How the highest rated game in recent history was given the breath of life!

Nintendo releases “Making of” video for LoZ: BotW

How the highest rated game in recent history was given the breath of life!

Much like their video on Fire Emblem: Fates in the past, Nintendo has released a new “The Making of” video for their most recent release: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game that has widely impressed critics — including myself — this month has certainly been a long time coming, having been conceived all the way back in 2013. However, Nintendo’s new videos give us some insight into how this world-class title came to be how it is now.

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The Beginning

In the first video in this series, we learn a lot about the process the developers took to differentiate Breath of the Wild from other titles in the Legend of Zelda franchise. They discuss how certain conventions had to be kept in order to preserve the feel of the series, but how others were completely scrapped as they realized that certain elements — such as traditional dungeons — were more of a result of hardware limitations than actual core gameplay.

We also learned about how wild some of the suggestions that went into the game were. Everything from UFO invasions of Hyrule to more modern adventures were considered. However, it was actually a return to the 2D original Zelda format that helped inspire what we now know as Breath of the Wild.

It’s an interesting watch, and could possibly inspire many developers on alternate takes of their own projects.

Story and Characters

In this video we get a look into the later parts of development – namely the characters and story that will fit into the gameplay. Considering that the game took an open world format, the developers and staff working on Breath of the Wild decided that a story that took place prior to the events of the game was much more functional than one that took place while the game was in progress. Ultimately, this worked for the better as the memory-based storyline allowed for players to move freely without shoving linearity into the mix.

Characters were also designed with the player’s desire to aid them in mind. Zelda in particular was designed in a way that players would want to save her, but at the same time was individualistic enough that it was evident that she was capable, but also needed help to accomplish her goals. This helped separate her from other princesses in the series thus far since she did not need Link’s help, as much as it ensured her goal was met.

Even the way that enemies interact with Link and the environment was taken into consideration with this game, something that other developers don’t really seem to highlight in their own designs. Once again, an interesting video for fans and developers alike.

Open-Air Concept

The last video in the series discusses the importance of a fully-explorable world in the design process for Breath of the Wild. Aonuma discusses the design philosophy of the game being that he wanted to explore the area between the secluded areas that were found in Skyward Sword. The director, Hidemaro Fujibayashi, further stated that he wanted to bring the game back to the roots of the Legend of Zelda franchise where a large world was explorable from the get-go again.

When deciding on the size of the game, the developers decided to use the real life city of Kyoto’s design to determine how big the game world should be. What they wanted to accomplish was to ensure it was large enough for players to get lost in, but small enough that it wouldn’t be barren or overwhelming.

Other parts of this video discuss how the physics engine was important for both the combat and other gameplay aspects, as well as how music and sound design was centered around the importance of maintaining a natural-feeling environment.

An Interesting Take on Game Design

The efforts that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s development team made in creating the world of the latest Zelda title shows. While it’s not an entirely unique game, it does feel much more polished than other games within the same genre. I might not go so far as to call the game perfect by any means, but I can certainly appreciate the lengths that this team took to get this title to where it is now.

My question would now be whether or not Nintendo can pull off another game that lives up to the new standards set up by this one.

But what do you think? Do you agree with all the takes the developers made on the series? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below!

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David Fisher
Author, GameSkinny columnist, and part-time childhood destroyer. David W. Fisher (otherwise known as RR-sama) is a no B.S. reviewer and journalist who will ensure that you get as close to the facts as humanly possible!