Adapting The Legend of Zelda to the structure of a modern, open world may be Nintendo’s greatest feat of the last decade; to say nothing of Breath of the Wild’s role in fueling sales of Switch consoles. But perhaps more notable than what Breath of the Wild means for Zelda or Switch is the unshakable impact Nintendo has made on the future of open world games. Breath of the Wild is almost without compare, and any open world game in its wake will no doubt be measured against it in some way. For the first time in years, Nintendo is a trendsetter.
As you might expect, creating such an ambitious game was a monumental undertaking. As Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma revealed to us at E3 last year, Breath of the Wild was the biggest Nintendo project to date. When you consider the enormity of its world, the litany of mechanics at play, and the seamless yet varied atmosphere that connects it all, it wasn’t surprising when Aonuma felt challenged to keep such a large team–consisting of both Nintendo and Monolith Soft. employees–focused on a single vision:
“When we’re building something, we all have to have a shared perspective and goal, and it’s important that everyone has this concrete image in [their] mind. When you have this many people, you may say the same thing to everybody, but everyone has a different perspective on it. If we made a game with that, we would have a very broken and disjointed game. One of the biggest challenges is making sure we all have a shared vision.”
Breath of the Wild shipped, and by all accounts, Aonuma met his challenge well. Whether you’re catching butterflies or infiltrating the ransacked halls of a once-great castle, Breath of the Wild consistently reflects…
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