The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom's development team says it didn't take any inspiration from Elden Ring because they didn't have time to play it.
In an interview with RTL Nieuws (translated by Nintendo Everything), Tears of the Kingdom's director, Hidemaro Fujibayashi, and its producer, Eiji Aonuma, talked about where the team gets its ideas from when developing a new Zelda title. When asked if Elden Ring played a part in any way (FromSoftware previously said that the Legend of Zelda series inspired its title), Fujibayashi reveals: "Sorry, but we didn’t really have the chance to play the game."
"We were too occupied with the development of Tears of the Kingdom, which resulted in us not really being able to play games," Fujibayashi continues, "we did hear about it, though."
Regardless of whether or not the higher-ups on the Tears of the Kingdom team had time to play anything else during its development, Fujibayashi also adds: "Even if we had the time to play games, we wouldn’t reuse ideas from them. When we make a game, we come up with a general concept to come up with new ideas based on that."
As for Aonuma, who is largely known for his work on the Zelda series, he's "too proud" to take influence from any other games: "Of course, there are situations where you make something that’s similar to an existing game," Aonuma reveals, "but I would never try to put the ideas of others in my game. I’m too proud for that. I’m always looking for original ideas."
On the topic of both of these games, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Elden Ring comparisons were inevitable, but monster variety is the only useful one.