The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most highly anticipated and beloved video games of the past decade. Its release in 2017 was met with critical acclaim and adoration from fans around the world. But when did development on this beloved game actually begin? The answer might surprise you! Join us as we explore the fascinating history of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and uncover the secrets behind its development. From the initial concept to the final release, we’ll delve into the game’s origins and uncover the journey that brought it to life. Get ready to embark on an adventure through the world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!
Development on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” began in 2013, shortly after the release of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” in 2011. The game was developed by Nintendo EPD and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U consoles. The game features an open-world environment and a non-linear story, allowing players to explore the world of Hyrule in a more free-form manner than previous games in the series. Breath of the Wild was released in 2017 to critical acclaim and has since become one of the best-selling and most beloved games in the Zelda franchise.
Background on the Game
The Legend of Zelda Series
The Legend of Zelda series is a beloved franchise that has captivated gamers for over three decades. The series was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and first released in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Since then, the series has grown to include numerous titles across multiple platforms, each offering unique gameplay experiences and stories set in the expansive world of Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda series is known for its innovative gameplay mechanics, immersive storytelling, and iconic characters. The games typically follow the adventures of Link, a young warrior, and Zelda, a princess, as they battle evil forces and save the kingdom of Hyrule. The series has been praised for its rich lore, intricate puzzles, and engaging combat system.
The series has also been known for its evolution and innovation over the years. Each new title has introduced new gameplay mechanics, graphics, and story elements that have kept the series fresh and exciting for fans. From the original NES game to the latest releases, the Legend of Zelda series has consistently delivered high-quality gaming experiences that have won the hearts of gamers around the world.
In 2013, Nintendo announced the development of a new title in the Legend of Zelda series for the Wii U console. The game was initially set to be released in 2015, but it was later delayed to 2017 to allow for more development time.
During the development process, the game went through several changes and iterations. The original concept for the game was a more traditional open-world Zelda game, but the development team eventually decided to take a different approach and create a game that would be more experimental and innovative.
The development team, led by producer Eiji Aonuma and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi, spent several years developing the game, with a focus on creating a world that would feel alive and dynamic. They also placed a strong emphasis on exploration and discovery, with a goal of creating a game that would allow players to uncover secrets and discover new things even after completing the main story.
To achieve this, the development team implemented several new features and mechanics, such as the game’s physics engine, which allowed for realistic weather patterns and environmental interactions. They also developed a new engine, the “Hyrule Engine,” specifically designed to handle the game’s large open world and dynamic weather system.
Despite the challenges and setbacks that came with developing such an ambitious game, the development team remained committed to their vision and ultimately created one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved games in the Legend of Zelda series.
Upon its release, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” received widespread critical acclaim from both fans and critics alike. It was praised for its open-world design, innovative gameplay mechanics, and stunning visuals. The game’s ability to merge traditional Zelda elements with new mechanics made it a standout title in the series.
Some notable awards and accolades received by the game include:
- Game of the Year at the 2017 Game Developers Choice Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 Golden Joystick Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 D.I.C.E. Awards
- A score of 97 on Metacritic, making it the highest-rated game on the Nintendo Switch
These accolades speak to the game’s success in both critically and commercially, cementing its place as one of the best games in the Zelda franchise and one of the best games of all time.
The Announcement of “Breath of the Wild”
Wii U E3 2013 Trailer
The Wii U E3 2013 Trailer marked the official announcement of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. This trailer was revealed during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2013, showcasing the game’s early development phase. It was the first time the gaming community got a glimpse of the game’s art style, mechanics, and the vast, open world that would become a defining feature of the game.
In the trailer, players were introduced to the game’s protagonist, Link, as he navigated a mysterious, ancient ruin filled with puzzles, traps, and dangerous creatures. The trailer highlighted the game’s emphasis on exploration, survival, and combat, with Link utilizing a variety of weapons and abilities to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies.
