The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gives Link a list of new abilities, but the Ascend ability started out as a dev debug cheat code.

Tears of the Kingdom Ascend Ability Started as a Dev Debug Cheat Code

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gives Link a laundry list of new abilities to help him on his journey, but the Ascend ability has a particularly interesting origin. Series producer Eiji Aonuma and game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi discussed where the ability came from during an interview with Polygon. When asked about what it’s like to give players cheat code-like skills early on in their journey, Fujibayashi explained that Ascend, specifically, is more of a cheat code than players might have realized in Tears of the Kingdom.

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“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 said. He continued: “When I was exploring the caves, I would get to the destination where I was trying to get to, and once I checked it out, I would just use the debug code to get to the top. 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.’”

Fujibayashi even acknowledged that “cheating can be fun” when properly applied, and so one of the many Tears of the Kingdom abilities was born with the cheat-like Ascend. Aonuma did chime in to add that creating cheat code-style abilities is fun but comes with its own share of “issues.” So, the next time you’re using Ascend, Recall, or Fuse, know that it probably took a lot of time for Nintendo to implement.

“For example, if you give someone the ability to just pass through a ceiling anywhere, there are all sorts of possibilities to account for,” Aonuma said. “We need to make sure that people can continue to play the game properly. We need to make sure there aren’t locations where you’ll pass through the roof and find nothing there because of some data-loading issue or something like that.”

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is out today on Nintendo Switch. Why aren’t you playing it right now?

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Michael Cripe
Michael joined The Escapist team in 2019 but has been covering games, movies, TV, and music since 2015. When he’s not writing, Michael is probably playing Super Mario Sunshine, Dead Space, The Binding of Isaac, or Doom Eternal. You can follow his news coverage and reviews at The Escapist, but his work has appeared on other sites like OnlySP, Gameranx, and Kansas City’s The Pitch, too. If you’d like to connect and talk about the latest pop-culture news, you can follow Michael on Twitter (@MikeCripe), Instagram (mike_cripe), or LinkedIn if that’s your thing.