The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the most talked about game of E3 2016. The lines on the expo hall to see the game were enormous (8 hour wait was a must). I believe Nintendo could have easily sold the way into the demo zone and people would eagerly pay hundreds of dollars for the glimpse of what’s to come. However, we’re not interested in the game purely as fans. 80.lv wants to look at the new Zelda from the environment design perspective.
As you might have heard, the next chapter in the endless series of games actually takes a little detour and gives the players access to a huge open world. Unlike other games in the series, where the designers wanted you to solve the puzzles in one particular way, new game doesn’t have these artificial boundaries. Instead gamers are free to act as they see fit. There are various ways to fight and solve problems using the environment.
The environment itself becomes a much bigger part of the gameplay. You can move rocks, chop trees, burn grass and climb mountains. It has fundamental influence on game design and environment design. Instead of carefully planned “zones” Nintendo now build huge open world levels filled with thousands of gameplay triggers. Even the weather influences the environment and changes the way you solve problems.
Of course there will be classical Shrines of Trials with carefully designed challenges, but even these puzzles could be solved in various ways. Overall, this bold move into open world level design, not limited by some closed gameplay mechanics, looks like a very interesting decision for Nintendo. Looking forward to seeing this game in action in 2017 for Wii U and the next console from Nintendo.