Picking up numerous Game of the Year awards for 2017 (including our very own), The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a huge success for many reasons. Something that particularly stood out to fans of the series, however, was the almost limitless freedom on offer that hadn't been utilised to such an extent in previous titles.
Having access to the game's entire, huge, map immediately - and particularly the way in which you could technically go to the final boss in a matter of minutes if you wanted to see Link get brutally defeated - were very special inclusions indeed. Talking to IGN, Breath of the Wild Producer Eiji Aonuma has talked about fans' reception of this new approach, and how he plans to incorporate it into future games.
“You know, I can't speak to what other people, other companies will do in their own games, but I think for me, especially just in terms of the Zelda series, the incredible freedom that this game offers you and how well that's been received…to me, it means that freedom, that level of freedom is something that needs to be maintained in Zelda games going forward. My eyes have been opened to how important that is.”
Trying to predict what we can expect from the next game in the Zelda franchise has suddenly become rather tricky; with the usual, run-of-the-mill, linear dungeon approach seemingly being dropped in favour of large open worlds, each new entry could present an entirely different feel to it.
Would you like to see the next entry follow Breath of the Wild's footsteps very closely, or would you prefer something that takes this idea of freedom to create something even bigger and bolder? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
As long as storytelling is improved upon, I'm perfectly fine with that.
I would be happy if Eiji Aonuma was given the creative freedom to take the next instalment in any direction he thinks would push the series forward. He nailed BOTW and I think he and his team have the passion to do it again.
Traditional dungeons for 3DS, bigger revolutionary ones for Switch.
There is one important issue that needs to be address: Link ate a lot but he never used the toilet. There has to be a toilet meter, so when it reached critical level the players need to search for a toilet. Also, the food he ate will determine the toilet usage: e.g. eating raw food will give him diarrhoea or other ailment.
More Korok poop I presume
Tough call imo - the game is great, the freedom is awesome. One of my favorite games. However, there was something missing imo - story! They should create a mix of botw standards and elder scrolls story telling.
I'd like to see some online interaction.
The freedom was one of my many favorite features in the game. I'd love to see the return on traditional dungeons in the next Zelda game with the freedom to do them in any order ala the divine beasts.
Yes. Another BoTW please. It’s probably the first game that’s ever really given me what I always wanted Zelda to give me: a futuristic horse-motorbike hybrid and a laser chainsaw.
@brickofthewild @KayFiOS Narrative will only restrict the freedom of the game. BotW is such an adventurous and explorative game compared to a game like Horizon Zero Dawn simply because it's not story-driven. You are not pushed to carry out the script written by the developers, therefore you are free to explore.
I think freedom is important and it is a good thing only in games that let you create your own characters and decide by yourself what your goals are. It would be great for Nintendo to try making a game this way and I'd be happy to try the resulting game but this game wouldn't be Zelda. In Zelda you are forced to be Link that, despite what many people say, is a predefined character, it is not your own, and the main goal will always be to defeat Ganondorf or a similar enemy, not something that you have chosen but something that the developers have chosen for you. This is why I think that Zelda games are better with less freedom. Freedom in a game that already has predetermined protagonists and predetermined main goals that are clearly more relevant than other side quests cannot be experienced to its fullest and will always be a watered down experience. Exactly what Breath of the wild is in my opinion
Freedom is good, but it needs substance
Swimming and fighting underwater like a Zora could be a first step...
Majora’s Mask X Botw... best Zelda of aaaaalll times
It would be kinda cool to see a new game that is similar to Majora's Mask in terms of the time limit structure while being side quest heavy that included the memorable NPCs along with the freedom you got in Breath of The Wild.
Swimming and fighting underwater like a Zora could be a first step...
Majora’s Mask X Botw... best Zelda of aaaaalll times
I really want a direct sequel, same Link and Zelda, perhaps going to a new land to seek allies in rebuilding the kingdom. Take it out of Hyrule to a neighbouring land, and then come what may. THEN DO A GOLD AND SILVER AND UNLOCK HYRULE POST GAME. Rebuilt. I realise that is a ridiculous idea, but it would be amazing
BotW was an amazing game, and I just want to contest the whole “lack of story” argument.
Picture books tell stories just as much as 200,000 word novels tell them. However they have different methods of telling those stories.
Some games tell their stories in large amounts of cutscenes or dialogue and side quests, and that is great for those games. However BotW did it different.
For me, the story of BotW was told in the world and in the adventure you had as you journeyed through the land.
You were meant to feel small and alone in a big world that you needed to help. The subtle music, the silence, the vast expanse. The diverse areas and all the unexplained mysteries. That was all part of the story. We were able to chart our own course, influence the world, imagine, explore and FEEL the game.
We were a character in a story that we could write. Ganon, Zelda, the calamity, the divine beasts and so forth were the meat of that story, but our journey was the other part.
A story can be told in many different ways and for me BotW nailed it.
Could they do something different in the future? Sure. More cutscenes and dialogue, great. But that doesn’t negate BotW’s story. For me at least.
