How Nintendo Fine-Tuned Breath of the Wild's Overworld Using Triangles and Rectangles

How Nintendo Fine-Tuned Breath of the Wild's Overworld Using Triangles and Rectangles

Simple shapes build big adventures.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild contains one of the most interesting overworlds ever constructed for an adventure game. It's full of stuff to climb, fight, and solve. Unsurprisingly, Nintendo put a good deal of thought into Breath of the Wild's layout—and then it refined those thoughts and ideas again and again.

Triangle Man makes Zelda Man.

It's not often Nintendo gives us an intimate look at how it makes its sausage, but it gave the world a peek at Breath of the Wild's creation process at last month's Computer Entertainment Developers Conference. Matt Walker, the production manager for Capcom, translated parts of Nintendo's presentation on his Twitter account.

Some key points:

  • Nintendo utilized a "triangle rule" to give players a choice while exploring, as triangle-shaped objects (say, a mountain) give players the option of going over or around (Link).
  • Nintendo also used rectangular shapes to purposefully hide certain objects from view (Link).
  • The locations for Breath of the Wild's map towers are far from random. Amenities, shrines, and caves are grouped around them in such a way to purposefully distract players from making a beeline directly to them (Link).
  • A lot of thought went into how objects present themselves at night, too. For example, stables are easy to identify because of their well-lit horse head design that's easy to see from a distance. They're purposefully meant to draw in players after the sun goes down.

You can check out the entire thread on Matt Walker's Twitter. Take a look!

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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