Today at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), some of the creators behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild hosted a panel to talk more about the development of the highly anticipated game. Mr. Fujibayashi, Mr. Dohta, and Mr. Takizawa were there to explain some of the ideas that went into creating the new Zelda title and some of the stuff that was left on the drawing board. It’s sometimes unusual for us to get a look at how a Nintendo game is created, and the company doesn’t always share its ditched ideas because they could always be utilized in a future game. So, it’s very refreshing and fascinating to learn about them.
One of the first things the developers wanted to tackle was making sure the new Zelda game was an “active” experience instead of a “passive” one. In other words, they wanted to give gamers a sense of freedom so that they could go wherever they wanted to without huge barriers standing in their way. Things like impassable walls, predetermined sequence of events, and predetermined experience all lead to gamers finding answers on the Internet. Instead, they wanted to make sure that players could experience the game without restrictions so that each person might tackle the game in a different manner.
By allowing players to interact with objects and in turn having those objects interact with the world in a realistic way, the game took on a life of its own. There are tons of items to discover in the game, and figuring out ways to use them is half the fun. The new physics engine allows for gamers to experiment and see what happens when to objects are brought together. To assist in making the game and bringing the ideas to life, a 2D prototype of Breath of the Wild was created!
Both physics and chemistry were brought together to forge this new and exciting world. When developing the weather system, the team learned that each item would react differently to the wind. Unexpected things happened where items would blow away, so they had to tweak the code to make sure the game wouldn’t break itself. This also allows for a wide degree of freedom for the player. In fact, the team wanted to make sure you could push this rock all the way to the final boss!
All of the elements come together to form the world of Hyrule. Rain makes it difficult to climb mountains (too slippery), lightning is attracted to metal (change out of your iron armor), and wind can spread fire. All of these form the “chemistry engine”, which was running in the background of that 2D prototype, which actually was able to be viewed in 3D as well. Mr. Dohta finished his part of the presentation by saying, “We really want players to have these moments where they interact with the world and think, ‘Wow! I’m a genius!'”
Mr. Takizawa showed off some earlier concepts for Breath of the Wild. Some of them are way out there, but could be cool in their own rights. One idea was for a game titled Hyrule Wars, and another was The Legend of Zelda Invasion, which featured an alien spacecraft with an alien that looked strangely similar to the Goron. Hey, these could be fun! What about Link riding a motorcycle? I mean, Cloud pulled it off in Final Fantasy VII, right?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild comes out this Friday, March 3. For more information, be sure to head over to our preview.
[Source: Nintendo’s Twitter]