Nintendo

Game Developers Explain Just How Influential Zelda Breath Of The Wild Is

Various video game developers have assembled to explain how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could be the blueprint of video games going forward. Games Radar interviewed a number of developers simply to discuss how big an influence The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has had on them and their projects going forward.

Independent producer Felix Kramer…

“Even though I can’t speak in specifics about any of the unannounced games I’m working on at the moment, I can tell you that no matter the project, BotW has come up in design/writing/gameplay meetings. Every single one. It doesn’t matter if the game is as far away from BotW as you can possibly get, we’re all talking about it and how it makes us think.

I’ve got this little folder of future games I want to work on – you know, like every aspiring game dev I’ve come up with 1,000 pitches I’m never going to use – but I will tell you that next to several of my pitches I’ve written things like ‘More Giant Women’ and ‘Hot Supportive Prince?’ and then next to another, simply, ‘this, but with Kass’. So if I had to say what BotW has made me want to include in games more, it’s probably ‘Indulging in Felix’s Extreme Thirst’. You know, for game dev’s sake.”

Hyper Light Drifter creator Alx Preston…

“I think the sense of freedom and experimentation is incredibly inspiring. Nintendo managed to make a variety of disparate game systems function together in a way that feels like far more than the sum of their parts, leading to a level of creativity in how a player approaches many of the challenges that’s uncommon in most games. Player expression is incredibly important to me, both as someone who plays and designs games, so this (admittedly broad) aspect is something I can point to for any number of future design conversations.”

Adam Saltsman, the creator of infinite runner progenitor Canabalt…

“It creates this environment that is pretty consistent, and I think as a player it’s easy to think up like the next weird experiment you want to try. I love this, and we’re trying to do stuff like this in a bunch of our games. It’s really satisfying to see ideas like that in something we didn’t work on, though, and to see that it totally pays off. That sounds really self-congratulatory but I mean Zelda shipped and our games haven’t yet so whatever.”

Rami Ismail, one half of Vlambeer…

“The verticality plays into most of the other core aspects of the game: friction (climbing comes at the cost of stamina, just like attacks cost weapon durability, shield surfing/defending costs shield durability, etc.), environment (rain, specifically, although it’s a bit overdone maybe), and exploration (there doesn’t need to be a real reward at the top of any climb, because being able to see further is a reward on its own with the way the shrines and towers are easily visible with the eye).

While many open world games use weather, emergent gameplay, and other elements that Zelda also applies masterfully, no game has done verticality as well as BotW, and so much of the core experience is cunningly built around it. By contrast, it makes other open world games – even mountainous ones – feel flat. If that’s what developers take away from Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I’m excited to see what comes out in three years in the open-world genre.”

Noitu Love 2 and Iconoclasts developer Joakim Sandberg…

“It opens up a better approach to figuring out your puzzles or tricks. You can expect players to have access to mechanics at any point, making you able to be more clever about your level design, ask to combine different tools, and most of all allow players to go anywhere right away.

When a game slowly rewards you with a tool over the course of the game, you both get the side-effects of revealing that the new tool will be necessary in the near time, and that it will have less relevance the later it is available to you. A delayed tool or ability also makes you go back to comb over areas you already explored, instead of having the satisfaction of completing it upon initial discovery. As a side note, I just love a small number of very dynamic tools overall, instead of 20 tools”.

Game designer and graphic illustrator Kyle McKernan …

“I think one of the most inspirational things about this game that I’d love to try in my own work is the idea of simply giving the player most or all of their tools at the beginning and building the world/mechanics to allow for emergent gameplay from there. The different abilities are such a joy to play with in this game that I didn’t feel like I was choosing a lesser method when I decided to do something really silly to take out a bunch of enemies.”

JF Major of Tribute Games…

“I would love to see a Diablo with no repairing. Did that gear just break on you? Tough luck, go find new gear! One thing Zelda has always taught me is how to become a hoarder. Whether it be for rupees, heart pieces or items, I want them all! And that is something common in most games. My Diablo bags are always an item away from being full. So when I first heard of breakable weapons and shields for Breath of the Wild, I had my doubts.

I remember throwing one of my first weapons down a cliff by accident when learning the controls and immediately reloading a save file to fix that mishap. But as I got deeper into the game, I started enjoying that mechanic. Yes, sometimes I wish some weapons would last forever, but when I’m down to my last poor selection of weapons, I have to find new imaginative ways to defeat my foes. It also encourages me to master different weapon types and play styles which forces me out of my comfort zone. I would love to see a Diablo with no repairing. Did that gear just break on you? Tough luck, go find new gear!”

Megan Fox, a former programmer on Lego Universe…

“The climbing and weapons degradation are the best examples. Those have been attempted in I suspect hundreds of games, but always came off as hacky and generally unfun. That Nintendo got them to be amazing is less a testament to ‘wow being able to stick to everything is great!’ or ‘wow I love it when my sword breaks mid-fight’, but to the immense amount of time Nintendo invested in figuring out how to incorporate those without them making players immediately gag or spike their controllers into the floor.

Nevermind the big-budget scale and the grandeur, finally setting foot upon the massive fantasy kingdom that always shimmered in our imaginations, and laying hands upon the tools to traverse and manipulate the world however we like. Here’s all I really want: in a few years time, to look at some clever new project that trusts its players to experiment and explore and say “yes, this is clearly a post-Breath of the Wild game.”

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18 comments

  1. That game been in development for 5 years and the mechanic is looking good then better. You know, they could at least make the Master sword last for 70 trys. So that way we can still used it a little more.

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      1. Not really in this game. The more damage you do in less hits means potentially less chances for strong enemies to get a good number of hits on you.

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      2. The master sword basically will be in permanent power up mode, like when fighting guardians. This means that it’s attack is always at 60, and it’s durability is increased.

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    1. The fact it doesn’t break completely, and recharges fairly fast is fair enough to me.

      I know everyone has an opinion on the weapon degredation system, but frankly this is the one time I’m glad Nintendo didn’t ask our opinion, and just did what they thought was right.

      Nintendo and I may not be on speaking-terms anymore, but hot-damn was this game amazing.

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