Check out these design notes on Zelda: Breath of the Wild and marvel at how well constructed it is

By James O'Connor, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 03:00 GMT

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo’s astonishing Switch launch title, was very carefully designed.

Breath of the Wild is one of the best reviewed games ever made. It’s a stunning, wonderful game, totally deserving of all the acclaim (you can find our own review here). Eight months after release, we’re still looking back and finding new things.

At CEDEC, the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference in Japan, attendees were able to learn more about the design principles underpinning the game. Everything released (such as this article) was in Japanese, but Capcom production manager Matt Walker has taken it upon himself to translate some of the information out there and present it in a series of tweets.

The full thread is worth a look – Walker’s game producer brain translates the information very eloquently – but here are the highlights:

  • Management tools are integrated into the game. Tasks were literally set up on signs around the game world, so other developers could access and read them. This allowed developers to bounce ideas off of each other.
  • They observed the ‘triangle rule’ – environments must be designed so the player has the choice of going over or around obstacles, and triangles can be used to obscure details to surprise players. There are variations on triangle designs scattered throughout the world to pull interest, which usually host korok seeds. Rectangles are also an important part of the world design, and are used to obscure things.
  • Bugs were proactively fixed during development, rather than leaving debugging until the end.
  • There’s a concept of ‘gravity’ employed in a way that intends to sidetrack the player somewhat by presenting visually interesting sights strategically. In-game structures are ranked by ‘visibility’.

It’s a wonderful thread on what makes the game so compelling.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available on Switch and Wii U.

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