I appreciate that there are different tastes and that gaming as a whole benefits from catering to those tastes and even mingling them together to create new and unexpected experiences for players, but I struggle to understand people that say they want Zelda to be “more open” but also to include “more story.” Not that I think your desire for story-driven games is bad or wrong, since that’s obviously subjective, but I don’t see how you can have both. Do you want to be able to run from one edge of the map to the other without stopping, or would you rather have the game stop you at scheduled intervals to remind you why you’re doing it with a random episodic mini-movie? It just strikes me as incongruous that, in a game where virtually everyone complains when the rain stunts the action, people would be welcoming to a bunch of cinematic set pieces butting in.
I’m glad Zelda picked up some new design cues from western games, but of all the things I absolutely DON’T want to see the series incorporate, the cutscene-heavy narrative that western games lean on far too liberally these days is chief among them. I can’t think of anything that could interrupt the flow of unbridled freedom found in Breath of the Wild more than hemming the player in with even higher walls of exposition meant to inform the player which page of the script they’re on instead of just letting them create the story for themselves as they play. The game already has almost two hours of cutscenes, and I personally think that’s plenty. Just me, though. Don’t anyone take that personally.
@Kienda Well said.
@Jacob1092 I'd be down for that
Sure the Divine beasts and Ganon were plot points, but as people have pointed out above , Botw is special because you are the story teller and the reader.
When you ask people about what they remember from their time with botw, it's never a scripted part, but an action or consequence that they caused/observed while travelling through the world.
Would not mind uf they kept thr BOTW open world style in future gamrs. Still would miss the traditional dungeon a bit. So maybe do both kind of games if it possible
Yes but we shouldn't have freedom just for the sake of it and the story and structure often suffer in these types of game, this game in particular almost entirely sacrificed the story just so you could choose which direction you wanted to go. Just bring back real dungeons and give us some treasure worth searching for that's all many of is ask oh and maybe put some music in it
@Kienda Still, I think beyond what was already there in terms of atmosphere and world building - as you say, some of it rather explicit and some of it rather implicit, e.g. by way of environmental design - there was still room to expand and improve upon the actual stories.
I feel this particularly pertains to the side-quest in BotW, which to me, were more often than not the weak Links ^^ in BotW. Rarely did I feel compeled to see them through for any other reason than to complete an activity that I had already started. Part of it is how most of them were conceived as fetch quests, but part of it is also the way their motivation was limited to throw-away sub "stories" that more often than not, did not really deserve to be considered even short stories.
A good "story" can make a huge difference for a game, even if it's only something that we are being told on the side about (one of) the protagonist(s). The shining example of this for me to this day is still Lost Odyssey. One of my prime motivations in the game quickly becaming finding all the "A Thousand Years of Dreams" sequences, despite them basically being just a window with beautiful music (but oh boy, was the music good) and scrolling text. I found them to be superbly written (as far as these things go in games, they are still pretty much top of the crop to me) and deeply moving. They made me care about Kaim in a way, that I never quite felt for Link in BotW. Kaim felt incredibly human despite being an immortal.
I think when I'm talking about I was not entirely satistified with neither the plot nor the story in BoTW, then stuff like this plays a big role. Although, I have to say, I felt the memory sequences in BotW were rather good to be honest (surprisingly I loved the Voice Acting and felt it really added to the game, esp. Zelda), and improvement on the characterisation of previous games for sure.
Still, like I said initially, there is plenty of room for further growth here.
Beside the way the characters are brought to life and how side quests are designed, I really hope for just more density to the world in the next entry, and that includes more - or at the very least - more substantial "dungeons", in the traditional kind of way. I like that you can approach them in any order, that was neat, as seen in ALBW before if albeit by way of a different mechanic of course, but I still felt they were too short and not quite .... I dunno just not as satsifying as in previous games. By density, I just mean more points of interest and, like I said before, a higher quality of PoI (e.g. side stories). I would be okay with a smaller world, if it was a more densely populated (again not just by people but points of interest and interaction).
Most importantly, I am really not one for open-world games traditioally, I find them to be huge time wasters, who rarely if ever manage to justify their size and length. Exceptions were games like RDR and GTA V, although I'd say I mostly enjoyed these games despite them being open-world and not because of it. The great thing about Zelda to me was not the freedom, as implied here, but the sense of exploration, how the world was constantly obscuring within itself new treats, that I had to discover by making an effort. Basicaly, it was big environmental puzzle, and that was a pretty neat concept. I would have actually liked more moments of "I know, there is something there, but darn ...how to I get to it ...". Those were some of the best moments in the game, esp. if that "there is something" was born out of say, me spotting a clearly non-natural formation somewhere in the distance. Sure, this implicitly demands a great deal of freedom in movement for the player, but it is certainly not a end unto itself, rather another tool to open up an avenue for the player to engage with the game, or in this case the world/evironment, which - in this Zelda game - was the real star of the show!
