The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of 2017's video game highlights, giving millions of players hours upon hours of top-quality adventuring in a new-look version of Hyrule.
It would seem that Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma had almost as much enjoyment making the game as we have had playing it, as he's recently said that BotW is "maybe the most fun I've ever had making a game".
Speaking to Game Informer, the Zelda boss said:
You know, I’ve been making Zelda titles for almost my entire career, and the memories start to pile up. I start to forget things, but I think one thing I’ve always been proud of is the fact that Zelda games have always been about new surprises and thinking about different things to try, yet still maintain that Zeldaness, or whatever it is.
To touch on Breath of the Wild, it was really fun to develop – maybe the most fun I’ve ever had making a game. It was because of the staff. They took so much initiative, and were always looking at everything in the game with this eye to improve. They took so much initiative. I could see it every day. As a producer, it gave me a lot of courage, and made me realize “Okay, this could actually work.”
The people who made this game didn’t have troubled faces. They were smiling the whole time they worked on it. At the start of development, with all of the new things we were doing, I definitely was worried – I had a worried face. As a I saw the staff put it together, that concern started to go away. We were doing challenging new things, but we always did them with a smile. I don’t think I’ve experienced that before. The development experience was so great, and the game that came out of it was great. That’s something I’m really proud of.
On top of that, in the [new downloadable content], we got the motorbike I wanted in. That’s what I really want to leave you with. [laughs]
We should be thankful for those smiling faces on the Breath of the Wild team, because they all contributed to what will no doubt be long regarded as one of the best Nintendo titles of all time.
I'm happy to say wa the best Nintendo game I've ever invested my time in. Well done sir
It’s some of the most fun I’ve had playing a Nintendo game in over a decade so that works out well.
Yeah, I think it shows in the sheer sense of joy one gets when experiencing this game.
I'm over 200 hours in, which for me is a huge amount of time in a game, and I haven't even played the DLC yet. With a master quest run-through, I'll probably get up to 300.
I've loved every Zelda game that he's made (ok not so keen on Spirit Tracks but hey). BotW was awesome on the WiiU, just need to get it for my Switch.
I think Portal Knights are more interesting and easier for me than Zelda Breath of the Wild.
I still at Beginning story for BOTW , quite frustrated with gameplay (pretty hard for me) due to easy to being killed by Bokoblin or other enemies.
Is a very good, game, but giving you all the shiek slate powers right at the start of the game, I thought, was a bit lame, should have stretched them out and put them in obvious shrines on the way to the weapons
Game of the decade!
Well if you love what you're doing it's bound to turn out good most of the time. Glad to know my all time fav game's production was done with smiles..
It might be a great game but there is a lot of little problem that can be fixed in upcoming sequels.
This may very well be the first time ever I really believe a "master" when he claims those working under him/her genuinely enjoy doing so.
Why not. It's the most fun I've had playing a Zelda game.
I bet whoever came up with the idea of Typhlo Ruins in BotW is less happy about the motorbike and its giant bright headlight. 😋
Except... he didn't made the game. He is like Miyamoto, both of them had become mascots of the company. The most they do is offering advice.
The people who worked on this game didn’t have troubled faces ? Well , with Nintendo and many many millions behind their backs as well as the guaranty of releasing only when everything the game has to offer is top without any pressure of „must be released now no matter what“ I guess most devs would sleep better at nights ..
@Bunkerneath I really don't agree with this. They just put you into this big destroyed world and you only have on objective, to destroy Ganon. How you do it, what kind of tools you use; it's all your choice.
Aside from that, most games give you all tools / powers throughout the game, I liked how Breath of the Wild did that different. It makes the game feel very different compared to other.
This is nice to hear. Usually, the only things we hear about developers are the bad things like crunches, mass layoffs or people only being rewarded for Metacritic scores.
Love this game. The wife and I have played through it 6 times, each playthrough, over 100 hours! Glad the staff had good feelings while they made it, I feel it shows. One of the best games of all time.
"The people who made this game didn’t have troubled faces. They were smiling the whole time they worked on it."
