The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been one of the best games of the year so far, and perhaps one of the best Zelda games of all time. Now, half a year after the game’s release, Nintendo is revealing some of the secrets that make Breath of the Wild work so well.
Director Fujibayashi Hideyuro and lead artist Makoto Yonezu gave a presentation on the topic at last month’s Computer Entertainment Developers Conference in Japan, but it took this long for the the talk to be translated into English. We can thank Capcom production manager Matt Walker for the current translation.
One of the most interesting points to come out of the talk was the design of the world itself. Nintendo established a “triangle rule” to help create intrigue. Scattering triangle-shaped objects throughout the world—such as hills, mountains, and even tiny protrusions in the ground—automatically gives players a choice in how to navigate. Each triangle hints at something intriguing behind it, but will players go around or go over to find out what’s been hidden? Triangles usually hide points of interest, so if you’re hunting for Korok seeds, keep an eye out for mountain peaks, tall trees, and other triangle-ish shapes in the landscape.
Nintendo also scattered various points of interest around the map, making sure that objects such as stables were large and visible enough to draw interest from far away. The company tracked where players went during initial playtesting. When too many players went in one direction, Nintendo refined and tweaked the world to add more interesting options in other direction so that players would all spread out and explore.
The talk also goes into a lot of detail on Nintendo’s debugging process and the initial programming of the game. Nintendo built many management tools straight into the game so that developers could always see what other devs were working on, allowing them to bounce ideas off each other.
Source: Matt Walker on Twitter