The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, it's safe to say, is one of the most eagerly anticipated Wii U titles of the year, bringing us the first HD adventure in the iconic franchise. Its reveal at E3 2014 - and more detailed off-screen demonstration at The Game Awards - got fans excited for a large seamless world to explore, with series producer Eiji Aonuma explaining in various interviews that the aim is for the title to be less linear than its predecessors.
The focus for the new title does seem to be the 'seamless' aspect; as Aonuma-san has explained in an interview with Gamereactor magazine, however, this isn't the first 'open world' entry for the series.
A huge, seamlessly unfolding world is something that can't be achieved if the hardware isn't advanced enough. 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.
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.
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.
Some of this is down to the interpretation of 'open world', naturally. For some the term doesn't refer to whether the world is sizeable or open to explore, but the manner in which tasks and story progression are structured - nevertheless, from one perspective Aonuma-san makes a fair point.
Aonuma-san also talked a little about the map functionality on the GamePad - though hardly innovative for a Wii U game, he explains that the style and setting of the title suits the "sense of adventure" that an on-hand map can bring.
Recently, I've taken to relying on the map on my smart phone when I'm out walking in a place I'm not familiar with. A map isn't something you keep tucked away in your bag, it's by holding it in your hand and being able to constantly check it as you move forward step by step that gives you that sense of adventure.
Nintendo has continued to insist that we'll see this new title in stores this year, and it'll certainly be a big event when it does arrive. Does the promised scale, non-linearity and seamless nature of the world excite you?
Thanks to Benson for the heads up.