Additionally, the trailer hinted at the game’s narrative, with the introduction of a ancient evil, known as “Calamity,” that threatened the land of Hyrule. This event would serve as the catalyst for Link’s journey, as he sought to save the kingdom and its people from destruction.
The Wii U E3 2013 Trailer was a significant moment in the history of “The Legend of Zelda” franchise, as it marked a shift towards a more open-world approach and signaled a new direction for the series. It set high expectations for the game and sparked widespread anticipation among fans and the gaming community, who eagerly awaited the release of “Breath of the Wild.”
Nintendo E3 2016 Trailer
During the Nintendo E3 2016 Trailer, the world was introduced to the highly anticipated “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” The trailer showcased the game’s stunning visuals, dynamic weather system, and vast open world. The trailer also provided a glimpse into the game’s story, which follows Link as he explores the land of Hyrule and battles against Calamity, a malevolent force that has destroyed the land.
The trailer was met with widespread acclaim, with many praising the game’s beautiful graphics and immersive gameplay. The announcement of “Breath of the Wild” was a significant moment in the history of the Zelda franchise, as it marked a departure from the traditional linear structure of previous games and instead embraced a more open-world approach.
The trailer also revealed that the game would be released for both the Wii U and the newly announced Nintendo Switch. This announcement was met with excitement from fans, who were eager to see how the game would take advantage of the Switch’s unique capabilities.
Overall, the Nintendo E3 2016 Trailer was a pivotal moment in the development of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” It marked the beginning of a new era for the franchise and set high expectations for the game’s eventual release.
The Timeline of Development
Early Concepts and Ideas
In the early stages of development, the team behind “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” began experimenting with new gameplay mechanics and design ideas. Some of the initial concepts included:
- Open-World Exploration: The development team wanted to create a truly open-world experience, where players could explore the world of Hyrule in any direction they desired. This was a departure from previous games in the series, which had more linear levels and progression.
- Realistic Physics: Another key concept was the introduction of realistic physics in the game. This meant that objects in the game world would react in a more realistic way to the player’s actions, adding a new level of depth and immersion to the gameplay.
- Dynamic Weather System: The team also wanted to create a dynamic weather system that would affect gameplay and the environment. This would add an extra layer of realism to the game world and make the player’s experience feel more immersive.
- Resource Gathering: The early concepts also included a heavy emphasis on resource gathering, where players would need to collect and manage various resources in order to survive and progress through the game. This added a new level of strategy and resource management to the gameplay.
Overall, the early concepts and ideas for “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” were focused on creating a more open and immersive gameplay experience, with a greater emphasis on exploration, realism, and player choice.
Early Concept Art
In the early stages of development, the concept art for “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” was created. This art served as a foundation for the game’s visual style and helped to shape the overall direction of the project. The concept art was likely created by a team of artists and designers, who worked closely with the game’s developers to bring the game’s world to life. Some of the early concept art for the game featured a variety of different landscapes and environments, including forests, mountains, and ruins. These early designs helped to establish the game’s unique visual style and set the stage for the development of the game’s mechanics and gameplay. The concept art was likely a crucial element in the early stages of development, as it helped to inspire and guide the game’s designers as they began to bring the game to life.
Shift to the Nintendo Switch
Development on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” began in 2013, shortly after the release of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” in 2011. Initially, the game was being developed for the Wii U, which was Nintendo’s eighth-generation home console. However, during the development process, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid console that could be used as both a home console and a handheld device.
As a result, the development team shifted their focus to the Nintendo Switch, taking advantage of its unique capabilities and versatility. This decision was made to ensure that the game would be optimized for the new console and would offer a seamless gaming experience for players.
The shift to the Nintendo Switch allowed the development team to create a more immersive and expansive world for players to explore. The Nintendo Switch’s ability to transition seamlessly between handheld and home console play also enabled the team to design the game with a sense of mobility and freedom that was not possible on previous consoles.
Additionally, the development team was able to leverage the power of the Nintendo Switch’s hardware to create more detailed and realistic graphics, which further enhanced the overall gaming experience.
