Breath of the Wild is arguably one of the most immersive and engaging Zelda titles. Many believe the expansive environment or realistic voice acting are the main reasons for this. Some also state that the art direction creates a sense of realism which has been missing from some previous Zelda games. Breath of the Wild’s senior lead artist, Ryuji Kobayashi, feels that Link’s freedom in movement also contributes to the player feeling completely immersed in the game.
In the production notes recently released by Nintendo, Kobayashi explains that immersion was one of the most important aspects of the latest Zelda game. He states that the way Link moves and interacts with objects should not compromise the sense of reality they’ve created. Kobayashi provides two examples in his explanation:
That Link can open a treasure chest while crouching.
Link can jump attack off a horse.
These are obviously just two of the many aspects to Breath of the Wild that make the game feel so immersive. The developers focused on building a realistic physics engine to allow players to interact with the environment in their own way. Kobayashi reveals that there is much hidden in the game due to the ability to combine actions or to use the physics engine in an unexpected way.
There is no specific element which that Breath of the Wild great, but certainly the immersive and reactive world is one of the main factors. This is not something that was easily achieved, and many different elements had to come together to allow a completely immersive experience. But the realism in Link’s movements allow the player to approach challenges and tasks in unique ways — important for creating a memorable and engaging journey for each player.