The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has released to widespread critical acclaim (see our glowing review here), but it’s also a pretty wild departure from previous games in the series, embracing an open world that is staggering in its breadth. Today, Nintendo released three behind-the-scenes videos offering insight into the game’s development.
“As a catchphrase, ‘break the conventions of the Zelda series’ really helped us as creators as we worked on this title,” technical director Takuhiro Dohta says in the first making-of video, “The Beginning.” The game’s designers explain how they used a simple 2D prototype using 8-bit sprite graphics to test out new gameplay systems that were eventually implemented in the game, and some ideas that were not included, such as UFOs that could invade from space and abduct cattle.
The second video, “Story and Characters”, discusses the difficulty in delivering a chronological story in such a nonlinear game, how they went about designing the characters, and how they evolved. There are some interesting concepts shown, like Link in a space suit (with a Metroid!) and modern-day biker Link, that never made it past the sketch pad. Surprisingly, the game even toyed with the idea of introducing tiny characters and having Link be able to shrink, which was the basis for the 2004 Gameboy Advance game The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
In the final video, “Open-Air Concept,” producer Eiji Aonuma talks about how the hardware limitations of previous consoles limited Zelda games like Wind Waker and Skyward Sword’s ambitions for more open environments. “This time, though, we were sure we could do it because we were blessed with a great team, and there were a lot of people putting thought into making it happen,” he says. To find out more about everything from the game’s combat, physics system, and dynamic musical score, you can watch all three videos above.