Overall, the decision to shift development to the Nintendo Switch proved to be a wise one, as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful games in the franchise’s history.
Delays and Development Challenges
The development of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” was not without its challenges. Despite the initial announcement of the game in 2013, the game’s release was pushed back multiple times. This was due to a variety of factors, including the game’s ambitious scope and the development team’s desire to ensure that the game was of the highest quality possible.
One of the main challenges faced by the development team was the game’s open-world design. Creating a fully realised open-world game was a daunting task, and the team had to overcome a number of technical hurdles in order to make it a reality. This included developing new technology to handle the game’s vast and detailed environments, as well as ensuring that the game’s performance was smooth and stable across a range of different platforms.
Another challenge faced by the team was the game’s combat system. The team wanted to create a combat system that was both intuitive and deep, and that would allow players to engage in dynamic and exciting battles. This required a significant amount of work, as the team had to balance the game’s various weapons and abilities, as well as create a system for dodging and parrying attacks.
Despite these challenges, the development team was determined to create a game that would live up to the high standards of the Zelda franchise. They worked tirelessly to overcome these obstacles, and their efforts ultimately paid off, as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” went on to become one of the most acclaimed and beloved games of all time.
The Launch of the Game
- In 2013, Nintendo announced that the next installment in the Legend of Zelda series would be developed for the Wii U and would feature an open-world design.
- The game was originally planned for release in 2015, but was delayed multiple times to allow for further development and polishing.
- In 2016, Nintendo revealed that the game would also be released for the Nintendo Switch, which had been announced earlier that year.
- In January 2017, Nintendo announced that the game would be titled “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and that it would be released on both the Wii U and Switch on March 3, 2017.
- The game received widespread critical acclaim and was a commercial success, selling over 10 million copies worldwide within the first month of release.
- Since its release, “Breath of the Wild” has been widely regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time, and has won numerous awards for its innovative gameplay, immersive world, and storytelling.
Impact of the Game’s Success
Sales and Revenue
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a critical and commercial success upon its release in 2017.
- According to Nintendo, the game sold over 1 million copies within its first three days of release in Japan alone.
- Worldwide, the game has sold over 20 million copies as of September 2021, making it one of the best-selling games of all time.
- The game’s success has also had a significant impact on the revenue of Nintendo, with the company reporting a 56% increase in profits for the fiscal year ending in March 2018, largely due to the success of Breath of the Wild.
- In addition to its sales, the game has also received numerous awards and accolades, including several Game of the Year awards from various gaming publications and organizations.
Awards and Recognition
Since its release, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” has received widespread critical acclaim and has won numerous awards. Some of the most notable awards include:
- Game of the Year at the 2017 Game Developers Choice Awards
- Best Game Direction and Best Art Direction at the 2017 Game Developers Choice Awards
- Best Game and Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 Golden Joystick Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 TGAs
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 DICE Awards
- Best Game of the Year at the 2017 Guardian Game Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 Gamer’s Choice Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 Game Critics Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 NAVGTR Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 SXSW Gaming Awards
- Best Game of the Year at the 2017 IGN Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 GameSpot Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 E3 2017 Game Critics Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 CESA Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 AIAS Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 Famitsu Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 GDCN Game Awards
- Best Game of the Year at the 2017 CGE 2017 Game Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 Golden Joystick Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 GAME Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 D.I.C.E. Awards
- Best Game of the Year at the 2017 2017 Gamers’ Choice Awards
- Best Nintendo Game at the 2017 Best of 2017 Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 2017 Steam Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 2017 Best of 2017 Awards
- Best Action-Adventure Game at the 20
Future of the Series
- Influence on Upcoming Games
- “Breath of the Wild” has set a new standard for the series, inspiring developers to create more immersive and open-world experiences.
- Future games in the series are expected to build upon the foundation laid by “Breath of the Wild,” incorporating new mechanics and features while maintaining the core elements that made the game so successful.