@KayFiOS the storytelling in BOTW was great or at least they tried to do it differently and im glad for that since the Zelda games' weak spot has always been their stories
@Orangezap89 hell no!! you want some online interaction? go play Tri-Force Heroes
Perhaps a more populated world with more NPCs and quests? Not that I feel tired of BotW's take, but it ties into the story's general postapocalyptic vibe - and since we're not talking Fallout, I wouldn't expect every Zelda game to go for a long devastated setting like that by default. Skyrim, for one, is full of wilderness while remaining a functional province (civil wars and other troubles notwithstanding - Tamriel has seen crazier days), so I bet we'll have many recipes to look forward to that will still utilize the degree of free exploration and adventure BotW embodies. No one says the oh so lamented "big lengthy dungeons" can't make a comeback either.
@Nincompoop I agree. The lack of narrative complements the freedom. But it’s not to say the story isn’t there. I loved the story as it was told through the various cut scenes. The mythology, the technology being corrupted, everything about the champions and their involvement along with Zelda. It was very well written.
BOTW is a fantastic game, but not perfect ...
i think the world in another game could be smaller so the graphics could be richer, adding traditional dungeons is a must, i would love seeing shrines again, but id prefer their lower amount and greater quality of each one, gimme a way to repair my own weapons, last but not least, come up with new species since all those Zoras, Gerudos or Gorons are well-worn
A more populated world with several towns, each with their own culture would be a good change of pace. With horse and carriages / chariot as transport. To add to the scope they could use the dark world or alternate reality, not necessarily dark or worse off. If this would be too big, then the alternate reality could be restricted to only certain parts of the map. It would still provide even more land to explore.
@Kienda @BAN Spot on.
i would love to see Zelda traveling to the space
I'd like Multiplayer, either online or local (I prefer online though) and I'd really love it if the game is made from the same engine as the BotW one, that way the game can come in just around 2 years as well, and can go well with Metroid Prime 4 too in 2019.
I’d love the open feel in all future Zelda games and I’m hoping we get another one for the Switch. I don’t want to wait for the launch of another console.
@gb_nes_gamer Yes, there's a story but you can chose to ignore it altogether if you want. After leaving The Great Plateau you can pick up a tree branch and head directly to fight Ganon if that's what you desired. I have seen people ignoring Impa or the village and just exploring freely, but they eventually made contact with the divine beasts unwillingly.
The main objective was given from the start and made very clear: Kill Ganon. That's all you need to know and do in this game. The rest of the story is peripheral.
Amen to that
I would like that type of Freedom in a new Kid Icarus game.
@BAN i wouldn’t say its impossible, rather a fun challenge to find out. There are hundreds of ways to tell stories: through collectibles; exploring the environment; cutscenes; text based; visualized; books; audio etc. Cutscenes are just one of them, Splatoon tells his story through finding collectibles (scrolls).
Same story applies for open games. Open doesn’t mean the game should be completly open and free. Link Between Worlds presented a system through item rental. One that could be perfectly mixed with Botw’s system abs build upon.
Personally I miss the big dungeons. But I don’t see how they can’t be incorporated in the current system. (80 shrines and 8 dungeons as example?)
@iMarkU Those big dungeons are made of smaller dungeons connected together. Every room in those big dungeons has it's own puzzle, you went from room to room... it's no different than visiting the shrines one by one.
@Nincompoop sorry if that wasn’t clear. I was agreeing with your comment and then responding to the other users’ as you were, that I don’t think the story is lacking. It can be ignored but it is there and I think is content heavy enough.
Bleh of the Mild..
It's like Wind Waker, but only the shard collecting part prolonged beyond extremes.. and with pudding weapons.
@Kienda @BAN @Nincompoop
For me it wasn't that it needed to be cutscene heavy. It was that the exploration was great, the puzzles, combat etc were all really good. But I had very little to motivate me but my need to find everything. I understand the world was meant to be almost post apocalyptic but it felt a little too dead for me. That's just my opinion though, wind waker for me gave me the best combination of freedom to explore and a fantastic world full of life and character. I just felt as though the main story itself was far too short and lacked depth. I enjoyed the exploration and the game looked fantastic. But I want much more story, whether it's through lore, sidequests or whatever I don't mind. But there is plenty of ways of doing it without making as linear as say skyward sword (which was way too linear IMO).
@starman292 I think the story is elaborate enough for people who wants to know why they needed to kill Ganon. Nintendo obviously understands that some gamers need a story to motivate them.
Just like Mario games: Bowser kidnapped the princess and that's why you perform all those excruciating jumps, just to save the princess. It's the same silly story for all Mario games but if people want motivation, that's the best Nintendo can do. I think they are more interested in the mechanics and gameplay. You don't need a story when you play chess do you? It's the motivation to win that keeps people playing.
Fine, just give me a 2D Zelda with the traditional dungeon and item-based progression gameplay please. BotW is great but the three MMOs I play provide a similar experience a lot better and have been for years before it to boot.
@Ralek85 @starman292 I can appreciate both your perspectives and I think it is personal preference in all these things. We can all read the same book and some will be bored and others enthralled, for example.
I think BotW can be improved upon. If that improvement comes from adding more depth to the story and fleshing our the world building with added dialogue, additional story to the side quests and more characters then that may be it. Another approach would be to increase the exploration, adding new dungeons, underwater areas, more environments to explore etc. Both could work and would suit different tastes.
