Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – An Open World Adventure | Game Maker’s Toolkit

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So, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open world game. In this video, I look at how Nintendo used and ignored different bits of open world design to make a game that’s all about exploration and adventure.

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Recommended reading / viewing:

GDC: “Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyMsF31NdNc

Nintendo: “The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30jGWna4-Ns

Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance):

Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games, 2014)
Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, 2016)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions, 2015)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions, 2014)
Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios, 2015)
Watch Dogs 2 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2016)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo, 2006)
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (Ubisoft Quebec, 2015)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios, 2015)
Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2014)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games, 2017)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo, 2002)
Mad Max (Avalanche Studios, 2015)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt, 2015)
The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo, 1986)
Minecraft (Mojang, 2011)
Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios, 2015)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios, 2011)
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft Montreal, 2010)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal, 2016)

Music used in this episode:

00:00 – Apple Pies & Butterflies (Blue Wednesday)
00:56 – Sheikah Towers (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
02:57 – Horse, Night (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
06:52 – Tarrey Town (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
08:28 – Lost Woods (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
09:27 – Rito Village (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

Blue Wednesday: https://soundcloud.com/bluewednesday/

Zelda Horse Bug: https://twitter.com/XeroInsignia/status/841061084844847104
Skyrim Horse Bug: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbA-YzKSRuM

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39 comments

  1. after playing dlc2 it hit me that zelda botw has had this weird conflict between how challenging the game is vs how much you complete in the game.
    like it makes sense that everything you do in the game is to make link stronger and more capable of defeating ganon.
    but i think most players who are the type wanting to track down and beat every shrine would also be, more often than not, the kind of players who want the most challenging final boss.
    but in trying to be a completionist and doing good in the bulk of the game, you end up with a super easy ganon fight and any other encounter is piss easy at that point too.
    it hit me in the dlc2 because you get your guardian super-powers upgraded throughout where they now take less time to recharge and it's like well done hero you've done so well you are rewarded with this to aid you further in your fight!
    and i'm sitting there like well um i did that fight months ago but now what if i ever feel like redoing it it's just gonna be easier than it already was?
    and this is coming from me who plays a lot of games on easy when given the option…it just seems dumb.
    but like i get that it works story wise and and it's totally cool as a unique open world DIY kinda game and tbh idk how else they could do it but it feels like it backfires in some ways.
    cause the more casual player is gonna have a tough slog against ganon but the more "hardcore gamer" who's done everything and become an expert at the game is given the easiest fight.
    soz that was a bit rambly but yeh. thoughts?!

  2. The open world I see more as an excuse to make long games. To please that mentality of gamers who think that the longer a game lasts and has more things to do, it makes a better game. It's all a makeup layer to cover a game that in most cases is mediocre (Like the last games of Bugisoft)

    BoTW looked at him with skeptical eyes since he had those cancer markers and Bugisoft towers and that it would only be stuffed for hours and hours of "fun" he would say to me: "Will Zelda be a more open world?"
    When I had it in my hands from the first hour I felt it was a different Zelda more atmospheric and more hostile. Something strange in the 3D Zeldas. And then I realized that the exploration and reward had returned. I did not feel that satisfaction from A Link to the past. BoTW did it well. It made a game of open superior to the average and I hope other developers take note of this game so that they stop making generic open world games.

  3. You made me fall in love with this game. Ive been playing Zelda since i was a little kid…The last Zelda game i played was Twilight princess and now i really want to start my adventure on breath of the wild… man i love this

  4. I’ve beaten the game with all 4 dungeons, 100+ shrines, and 100+ hours. And yet there are places in this video that I’ve never seen before

  5. Shame they worked so hard on the all the garnish and forgot about the meat of the game: the dungeons are too few, too short and too stilisticly similiar, and the boss fights are pretty boring, especially the final boss. I just spent 50+ hours of preperation for two minutes of shooting the glowy bits.

