Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the Biggest Nintendo Game Ever Made

Power in numbers.

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Speaking with Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma this week, GameSpot has learned that there are more people working on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild than any other game in Nintendo’s history. Below you can find a brief Q&A with Aonuma discussing the matter in detail, and how working with such a large team impacts his creative process.

GameSpot: Is this the biggest team you’ve worked with, and is this the biggest team that’s ever made a Nintendo game before?”

Aonuma: “Yes, to both questions. There’s a lot of people.”

Has this made things more difficult, or has it made it easier because you have so many resources to draw on?

When we're building something, we all have to have a shared perspective and goal, and it's important that everyone has this concrete image in your mind. When you have this many people, you may say the same thing to everybody, but everyone has a different perspective on it. If we made a game with that, we would have a very broken and disjointed game. One of the biggest challenges is making sure we all have a shared vision.

Is there a lot of risk associated with such a large production? Games are becoming more complicated and the new Zelda is indicative of that. How does that influence your thinking when coming up with creative ideas, versus trying to make a game that will appeal to a lot of different people?

The biggest challenge against creativity is that staff members get really mad at me. They tell me "you don't know what's going on on the floor." Of course, that's obviously the case because I'm not in the trenches working, so I see the finished product and suggest the team should do more of this, or more of that, and obviously people come to say that there's a reason things are done a certain way. I have to say that I understand, but there's a part of me that wants to make sure this is a good game, so I have to kind of fight that as well. When I go ahead and ask someone to change something, I have ten other people telling me "what are you doing?" There's a big challenge to make sure everything I'm doing is working for everyone else too.

It just not bad stuff. If I have an initial image or idea that I want to see, and I'm able to really convey that, then the end product turns out way better than I originally imagined. Conveying words is very difficult, because I have to really think and make sure that what I'm saying will conjure up the exact image I have in my head. When I'm really able to take time and explain, and really thoroughly convey that, then you end up with a very good quality product, sometimes better than I originally imaged. That's the plus side to having a big team.

How long will it take for someone to see and do everything in the game? Could somebody play this for 100 hours and still have things to do?

In the past, there's the idea of getting 100 percent%, getting all of the items and armor. Fans of past Zelda games have done that. But I really think it's going to be difficult with this iteration. At least, nobody on the development staff has done that yet. There may be very skilled players that can do it quickly, so I really can't tell, but it's very big.

For more coverage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, check out the rest of our coverage from E3 2016 below.

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