Personally, I wouldn’t want it to become Skyrim, The Witcher or Horizon Zero Dawn, all of which are great games that I enjoyed, because I like the different approach BotW took and am excited to see where they go from here.
@Nincompoop The marriage of narrative and mechanics increases the depth of the world building, story telling, and immersion. The shrines are these weird other dimensional puzzles with no context in the world. The Fire Temple in Ocarina is inside a volcano that was being used as a prison for an evil dragon that once killed many Gorons. The traps, enemies, and dungeon design reflect that story. That’s what BotW is missing. The divine beasts don’t scratch that itch, they’re all the same: elemental ganon took over a mechanical animal. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the game was awesome and they nailed the overworld, but it’s not perfect and it’s not above criticism.
@starman292 I felt the same about the game being kind of empty. The narrative was there and could be ignored, but it lacked the depth of previous entries. And I also agree that Windwaker was a success in this regard and Skyward was an example of too linear. BotW is an overcorrection of that: wide but shallow. I hope they keep the freedom for the next game and improve it by adding depth.
@Kienda I don’t think it has to become Skyrim to be a better game. A couple Zelda dungeons would have done the trick, integrated into the world with their own story, perhaps with items that let you interact with the Overworld in new ways (or like Pokemon HMs). Take the battlefield of Fort Hateno for example. What if the soldiers fortified in an underground catacomb there to try to ride out the waves of guardians? Their ghosts might still be there, needing to be released from their earthy prison by typical zelda pizzles that bring in the light and help them move on. At the end of the dungeon you earn an ancient weapon that helps you kill guardians easier. Things like this would have elevated the game without turning it into another franchise and without losing the awesome open world aspects. It doesn’t have to be traditional vs. new. It should be both.
As much as I love BotW, I hope they make a 2D Zelda once in a while. I doubt that a 2D Zelda game takes as long as 3D Zelda so one of Nintendo's side teams could make those if necessary.
The story could’ve been “deeper” if they just decided to add a shovel. They talk about all this ancient tech that the sheikah had, which they found by digging. We could’ve digged FURTHER and pickaxed our way to lore.
Maybe next time
Everyone is different I guess, for me Zelda games have never been about wanting to just finish. It's always been about the magical moments and new mechanics that made it different. All the way from a link to the past when you sneak into the castle and find your dying uncle. Down to that hilarious moment with the cannon in Twilight Princess, characters and story have always been a huge part of the Zelda series. I have always spent hours in them combing the maps for secrets and side-quests. I think it's one of the reasons majora's mask is one of my favourite in the series. It just had so much personality and it felt so so different. Don't get me wrong, there were some parts of botw I really enjoyed like the first time I met (without spoiling it) a member of a certain clan that attacked me when I wasn't expecting it. Also the quest to build a certain village was really fun. But I did find far too much of it lacking in comparison to some of the previous entries.
Also comparing it to Mario Odyssey doesn't make sense when Mario has never really had a big story. The Zelda series has been heavily story based from near the beginning. I did personally think they put so much life into odyssey though, in fact for me I played it almost from start to finish without taking the cartridge out (I'm at 890 moons).
I just don't want the Zelda series to lose that wow factor and personality it's always had so I can run across a huge overworked for hours basically. However no, I don't want it to necessary carbon copy it's old formula either. I think it needs something in between or something different again.
Just as a side point I might be coming across like I didn't like botw but that isn't true. I would still give it a solid 90% I just think they can improve it.
I’d like them to keep the freedom and map, but improve the rest, like storytelling and side quests, since those were disappointing in BotW.
I’ll admit I’m in the minority that wants a bit more linearity - not a return to OoT style, but a story that leads a bit better than BotW and also gives you the freedom to just break off and explore, like XCX.
I would love to see the nes original recreated in BoTW engine
@Kienda Totally agree. To me, the main story had already taken place ... and you failed. The game is your story of redemption/revenge and you learn more about your failure by means of the cutscenes throughout the game. This is helped immensely by the vocal performances of the major characters.
@starman292 I think Nintendo as a game company has never really cared about the story in their games. Mario, DK, Kirby, Yoshi, etc, they are all about the gameplay. Even in role-playing game like Mario RPG, the story is silly and trivial, served as a backdrop for the gameplay.
In Zelda, it's always about fighting Ganon at the end, no different from Mario (always about saving the Princess theme). Nintendo just changed variety to the story in each game... they don't really matters. What Nintendo really excels is character creation, especially in Zelda games. The personality of all the in-game characters are distinct and believable.
@NoxAeturnus I actually agree that that kind of world building could help. Maybe that is the direction they will take to add more meaning to the side quests and introduce new areas with stories behind them. It could add subtle layers of depth to the world without losing the overall feel of the game.
