Before Breath of the Wild was released, you may remember Eiji Aonuma mentioning he had been spending some time playing Skyrim. While Breath of the Wild is certainly in a league of its own, it would be difficult to say there aren’t any parallels between it and Skyrim.
In fact, a recent interview with Eiji Aonuma and Hidemaro Fujibayashi confirms Skyrim’s influence on the latest Zelda title, with both developers explaining what they took from the game and what they hoped to accomplish with Breath of the Wild.
Hidemaro Fujibayashi admits in the interview that he doesn’t play many other games, but he does make himself aware of what they are doing. While in the prototype stages for Breath of the Wild, the developers knew they needed an expansive open world to do what they wanted. However, as time went on, they realized they had to make the world even bigger to accommodate everything included within the game.
Eiji Aonuma goes on to say that while he does play other games, he doesn’t do so with the mentality of trying to take aspects from them to apply to his own games. His mindset is more focused on preparing for other games and asking what gamers expect from them. Along those lines, he looks at how to improve upon concepts introduced by other games and the kind of manpower he would need to make something like it. Aonuma also mentions collecting data about other games concerning what worked and what didn’t.
In short, it seems as if the developers for Breath of the Wild looked to Skyrim to see what it did correctly and how it addressed a huge open world, but then added their own personal touches while trying to improve upon it.
Considering the critical acclaim Breath of the Wild has received, I’d say they did an amazing job!