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《塞尔达传说》是如何创造“传说”的

发布时间:2021-05-07 15:26:23 Tags:,

《塞尔达传说》是如何创造“传说”的

原作者:James Batchelor 译者:Willow Wu

你或许还不知道,2021年2月21日是《塞尔达传说》的35周年纪念日。

直到今天,它依然是任天堂最经典的NES游戏之一,也是平台上最受赞誉的IP之一。1998年的N64版《塞尔达传说: 时之笛》是Metacritic上评分最高的游戏。

但是,就如林克的伟大冒险旅程一样,这个系列本身的发展历程并非是一帆风顺的,他们有时会创造伟大,有时也会迷失方向。

传奇的开端

《塞尔达传说》跟《超级马里奥兄弟》是完全相反的,玩家不是只能往一个方向走,初代的塞尔达NES玩家是在一个开放的世界中展开冒险的,从一开始你就能按照自己的喜好去探索,这种自由程度在1986年之前是非常少见的。

“在游戏自由度上,初代塞尔达可以说是非常大胆的,”YouTube游戏设计分析频道Game Maker’s Toolki、Boss Keys的创建者Mark Brown说道,

“游戏并没有试图去控制你的流程顺序或者让玩家按照某种线性的方式展开冒险。就是把你丢进一个开放世界,让你自己去探索。如果你一开始不太注意的话,可能还会错过拿剑。”

the-legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword(from geeksandgames)

the-legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword(from geeksandgames)

Tequila Works(游戏Rime的开发商)的CEO Raul Rubio补充说《塞尔达传说》让更多年龄段的玩家上手了RPG冒险游戏——当时这类游戏的特征就是杂七杂八的数据+文字段落+冗长的菜单。

“而塞尔达选择的是童话式的剧情,核心玩法突出,注重简洁和易上手性,”他说。“在游戏过程中你想的不是击败一个又一个的敌人,而是回归到孩童时的那种充满好奇与探索欲望的状态。从各种意义上来说,《塞尔达传说》启发了一代又一代的开发者去追求这种简洁性,这是个非常伟大的成就。

Brown补充说冒险和探索是塞尔达系列的共有的支柱元素——虽说从《众神的三角力量》开始,系列就更加倚重剧情主导了。

“在古早游戏中,你是真的在冒险,因为你完全不知道自己要去哪里,只能慢慢摸索,”他说,“随着时间的推移,这个系列从冒险变成了‘被告知你在冒险’。”

Ishaan Sahdev认同了这个观点。他是一名记者,并且写过一本关于塞尔达系列的书,他认为随着这一系列逐渐偏离最初的设计理念,塞尔达游戏的人气已经不如以前了,销售数据就是最有力的证据。根据Sahdev的调查,基于任天堂官方数据和日本电子娱乐协会CESA 2020年白皮书的数据,迄今为止只有四款塞尔达游戏的销量超过了500万份,分别是NES初代游戏(650万)、《时之笛》(760万)、《黄昏公主》(885万)和《旷野之息》(2145万)。

《时之笛》《黄昏公主》《旷野之息》这三个游戏拥有某些共同点:真实比例的人物、 有更大的游戏世界可以探索,还有就是可以骑在马背上探索(这就让人感觉冒险的格局宏大了很多)。

“游戏只要少了这三个东西,销量就会下滑,”他说,“人们希望在塞尔达游戏中能够自由地探索,做任何他们想做的事——任天堂花了些时间才明白这一点。”

正如Sahdev在书中所探讨的,每次失败背后都有不同的原因。《姆吉拉的假面》的开发非常赶,开发团队想用一半的时间做出《时之笛》的续作。而《风之杖》的卡通画风对很多粉丝来说是难以接受的。正如Sahdev所告诉我们的,《时之笛》之后的每一个新游戏都是在做无意义的创新,直到任天堂的青沼英二(该系列在位时间最长的决策者之一)决定把焦点放在玩家对《黄昏公主》的期待上,结果就是销量创下了新高。

“如果没有《黄昏公主》,你就不可能看到《旷野之息》,”Sahdev补充道,“青沼在《旷野之息》相关媒体采访时确实这么说了。这款游戏中的许多点子都是他们在《黄昏公主》中想做但却无法实现的。”

