The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece of game design, drawing the player into a massive open world and allowing them to run riot, with secrets to find and challenges to undertake at practically every turn.
It's little wonder that even now, months after release, people are still hopelessly enraptured by the expansive kingdom of Hyrule - and a recent presentation at the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference in Japan has revealed the hard work and planning which goes into creating such an engaging world.
The talk - which featured Breath of the Wild director Fujibayashi Hideyuro and lead artist Makoto Yonezu - has recently been translated into English by Capcom production manager Matt Walker, and offers a fascinating insight into how Nintendo crafted one of the best video games of all time.
Several different topics were discussed, one of which focused on the "Triangle Rule" which has so greatly influenced the game's design. The team behind the game used triangle-shaped objects throughout Hyrule in order to give players options; when you see an object on the horizon, you can either choose to walk around or climb it, both actions which of course lead to further challenges. Furthermore, these triangles serve as the perfect place to hide secrets behind, giving players a sense of reward when they discover something new on the other side.
Map towers are a key part of Breath of the Wild, so it should come as no surprise to learn that their placement was another factor that a lot of thought went into. To begin with, towers were simply slapped down all over the map in the belief that they would attract the player's attention and draw them to other regions, but during testing it was discovered that players were unhappy with such obvious cues. The team therefore used heat maps to see where people had become stuck or bored, and placed the towers accordingly. The placement of smaller structures between each tower was also painstakingly considered, so that players would become side-tracked and drawn deeper into Hyrule - an idea referred to by the team as "gravity".
Nintendo even made sure that important structures could be seen from a distance by making them tall, and came up with a system where the taller the structure, the more important it would be to the player.
It's well worth reading all of Matt's tweets on this topic, as they offer a deep insight into how Nintendo creates such masterpieces.