There's no way The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom could have been inspired by Elden Ring, because everyone making it was just too busy doing just that.
It's not exactly a secret that Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki has taken a lot of inspiration from the Zelda series over the years. Elden Ring itself is no different, with a similarly impressive open world that really encourages you to explore it. But the same can't be said of the reverse, as in a new interview from RTL Nieuws (translations from Nintendo Everything), Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma spoke about their influences and where they get ideas. As it turns out, Elden Ring isn't one of them, because they didn't even have time to play it.
"Sorry, but we didn’t really have the chance to play the game," Fujibayashi said. "We were too occupied with the development of Tears of the Kingdom, which resulted in us not really being able to play games. We did hear about it, though." Tears of the Kingdom is quite the massive game, so it's not surprising it took up most of the dev's time. Plus, Tears of the Kingdom was basically done last year, with the rest of the time dedicated to polish, so it's not like there would have been time to take inspiration anyway.
More interestingly, though, Aonuma's explanation for not taking inspiration from other games is for another reason: he's "too proud." The long-time Zelda series producer said, "Of course, there are situations where you make something that’s similar to an existing game. 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." Nintendo are known for their uniqueness in the industry, so hearing that that's Aonuma's mentality when it comes to game development isn't exactly surprising.
While Elden Ring and Tears of the Kingdom are somewhat comparable, there's one place they aren't, and that's in sales. Tears of the Kingdom managed to sell 10 million copies in its first three days, a much faster feat than Elden Ring's 13.4 million in its first month.