Aonuma Says That “It’s OK If There’s A Pocket Of Emptiness” In Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a very open game, even empty in various areas. Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma stated that this was intentional. Aonuma explained, saying that “we talked a little bit about the idea of density, how dense to make this big world”. It turned into a more open Zelda game for two reasons. One was that “filling the vast landscape with things to do and explore would be a lot of work”. The second reason was that, “as the team experienced moving around on horseback or climbing up to a high place to paraglide down, they realized that their desire to see what’s ahead of the next horizon grew”. Instead of the world being filled up and moments being all over the place, the team decided that some moments should be “subtle as you explore”. Aonuma concluded that “we realized that it’s OK if there’s pocket of emptiness”. Let us know in the comments if you like this gameplay style for Zelda.



  1. I see no problem with this. From all the gameplay I saw the worlddoesn’t feel empty at all. It has a ton of stuff in it to explore. Plus it just wouldn’t be realistic for there to be something important around every corner.

    1. Not to mention that they showed us the E3 version if the game and they stated that that the actual version will have more NPCs and such.

  2. The little camps of enemies sprinkled around. Plus random animals and trees and mushrooms. It all looked very well spaced out from what they showed.

  3. Gives it more a natural feel. Some open worlds I’ve seen are way to clutter to make me think “How is this even possible?” And it is distracting. I’m liking the balance this game brings

  4. I don’t expect a world of this size to have things in absolutely every nook and cranny, especially if the 360km^2 size estimate turns out to be somewhat accurate. Not even The Witcher 3 or Xenoblade Chronicles X (similarly-sized worlds renowned for feeling surprisingly alive and bustling) had things every 10 steps everywhere – there were some denser areas and/or villages, and there were simple forests/planes in other places – both games also got “emptiness” complaints all through development until the near-final product was seen.

    If what we’ve seen of BotW is the game with NPCs/villages removed, then the game should be fine, especially given that every press reviewer I’ve seen of the demo has absolutely loved its take on the “open-world” genre and not once complained about a lack of things to do even in its unfilled state. As long as there are lots of varied and interesting things to explore (there will be), and we don’t have to run for 5 minutes between every point of interest (we probably won’t), then I can’t imagine any complaints.

  5. “X” had A perfect balance. I hope Nintendo doesn’t lend too much to their first reason. They said it themselves, “too much work.” – I’m not horribly worried yet, but I hope that mentality wasn’t applied too often.

    1. have you seen the gameplay yet? I think its just right to everyone who likes open worlds…as for me, I don’t know. I own X, and I wasn’t impressed. open world was great I guess…but everything was nearly automatic. I felt boring to me.

      1. Hmm, we’ll sorry you were not impressed with X. I Love it and feel they designed an amazing Open world balance, but Def just my opinion!

    2. I don’t think it was a mentality they had.. I think what they meant by saying “too much work” is that they would never be able to finish the game by early 2017 if they kept adding stuff.. I seriously doubt they meant, “too much work” as in “I’m too lazy and I don’t want to add anymore to the game”…

      1. Of course, I truly don’t question Nintendo’s work ethics, however being too much work was significant enough to be their main reason.
        I’m not worried yet. Just saying. :)

  6. yeah the “too much work” sounded an alarm with me too. it’s like you’ve delayed the shit out of this to make it “perfect”, the “too much work” line just sounds bad. they should have a PR person advise them, that they are a game company, and saying something is “too much work” immediately insights a negative outlook. but hey, maybe it doesnt matter. we all know we’re preordering this shit.

  7. The game feels pretty dense to me, atleast what little they showed of the map at E3. They also said that they took out many of the towns and people in the game for the E3 build to prevent spoilers so theres a bunch more stuff then what we saw. This game is huge, they spent like 6 hrs in that first area and didn’t do everything there was to do, and that was a TINY part or the map! I can’t wait for this game, it’s gonna be so good!

    1. Just you bringing up the fact that they spent 6 hours in just 1% of the map and still didn’t explore everything that was there got me hyped for this game all over again.

    2. If the plateau is supposedly only 1% of the map, does that mean that this game will take 600+ hours to explore entirely?! Because HOLY MASTER OF SWORD that’s a ton of Zelda! (Not complaining!)

      1. I think they actually said it was about 2-3% of the map, it seemed that way when they showed it compared to the rest of the map. Certainly the world is giant but I think the plateau its a but bigger than 1%.

            1. Yeah, still huge either way! (I’ve heard both 1 and 2% from different places – the 1% was from Nintendo reps at the demo booths – but regarding the map, it seems the “Great Plateau” on the map is just a fraction of that filled-in segment they compared with the rest of it.)

            2. Nevermind, the available demo area seems like the full visible map segment. I took a ruler and did some measurements, though, and it looks like roughly 9 of those areas across and 11 down for the full map, or roughly 100 of them.

              Anyway, specifics aside, hundreds of hours of Zelda is hundreds of hours of Zelda! I’m so looking forward to exploring the world for myself!!

  8. If they made it like xbchronicles or x that would be perfect for me. I loved just running around and finding the interesting landmarks and how they shaped the whole world. Most people aren’t able to look at games as an art piece and that’s why some may find it boring if there’s not an npc with a fetch quest around every corner.

    1. Being honest here, I find it more boring if NPCs all have repetitive fetch quests than if they have none at all. If you’re going to ask me to do something, make it something interesting. :)

  9. that is something to expect in open world games, i dont get why people complain. fallout 4 had pockets of emptiness but people i dont remember if they complained or not. people need to understand that open worlds equals pockets of emptiness, those games are not 100% perfect.

  10. As long as it’s similar to how Witcher 3 handled monsters, I’m okay with this. But like others, that “too much work” part does worry me. Hopefully it’s nothing.

    1. I think what they meant by “too much work”, is that they would never finish the game on time. Not that they have poor work ethic… It does sound bad though.. I’m sure something got lost in translation…

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