How Skyrim Influenced Breath Of The Wild

Breath of the Wild does, in fact, share some of Skyrim's DNA.

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Now Playing: GameSpot's Best Of The Year 2017 - #1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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When you think about massive, open-world, systems-heavy games, there's a good chance Skyrim and Zelda: Breath of the Wild come to mind. In spite of six years between them, they share a lot in common: they're enormous RPGs with ambient activity everywhere, secrets to discover, and hidden areas to complete. As it turns out, this isn't a coincidence. The Breath of the Wild developer was, in fact, inspired partly by Skyrim.

We recently sat down with game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma to discuss the genesis of Breath of the Wild and how the developer pulled off such a huge game. They explained that they didn't look to other titles for elements or features to pull from them. In fact, Fujibayashi doesn't actually play that many games at all.

"I don't actually myself play a lot of other games," Fujibayashi explained through a translator. "I obviously am well versed in them, I know what's happening in them. But this ending up in this kind of bigger open world really started from the prototype stage where, just kind of naturally by virtue of what we wanted to do in this game, we started to realize that we absolutely do need this bigger open world in order to make the kind of game that we wanted."

However, the studio did look to Skyrim to learn more about the challenges of making open-world games. Having never tackled anything at Breath of the Wild's scale before, the team needed data and material to research. According to Aonuma, Skyrim helped provide some of that data.

"In the past I've also actually said that I have played Skyrim, so it's not necessarily that I don't play games," Aonuma stated. "But we don't look at it from, 'Oh, what kind of things can we take from this game?' It's more of like, 'How can we prepare for this? What should we expect from games like this?'"

"And so we also think about how many people we might need, or how we can make it improved, or with the number of people," he continued. "We would collect data and then work and see what worked, what didn't."

In other words, it appears that even though Breath of the Wild doesn't owe its existence to Skyrim, the studio nonetheless researched Bethesda's game to help understand how to improve the open-world RPG formula. And, like Skyrim before it, it appears that Breath of the Wild is a new benchmark in the genre.

Breath of the Wild was recently given GameSpot's Game of the Year award for 2017. In our feature, critic Peter Brown explains, "Like the most meaningful and landmark games of the past, Breath of the Wild is a game that will be discussed and analyzed for years to come. Everyone agrees that 2017 was an amazing year for games, but none other than Breath of the Wild can be considered a milestone for the medium at large."

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DarkRaven9

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Edited By DarkRaven9

I don't have to pay $5 to 'build' a house at least in BOTW. o:)

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jsh55117

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The more simple-minded the person is, the more they hate the game.

"Wah the weapons break." - you do realize you don't have to fight most of the enemies, right?

"Wah I hate the menu system." - for the amount of options and items in this game it wouldn't be possible to simplify it much more than it is.

"Wah there is no real dungeons" - yes there is, they are called Divine Beasts and there are dozens of mini-dungeons called shrines.

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Reuwsaat

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Zelda an RPG? In which universe?

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Palafoxg17

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I feel you guys, I mean this game is almost like a Dark souls if you agree!!!!

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omnifas215

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Lol, and Ubisoft claimed Nintendo took inspiration from them LMAO!

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Terrorantula

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@omnifas215: they did, they looked at their games and said they don’t want to do that lol

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moose3469

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@Terrorantula: LMAO

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Redsyrup

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The menu system was atrocious. Have to hit that menu every time you needed a weapon, armor, item/buff, special item it really took you out of the game. Old Zelda method of assigning/equipping items to buttons was better. Dungeons were better. Music was better. Tight focused game play was better. If Nintendo wanted to make an MMO go this route but for Zelda let's go back to perfection.

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smashthestars

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@Redsyrup: I always tell fellow web developers if you want to see bad examples of user experience, to take a look at nintendos systems / game menus. THere are a lot of other guilty parties even AAA releases that I wonder why they put certain things in places where they are so hidden.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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Edited By PrpleTrtleBuBum

The discussion is spread in so many comments, so I will just make my own. Weapon breakup/detoriating/disarming should be in every damn game. It should just be handled well.

Morrowind and Oblivion get major points for the system (even if Oblivions levelling is broke and also breaks the detoriation system eventually). I also love how for example New Vegas, Dead Rising, Halo 2 and Alias had levels where every gun had like 20 ammo and there wasn't extra available after every step.

Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption and many other games would be a lot better if the game didn't allow me to spam the same gun through the whole game. Even in something like Ninja Gaiden (even if the games so far have had an ocean of depth as they were) it would be an interesting experiment to make Ryu fight hand-to-hand, disarming opponents, stealing weapons or picking them from corpses. Ryu does h2h in DOA so NG wouldn't be a stretch.

Some Assassin's Creed allowed picking up weapons, but for the most part it was a gimmick not worth it since the combat is easy and the own weapons dominate.

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catsimboy

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@PrpleTrtleBuBum: The problem is it's rarely handled well. Fallout 3 and New Vegas made you use another copy of the same damn weapon to fix the other one, thankfully New Vegas added weapon repair kits, but it was still annoying having to lug those around. As for shooters, it's called AMMO! Ammo limits how much you use a weapon. Any instance where there's weapon breakage, the game would be much better served with a different way to make the player switch up their weapons. People need to stop sucking Zelda's Deku Stick.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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Edited By PrpleTrtleBuBum

@catsimboy: The more layers a game has, the better. There are the classic sidescroller shooters where you shoot 500rpm by holding the button down - never liked those. The ones that require tapping, some of those entertained me for a while. Then the newer games with finite ammo in multiple weapons, now those might require some thinking. Games where not just the ammo is an issue, but also the weapon condition, that's an evolutionary step.

Ok, a pistol shouldn't break down after 10 shots, unless it's a very weird or poor conditioned one. But in a lengthy game it's interesting when you have to think that I have 7 bullets left AND this gun will break after about 20 shots anyway. "Will I find more ammo, will I find repair options, should I spend money on ammo or to fix the gun, should I focus on entirely different weapon"

Sure, people like different stuff. Just personally I want to see games with detoriation in future. And I'd hope more games allowed it (plus stuff like hunger/thirst, cold/heat, poison and alignment effects) in difficulty settings. I would be a lot more hyped up for RDR2 if it made me worried about my reliable Winchester. RDR1 felt like extremely casual "wild" west after New Vegas. Likewise in Skyrim I switched my weapon like 3 times during the whole game, while in Morrowind I changed at least some dozen times. Just finding a new steel longsword caused overjoy after struggling with my nearly blunt blade.

P.S. though in Zelda I can definitely see why Master Sword should be the get-out-of-jail card. Same way that in Elder Scrolls you might eventually find Mehrune's Razor or other divine weapons.

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Thanatos2k

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@PrpleTrtleBuBum: "Weapon breakup/detoriating/disarming should be in every damn game."

I think this is some very elaborate satire guys.

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TheHrebo

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i wanna punch that guy with white mug into his face he is ... omg i hate him + i hate the game too so ... why am i even watching this

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kljvoph

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@thehrebo: That is certainly a question you ought to ask yourself.

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jinzo9988

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It was a long time coming but I'm glad it came for Zelda. Zelda was really archaic by comparison before Breath of the Wild. It was once the series to inspire others in this kind of genre and it was also once a series being left further and further behind in comparison to games like Skyrim and Witcher 3.

I just wish the dungeons remained. I don't know how you can keep the "open world" mantra and still have Zelda-style dungeons where you're required to have certain items to progress to the end of each of them, but I wish they were there. While some of the puzzles in the Divine Beasts were pretty crafty, they're no replacement for proper Zelda-style dungeons. Other than that and maybe weapons breaking, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. Weapons breaking in and of themselves isn't that bad, but I wish there were weapons that didn't break at all. It was the most disheartening moment I've had in gaming in quite awhile to get the Master Sword and think "Well this can't break like all of the other weapons, so I can't wait to use it", only to find that it has its own caveat for use.

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KevO44

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It's like Skyrim but with LINK! 10/10!

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clqtte

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Opened world game is so good, I like exploring the unknown ...

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Archangel3371

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That’s pretty cool. Skyrim was awesome and so is Breath of the Wild.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

If you had learned from Skyrim you'd have let people make mods for the game.

First mod I'd have installed would be to remove weapon durability.

Also, please don't "learn" too much from Skyrim and stop making games, and then just re-releasing this game every two years.