  6. I have this feeling that Mark REALLY doesn't like Assassin's Creed. That's okay, I understand what he means about throwing random shit together as if that's supposed to make a full and better game. They are pretty disjointed experiences. But hell, I still love them for some reason…

  7. The problem with breath of the wilds world is that it really doesn’t challenge you or offer any meaningful interaction because most of the world is just repetitive shrines since the game is way way more repetitive than any other Zelda game, plus none of the exploration feels rewarding because the secrets in the game are basic, boring, and repetitive. It fits the wide as an ocean and shallow as a puddle philosophy!

    You don't change the environment in any meaningful way, and having a shrine detector that never stops unless you find a shrine is annoying, plus the Sidequests in the game are disappointing. Even traveling is boring because of no 3D exploration, you can't swim, fly, dig, etc.

    No caves, no hidden temples, it's non linearity and open world hurt the gameplay because developers are forced to make every interaction basic, easy, and repetitive.

    It doesn't matter if the towers show you anything through icons or not because the problem with towers is they impede interaction and fun because in order to climb them you need lots of stamina and climbing them isn't really fun.

  8. "Game environnement should measured by how much meaningful content is inside rather than square meters"
    You definitely summed up the issue about contemporary open worlds, it is the real problem about Metal Gear Solid 5 and FFXV for instance. They could have been so much greater if the developers had focused on filling their world with interesting stuff rather than just make it bigger. It's a shame because I still enjoyed those games they had a real potential 🙁

  9. This game is truly something special. I just keep coming back to it and find new things to enjoy. It's one of the very few open worlds I actually enjoy exploring and discovering. Hopefully more open world games take notes from this.

  10. This is going to make me cry that I don't have a Switch and have trouble justifying getting one for literally just this one game. The original Legend of Zelda is still my favorite game of all time for the exact reasons you mentioned, plus a few of the things you indicated it needed to improve =P. I need Breath of the Wild.

  11. Nobody needed Dark Souls with pretty graphics and breaking weapons. It used to be when characters were full of personality and endearing. Now we have open worlds full of tasks in them and characters are just tools to do said tasks. We used to have the Gothic series which actually knew how to be an open world RPG and we had stuff like Prince of Persia or Legacy of Kain which weren't about this open world crap. Nowadays games are either mobas, FPS or open world. Or you can go the cheap rout with indie games that are outdated games that look and play like 2 decades ago. Remember when we had Kya Dark Lineage on PS2? Or Kao the kangaroo 2nd round. No? Of course not. Everyone just bought the latest Call of Duty or the latest open world crap which is why we now get loot boxes or horse armor dlc.

  12. It's a great great game, but i got really confused when playing it first. I walked for hours in the wrong direction and managed to kill all strong enemies not realizing how lost i was. Having picked up tons of valuable items on the way i couldnt just restart either. I was pretty close to not picking up the game again after that, not sure if thats a sign of good game design…

  13. Is it possible to miss something you (pretty much) never (just a little bit) experienced? Because I am THIRSTY to play BoTW in my own adventure, beginning to end! Someday I'll be able to buy my own Switch only to Zelda, Metroid and, if money comes in buckets for me, Mario! hahahahahahahahah

  14. Ahhhh, after finally playing BotW i was finally able to watch this video. I was really looking forward to it. Keep up the great work 🙂

  15. I love this game – part of it is uncomfortable because it feels so different from some of the aspects of Zelda that I love (I think Boss Keys touches on that pretty well), but it's also incredible in its scope and freedom of exploration and gives me great hope for the franchise's future to know that Nintendo's found a way to capture the spirit of what made Zelda so awe-inspiring in the first place by flipping the formula on its head. The sense of freedom was so cool – I could climb up those Gerudo plateaus and sweat out reaching each mesa, or I could search for a safer way to summit – it just makes you realize how much work and polish went into this game's fundamentals so that the designers were able to give us such an open world to tackle however we wanted.

    I don't know how you go forward from here – but I also wouldn't have known how to progress where we are now. Excited to see where the next steps take us!

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