So they weren't worried at the end of 2014 when they were trying there hardest to get the game out in 2015? They weren't troubled trying to get the game out in 2016 when you told them to take out the really fun aspect of the interactive map on the Gamepad b/c you somebody at Ntinedo didn't want the Wii U version to be better than the Switch version?
If everybody working on this game was fine with all of this then they really have no caring at all about their customer base. Sure, it's great to know after it's been released for awhile and it's a GOAT game that all your hard work and effort paid off, but I would like to know they were troubled by some of the decisions that were carried out during it's making.
I kind of got the impression from this video back in Dec 14 they were sweating trying to get the game out on time in 15. The fact that it didn't release until 2017, at least 15 months later than they planned, makes this whole coment of his sound like revisionist history to me. Sure, maybe he had fun, the slave drivers in Egypt were probably having fun too while the slaves built the pyramids. The guys with the whips in their hands are always having fun, they just imagine the rest of their workers are as well.
Would be interesting to hear from one of the workers how much fun they were having trying to meet a deadline and later on trying to make a Wii U Game run on the Switch, then making what turned out to be a Switch game getting castrated to work on the Wii U. Not so sure about the all smiles part.
Sure, it's a great game, no denying that, one of the best I've ever played, I just don't like this guy glossing over what he put his workers thru. Retcon out the pain. I'd rather he just say they toiled really hard and he put them through a lot with his decision making but they are very happy in the end putting in all that hard work b/c it was worth it. This just reads to me like somebody trying to clear their own conscious.
i bet a whole heaping weight was lifted off their shoulders when it was decided to make it a switch launch game, not a wii u showcase. good move, that.
I think BoTW is exactly what the franchise needed to shake things up. I know some people are concerned that this is how the games will ‘be’ from now on, but I think the team are referring more to the concept of open world. It’s really exciting to think of what will come next.
I didn’t like it much
Let's keep those developer faces smiling as you forge your way through BotW's follow-up. 😀
>310 hours well spent for me
Can't wait until I get to play this!
I'm always happy to hear about folks that enjoy the work that they do. We spend the majority of our lives in the workplace after all. (One day I'll say the same...for now...just a paycheck).
Must be fun tossing out everything good about the Zelda series and putting put a product that's a Zelda game in name only.
This game was so refreshing to play.
Enjoying what you're doing while surrounded by competent people equally engaged in achieving the same thing is probably the greatest working luxury you can have. And it seems to pay off for the end user too! What a fine item they created!
Geez, Gameinformer ask about thoughts on making Breath of the Wild, but they don’t ask about why the Switch would ditch Miiverse of which changed our lives on the Wii U. Like with Nintendo Life, Polygon, Eurogamer, what I think is Famitsu and IGN Members, I’ve emailed them to ask these Developers about the Switch, including the reason behind the poor decision to ditch Miiverse/what we loved about the Wii U, but so far there’s been nothing of that. This is the Gameinforner person I’ve emailed in regards to these emails of mine: [email protected]
These critics have spoken with Game Developers before, collecting info about these games is their job, especially with stuff we’d been dying to know of and know more about.
Always good to see the man behind one of the most prolific franchises of all time have some fun with his creations! He let his imagination go wild as well as his team!
@Nincompoop Miyamoto's new role is "advice" (Well they simplify it because they don't like admitting too much involvement from him in their success so the stocks don't tank when he retires...technically he's essentially software planning/production/quality/training manager for the whole of Nintendo...the software component of Iwata's job.) But Aonuma is certainly the day to day producer on his titles (And he admitted a while back that Miyamoto was very hands on with this Zelda as well before the role changes. It sounds to me like Miyamoto was more hands-on on this game than the past many Zeldas. Which is probably why it turned out more like Miyamoto's 90's Zelda's than Aonuma's Zeldas since.)
