Nintendo has released a three-part video series on YouTube this morning, detailing the making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Each video is 10 minutes long and covers a different part of the game's overall development.
"We were thinking about changing the conventions of the Zelda series from the very start of development," says Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi in the first video. "Our process was to think of all kind of different mechanics, and to try to distinguish between the unchanging, universal traits of the Zelda franchise and thing that had simply become conventions of the series. We settled on our direction and broad concept first, and then the entire staff got together and considered what to change and what to leave unchanged."
You can see the genesis of some of the concepts that finally found their way into the game, like the mechanical, laser-shooting Guardians that Link fights.
"Some of our younger designers came up with very unique suggestions, like the idea that UFOs could invade from space and abduct cattle or that giant weapon could battle with laser beams while Link ran across the battlefield between them," says art director Satoru Takizawa. "They actually used development tools to make sample videos."
The first video also shows off the 2D prototype used to work out the game's mechanics during development.
Story and Characters
The second videos covers the creation of Link, Ganon, Zelda, the supporting cast, and even the Guardians that you fight. Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi calls Zelda the hardest character for the team to get right.
"The character that was most difficult... well that would be Zelda, by far," he says. "The reason behind that, well, it's sort of obvious. I mean, she's the heroine. Until the very end, we were making subtle changes to her gestures, the lighting, the way her eyelashes look, stuff like that. This is my personal opinion, but I think Zelda is in a really, really good place in this game."
Finally, the third video is all about what went into building the open-world of Breath of the Wild, the physics system, and the ambient sound of Hyrule. Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma talks about Skyward Sword and how the team wanted players to be able to explore the area in-between dungeons, but couldn't make it happen. That desire informed the creation of Breath of the Wild.
"That's why we decided to create a truly open-air world this time," says Aonuma in the video. "We felt we really needed to make a game in which players could enjoy that sort of exploration."