I think it’s fair to say, as we all continue to the lose ourselves in the wondrous lands of Breath of the Wild, we’ve all posed the question — the one that pops up more often than not when it comes to Nintendo — how have they done it? How have they managed to exceed expectations, and blow us away yet again? What kind of magic did they use to create yet another masterpiece?
The answers lie in Nintendo’s three-part mini documentary, “The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. Each 10-minute video explores behind the scenes of the game with the development crew, who each discuss how concepts were conceived, the struggles they faced during production, and the stories of how development ran over the years.
The first instalment opens, fittingly, with director Hidemaro Fujibayashi taking us back to the beginning. “Well, we started in earnest around January 2013.” As you may recall, the game saw many delays from that time. The game was kept getting delayed because the team “wanted more time to make the game as interesting as possible.”
“UFOs could invade from space and abduct cattle, [and] giant weapons could battle with laser beams while Link ran across the battlefield.”
Art director Satoru Takizawa explains how the development team used a private message board to share their ideas. He was very impressed by some of the “younger designers [who] came up with very unique suggestions”, such as “the idea that UFOs could invade from space and abduct cattle, or that giant weapons could battle with laser beams while Link ran across the battlefield between them.”
Takizawa also reveals the influence behind the Sheikah Slate and the style of architecture in the game. “The Jōmon period in Japanese history was the inspiration for the Sheikah Slate, shrines, and all of the other ancient objects and structures in the game.” He continues, “The Jōmon period is relatively unknown to much of the world. It has a nuance of mystery and wonder that we found really appealing.”
To round things out, producer Eiji Aonuma shares some of his intentions with the game. Aonuma wanted to introduce as many languages into the game as possible, so that children from all countries could experience the game without needing too much help. The game supports eight languages, and Aonuma wanted to include more. “That was our goal, but localisation takes a really long time.”
With multilingual voice acting and the Switch being region free, Aonuma hopes that players will try playing the game in different languages. “If I was, say, a student studying English, I could change the language to English and enjoy the game with English text and voices if I wanted to.”