Rubio认为这种迭代和再创造过程其实就是这一系列的优势所在,塞尔达在这35年中一直都是游戏设计的大师级典范。

“系列的每一部新游戏都是站在前作的肩膀上,通过增加一些新亮点再次成为市场中的佼佼者,”他继续说道,“这就是为什么你没办法通过直接复制《旷野之息》获得成功:这不仅仅是游戏基础机制之间的相互作用,或者开放世界的设计模式,又或者是基于体力值设定的攀爬玩法——这些都是玩家见过的,但是它们组合起来的效果只能说是完美。”

在《黄昏公主》之后就是《御天之剑》,它最能说明塞尔达系列的限制所在:用户主要是资深游戏迷和任天堂品牌的铁杆粉丝。你能非常明显地感受到《御天之剑》是任天堂为增加用户覆盖率做的一次尝试:移除Overworld、创造更线性的旅程,并且游戏利用了Wii主机的体感功能,玩家可通过挥动控制器从不同角度攻击敌人。

“任天堂以为他们能够把《御天之剑》卖给那些原本不会对塞尔达感兴趣的用户,”Sahdev说,“这对塞尔达系列来说是一条错误的道路。”

Sahdev认为《御天之剑》也是塞尔达系列中日式特色最明显的游戏(尽管这一系列在美国的销量屡创新高)。它的设计理念跟《马里奥银河》的环形地图是一样的:防止玩家迷路。任天堂前社长,也就是已故的岩田聪曾讨论过玩家对迷路的厌恶如何影响了当时马里奥游戏的发展方向,塞尔达传说也考虑到了这个问题。《御天之剑》有望在今年7月登陆Switch时刷新367万的销量纪录。

最终《旷野之息》回归到了系列的初代的设计理念,也成为了系列迄今为止销量最好的作品。游戏很好地权衡了剧情与探索自由之间的关系——这是从《众神的三角力量》以来他们一直想努力解决的。你给玩家的自由越多,故事体验就越容易被破坏。

“这是他们开发《旷野之息》时必须做出的一种让步,”Brown说,“这里并没有什么跌宕起伏的剧情,只是把过去的碎片拼凑在一起。你就是醒来,然后去跟盖侬对战,途中会发生各种各样的随机事件。

“探索和剧情,这两个元素是往不同方向发展的,很难把它们结合在一起。有些狂热的塞尔达粉丝就是因为剧情部分不太多而不喜欢《旷野之息》。”

Sahdev还指出塞尔达系列是任天堂的“人才孵化器”。在青沼发行第一个游戏Marvelous: Another Treasure Island(受《众神的三角力量》启发的第一方游戏)后,宫本茂就把他调到了塞尔达团队。在宫本茂专注于其它项目时,青沼就负责领导塞尔达系列的工作。

除此之外,加入《众神的三角力量》开发工作的还有田边贤辅——后来成为了Metroid Prime的制作人,和小泉欢晃——后来的马里奥3D系列成为了他的代表作。塞尔达系列甚至还找来了外部人才比如藤林秀麿,他负责监制由Flagship(Capcom子公司)开发的《塞尔达传说:不可思议的果实》和《塞尔达传说:缩小帽》。他的才华给任天堂留下了深刻的印象,2007年Flagship解散后藤林秀麿进入了任天堂,最终成为《旷野之息》的监督。

与过去的联系

虽说直到《旷野之息》发行,塞尔达系列的玩家数量才真正达到了千万级别,但Mark Brown认为它在众多游戏开发者心中肯定是占据着非常重要的位置。《最后的守护者》总监上田文人和《黑暗之魂》总监宫崎英高都说过塞尔达系列是很重要的灵感来源。类似地,虽然《恶魔城》的成功是站在《银河战士》的肩膀上,但系列制作人五十岚孝司之前也有说过塞尔达游戏对他的影响,尤其是《众神的三角力量》。

在过去几十年发行的游戏中,你多多少少都能看到塞尔达传说的影子——从《暗黑血统》系列到Capcom的《大神》。而近年的游戏也表现出了对经典塞尔达游戏的致敬,就比如很多探索过《战神》亚尔夫海姆区域的人都觉得它是塞尔达式的地牢。

独立游戏似乎也从这个任天堂的招牌冒险游戏上获得了灵感。Tequila Work的Rime最初是因为视觉风格相似而被拿来与《塞尔达传说:风之杖》作比较,不过Rubio指出两者的渲染和视觉引导实际上是有很大差异的。但他也指出,这款游戏的进阶方式最初确实是借鉴了塞尔达系列,用新工具解锁新领域。在这个八小时流程的游戏中能呈现的塞尔达式机制/系统都非常有限,但是你的确能看到塞尔达系列的灵魂。

