The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains one of the most popular Nintendo Switch titles to date, with many still praising it as a proper open-world installment for the Legend of Zelda series (and competing against one another in speedruns). As it just so happens, Nintendo put serious thought into developing Breath of the Wild’s landscape, as revealed through several tweets.
Capcom production manager Matt Walker shared an article from Japanese gaming website 4Gamer earlier this week, detailing the development process behind Breath of the Wild as discussed during Japan’s Computer Entertainment Developers Conference 2017.
Nintendo EPD merged their development toolkit with the game itself, leaving signs across the world relaying development processes and bugfixes to one another so teams did not accidentally overlap with one another, according to Walker’s translations. The signs would provide information on everything from meetings about development to a feature’s current progress.
As any Breath of the Wild player knows, Hyrule is filled with mountains and hills, and Nintendo EPD did this on purpose. For them, triangular structures were used for providing players different ways to execute an objective. Link could either go straight for a mountain’s peak or work his way around one of two sides. Alternatively, he could either work his way through a jagged peak, choose a steeper side, or wrap around a bend.
Building hills and mountains this way not only allowed Nintendo to create surprises across a region, but it also made paths feels more dynamic: Certain enemies and obstacles would be found on one side, but not the other.
Hyrule’s layout was designed from the start for some objects to conceal others, such as a tower hiding a bridge, or a mountain hiding a structure, so Breath of the Wild always felt dynamic and exciting while being explored, even if the player was going through recognizable terrain. This made Link’s journey appear lively and full of hidden surprises that gradually excite players.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is out now for Nintendo Switch and Wii U. The game previously launched with the Nintendo Switch to critical acclaim in March 2017.