In a recent interview with Japanese magazine Nikkei Trendy, Zelda Producer and Manager Eiji Aonuma explained how the concept of open air came to be in Breath of the Wild and why its integration into the series was important for future titles.

After moving the series from 2D to 3D with the introduction of Ocarina of Time, Aonuma’s goal was to create a game that could be played and appreciated by everyone, including players who hadn’t yet had the pleasure of becoming immersed in a 3D game. At the time of Ocarina’s release, it was the development team’s goal to create obvious and direct routes so players could advance in the game without experiencing the anguish of getting lost, despite the world being rather expansive.

“At that time, I thought that was the right thing. However, as we stacked on the series, ‘not getting lost’ would produce feelings of blockages like ‘cannot do anything but that’ or ‘cannot run away’, so more and more people felt dissatisfied with that.”

Aonuma continued by suggesting that an open air world seemed to be the solution to the blockages players would feel as they ventured out into the vast spaces throughout Hyrule. Having a variety of options while trekking through a large, far-reaching world would provide players with a bigger, more personal, Zelda experience.

“So I think if there are 100 people ‘experiencing’ it, there will be 100 ways [to progress].”

It was important to Aonuma and his team that they continue surprising Zelda fans with new ways to play the games while maintaining a recognizable Zelda environment. From their need to bring the masses a new and surprising adventure, Breath of the Wild’s open air world was born. And after receiving such high praises from critics and fans alike, Aonuma and his team are moving forward with the notion of “surprising” people by applying their creative approaches to future titles in the Zelda series.

That said, we’ll likely be seeing more unique and new ways to explore Hyrule in the future, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about the idea.

For reference: The full interview with Aonuma can be found in Nikkei Trendy’s June issue, and the translated sections regarding the subject of Breath of the Wild’s open air concept have been shared on Japanese Nintendo.

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Written by Lauren Ganos
Creative Director, Managing Editor

Designer and writer by day, gamer by night, Lauren dreams big when it comes to creative endeavors. Perhaps that's why she's taken on the roles of creative director and managing editor for Nintendo Wire. If she had a video game superhero alias, it might just be The Visionary, a true keeper of imaginative order.

Lauren Ganos