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KBABZ

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It's a shame they don't play more games, really. Maybe Nintendo would see what a real online multiplayer infrastructure looks like.

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WllDan7

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@KBABZ: different team. Or have you actually played this game.

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KBABZ

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@WllDan7: From the article: "I don't actually myself play a lot of other games," Fujibayashi explained

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Xylymphydyte

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Edited By Xylymphydyte

Are they going to now refuse to make a new game in the series for the next six years and just repeatedly resell Breath of the Wild? Maybe open it up to the modding community so 3/4ths of the media you see related to it is overly voluptuous lizard women in micro-bikinis? Create a half-baked Zelda MMO and consistently make it worse with every update? There's a lot of potential here!

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catsimboy

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Too bad they didn't borrow the "Dungeons look like they belong in the world" design of Skyrim. I hate how all the shrine puzzles look like frigging tests from Portal. Skyrim also gives you rewards that last, BotW is like "Good job clearing that camp and breaking several swords in the process. Here's a sword!"

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Thanatos2k

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@catsimboy: "Good job breaking your weapons hitting that rock up a hill. Here's 50 rupees that you can't use to buy weapons!"

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dirthurts

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Edited By dirthurts

@catsimboy: I have to disagree here. I feel like the shrines look like Hyrule at it's peak. The rest of the world has worn and faded, but these shrines have been locked away and preserved for ages, which is why they look different.

As far as the reward, you do gain the ability to upgrade your hearts and stamina from these, which last, and you gain rupees and such, but mostly, the shrines themselves are the rewards. They're a blast to play.

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catsimboy

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@dirthurts: So Hyrule at its peak was giant empty cube rooms? Hearts are meaningless once you get enough armor to survive a hit because you can just slam food in Link's face, stamina is just an obnoxious system to have in the game and when you upgrade that you are just mitigating Link's terrible stamina that he starts with.

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Thanatos2k

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@catsimboy: All stamina does is extend your ability to climb things too. It has no bearing on your run speed, because stamina regen rate does not increase as you increase max stamina. So being able to run for 3 seconds and taking 1.5 seconds to refill stamina vs running for 9 seconds and taking 4.5 seconds to refill stamina means your average movement speed is exactly the same.

I was shocked they had no significant movement speed increasing armor, because I would be wearing that the entire game.

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lebanese_boy

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Edited By lebanese_boy

@dirthurts: I agree with the dungeon thing and to a certain extent with your point concerning the hearts/stamina upgrades, but I think they should have done a much better job with the weapons system.

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dirthurts

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@lebanese_boy: I actually like the weapons system. It gives me a reason to use new weapons, and to experiment, and it keeps me on my toes. When a weapon breaks, I have to adapt quickly. Plus, this gives me more reason to keep opening those chests.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@dirthurts: When a weapon breaks, you equip a new one through the horrible weapon swap menu. Adapt to what? It's just annoying as hell to continuously re-equip things, sometimes multiple times per battle.

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dirthurts

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@Thanatos2k: Different weapons have different techniques attached to them, if you know what you're doing.

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Thanatos2k

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@dirthurts: There's three weapon types. 1h + shield, 2h spear, and 2h swinging weapons. There's no "different techniques" beyond these three weapon types. Sure, a fire rod is a 1h weapon that also throws out ranged attacks when you swing, and a boomerang is a 1h weapon that behaves slightly weirdly when you throw it, but those are very minor exceptions. Don't act like there's any depth here.

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lebanese_boy

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@dirthurts: True but I think this also gravely de-values those weapons especially the “legendary” ones, basically they all feel cheap. I keep saying that I would have had no problem with this system had those weapons lasted reasonably longer and had there been one ultimate weapon of every category that does not break.

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Mintek11

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@lebanese_boy: You should try changing up the way you use your melee weapons. My melee weapons almost never break even when playing in Master Mode because I often use 2-3 different melee weapons per enemy (for example, I may use a thunder blade to disarm the enemy, then quickly switch to an ice blade, then finish off with a master sword or two-handed weapon while the enemy is frozen). Although my bows still break at a pretty high clip.