“Rime重现了我们童年时代从老游戏中感受到那种探索&发现精神,从心中萌生出敬畏感和好奇心,可以尽情享受着漫游世界,不用担心有什么艰难的挑战在等着你,”Rubio说。“随着探索的展开,你的视野也获得了拓展,对背景故事有更进一步地了解。要解决谜题,互动和引导是必不可少的,还有那些能够让你不禁‘啊哈!’的场景……这些灵感,当然都是来源于塞尔达系列的。

“塞尔达系列的地下城设计是每个关卡设计师都要牢记在心的——包括《时之笛》中的水之神殿。”

当然,还有些游戏的塞尔达影子更加明显。Ittle Dew的开发团队Ludosity在介绍他们的游戏时就说了是直接致敬塞尔达,但是续作就有了他们自己的特色。根据CEO Joel Nyström的说法,初代Ittle Dew的目标是简化塞尔达传说系列从《时之笛》开始引入的“更乏味的互动”,比如开箱。

“在用户体验方面,进入3D时代后塞尔达系列就有点在走下坡路了,一直到《旷野之息》才被掰回来,找回了当初那种更简练的互动方式,”他说,“但游戏质量一直都是很优秀的,用户体验方面的瑕疵并不会造成明显的影响。这让我认识到了世界、氛围构建的重要性,有时可以让玩家忽略游戏系统方面的瑕疵。”

类似的,独立游戏《海洋之心》也是直接借鉴了《塞尔达传说:织梦岛》,开发者Max Mraz想要重现游戏中的那种探索体验。

“游戏初见只有一次,”他说,“塑造出这种游戏感觉是我从事游戏设计的动机之一。《海洋之心》是我的第一个游戏,所以我想还是专注于那些基础的元素。我知道塞尔达游戏的设计是非常成功的,因为我总是会不断地回到游戏中,始终都不会厌烦。”

Mraz补充道,开发者可以从塞尔达中学到的另一件事是你可以把游戏做得“更奇怪”。虽然系列的大部分内容都是建立在幻想的基础上的,但其中的一些怪异设定无疑是让游戏变得更加独特,比如用剑打一下会报时的石头,或者在无意中与一位人鱼公主订婚。

“你在别人的梦里,而别人是一只巨大的鲸鱼神,”Mraz说,“我希望自己也能有这种天马行空的点子。”

最后就是销量达到百万级别的Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas,最出名的类塞尔达独立游戏可能就是它了。与其他开发者一样,Cornfox & Bros重点借鉴的是塞尔达的探索体验,除此之外还有道具的应用,以及使用这些道具可以解锁新技能。

“在80年代,没有任何游戏能够让玩家再回到世界的某些地方,就算是同一个关卡也不行,而《塞尔达传说》就做到了,”创意总监Heikki Repo说道,“当然,当时还有其它RPG游戏,尤其是在PC平台。但只有塞尔达成功塑造出了这种接近真实世界的沉浸感。

“再结合游戏道具的使用,你便能够解锁之前无法访问的区域,所有这些设计决策所塑造出冒险体验,对我们来说是非常值得借鉴的。”

在2017年,得益于《旷野之息》的发行,这个系列又以一种全新的方式启迪了开发者。

英雄之路

《旷野之息》一经发行就席卷了整个世界。这是系列中口碑仅次于《时之笛》的游戏,2145万的销量(而且还在增长)已经超过了《黄昏公主》两倍之多。

《旷野之息》的设计在一定程度上受到了Bethesda的热门游戏《上古卷轴5:天际》“随处可去”特色的启发,而《旷野之息》本身又对后续许多游戏产生了影响。育碧的《渡神纪:芬尼斯崛起》,还有米哈游的F2P游戏《原神》被很多人拿来跟塞尔达做对比。《塞尔达传说》系列再次提高了人们对开放世界冒险游戏的期待,就像1986年那样。

“从现在开始,每一款开放世界游戏都必须能够攀爬任何东西、去任何地方、可以点燃树木等等,”Sahdev说。“这会成为一种设计标准。玩家就会希望下一代《刺客信条》或者《巫师》的世界就是这样的,我想接下来这几年都会是这样。

他强调说《旷野之息》并非一夜成名,而是不断创新所促成的果实。经过摸索之后,任天堂知道了什么是无效的,接下来自然就把注意力转到有效的部分去。

《旷野之息》是他们未来的模板,所以现在的压力在于如何再制作一款销量达1500~2000万的游戏,”Sahdev说,“唯一的方法就是了解玩家眼中《旷野之息》的闪光点——也就是应变式内容:随机化、天气元素,所有这些相互作用的子系统,着重打磨,只有这样你才能实现超越。”

