The official Breath of the Wild guide features a couple of blurbs from series producer Eiji Aonuma and game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi in which they talk more about the process of Breath of the Wild‘s development. Aonuma, for his part, describes the different approach taken to creating the world of Breath of the Wild compared to the template established for previous 3D Zelda titles.
As the series transitioned from the two dimensional plane to the third, development of the games required a concrete blueprint for the game world, resulting in the set path that players would ultimately follow during the course of the game. Breath of the Wild, however, not only revisited the first Legend of Zelda in gameplay style but also in development, with Aonuma describing the “creating while playing” process as “very similar to the method Miyamoto used in the very first The Legend of Zelda.”
The process involved a lot of trial and error, and testing. Aonuma elaborates, “First, we placed a countless number of ‘points’ throughout the vast world of Breath of the Wild. Then, as we went through and actually played the game, we would make those ‘points’ larger, smaller, or move them around, incorporating the things that we felt, while playing deeper into the game itself.”
“We have on occasion observed things happen in the field that not even we, who created the game, could have imagined.”
Fujibayashi also commented on the sheer array of solutions to the game’s puzzles, and how players are coming up with solutions even the developers hadn’t envisioned. “In addition, depending on the choices and actions of the player or the effects from the items that they use, there are various kinds of reactions that can occur. Due to the mass of possible combinations, we have on occasion observed things happen in the field that not even we, who created the game, could have imagined.”
Going forward it’s impossible to know just what’s in store for the series. Aonuma has stated the open-air formula will likely be the standard for Zelda going forward, and there’s still plenty of unused ideas that the long-time series producer wants to implement. “Even now, after development has finished, I still get the feeling that there are so many things left that we didn’t get a chance to achieve. Although this feeling isn’t new to this particular work, for past games, it was more a feeling of disappointment. For this game, in contrast, it’s more of a desire to keep evolving and growing. I feel like that’s a big difference between this Zelda game and previous versions.”
It’s entirely possible we’ll get to see that growth and evolution in the two DLC packs that are scheduled for later this year, and the nature of the games industry in 2017 means additional expansion of the world created in Breath of the Wild is entirely feasible. Regardless, there’s no doubt that the future of Zelda is incredibly exciting.