Yeah I would agree in respect to the final boss. Apart from Twilight Princess which hid that it was ganon and the games that feature Vaati or demise. However I do think that for many of them the story isn't just defeat ganon like it is in botw. It may end as defeat ganon, but the story has twists and turns throughout it that change the objective until it reaches the point where the path to the final boss becomes open. Whereas in botw that is literally it, no twists and turns apart from the tutorialy bit at the start then it is literally just kill ganon. It was just too anticlimactic for my liking. I get that making the journey yourself is the main point of botw and is what makes it what it is. But I think if they started the next game the same I would find it disappointing.
@Nincompoop That is partly true. Dungeons are rooms connected with each other which uses the same mechanics. Most of the time through a Kishotenketsu structure (introduce, master/develop, twist it and close it). Those interconnected rooms create a cohesive streamlined experience with a flow.
That is one reason why I missed dungeons, the other one is that dungeons have a theme. Fire, water, sand etc. They felt diverse and, most important, different from each other. Shrines and Divine Beasts share the same theme, music, graphics and mostly mechanics (shrines can be divided into a couple of categories). I do understand why they did this. By throwing the lineair structure away you can't express the difficulty curve through out the puzzles. The shrines felt like a small meal to me. Instead of a big dinner you have multiple small ones, but in the end it is less satisfying.
For the next game I hope they find the sweet spot inbetween these two parameters: freedom vs lineair (be it story, difficulty or progression).
Awesome. I think Breath of the Wild provides a fantastic foundation upon which to grow the series going forward. So excited they're ditching the restrictive and formulaic structure of Ocarina of Time and are moving forward in a direction that feels like it's fulfilling the series' true potential.
Yeah, I think this makes sense for Zelda games--but also include a few more traditional dungeons and bosses in the world going forward too, please.
A lot of people are mentioning how important the story is... I’m going to have to agree. Now that the time has passed, I can see that the story was garbage and the voice acting was even worse.
@brickofthewild Oh goodness. I would rather Zelda take a page from Souls games than Elder Scrolls regarding story. Less is more, especially for Zelda, whose stories have always been a means to an end.
@Nincompoop I can't agree more. Nintendo's not driven by telling stories. Zelda's worlds have always been rich and compelling settings for adventure, but let's be honest - the motivation is the gameplay, not the narrative.
If the bolted-on timeline nonsense is an example of what fans seems to want, I'm happy to leave it to fanfics and have more poignant storytelling like the "links to the past" in Wind Waker and BotW.
Unless we are going to deep dive into Ganon's character like WW touched on, I just don't see a very good story coming from this series.
Keep the freedom but remove the climbing mechanic for the next game. Figure out different ways of giving the player freedom. Kind of like Mario Oddysee where players can get to every corner of the map if they are skilled enough. Use equipment or something. Also adding more variety of enemies, regional or something.
I don't care what they do, as long as the story, dungeons, characters, map, side sidequests, music, and enemy variety are better next time. They were all very disappointing in this game for me.
Say it with me now. Dia. RR. Hea. Diarrhea.
Personally, I think the freedom was less paramount to me compared to the detail and aliveness of the open world. You go into a little corner of Hyrule, and there's enough stuff to do there.
Honestly, I hope Aonuma and his team lean a little bit more toward the more traditional method in the next installment, but continue to incorporate that detail and infinitive list of things to do.
Freedom is great. But if there's almost no story, no unique items to collect, and no shrines then for the first time ever I may not buy A Zelda title. BotW was good and all. But I still liked Majora's mask better and that's not even in my top three Zelda games.
Being able to climb almost anything and paraglide off of it was paramount to the open-air nature of BOTW. Do not expect that game mechanic to go away in future mainline 3D Zelda games.
The things about the story is that although the backstory and characters were fleshed out in the memories and in lots of incidental details around the map, the actual story you’re playing is as rudimentary as the original NES game. Link must rescue Zelda from Ganon. Along the way he meets a few other people, but aside from 1 person in the Great Plateau, each of them essentially just offer fetch quest busy work as a distraction from the main story.
Admittedly this is a necessary by product of the game’s inherent freedom, and I’m being deliberately reductive to make a point, but the actual story is short and simplistic.
Yes the freedom absolutely needs to be kept in future games but I would also like a return to more Zelda gadgets like the hookshot or lens of truth, those could be very cool if implemented properly. If BOTW is a template they are going to use and improve upon then the next game should be simply bigger and better, and that is by no means a bad thing. If they put in more traditional dungeons then it could quite possibly be the most perfect Zelda game they have made.
That's good. Now if only we can get him to open his eyes to how important having a good story is. Botw story was so mediocre. I have high hopes for the sequel, I just hope they improve the story amongst other things
I really want an experience like a link between worlds where you are given freedom for the order of the dungeons but this time with a larger map, at least 3 times te size of ALttP. More smaller dungeons next tk the main ones. Like the sanctuary or hyrule castle in alttp.
@Nincompoop Yeah but I'd rather have a story in a zelda game that's more than just an excuse to fight ganon. I expect a simplistic story from most mario games and 2d zelda titles. For me personally I expected more from Botw's story than just a barebones plot. I expect better stories from 3d zelda games, especially when they've delivered on a solid 3d zelda story in the past. For me while playing Botw's story I felt like I was playing the end of a story in which all the interesting things have already happened. I wanted to be playing Hyrule from 100 years ago. In addition the barebones development of all the champions made me hardly care when I freed their souls. I would gladly trade in some of the freedom Botw provides for a better story.