Brown也表示同意,说道“要是你把《旷野之息》的工作成果全都丢到一边去,那真是太可惜了。这个游戏有很多革新的元素,感觉就像是系列的第一款游戏。新的冒险已经开始,我们就等着看他们在续作中会呈现什么样的精彩吧。”

在上周的Direct直面会上,青沼说《旷野之息》续作的开发工作正在顺利进行中,但是并没有透露具体会什么时候发行。大家都对2021年第四季度的产品发行非常期待,有传言称《黄昏公主》高清重制版和《风之杖》Switch移植正在进行中——我相信这都能为这个传奇系列的35周年纪念锦上添花。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

You might not know it from Nintendo’s social media or marketing, but Sunday, February 21 was the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda.

To this day, it stands as one of Nintendo’s most classic NES titles and spawn one of the platform holder’s acclaimed franchises to date. In fact, 1998′s N64 outing Ocarina of Time remains the highest-rated game of all time on Metacritic.

But, just as Link’s sprawling adventures are often winding tales beset by setbacks and moments of triumph, the series itself has followed suit, inspiring other developers at times and losing its way at others.

The legend begins

Developed as the opposite of Super Mario Bros., which led you on a linear path from left to right, the original Zelda gave NES owners an open world they could explore at will from the very beginning, offering a level of freedom rarely seen prior to 1986.

“The first Zelda was incredibly bold in terms of how much it allowed players to go on an adventure,” says Mark Brown, creator of game design analysis series Game Maker’s Toolkit and its Zelda-inspired spin-off Boss Keys.

“It didn’t try to hold your hand or put you on a linear pathway. It dropped you into this open world and asked you to explore. You could even miss getting the sword at the very beginning if you weren’t careful.”

Raul Rubio, CEO of Rime developer Tequila Works, adds that Zelda made the adventure and RPG genres — then typified by myriad stats, passages of text, and lengthy menus — more accessible to gamers of all ages.

“Zelda bet on a fairytale for its narrative, pure core gameplay, simplicity, and accessibility,” he says. “It made you forget about beating enemies and embrace back that childhood spirit of exploration and wonder. In many ways, it has inspired generations of developers to achieve that simplicity, which is no small feat.”

The throughline of adventure and exploration can be found throughout the series, Brown adds, although this changed as the games became more narrative-driven from A Link to the Past onwards.

“In the oldest games, you truly were going on an adventure because you just didn’t know where you were going and had to figure stuff out,” he says. “Over time, the series changed from going on an adventure to being told you’re on an adventure.”

Ishaan Sahdev — journalist and a person who literally wrote the book on the Zelda series — agrees, noting that the series’ popularity has actually declined as it “strayed further and further from that original design principle.”

This can be best proven with the series’ sales figures. According to Sahdev’s research — factoring in official Nintendo figures and data from a 2020 white paper by Japanese trade body CESA — only four Zelda games have passed five million sales to date: the original NES outing (6.5 million), Ocarina of Time (7.6 million), Twilight Princess (8.85 million) and Breath of the Wild (21.45 million).

According to Sahdev, there are three common factors shared by Ocarina, Twilight, and BOTW: realistically proportioned characters, a larger game world to explore, and the ability to explore on horseback (which conveys the sense of being on a grand adventure).

“Every single time they’ve strayed away from these three things, the sales have dipped,” he says. “People want Zelda to be an exploratory game that lets them do whatever they want, and it took Nintendo a while to figure that out.”

Each dip has a story behind it, as Sahdev’s book explores. For Majora’s Mask, it was rushed development, attempting to build a sequel to Ocarina of Time in half the time. For Wind Waker, it was the cartoon art style that was poorly received by many fans. As Sahdev tells us, every new outing was an attempt to reinvent the wheel until Nintendo’s Eiji Aonuma, one of the longest running decision-makers for the series, decided to focus more on what fans expected with Twilight Princess. The result was a new high for the series in terms of sales.

“You don’t get to Breath of the Wild without Twilight Princess,” Sahdev adds. “Aonuma actually said that when he was doing press for Breath of the Wild. A lot of the ideas in that game were things they really wanted to do in Twilight Princess and just couldn’t.”

Rubio argues that this process of iteration and reinvention is actually a strength of the series, pointing to Zelda as a “masterclass in game design 35 years in the running.”

