same spots as Breath of the Wild’s Shrines. They posted an image of The Great Plateau for reference, where you can see that the first four Shrines Link visits in Breath of the Wild have been replaced with entrances to The Depths.
This theory would make a good amount of sense, as you may remember that the Sheikah Shrines and Towers rose from underground during the events of Breath of the Wild. Maybe the Upheaval destroyed the Shrines, leaving the Chasms in their place?
In another Reddit thread, user iridisss theorized that the towers were torn down and recycled since Hyrule lacks the ability to produce new Sheikah materials.
IGN’s Brendan Graeber — who has finished Tears of the Kingdom — presented a theory of his own.
“I think the real answer is a simple one: All of the Sheikah tech was built expressly for one purpose: to help the hero defeat Calamity Ganon. They arose only when Link activated that first platform. I think once Calamity Ganon was destroyed, everything went back into the ground, and the Sheikah Slate went inert, so Purah/Robbie reverse engineered their own. Any remaining tech was repurposed to help build the Skyview Towers, which is why they have the Guardian hands, pedestal, and the same lift elevator,” Brendan wrote.
Or who knows — Tears of the Kingdom is so massive and still so new, maybe Nintendo tucked the answer to the disappearing Sheikah tech somewhere within the game that we just haven’t found yet.
If you’re intimidated by the sheer size of Tears of the Kingdom, there is plenty we can help you with. Be sure to take a look at our Tears of the Kingdom Walkthrough and Guide about making your way through Hyrule. In fact, you can start here:
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over seven years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.