Edit: I'm also very happy to see a good amount of people in the comments that wanted a better story.
Well said! I 100% agree, and I too feel that Zelda games are better with less freedom that BotW had. Games that are all about "go wherever and do whatever you want" have their place, but that's not what the Zelda series has been about. For me, personally, this game felt the least like Zelda of pretty much all the Zelda games. And being a huge Zelda fan, therefore, I understandably didn't enjoy it nearly as much. But most people did, so it's no great surprise that they're going to continue with this approach going forward. Unfortunate for me, but great news for almost everyone else.
I have not had time to read the comments so please don't berate me if I repeat or dispute something already stated.
There were two things in breath of the wild that bothered me most. First was an easy thing to mention but the infinite capabilities of using bombs was in my opinion a bit overpowered. It is a major exploration tool that has a way of being Limited in its usage and consumption but that was completely thrown out. Maybe if you could synth bombs out of materials it would be a way of controlling how many bombs you could find and use, like arrows.
The second thing is something I am critically upset about. The dungeons were incredibly lackluster. Even if I stretch the definition of a dungeon, there were only five, as I count Hyrule Castle. They were far too small and felt as if they were chores. The lack of bosses at the end that were notable other than generic piece of Ganon also detracted from its ability to have a lasting effect. I also remember utilizing the champion abilities to bypass several parts of those Dungeons and therefore made them incredibly benign. I actually went back and did them the legitimate way and still felt ripped off.
I'm not saying that the dungeons have to be linear, but nor should they be obligatory. In my opinion, I feel they should all be there for exploration and a suitable prize at the end. Perhaps if they were the storage upgrades or if they did unlock new runes throughout the game instead of having them all handed to me at the beginning.
I actually just had another idea. What if the dungeons were similar to Zelda 1? But at the same they all connected into each other Underground? It would allow the underground to feel Temple-ish while the Overworld is wide open exploration based as well. Connecting the different dungeons could be metroidvania in style. I feel as if that may be a way to bring in dungeons without detracting from the open-air concept Aounuma is fascinated by.
As if we needed to replace traditional Zelda (which has few clones) with another open world series.
Personally I’d like to see the open world with some more story oriented elements layered on top. I think that’s perfectly achievable and many games have done this successfully in the past. The story just needs to be able to adapt around the player going off script which can be difficult but not impossible. That and it doesn’t need to be one large linear story, but there could be multiple smaller quest lines going on. BotW didn’t even have many minor quest lines of real substance.
I’m not saying it needs to play out like Twilight Princess, but there should be fewer fetch quests and rather sub stories of more substance. Perhaps a town is having issues with raiders destroying buildings, kidnaping villagers etc and over multiple quests Link can work to resolve that. Something a bit more invested than “find me five xxx” that many of BotWs quests implemented.
Those people helped, towns saved etc that all have their own unique story may then help you in later conflicts like the Heroes in BotW did. Don’t help them and you’ll get a different outcome.
I also want to see some more substantial dungeons or keeps in the game. An underworld cave like environment would be nice too.
@Kienda Oh, I totally agree with you. I'm absolutely not one for open-world games normally. I won't argue either that the Witcher 3 or Skyrim (or previous TES games) aren't great games in their own right, but they never really hit the spot for me, so to speak. I played a fair bit of Witcher 3 (more so than the previous two games), and I absolutely appreciate what CDR did with the game in terms of narrative design. I mean, one of my all-time favs is still Baldur's Gate II, and Witchers quests were often on par or at times even better. Still, in the end, I ended up loosing interest once more.
On the one hand, the game is overwhelming once it opens up, and on the other hand ... well, mostly you follow some kind of dotted line from a to b to interact with, talk to or kill something.
BotW felt more ... pure, for the lack of a better term. It felt unshackled from all kinds of convention that other open-world games seem so often beholden to. There was a genuine sense of exploration in BotW, one that actually managed to make me feel giddy at times all by it's own. In many ways, I might have prefered it if the game had not used a quest system at all, but if it does, I just think the quest itself need to be better. I'd say the same goes for Xenoblade II btw, which I am currently playing. It's less exploration driven than the previous and than BotW, but it still a part of the game. Anyways, in many ways it is much more conventional and convenient in it's design, but the side-quests ... well, for the most part they are not very good imho. I'm a point where - if I even bother to do one at all - I only skip over anything that is 'said'. Sometimes there a small snippets of inside into the world, or some charming moment to be gleamed, but mostly, it's just uncompelling fillter content.
I actually wonder if Nintendo should look for outside input for their writing. Almost all the games I played, where I could reallly appreciate either the writing itself, or at least the content of a story, were either based on or done by professional writers - aka folks who make a living writing actual books. Even Drew Karpyshyn, who worked on BGII, KotoR and of course, Mass Effect, is a somewhat decent 'book-writer' in his own right.