@Anti-Matter The beginning of the game has been aptly called "Zelda Souls" for a reason Yes, it's quite difficult to fight monsters directly. The game actually gets easier over time, both because you become more skilled (like MH or a fighting game) and because you become more powerful with more powerful weapons. Be sure to look at upgrading your clothing when the opportunity to do so unlocks. Many games get harder as you progress through the game, but BotW starts hard and becomes easier as you advance and acquire more equipment.
It's normal to die a lot at the beginning
Portal Knights is a Minecraft genre game with an ARPG battle system versus an action game with an open battle mechanic. Stick to it. As you learn how to predict monsters and parry them it will get easier. You have to apply some creativity to battle...think of how to use your environment and your equipment on hand.
And it shows: Its a great game!
Probably the best thing Nintendo has made since.... Mario 64?
Now, I understand the Wii and Wii Sports may have been more impactful on a mainstream and company level, but as far as game design is concerned... BOTW is the cream of the crop.
This interview is the rosy side of why Nintendo staff didn't have to worry too much... Now here is the real reason why:
Nintendo pulled away top staff members from Monolith Soft during the early-mid production phases of Xenoblade 2. If one looks for them, they're there in the BotW credits. Nintendo was unable to finish BotW as it is on their own after all that time, they needed Monolith Soft's help. That's why BotW is legendary, while XB2 is "merely" great.
Economically, this was the right decision: BotW's sales and word of mouth reputation was greatly enhanced as a result. Ethically, however... I dunno, it feels like the classical concept of patronage to me. Nintendo brought in top Monolith Soft staff to uplift their own project, which made it more difficult for the remaining XB2 team.
I bet that for every drop of sweat saved on the BotW team, two or three more drops of sweat were created for the XB2 team. They had to make due without many of their veterans. On the flip side, this really speaks to how efficient the MonoSoft staff is as a whole. Nintendo had to rely on MonoSoft's top staff to get BotW finished and polished in time, and their remaining staff STILL made due through crunch time to pull off a rough, but still exceptional entry in the Xeno series.
This all makes me have less confidence in Nintendo's ability to make something like BotW on their own, and more confidence that MonoSoft is basically the new RARE with how much butt they're kicking.
@PlywoodStick I say that retro studios are more rare then Monilith soft but that's just me.
@Videogameguru50 During the GCN/Wii/early Wii U eras, yes, but Retro hasn't offered much to show off for the past few years... At all. They're not as active as they previously were, mostly due to critical staff having already left the company. (Thus, they aren't making Metroid Prime 4, which is instead being made by an unannounced "talented new development team.")
Meanwhile, Monolith Soft has become so prominent that their top staff directly worked with Nintendo internally on a top priority project vital to Nintendo's success. (Which is as close as a second party business relationship gets.) And yet the less experienced staff is still able to churn out their own very good game regardless. So yeah, the "New RARE" role has shifted from Retro to MonoSoft. That role requires a company to be genuinely active, not just working on who-knows-what for nearly 4 years now.
I enjoyed this game immensely, and replaying it in late December for the Champions' Ballad DLC after a few months away from it, I got nostalgic feelings when hearing the incidental music. That says a lot to me, getting that feeling from a game I only played a few months prior! I can't wait to play this again in a few years' time.
Despite this, BotW will always be in 3rd place behind ALttP and OoT for me. Nothing will eclipse the feeling I experienced when playing those games for the first time, and they are the reason I love Zelda games so much. I feel quite melancholic that I will never experience those feelings again when playing videogames, due to my age and the number of games I've now played. I hope my daughter gets into Nintendo games, as I'd love to see her experience the same wonderment I did growing up.
Maybe they had fun because they were basically making a sandbox tool for people to play about with. I'm sorry to say, but I don't think the game is particularly "designed". Some of the individual elements are amazing, but there appears to have been very little thought about how it all fits together, the pacing of the game or how the player progresses through the journey. Breath of the Wild is an incredible bit of software, but I don't think it subjects itself to the pressures of living up to being a great Zelda.
This is how you make a game. You give the game enough time for the devs to be happy with the finished product. Sure, it might not be the most profitable approach, but it really creates a stronger long term fanbase.
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