Creating Zelda: Breath of the Wild Needed Nintendo to Let Go Past Traditions

By   /   Jun 17, 2016
New Breath of the Wild weapons

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game producer Eiji Aonuma has already established that the upcoming Zelda game is about 12 times larger than The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and a tad smaller than Xenoblade Chronicles X when it comes to the scale of the world map.

However, as the first fully open-world game Nintendo has worked on, the company has to let go of a few things. In an interview with Time, Aonuma stated that the studio asked old programmers from the Zelda team to step aside and introduced a group of new, younger programmers to create the 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.

Continuing, Aonuma said that sometimes these new, younger programmers would question certain things that has been done traditionally and without any concrete reasoning:

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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.

Therefore, the studio slowly started picking apart these traditional things that did not bode well with the modern world. The process, however, took a lot of time since rebuilding new ideas from the ground up was hard:

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.

All in all, it seems like Nintendo is hard at work at reintroducing the Zelda franchise in ways of the modern world. However, to me, it seems important to cling to the elements that made Zelda great in the first place.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild currently remains without a release date and is expected to release sometime during 2017 for Nintendo NX and Nintendo Wii U.