He is no Kiyoshi Shigematsu or Andrzej Sapkowski, but he is still a cut above most other writers in videogames and his books are definitely fun reads most of the time (as my Bane avatar atests to).
I'm not sure if bringing outside professional talent is really necessary, or if it is indeed the magic bullet to solve the issue of so-so writing in many game these days, but I will say that there is PLENTY of excellent writing in the world already that begs to be used a framework for an amazing videogame. I would kill for Nintendo to pick up the phone and give Brandon Sanderson a call to make something, anything really, related to his amazing Mistborn or The Way of Kings universe (to name but one example).
Of course, there are exceptions. Life is Strange was - a few flaws aside, where it felt rather apparent that we were dealing with adults writing teenagers (as so often) - really compellingly written (and performed) to me. Dontnod was clearly able to foster their own writing talent in a significant way.
Anyways, like I said, I definitely want Nintendo to keep doing their own thing here, and not try to emulate the Witcher or Skyrim, successul as these games may be, but I do feel like they are definitely not creating the powerful narratives that they could be creating, and that could really take their games to the next level.
There is no reason why brilliant gameplay couldn't or shouldn't be married with brilliant stories. Sure, games like Metroid and BotW proved, that you supplement the emotional response we have to 'traditional' stories by other means, but again, I doubt that these two dimensions are mutually exclusive.
A great experience is fed by many contributing factors. Writing, music, mechanics, world design, character design, voice acting and so on and so forth. Nintendo excells in many areas here, the first one though ... yeah, I don't know ... room for improvement there is
I don't think i would ever go back to the old style. I do think there are things that can be improved upon. One thing I'd like to see, that's more story related than a criticism of BotW is more vibrant towns. I would love to see an open world Zelda with a Hyrule that is more full of life.
Hopefully this isn't the beginning of the downfall in real life timeline... If more freedom comes at the cost of less structure, what you will eventually get is little more than a tech demo in debug mode.
As much as I enjoyed BotW it pains me to know that this seems to be the only direction forward for Zelda games. I'm sure many more folks said the same thing in 1991 when Link to the Past made the games more linear. Sandbox games are great for exploring and messing around, but I find that the scripted moments and focused narrative of linear Zelda will be missed.
That all being said, if the dungeons are improved and they get rid of the survival gameplay focus (needing to cook, eat and scavenge weapons and shields to stay alive) and bring back items like the hook-shot, I will be in line for the next game. If nothing else, make the Hyrulean shield completely indestructible as a mid-late game item and same for the Master Sword not running out of energy when not fighting in Ganon's lair. It would be a nice change that late in the game to have great gear you won't have to worry about breaking.
@Nincompoop realllly hope your joking
whatever the newest Zelda is, i just hope it is for Nintendo Switch
@Ralek85 I agree. I haven’t completed Skyrim or Witcher and I probably never will. The reason being that I couldn’t keep up with the story when I couldn’t play the game for two weeks. I would go back to it and feel like I had to relearn things. I never got that feeling with BotW.
If I played those games in times past, when I had more time, I would have loved delving into their worlds and getting lost in the story.
That I think is why I like the simplicity of BotW’s story. I think they can improve upon it and flesh it out without people getting lost. Maybe that could help scratch the itch of those looking for that extra. However, it won’t please everyone.
As for hiring outside help, I think in BotW we saw them listening to others a bit and breaking the norms of the past. Maybe that is something they will do in the future.
They have made such a solid foundation to continue upon and it is exciting to see where they take it next.
@Kienda Yeah, that's a good point really. The Witcher is a game where, if you were to take a break longer than a handful of todays, you'd have to - or at least I would have to - sit down and take notes on what I was about to do next, so as to be lost the next time I log on. It's probably possible to make due without it, but then the I'd have to spend hours next time I play just trying to get back into the games groove. In that way Zelda was certainly more forgiving, so to speak.
Yet, I think that is where the small, virtually self-containted story from a game like Lost Odyssey could really come in. They helped flesh out the characters (mostly Kaim) and the world and certainly the tone and mood of the game immensely without any demand on you to keep track of them or to have any preexisting knowledge to "get them".
Self-containted sidequests, that are not as lengthy and involved as the Witcher, but still engaging and worthwhile in their own right, while always adding to the bigger picture of the world and its inhabitants at large could work in a similar fashion.
Like I said, I think the memories were a decent step in that direction, but the sidequests as a whole fell flat almost entirely imho.
Anyways, Nintendo is clearly in the process of undergoing a slow but steady generational transition, in terms of hardware, sure but als in terms of personnel. I image, or at least I hope, that this will also spell a more "open" culture, both in terms of expermentation in general, but also in terms of taking in external talent where necessary or deemed beneficial. It's an exiting time for sure.
I'm really curious to see where Zelda is going to go next. I mean, as you say, obviously the foundations for the immediate future have been laid out clearly in BotW, so for the next game, there should be more time available to expand upon it and fleshing out certain elements, that may have gotten the short end of the stick this time around (e.g. quests and 'proper' dungeons).
Freedom is fine. Tightly structured game progression is better.