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catsimboy

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@mintek11: The game really isn't built for convenient weapon switching. Have to take your thumb off the movement analog to access the quick switch, or you have to pause the game which is annoying. If they really wanted to get players to switch up their weapon use they didn't need to make them break, just let different weapons affect different monsters... you know like EVERY OTHER DAMN ZELDA GAME! If it ain't broke, don't break it with breakable weapons.

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Mintek11

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@catsimboy: Good point about having to move your thumb off the left analog to change weapons but this has never affected my gameplay (probably because all actions and animation stop while in the quick weapon swap menu).

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@mintek11: What does that even mean? It just means you're distributing the damage to your durability - so when your weapons do end up breaking - they'll all break at once.

That's far worse than using one weapon until it breaks and then using another one because it means you can't pick up new weapons as the old ones break because your inventory is full.

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Mintek11

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@Thanatos2k:As I said, my weapons generally do not break. By using multiple weapons in a battle and "distributing the damage" my weapons last longer. So without even trying I usually find substitute melee weapons long before mine are close to breaking. Even if the weapons in BOTW did not break I still would employ this method of melee combat because it is highly effective and gets the most out of your weapons.

Also, diversifying your use of melee weapons will not cause all of your weapons to break at once because all weapons in BOTW have different durability.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@mintek11: "As I said, my weapons generally do not break."

This is not an argument. You have not been magically exempted from the durability system in this game. Your weapons don't last longer. They last the exact same length as mine - the number of swings of their durability.

"So without even trying I usually find substitute melee weapons long before mine are close to breaking"

And you can't pick them up because your inventory is full.

"Even if the weapons in BOTW did not break I still would employ this method of melee combat because it is highly effective and gets the most out of your weapons."

The hell are you talking about? If they didn't break you'd use the weapon that puts out the most damage, or the one that does almost-the-most-damage you're most comfortable with (Out of 1h, 2h spear or 2h swing) occasionally switching up to a weapon with special properties in certain situations. There's absolutely no reason to regularly switch to weapons that do less damage.

You're making nonsense arguments now.

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Thelostscribe

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Edited By Thelostscribe

@mintek11: Are you able to reforge a broken weapon or is it basically scrap after that?

Note : Have not played the game at all.

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catsimboy

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@thelostscribe: They explode into nothing. There's a few unique weapons you can have remade by certain NPCs but the cost isn't worth it. There's also the master sword but it's woefully limited unless you get and complete the Trials DLC.

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NaturallyEvil

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@catsimboy: That kind of sucks then. I think that having weapons be too fragile would be fun as a game mechanic if they would just give Link some moves that would allow him to quickly pick something up and immediately start swinging it, or counter attacks that disarm enemies. They could look at games like Prince of Persia: Warrior Within or even Borderlands to see ways to do this well.

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Thelostscribe

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@catsimboy: Ah, okay. Yeah I was never a big fan of weapons breaking. I understand it getting worn and damage decreasing, but I hated it in the Fallout series myself. It just doesn't make much sense to me, but it doesn't seem to stop people from praising the game, so maybe it's not a huge deal.

It seems like the weapons break a bit too much if you are losing weapons every fight.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@thelostscribe: It is a huge deal. It gets papered over by many people because the game is so good otherwise that they refuse to admit it has any major flaws - a common behavior with Nintendo games. Almost every game series that has had weapon durability has moved away from it. Fire Emblem even finally figured out it was a bad mechanic. Why did it suddenly appear in Zelda?

Oh did I mention you can't even repair things? That's right - your weapons break and you can't repair them. Everything is a consumable. I don't think I've ever seen a game with a system this bad.

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Thelostscribe

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@Thanatos2k: I hate to say it's 'Unreal' in a video game, but the only reason to put weapon durability into a game is because it adds more 'realism'. Just like in Fallout, who thankfully moved away from it, weapons should not break that easy, if ever. At least in Fallout you could repair your weapons.

There are weapons from wars that are still in tact. Dulling down would be more appropriate, except in maybe the cases of some of those javelins that are made of flexible wood with large metal blades or very low quality swords and bows.

Of course hitting rocks and what not, I can understand a sword or whatever breaking, but the amount of weapons everyone is saying they go through in normal combat is pretty ridiculous sounding. I assume the shields break as well, which depending on make, those and your armor would more likely break first over a steel blade.