The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Nintendo Switch are only one day away from being in our hands. I’m a bit worried that playing will destroy any will power I have and help me forget about my personal life. I JUST started making serious progress, creating games, writing more, doing better at work, and even cleaning up my health. Will this new entry in the series cause me to lose control again, or become a strong addition to my new busy and healthy life.
Some co-workers are taking the day off just to play, something I completely considered. With Indiecade’s Resist game jam that I’ll participating in tomorrow, I have to be tough on myself, focused, get my controlled Zelda fix in, while staying productive. Zelda will serve the best possible source of inspiration prior to making my game, but I sort of wish that it released at least the week after. What am I saying? I’d never want Zelda to be delayed. What have I become!?!
I originally played Breath of the Wild at E3 2016. After waiting in a two hour long line, I got my hands on the 20 minute demo. I felt like I was playing a dream. I have an unpopular view preferring linear games over sandbox games. Linear experiences help me focus on narrative, which is usually my favorite part of a game Some narratives needs a certain storytelling pacing, so I’ve always been a bit unattracted to the vast freedom of large maps. To me, Zelda’s traditional story-telling pacing was always perfect. I think I’ve been concerned all this time that Nintendo would play copycat to the design methodology of western games. Nintendo has always pioneered new forms of gameplay, technology, and redefined what play means. This may sound as if I’m not open to the idea of a huge open world Zelda, but that’s not the case.
I am totally for it. If you really think about it, Zelda has always made baby steps towards what we now consider open world games. In 1998, the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Hyrule field was alive and massive. A Link to the Past had what was at the time, a fully breathing world. The same can be said about the first two Zelda titles for the NES. I knew that a western approach making Zelda an open world game would be inevitable for the series. The ability to choose to take on the main quest, or go straight towards the final boss from the very beginning, is actually really exciting. Knowing Nintendo, whenever they don’t create their own original game mechanic or feature, they take an idea that’s been implemented, perhaps even mastered and push it forward. If we look back at the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, it was groundbreaking for its cel-shaded art style, but cel-shaded games already existed. There was a Dragon’s Lair game, Cel Damage, and Jet Grind Radio, but the art style was demonstrated strongest when The Wind Waker managed to tell an emotional story that one can read through each character’s’ face.
With motion controls, which Nintendo made mainstream with the Nintendo Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword displayed gaming’s play style possibilities. We were able to have a fully immersive, hard-core, traditional game experience while using motion controls. When I first heard about Breath of the Wild’s control choice, I was a little bit hurt because I became a believer in Zelda implementing motion controls. My experience with Skyward Sword made me never want to go back to traditional controls.
Zelda has tackled existing forms of play and succeeded in pushing the envelope. By the time Ocarina released, Super Mario 64 already existed, but Zelda managed to have much deeper experience, revolutionizing the industry and still showing ripples of its impact today.
I have nothing but great expectations for Breath of the Wild. I’m more than certain that Nintendo will not disappoint. Seeing the early reviews of nearly almost all perfect scores, I remain unshocked and excited to play. When I saw the trailer for Breath of the Wild at the Nintendo Switch event in January, I was blown away. The story seemed dark, the voice acting finally existed, the beautiful art style lived, and I took it in like a junkie incapable of resisting. I watched it over 80 times in three days. This is not an exaggeration, this is not a build up for a joke, this is the truth. I counted. I thought that game looked like everything I wanted in a Zelda game, and for those who don’t know or can’t tell already, Zelda is my all-time favorite series. It’s the franchise that moves me, motivates me, inspires me, and has driven me on a road that I can’t seem to drive off of, being a game designer.
Now, unfortunately for me, I have a pretty big first world problem. The GameStop where I reserved my Switch isn’t selling them tonight for the early release like so many other stores. I have to wait until tomorrow, on the real day one at 6:30pm after I clock out of my full-time job. I think I hate myself for saying that. We are mere hours away from experiencing Breath of the Wild. I can’t wait to lose myself in the universe once again. It sort of feels like teleportation really exists, taking us to places you can only imagine going to through video games. Have fun teleporting to Hyrule again. I’ll be there, too.