Around 70% of developers on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom had never worked on a Zelda game before.
Yesterday on May 25, Bungie senior activity designer Max Nichols broke down some figures from the Tears of the Kingdom credit list. It turns out that of the 1,148 people listed in the latest Zelda game's credits, roughly 800 had never worked on a Zelda game before, which means around 70% of staff were brand new to the series with Tears of the Kingdom.
I finally got my hands on the Tears of the Kingdom credits list! Some things I see: - 1,148 people listed (BOTW had 914)- ~800 (~70%) had never been credited in a Zelda game before- QA and NOA/NOE loc teams ARE credited. Korea & China are not.(cont)May 25, 2023
This comes as a massive surprise given Twitter speculation over the last week or so. There's been a fair few developers praising Nintendo's retention of developers, pointing out that Tears of the Kingdom is so excellent because it was mainly designed by the same devs that worked on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild back in 2017.
You might think these new figures contradict that speculation, but that's not necessarily the case. It could be the case that the vast number of newcomers to Zelda in Tears of the Kingdom are outside the core development team, working in departments like localization or marketing, and so the core game design team remained intact over the two recent games.
Nichols' findings also show roughly 500 more people worked on Tears of the Kingdom compared to Breath of the Wild. Sadly, Tears of the Kingdom is also the first Zelda game since Majora's Mask that doesn't credit the late Satoru Iwata, who passed away in 2015. Tears of the Kingdom also doesn't credit long-time Zelda director Yoichi Yamada, leading to speculation the series mainstay assistant has retired.
It's a really interesting find by Nichols, and paints a really good picture of just how many series newcomers worked on Tears of the Kingdom. The new game also credits Nintendo of America's product testing team, a new trend among Nintendo's recent games, which we love to see.
Check out our best Zelda Tears of the Kingdom armor guide for a full list of where you can get the best gear in the game.