Beyond becoming the greatest ambassador of the system that will define Nintendo’s future or the game that will provide the generational relay between its desktop games, ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ has the handicap of aiming to be the best game of the current generation. An extremely ambitious goal that will force him to surpass ‘Ocarina of Time’ itself, although the producer of the series Eiji Aonuma has a clear idea of how to achieve it.
Through an interview with Gaulish medium Le Monde, Aonuma delves into the production of the game, compares his proposal with other current games, which makes this issue unique with respect to what was seen in previous ‘Zeldas’ and even warns us that we will have a good ration of sanctuaries ahead.
To begin with, it is confirmed that ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ began to develop four years ago, which places its production approximately half a year after Wii U was commercially released. Aonuma didn’t want to offer budgets, but did indicate that 300 people were involved.
In this game, however, we’ll approach the kingdom of Hyrule in a much more open way. Previously, the game system offered us the possibility of advancing the plot and improving the skills of Link, the protagonist of the adventure, through the dungeons – it being common that at the end of the dungeons we would be rewarded with a new item or weapon that would expand the possibilities of the world around us.
In ‘Breath of the Wild’ the dungeons will give way to the Sanctuaries, and Aonuma warns that there will be more than a hundred spread across the game map. However, some of them will be very well hidden and that will be part of the challenges that the game will offer.
In fact, some of them will not be as long as those seen so far, as the intention is that the player experiments with the physics and weapons that will offer this adventure to solve the puzzles rewarding with interesting equipment to the smartest players, but there will also be others of great dimensions and with a huge Final Chief waiting for us after overcoming the challenges.
One of the keys to getting the exploration and search for sanctuaries to mark a before and after in the series is the open world system that will adopt this new delivery. We will be able to go through the enormous mapped freely without having that linear structure seen in the previous deliveries.
In the past, when designing games we had to have areas connected by small paths that we had to go through. The truth is that we took seriously the criticisms that lacked greater freedom. Even in this case, many designers felt that part of the fun was the fact that continuing a path already laid out.
Now, the player is in the world of ‘Breath of the Wild’ and it’s about going in any direction and whenever you want. A bit like the first Zelda. I think Breath of the Wild will be a key moment in the history of the saga.
As we saw in VidaExtra, we will find familiar places scattered around the map like the Temple of Time. For many this may be an interesting opportunity to try to figure out where ‘Breath of The Wild’ fits into Zelda’s chronology, although Aonuma responds to the presence of these emblematic buildings and places within the series. What role will they play in this new installment?
It is a consequence rather than a goal. When we decide to make a game set in the world of Hyrule, it seems normal to take what already exists, so it seems coherent. Even this timeline, the world is huge, but there is also an attempt to recover a bit of the Hyrule world that all players of the previous tutulos already know.
Throughout the interview have been compared with ‘Breath of The Wild’ several of the current games that already offer an open world as ‘Far Cry’, ‘Assassin’s Creed’, ‘Final fantasy XV’ or ‘The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim’ itself, indicating that the new adventure will have a more relaxed pace than the first two.
I hope it doesn’t refer to the fluidity of the animations! [Laughter]. Link’s rhythm is adapted to the rhythm of the game. There are a lot of things that are hidden in the world, of course it can work [a more intense rhythm], but you’d miss everything we’ve hidden there.
What I like most about ‘Skyrim’ is when you walk and discover a new city, there’s a real impact. “Ah, there’s a city here! And, oh, it’s so different from the others! “This is the first time I felt like I wanted to recreate in Zelda what I saw in another video game, albeit in a slightly different way.
This is why you can climb everywhere, and once on top, we can say ‘hey, there might be something there … And if I better go by the river?’ . So you jump [by parachute], and you’re going to explore the world after you’ve studied it. I wanted to transfer from ‘Skyrim’ the pleasure of discovering, and that I had never felt in another game.
Finally Aonuma was asked if we would see any message for his son in ‘Breath of The Wild’ as we saw in ‘The Wind Waker’, a game in which he participated by developing the dialogues.
No, it’s over! My son told me he didn’t like it. However, I did write the dialogues of the old man Link will meet at the beginning of the adventure, because that’s the first person to receive him in the game, and I wanted to be the first to dedicate a few words to the player. But this time it won’t be about my son at all.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild’ will be available on Wii U and Nintendo Switch from 3 March onwards, putting us once again in the shoes of Hyrule’s hero, and until then we can delve deeper into the series with a selection of discounted ‘Zelda’ games available this week.
Being the turning point in one of the series that defined video game culture is a huge challenge, but the talent of Miyamoto-san and Aonuma-san are the best guarantees any game can have.