“Each new entry in the series builds on the shoulders of its predecessors, adding something new to stand out,” he continues. “That’s why you cannot just copy Breath of the Wild: it’s not the interconnection of elemental mechanics, or the approach to open world [design], or the stamina-based climbing — all that has been done before, but the combination is just flawless.”

The next entry after Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, best illustrated the limitations the Zelda franchise faces: the audience is primarily comprised of hardcore gamers and Nintendo enthusiasts. Skyward Sword was Nintendo’s most overt attempt at trying to sell to the broader audience it attracted with the Wii by removing the overworld, creating a more linear journey, and focusing on motion control gestures already employed in the Wii Sports titles.

“Nintendo was under the impression that they were going to sell Skyward Sword to this whole other audience that was never going to turn up,” Sahdev says. “That’s just the wrong approach for Zelda.”

Sahdev observes Skyward Sword was also the Zelda game most obviously designed around Japanese sensibilities — despite the fact the series has historically sold more in the US. It’s the same design principle behind Mario Galaxy’s spherical planets: preventing the player from getting lost. Nintendo’s former president, the late Satoru Iwata, even discussed how players’ dislike for getting lost influenced the direction of the Mario games at the time, and a similar approach was taken to Zelda.

Skyward Sword may have a second chance at beating its 3.67 million sales when it arrives on Switch this July — the closest activity Nintendo has come to acknowledging the franchise’s anniversary so far, although it was not specifically connected to the 35-year milestone in last week’s Nintendo Direct.

The series eventually returned to that original design principle in Breath of the Wild, by far the biggest selling entry to date. The game succeeded in striking a balance the series has struggled with since A Link To The Past: story versus freedom. The more freedom you give the player, the easier it is to break the story, and that clashes when trying to tell the tales seen in later entries like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.

“That’s a concession they had to make with Breath of the Wild,” says Brown. “There isn’t that strong of a story, it’s all pieces of the past you piece together. Nothing particularly happens in the present — you just wake up and go fight Ganon, and random events happen in between.

“Those two things — exploration and story — pull in different directions and are very hard to bring together. There are fervent Zelda fans who don’t like Breath of the Wild because it doesn’t have as much story.”

Sahdev also observes that the series has been a great “incubator of talent” for Nintendo, pointing to key examples throughout the series history. Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto moved Aonuma over to the Zelda team after his first game, Marvelous: Another Treasure Island — an first-party title inspired by A Link To The Past. Aonuma went on to lead the Zelda series as Miyamoto focused on other projects.

Elsewhere, development on A Link To The Past saw the introduction of Kensuke Tanabe, who became producer of Metroid Prime, and Yoshiaki Koizumi, who went on to produce the Mario Galaxy and 3D Land/World titles. Even external talent has been identified via Zelda: Hidemaro Fujibayashi was director of Capcom-developed entries Oracle of Ages/Seasons and The Minish Cap. His work impressed Nintendo enough to bring him in, with Fujibayashi eventually directing Breath of the Wild.

Links to the past

While Zelda may not have drawn in tens of millions of players until Breath of the Wild, Mark Brown observes that it is a firm favourite among game developers. He notes that Ico and The Last Guardian director Fumito Ueda and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki have both pointed to Zelda games as a key source of inspiration. Similarly, while the Castlevania series owes much to Metroid, series producer Koji Igarashi has spoken before about the influence Zelda — particularly A Link To The Past — had on his work.

Zelda’s influence can be seen in other games throughout the decades, from the Darksiders series to Capcom’s Okami. More recent titles also carry a flavour of classic Zelda games — most people who visited Alfheim in 2018′s God of War will agree it felt much like a Zelda dungeon.

Even indie titles seem to draw inspiration from Nintendo’s iconic adventure games. Tequila Works’ Rime initially drew comparisons with Wind Waker due to its visual style, although Rubio points out the render and visual directions were actually very different. However, he does note that the game was originally designed with a Zelda-style gadget-based progression, with new tools opening new areas. Introducing these mechanics in an eight-hour game felt rushed and the system was discarded, but the spirit of Zelda remained.

“Rime recreated that childhood spirit of exploration and discovery, of awe and wonder, of enjoying wandering the world and not suffering it,” says Rubio. “Discovering entire pocket worlds — or dungeons — that expand your view and understanding of such a universe. The physical approach to puzzles where interaction and navigation are essential, and the ‘aha!’ moment… The inspiration, of course, came from Zelda.

