Zelda BotW: Aonuma on interest for open air and future of the franchise

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is celebrated as one of the best games of the franchise, and for some even THE best one, for many reasons. And among those reasons, the liberty and possibilities given by the open air Hyrule comes out as a big favourite. In an interview given for the Nikkei Trendy magazine, series producer Eiji Aonuma shared his thoughts on the concept of open air, how it allowed the teams at Nintendo to go even further and overcome the barriers they had in previous titles.

Aonuma also took some time to give his impressions on how Zelda Breath of the Wild was welcomed by players around the world, and how this overwhelmingly positive feedback will inspire him in the future direction given to the series.

On The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild becoming “Open Air”

“When we first created a Zelda playable with the 3D technology – Ocarina of Time for 3DS – we put our attention on coping with how players were still not familiar with 3D yet. We showed ‘routes’ so that you could progress forward without getting lost in broad zones.

At that time, I thought that was the right thing to do. However, as we moved on in the series, not getting lost would create feelings of blockages, like ‘you can’t do anything else but that’ or ‘you can’t run away’, so more and more people felt dissatisfied with that. 

Open air worlds really liberate us from those feelings of blockages. You can freely explore a vast world connected seamlessly, and you can progress to find your own answers. So I think if there are 100 people experiencing it, there will be 100 ways [to progress].”

On overseas reactions and thoughts of the series in the future

“First of all, I think that players recognising this game to be a Zelda is a huge thing. It’s a series that has been continuing for a long time. If I am to put it in words then perhaps everyone would have thought it’s not that simple to do an ‘overhaul’. 

Furthermore, that overhaul causes a surprise among all our users who have played Zelda until now, since it goes beyond their pre-definition. And I think perhaps that’s why they, including the media, have welcomed it with a great enthusiasm.

It’s not an easy thing to be able to answer the expectations of all our users. But through this game, I’ve recognised once more that the envy of continuing to create the series is here, so in the future I’d like to do great reshuffles again and provide surprises that exceed everyone’s expectations.”

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