French newspaper Le Monde conducted an interview with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild producer Eiji Aonuma late last week. It's short, but it's packed with juicy tidbits.
Nintendo Everything has since rounded up the most interesting points of the interview and translated them to English, but you can also run the original article through Google Translate. Turns out the algorithm doesn't make a total Moblin's breakfast of a French-to-English translation.
Some of the information re-treads past interviews, or at least confirms suspicions we've had about Breath of the Wild's development for a while now. We know the game is meant to evoke a sense of freedom that calls back to the very first Zelda game, for example, and most of us suspected Breath of the Wild's beautiful landscapes are inspired by the works of world-famous animator Hayao Miyazaki (Aonuma doesn't name Miyazaki, but does mention his artists all grew up on Japanese cartoons).
Le Monde's interview does get into interesting specifics, however. It outlines how The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim played a major role in crafting the game's atmosphere; Aonuma found himself particularly impressed at how the game's different towns and territories differ significantly as you travel from place to place. He wants Breath of the Wild to offer a similar "pleasure of discovery," which is why you can climb everywhere in the game (which is something you can't actually do in Skyrim unless you're riding one of the province's magical cliff-scaling horses).
The interview doesn't do much to clarify how dungeons work in Breath of the Wild, which has caused some rumblings amongst Zelda fans at NeoGAF, reddit, and on social media. When Nintendo presented Breath of the Wild at E3 2016, it made a passing mention of traditional Zelda dungeons, but focused primarily on introducing "Shrines" – smaller, denser challenges that contain "Soul Orbs" Link can collect to exchange for items like the para-glider. Aonuma tells Le Monde that Shrines vary in size, and that some conclude with a traditional boss fight. That said, you won't find "themed" Shrines where you expect them. For instance, a Shrine located in the middle of the woods won't necessarily be forest-flavored.
Nintendo has talked about Breath of the Wild's dungeons in the past, so unless something has changed drastically during development, we can probably still expect them. There's an enduring fan theory that the huge stone beasts we've seen in the game's trailers double as dungeons. We won't know for sure until Breath of the Wild comes out for the Switch and Wii U on March 3.
One final point of interest about the interview, and it's a bit of a downer: Breath of the Wild doesn't contain any "messages" for Aonuma's son because his son believes he's getting too big for them. To clarify, Wind Waker was made around the same time Aonuma's son was born, which inspired the producer to have Link's boat, the King of Red Lions, speak to Link with a fatherly, authoritative tone. Aonuma's son has since criticized the King for being "too preachy," and well, maybe he's right. It's still amusing and a little saddening to see a kid grow away from a parent's gifts, especially when that gift is rooted in the most popular and whimsical fantasy game series of all time.
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