Following his comments on the game’s placement in the overarching series timeline, Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fuijbayashi has more insight to share behind the development of the recent classic.
Game Rant asked Fuijbayashi where the concept for the Divine Beasts in the game came from. “These came from an idea we had to solve two challenges we were facing at the time in terms of game design specifications; we wanted to create four moving dungeons which made use of the game physics, and we wanted to strengthen the romance of exploring a large overworld (the joy of discovery). The idea of having these huge mysterious objects, which in reality contained large dungeons, moving about and drawing players toward them seemed interesting.”
He continues, explaining how the team came to the final designs. “As far as the design motif is concerned we drew inspiration from the Divine Beasts in Chinese mythology said to protect the four compass directions; the azure dragon of the east, the vermillion bird of the south, the white tiger of the west, and the black tortoise of the north. For the motif of each individual Divine Beast we took into consideration the users’ familiarity with the animals chosen, the ease with which we could make the odd sizes and movement appealing, the ease with which we could capture the users’ attention, and how to a capture the mystique (puzzle) of whether the beasts were friend or foe.”
“We drew inspiration from the Divine Beasts in Chinese mythology said to protect the four compass directions”
Breath of the Wild is notable for introducing proper voice acting for characters in the series. Given this, on the surface it may seem unusual for the game’s main antagonist, Ganon, to not have a speaking role, though Fujibayashi explains that the team had a good reason for this. “When we were imagining both the scenario and the gameplay we didn’t feel either required that Ganon be voiced this time around. On the scenario side he exists as an overwhelmingly powerful force of evil, and on the gameplay side he’s a formidable enemy to combat; both of these functions are the results we were seeking.”
Fujibayashi did not comment when pressed for information on the possibility of another major Zelda title on the Switch. However, he does have much more to say in the full interview, including his contentment in the overwhelmingly positive reaction Breath of the Wild has received, and his surprise at the inventive ways in which fans are playing the game.