” And Zelda’s dungeon design is something every level designer learns by heart — including the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time.”

Of course, there are titles more obviously inspired by Zelda. Ittle Dew developer Ludosity openly describes its RPG as a direct homage to the series, although the sequel takes the series in its own direction. According to CEO Joel Nyström, the original Ittle Dew aimed to streamline the “more tedious interactions” the Zelda series introduced from Ocarina onwards, like opening chests.

“The Zelda series went a little downhill UX-wise when it entered the 3D era and didn’t really recover until Breath of the Wild, when they started getting back into more snappy interactions again,” he says. “[But] the games were always great anyway — clunky UX didn’t really stand in the way of that. [It taught] me the importance of world building and atmosphere, which can sometimes overcome clumsy game systems.”

Similarly, Ocean’s Heart by indie Max Mraz was inspired directly by his enjoyment of Link’s Awakening and the feeling of exploration it gave him.

“But you can only play a game for the first time once,” he says. “So chasing that feeling is one thing that’s drawn me to game design. Ocean’s Heart is my first game, so I wanted to stick to the basics. I knew the design trends of Zelda games work well, because I keep coming back to them over and over and I’m not sick of them.”

Mraz adds that another lesson developers can take from Zelda is that games can always be made to be “much weirder.” While the bulk of the series is built on established fantasy tropes, it’s made all the more distinct by quirks like rocks that tell the time when hit by a sword or inadvertently getting engaged to a fish princess.

“Even Zelda’s take on the ‘it was all a dream’ trope is that you were in someone else’s dream, and that someone else was a giant whale god,” says Mraz. “I aspire to produce such viscerally bizarre ideas.”

Finally, the million-selling Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is perhaps one of the most famous indie Zelda-likes. Like others, developer Cornfox & Bros cites Zelda’s focus on exploration as a key inspiration, but also the use of items and the new abilities they unlock as ‘keys.’

“In the ’80s being able to travel back to certain parts of the world or even the same level was unheard of, and Zelda allowed just that,” says creative director Heikki Repo. “Of course, there had been other RPGs, especially on the PC side, but Zelda managed to pinpoint that feeling of offering a real-world to inhabit like nothing else.

“When you put that together with the way items have worked in the series, opening up areas of the world that you couldn’t previously visit — all these design decisions enabled that sense of adventure that was so inspiring to us.”

And, as of 2017, the series has inspired the development world in new ways, thanks to its latest entry.

The hero’s path

Breath of the Wild took the world by storm. It’s the second most acclaimed game in the series, losing out only to Ocarina of Time, and its 21.45 million sales (and counting) are more than twice the series’ previous best-seller, Twilight Princess.

Having been partly influenced by Bethesda’s smash hit Skyrim and its ‘go anywhere’ approach, Breath of the Wild has since gone on to directly inspire other games with many of its mechanics. Ubisoft’s Immortals: Fenyx Rising has drawn many comparisons to Nintendo’s masterpiece, as has MiHoYo’s free-to-play smash hit Genshin Impact. The Zelda series has once again raised expectations for open-world adventure games, just as it did in 1986.

“Every open-world game from now has to let you climb anything, go anywhere, set fire to trees and so on,” says Sahdev. “It’s going to be a standard. That expectation is going to be there with Assassin’s Creed or the next Witcher game, and I think you’re going to see that in the next few years.”

He reiterates that Breath of the Wild is not some overnight success but the product of a constant cycle of reinvention that led to the divisive Skyward Sword. Having established what doesn’t work, Nintendo will almost certainly focus on what does.

“Breath of the Wild is their template for the foreseeable future, so the pressure is on to make a game that sells another 15 to 20 million units,” says Sahdev. “The only way to do that is to double down on what people really like about Breath of the Wild, which is all the emergent stuff: the randomisation, the weather elements, all these subsystems that interact with each other. That’s the only way you top the first game.”

Brown agrees, adding: “It would be a shame to throw away all the work they’ve done with Breath of the Wild. Because so much of it is so new, it’s almost like the first game in a franchise. They’ve started their ideas, so we’ve just got to wait and see how they run with them in the sequels.”

In last week’s Direct, Aonuma said development on Breath of the Wild 2 is “proceeding smoothly” but there’s no word on when it will arrive. Hopes will be high for a Q4 2021 release, with rumours of Twilight Princess HD and Wind Waker HD ports for Switch also doing the rounds — all of which would be a fine way to celebrate 35 years of this storied franchise.

(source: gamesindustry.biz )


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