At least try to make it feel at least halfway like an actual Zelda game next time.
The return of more traditional dungeons into a BotW-style game would be beautiful.
And for God's sake... Where was the hookshot?
Actually have a you know... Story next time. Also bring back unique dungeons & Items. Everything else about BotW was fantastic. I wasn't sipping that Zelda cool-aid enough to look over how crappy those 3 things were handled.
never played zero dawn.
I do understand the idea behind the exploration of hyrule in botw and it has worked well for what it is. IMO both scripted events and exploration as in botw can work well together.
I dont think they would copy the elder scrolls, rather create something unique and fresh. I would apreciate a more rpg-like zelda to be honest
Marry the freedom with traditional-- Even the original had specific dungeons. Some out in the open, some had to be blown open or tree burned. Thats my hope anyway...
Marry the freedom with traditional-- Even the original had specific dungeons. Some out in the open, some had to be blown open or tree burned. Thats my hope anyway...
Personally, I've always found limitless open worlds to be too confusing. I want my video games to have at least some structure to them to where I can at least make an organized plan of what I need to do next without too much trouble.
I also find that it's very hard to tell quality, cohesive stories without a good sense of structure to guide you through them. It didn't matter that much in the original "Legend of Zelda," but nowadays the Zelda franchise is one of Nintendo's most plot-drven franchises, and I feel that "Breath of the Wild's" story suffers from the extreme open world design. As another example, it's not just because of the player avatar that the story in "Xenoblade Chronicles X" is disappointingo in comparison to the other Xenoblade games.
@Nincompoop Modern Zelda games aren't like plot minimal Mario games. These days Zelda games are supposed to have epic stories. It's easily worth sacrificing some of the freedom in order to tell a good cohesive narrative.
While you're correct that Nintendo generally focuses on gameplay first when designing a new game, they also know how to tell a good story when needed. Besides Zelda, the Star Fox, Xenoblade, Fire Emblem, Paper Mario, Mario and Luigi, Golden Sun, and Earthbound franchises are all first or second party Nintendo franchises that are heavily story-driven. There's also the Metroid franchise, which while usually much more subtle about it, also contains a very strong over-arcing narrative.
I hope he doesn’t want emptiness and lackluster story to remain too.
I love both the open world style of BotW and the almost on-rails style of Skyward Sword. But given the two, I really think I do prefer BotW's open-world approach. Not only did it completely revolutionize my favorite (or second favorite) IP in all of gaming (Metroid being the other), but it opened my mind and my heart to open world gaming in general, with franchises like Minecraft and Skyrim, that I had previously been shut off to opening up to me - to wonderfully delightful effect.
However, one thing I do not like about BotW, for as much as I love it, is the lack of dungeons, and dedicated items in each dungeon. While I did legitimately enjoy the Divine Beasts, they did not feel like adequate substitutes to me, and neither did the shrines, although I loved them too.
What I would love to see, then, is something that's mostly like BotW, with the go-anywhere, open-world nature, massive world, tons of shrines and all sorts of side-quests, but with several actual dungeons, dedicated prizes, and maybe a little more music.
I think you should be able to access any dungeon right from the start, but whether they're equals in terms of beatability right off the bat, or whether they take an almost Mega Man approach where they're easier in a certain order thanks to items you get, I'm okay with either way (probably slightly preferring the latter). I also want all four corners of the world map to be accessible right from the word go. But maybe have a few special parts of the map which are not mission critical that can only be accessible with certain items you get in dungeons - like, of course, the hookshot.
So, 80% BotW, 20% the rest of Zelda, with a splash of Mega Man thrown in on the dungeon ordering. That would be just about perfect!
Or, an alternative idea: just as the Mario Universe has three branches now: direct descendents of Super Mario Bros (like new Super Mario Bros. U), descendents of Super Mario 64 (like Super Mario Odyssey), and descendents of Super Mario 3D Land (like Super Mario 3D World), perhaps the Zelda universe can similarly fork, and we can have open-world epics, as well as the old beloved on-rails types.
That's unlikely for such big works as Zelda games, though, so I'm probably just stuck rooting for the 80% BotW, 20% other Zelda beast I described above. There are certainly much worse fates than that!
Good to hear.
@brickofthewild Zelda II and BotW was enough RPG for me. I do hope Nintendo, or even Aounuma puts out a proper action RPG, but I hope Zelda stays in the action adventure vein. I really think the series weakness has always been overextending in the RPG direction.
Now people. I wouldn't take everything on this article at face value. Aonuma said the same thing about motion controls being the norm and how there would no longer be button controls. While I do think open world could be a good identity. I'm with others saying dungeons, story, bosses should get more effort next time because freedom did hurt them somewhat.
Breath of the Wild was a great experiment and yes freedom to explore is great but if that's all there is, I might as well be playing a mode to an adventure or a tech demo. I think Nintendo know's that Zelda doesn't have the cult it does just because it's fun to play.
I have my fair share of constructive criticism. At the end of the day "Legend" is in the title, Zelda is an action adventure and without those other fronts, it doesn't live up to none of that.
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