In recent interviews,
Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma and legendary developer Shigeru Miyamoto discussed how rupees will work in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The in-game currency is gained in different ways from past Zelda games, as you will no longer gain rupees by opening chests or cutting down grass. Instead, rupees are gained through selling items, after which they can be used to buy new stuff. This change in how they’re collected came from the general reception to past games, where rupees were easy to acquire but had few ways to spend them.
“Rupees do exist, but the reason for their existence is a little different this time around. As you saw it’s not about going to cutting down grass and collect rupees or find them in treasure chests but it’s about collecting things and going to sell them and then using the rupees you get to buy new things.”
— Eiji Aonuma
“As part of the reinvention of the Zelda conventions, we focused on the rupees case because we had a lot of feedback on the fact that you could pick up a lot, but there were not enough ways to spend them. As items to collect in such a free and open game, we thought they lost their benefits, even if they’re in the game in a different way involving combinations and other surprises in the final version.”
— Shigeru Miyamoto