The Legend of Zelda Wii U won’t be the first open world game in the franchise, so why is the label only now attaching itself to the franchise?
When The Legend of Zelda Wii U was first announced, Nintendo stressed the game’s freedom of exploration. This led us and many others to describe it as an open world game.
Series producer Eiji Aonuma wasn’t super impressed by this, because Zelda game have always allowed you to wander the world at your own pace, gating you with various tools and gadgets rather than hemming you in by story progression.
“When I first showed off the new Zelda game on the Wii U, it seemed everyone was very excited and started proclaiming that a Zelda game had at last become open world! Zelda games have always allowed you to roam and explore a huge world,” Aonuma told Gamereactor in a recent interview.
“What’s changed now is that the hardware has progressed to the point that you can now explore this vast world seamlessly; the underpinning of the game hasn’t changed.”
Aonuma said the size of a Zelda game world is dependent on hardware, so naturally the first Wii U game will have the largest world to date.
“Ever since we made the very first generation of Legend of Zelda games though, we’ve had as large a world as can be realised with the hardware, so you could say it was inevitable that we’ve now done the same with the new Wii U title,” he said.
Nintendo really doesn’t like people saying the new Zelda is open world; Shigeru Miyamoto gave a lengthy if mildly baffling explanation for his dislike of the term.