TIME has run an interview with none other than the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto. The interesting interview is full of golden nuggets about the Nintendo Switch and the upcoming launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Miyamoto was asked about the all-important story in video games and says that with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the team wanted players to feel not only like they’re wrapped up in a story but also participating in an epic adventure.
I’ve read you weren’t a fan of story-heavy games early in your career. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is clearly more story-driven than the franchise’s earliest installments. What are your thoughts these days on story in games?
Let me start off by saying that Mr. Aonuma [Eiji Aonuma, the game’s producer] and his team, instead of creating a game where you’re playing the story, you yourself are embarking on an adventure, and I think they’ve found a unique way to strike a balance between the story and the fact that you’re on an adventure. It’s not that I don’t like story, that I’m denying the importance of story. I think after someone has played a game, it’s important that a story lingers in their mind. But what I do think is a challenge, is to cut down on playtime to set up and explain a story that’s already been set.
I think what’s important, especially for the Zelda series, is for the person to be able to think it through for themselves, and to really live the story. I think that’s the challenge we’ve been working on through the many iterations of The Legend of Zelda. And so in this game, while you’re playing, you start to kind of dig the narrative out and see the overarching story that lies in the background.
And so I think the story in Breath of the Wild still doesn’t break the balance that’s been established in previous Zelda games. But we also wanted to make a game where, after someone is done playing, their own experience in that game is what the story is, and I think we’ve been able to accomplish that with this title. And really in this game, everybody can take very, very different routes and approaches. How long it takes to beat the game has a huge range.