Aonuma Talks BOTW Switch Port, Wii U Gamepad, and Wind Waker

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The following is a Google translation of a Jeuxvideo interview with Eiji Aonuma, he sat down to talk about planned features for BOTW, timeline placement, and even how Wind Waker was involved in the process of development. More after the break.

The Image above is also the Zelda Pic of the Day on Facebook, which shows off a nice village next to a waterfall. Breath of the Wild includes some elements of The Wind Waker such as the Koroks, Deku tree seeds … To what extent are the worlds of Breath of the Wild and Wind Waker linked?

EA: I will be very frank with you, for each Zelda that we realized, we always picked up elements of Zelda passed to refresh them in the new episodes. As you can see for yourself, in Breath of the Wild we used a graphic style that is very close to animation. It has therefore been assumed that it would be much simpler to take up graphic elements and assets from Wind Waker, rather than from other episodes. It is actually a graphic point of view that the two are very similar, but if you talk about the scenario, to be honest, there is no particular connection between these two games. Graphically, it was much simpler for us to work on the basics of the graphical elements of Wind Waker. Skyward Sword, the latest installment in the series, was at the very beginning of the chronology of Hyrule’s story. Where do you find this episode?

EA: I can not yet answer this question because I want players to discover some elements of the game on their own, but you have some clues when you see that in the game there is the voice of a young person Woman who tells you that the world you are in has suffered many battles against Ganon. You can imagine roughly what period it is. Breath of the Wild looks very different from the previous ones, why all these changes? Do you think this is necessary to ensure that Zelda continues to reach out to the greatest number?

EA: It was not a question of saying “for the players of today, it is necessary to do like this, otherwise it will not work”. Instead, we tried to do something that we had never done before. So we decided to make a Zelda much larger than what we had done so far, also because we had the material capabilities. Afterwards, the reflection was made on “what have we ever done and what we could do today to make a gigantic world like this interesting” and it came, for example , Harvesting or being able to change its holdings according to our environment. Zelda: Breath of the Wild brings Link into the world of Open-World, a very important concept for Westerners. Are you inspired by games like Skyrim, The Witcher 3 or GTA for this opus?

EA: Of course, the three you mentioned were games I played and studied, but I still think that you can not just play games that others do and Good ideas. Even if Breath of the Wild is different from the Zelda we’ve done so far, there is something called “Zelda taste” that is so unique and that is found in every episode of the series . I could not just say “ah bah, I played it, there was that in it, it’s nice, we’ll do it” since my teams would have told me “but no, it’s not Possible, we can not do that, it’s not how it works “or” that, it can not go in relation to what one wishes to do “. Indeed, I know the games you are referring to, but we have created this Zelda as a Zelda, certainly in an open world, but above all as a Zelda. I’m the kind to say, as soon as I see something good, “Did you see that?” that’s great ! “. But my staff is much more serious than me, they say “see Mr. Aonuma, we can not do that, we have to do something more original” or “we have to do something Even better or more Zelda “. That’s why I think we can be proud of this Zelda, we have not copied anyone. In the end, we really did something original. The fact that one can choose between a link man or woman was actually considered?

EA: It was just a rumor. Two years ago, when we first showed the images of the game at the E3, people started asking questions “But it’s Link! Why is it like that? “As I wanted to say as little as possible, very stupidly, I replied” but wait, we never said it was Link. I can not tell you who this character is, nothing was announced at all. ” And suddenly people started to say “He said it might not be Link, so maybe it’s a girl!” “. As a result, people got excited, they threw a lot of smoke on my answers and ultimately it became a speculation and people thought it might be a woman. Here, it will teach me to do the mysterious. Is this an idea you like?

EA: We do not forbid ourselves, to the extent that it has already happened. In Hyrule Warriors, you could choose different characters whether male or female. There is nothing that prevents us from making a main female character in a Zelda stamped game. We have been waiting for this Zelda for 5 years, what is the reason for this development? Did you encounter any particular difficulties with the open-world? How did the development take place?

EA: I would not say that from a technical point of view it took a lot of time, it’s just that the development choices we made were deliberately time-consuming insofar as it was actually The first time that one made such a vast world in which one can move naturally. The ambitions we had for the use of this world were such that we needed a model of realization that was quite different. As always different teams take care of different parts of the development of the game, but it is not possible to move each one of its side when making an open world like this. If someone touches something and it changes a part that someone else is doing, it loses an incredible time and one discovers full of problems as the game progresses.

We really advanced step by step. We set a goal, we said to ourselves “we will advance the game until then” and once we were there, everyone stopped working; Whether it’s animators, programmers, graphic designers. For a week, everyone stopped working and played. We noticed all our impressions “here, it happens that”, “it has changed that, it means that here, it changes that”. For a week, everyone was playing, everyone was recording his impressions, which he had noticed. Once everyone had played for a week, we moved on, we moved on to the next stage and everyone was at the same point of information on the progress of the game. Could not discover a cave etc … We were always, all at the same level of information. We had to regularly take a week to stop production and everyone could play the game and upgrade. The Sheikah tablet used by Link in the demo strongly reminds the Wii U gamepad, which suggests that much of the game was developed specifically for the Wii U. How did the Transition to the Switch? When did you make the decision?

EA: Indeed, the game at the base was a game exclusively Wii U. So we thought it would be funny that Link has a tablet that looks like the Wii U controller. Obviously, during the development of the game, we Learned that finally the game should also go out on Switch, so we had to modify some elements of gameplay. For example, we could no longer use the dual screen of the Gamepad, whereas it had been thought that it would be nice to have the same tablet in the game and in the hand. As the goal was really for people to have the same experience on either the Switch or the Wii U, the tablet aspect of the game was reduced compared to what was thought to be when the game was only intended for The Wii U. On the other hand, we are lucky since the controller of the Switch also looks like the tablet in the game. From this point of view there, I think we are rather lucky. Do you produce DLCs for this Zelda?

EA: This is obviously something that, if it takes place, will take place after the release of the game so I can not tell you about it. What benefits did you get from the Switch for the development of Zelda Breath of the Wild?

EAIt is more comfortable on Switch since the processor is more powerful than on Wii U, so at the level of the management of the game it was simpler, but I can not say that I master the Switch because the Breath of the Wild of The Switch is a port of the Wii version U. We can not say that my programming teams and I have been around the machine at the moment. But what I can say, what adaptation was very, very fast. It took much less time than I imagined to transpose the game from the Wii U to the Switch. Are there ideas that you had to abandon for technical reasons or that did not make any sense?

EA: As I told you earlier, at the base, the game was only planned on Wii U, so we had planned that the Gamepad would symbolize the Sheikah tablet. It was abandoned when it was decided that the game would also go on Switch since we did not want the experiences to be different, but the tablet was supposed to talk to you. While you were playing on TV, the Gamepad could suddenly display information and the tablet would have spoken. But in practice we realized that it was finally a bit odd that the tablet challenges you during the game. So it is an idea that we have abandoned. Are there any games that have marked you this year?

EA: Last year, unfortunately I did not play much, but I was able to play the last DLC of The Witcher, Blood & Wine. If not, I was very busy because it was precisely the period when Breath of the Wild was almost finished so I had to play several times to see if everything was okay. I still managed to find a little time at the end of the year to play very deeply at The Last Guardian.

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