Zelda: Breath Of The Wild’s Day/Night Cycle Was “Extremely Hard” To Implement

Akin to previous Zelda titles, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild includes a day/night cycle. Implementing the element in the upcoming game proved to be “extremely hard,” according to series producer Eiji Aonuma. It plays a crucial role in Breath of the Wild by challenging players to adjust their strategies for approaching enemies and adapting to the changing environment. Here’s what Aonuma had to say about some of the development challenges related to the cycle:

“We didn’t want to create something that was dark and scary. I’ve been up a tall mountain at night and seen the stars; it was completely dark, but the starlight made it brighter. I wanted our nighttime environment to be something like that. And when it’s dark, there are elements in the environment that glow, so the player can use those to find their way.”

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  1. Idk how adding lighting effects to the environment and in the sky was hard lol

    Nintendo being Nintendo I guess. Always making things seem more technical than they really are.

    1. I think what he means is not the technical aspect, but getting the atmosphere to reflect the kind of ambiance and give the kind of player experience he had in mind, which really can be difficult to get in practice.

    2. there’s a lot more to it than “lighting effects” as you have to change how the enviornemnt reacts to it (i.e. enemy placement.) Even pokemon did more than “lightning effects” back in Gen 2.

  2. majora’s mask and ocarina of time had a day and night cycle so unless the cycle’s code interacts with a huge number of objects and events thats so mind numbingly large, I don’t why it’s so hard.

  3. I hope there’s a way to manipulate the day and night cycle like in past games. or better yet manipulate the entire 24hr clock system like in xenoblade.

    1. I’m pretty sure in the demo it was shown that the campfires in the game can change the time of day to either day, evening, or night, depending on what you pick.

    2. I just beat Xenoblade two days ago. Damn that game is huge. Glad I played it, but now that I beat it, I’ll never play it again. Biggest game I’ve ever played aside from possibly Final Fantasy VII, because I don’t remember how big that game was. I just remember it being three CDs and awesome.

        1. Yeah. I felt they could have done better job of explaining some things. Some stuff throughout the cutscenes was quite ambiguous and could have meant a few things, so I was never 100% sure what they were trying to convey.

  4. Skyward Sword’s Day/Night cycle was terrible due to the lack of Surface exploration during night.
    Skyloft’s side-quests during night were okay, but the fact that it was the ONLY thing we could do during the time made it bland, generic and worthless.
    I did like the concept of manipulating the cycle by resting in the bed though.

  5. Out of context the trailer sounds quite hilarious. It sounds like they had a hard time programming a day-night cycle into a video-game in 2016.

    But honeslty, I hate when a game does a night cycle and suddenly everything is dark and you can’t see ANYTHING or makes the landscapes far uglier. An adventure game’s night should be as gorgeous as the landscapes of a day

    1. I disagree. I want my night cycle to be dark, the way night time really is. I dont know ANY games that do this. To my knowledge every open world game I have ever played has extremely light night cycles. What games are you referring to?

      1. I agree, but to add on, we have to consider that he wants the darkness in BOTW to be different than other games and to add a different element to the gameplay and story. Making it how night time really is, or more realistic is one thing, but for that to add to the experience in ways other than realism, I think that is what Aonuma is going for. He, and Nintendo in most cases, seem to want to do things only if they can do them justice. If you can’t pull it off the best way, then why bother?

      2. Dragons Dogma Dark Arison is pitch black at night. If you forgot to buy a torch out in the over world, you’re basically playing blind.

      3. I understand perfectly what you mean, but there’s also the fact that you also need to play like normal during night and without proper lighting that would be near impossible. Considering that the night cycle technically happens for half of the game, it can’t be that impairing. Maybe some kind of brightness option could help?

        1. Yea, your probably right. I dont think Aonuma wanted to turn the night cycle into a mini survival game. It sure would have been cool though.

  6. I think some people are missing the point.

    Aonuma wasn’t saying that putting in a day/night cycle was hard. Rather, it was hard trying to figure out what they specifically wanted it to be like.

    1. Exactly. That is what he is saying. The process of making it right for this game was difficult. I don’t think it is a question of it just being dark or the visuals in general.

  7. I always wanted an open world game to truly implement a real night time. An extremely dark night time, where you cant see anything unless you have some sort of light source. No game has done this to my knowledge, and I think it would be an amazing experience. Imagine wondering the landscape during the day, and as night approaches it gets darker and darker until you literally cant see anything. You know, like what happens in the real world… It would make torches and lighting devices a necessity and would really add to the immersion. Im not a fan of night cycles like the Witcher 3. Its so bright outside at night you can hardly tell its night time. Unfortunately I do believe Zelda is this way too… Oh well, it will still be a fun game, just with a shitty night cycle…

    1. Well, to be fair, even in the real world, there isn’t really complete darkness.

      If you’re out in the wilderness, chances are that the moon and stars will illuminate the landscape a fair bit. That’s how it always was on camping trips for me.

      And chances are that’s what they’ll be going for here in Zelda.

  8. This is a game that looks awesome, and will turn out awesome. Unlike No Ma’s Game, the biggest disappointment in gaming history!

  9. is it me or I do feel the game is completed age ago and could technically be release now or even back in June but because the NX is not out they are waiting March 2017 to release it. I guess they are already working on the next zelda (if they going to take 6 years, better start now). I just hope the game has a good story

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