- Expansion of the Universe
- The success of “Breath of the Wild” has given Nintendo the confidence to explore new aspects of the Zelda universe, including spin-off games and adaptations.
- Fans can expect to see more games set in the world of Hyrule, featuring new characters and storylines that expand upon the rich lore of the series.
- Emphasis on Innovation
- With “Breath of the Wild” being a critical and commercial success, the pressure is on for future Zelda games to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible in the genre.
- Developers are likely to experiment with new mechanics, gameplay styles, and visual techniques to keep the series fresh and engaging for players.
- Emphasis on Quality Over Quantity
- The success of “Breath of the Wild” has shown that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to creating a memorable and impactful gaming experience.
- Future Zelda games are likely to focus on delivering a polished and refined experience, rather than rushing out a new game every year to meet corporate targets.
- Collaboration with Other Developers
- The success of “Breath of the Wild” has also opened up new opportunities for collaboration between Nintendo and other developers.
- Future Zelda games may see partnerships with other studios to create new and exciting experiences within the series, bringing in fresh perspectives and ideas.
The Legacy of “Breath of the Wild”
- Revolutionizing the Open-World Genre
- The game’s release in 2017 marked a significant turning point in the gaming industry, particularly in the open-world genre.
- With its seamless and expansive environment, Breath of the Wild challenged traditional notions of how open-world games should be designed and played.
- Its impact on the genre was evident in the numerous open-world games that followed, each trying to replicate its success by incorporating similar elements, such as player-driven exploration, dynamic weather systems, and emergent gameplay.
- Technological Advancements
- The game’s development required the use of advanced technology, particularly in the areas of physics simulation and environment rendering.
- The game’s physics engine allowed for realistic interactions between the player character and the environment, such as the ability to climb and swim, which added a new level of immersion to the gameplay.
- The game’s environment rendering, with its intricate attention to detail and realistic lighting effects, created a sense of believability and depth that made the game world feel alive and real.
- Cultural Significance
- The game’s impact on popular culture was immense, with its influence felt in everything from fashion to music.
- The game’s unique aesthetic, which blended medieval fantasy with modern technology, became a cultural phenomenon, inspiring countless fan-made artworks, cosplay costumes, and even fashion lines.
- The game’s soundtrack, composed by series veteran Koji Kondo, was also widely praised, with its memorable melodies and haunting themes becoming synonymous with the game’s brand.
- Future of the Series
- The success of Breath of the Wild not only solidified the series’ place as one of the most beloved and successful franchises in gaming history but also set a new standard for future installments.
- Each subsequent release in the series, whether it be the sequel, “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,” or other spin-offs and remasters, has been seen as a response to the innovations introduced by Breath of the Wild.
- The game’s legacy can be seen in the continued exploration of open-world game design, with developers both inside and outside the industry striving to replicate its success and push the boundaries of what is possible in the medium.
1. When did development on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild begin?
Development on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild began in 2013, shortly after the release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in 2011. The game was initially announced at E3 2013, where it was teased as the next installment in the Legend of Zelda series. The game was developed by Nintendo’s EAD division, led by producer Eiji Aonuma and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi.
2. How long did development take for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild?
Development on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took approximately five years. The game was first announced in 2013, and it was released in 2017 for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo Switch consoles. During this time, the development team focused on creating a vast and immersive open-world experience for players to explore.
3. What was the inspiration behind the game’s setting?
The game’s setting, the land of Hyrule, was inspired by a variety of sources, including ancient civilizations and mythology. The development team drew inspiration from the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, as well as Norse mythology. The game’s world was designed to be a living, breathing ecosystem, with weather patterns and wildlife affecting gameplay in meaningful ways.
4. How did the development team approach creating the game’s physics engine?
The development team approached creating the game’s physics engine with the goal of creating a seamless and immersive experience for players. They aimed to create a world where objects and characters would behave realistically, taking into account factors such as weight, gravity, and friction. This approach allowed for emergent gameplay moments and encouraged players to experiment with the game world in unexpected ways.