“I really love all the animals in the world,” said Shigeru Miyamoto, while talking to Game Informer for their current issue featuring Breath of the Wild.
His comments make it clear that the wildlife populating the world isn’t there just to make it look pretty. Last month’s Nintendo Treehouse livestream showed us that we’ll be able to tame and ride wild horses, and Miyamoto elaborated on this: “Even with the horses, you really get to know the horse and raise them and ride them.” We also know that Epona will make an appearance in the game, but not how or where, so you may find yourself spending a lot of time with another horse you’ve befriended and raised.
January’s trailer suggested that hunting would be among the game’s mechanics, and Miyamoto confirms that players can indeed hunt animals if they’d like to. “With the other animals, you can just view them, or if you get hungry you might have to hunt them. You have that choice.” The game also features edible plants, and different types of food can be cooked up and eaten to help Link regain health and stamina.
All that said, some of the wildlife is indeed there to make the world feel more alive and vibrant. “When you look up at the sky, you see birds on their way somewhere and it’s fun to think, ‘Where are they going to end up? Where are they going?'”