In an interview with TIME, Eiji Aonuma spoke about the challenges of creating an open world as large as the one in The Legend of Zelda; Breath of the Wild. He said that, as Breath of the Wild has a larger world than any game Nintendo has ever made, many of the seasoned Zelda developers on the team had no experience making anything like it, and didn’t know where to start. Because of this, many of the younger developers on the team had to take the lead. The new developers who were put in charge had little experience with Zelda games, and helped the team get rid of some old traditions by introducing tons of new ideas.
Aonuma’s full statement can be read below:
As the first fully open-world Nintendo’s worked on, what’s the hardest thing about designing for an open world?
“This is definitely the first time we’ve created a game this large. We didn’t know where to start. So it happened to be there was a team that was working on creating a larger world. And this team was a group of younger developers. So we had our old programmers from the Zelda team take a step aside, so we could introduce this new group of programmers.
But then these new, younger developers had no clue about how past Zeldas had been created. The group of new staff actually would ask us, like ‘Well I know that it’s been done, traditionally, in other Zelda titles, but why does it have to be that way?’ And among those questions there were some I just couldn’t answer, that I didn’t know the answer to myself. That was because I just took those things on as a tradition, and I didn’t really know why the tradition existed.
When you think about it, maybe those things really didn’t need to be there in the modern world, those traditions. So I started destroying these traditions I’d inherited in the series one by one. But it’s a process that takes a lot of time. And because we were destroying everything we’d done in the past, and rebuild new ideas from the ground up, that was the hardest thing, and it’s really taken a long time to create the thing I most wanted to create.”
It’s certainly interesting to hear about the game’s origins in this way. The ways in which these new developers helped rid the game of certain traditions could be a big part of the reason that this game introduces so many new aspects into the Zelda series, like voice acting and jumping.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below!