The following blurbs come from series producer Eiji Aonuma and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi are found in the official Zelda: Breath of the Wild guide...
In re-examining the convention that Zelda games are played on a set path, we decided to implement a groundbreaking new play style that would allow players to go wherever and do whatever they want. This has been achieved for the first time in the history of the series in its newest edition, Breath of the Wild. In order to attain this goal, we spent most of the production time creating the game as we played it.
The process of “creating while playing” went like this: first, we placed a countless number of “points” throughout the vast world of Breath of the Wild. Then, as we went through and actually played the game, we would make those “points” larger, smaller, or move them around, incorporating the things that we felt, while playing deeper into the game itself. In truth, this production style is very similar to the method Miyamoto used in the very first The legend of Zelda. Nonetheless, as games became 3D and people wanted more realism from game worlds, it became necessary to have a concrete “blueprint” of our game world from the very start of development. In essence, what became known as the quintessential Zelda experience, following a path set by the developers from start to finish, ended up being a product of the demands placed on the developers by that blueprint.
However, since this approach of creating a game while actually playing it means that the game continues to grow and evolve over time, it makes it very difficult to decide where to place the ending. Even now, after development has finished, I still get the feeling that there are so many things left that we didn’t get a chance to achieve.
Although this feeling isn’t new to this particular work, for past games, it was more a feeling of disappointment.
For this game, in contrast, it’s more of a desire to keep evolving and growing. I feel like that’s a big difference between this Zelda game and previous versions.
I’m not sure what lies before us, but I’m positive that this feeling of wanting to keep on growing and changing will be a driving force for future Zelda games. I hope that you’ll keep your eye out for whatever comes next in Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a project that we started in an effort to completely re-imagine the conventions of The Legend of Zelda to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the series. I tried to imagine what that would look like: a new Legend of Zelda, utilizing new technology, new hardware, and new ways of playing that we had never done before. I contemplated this for a long time, and my staff and I spent day after day trying to come up with an answer, but for what seemed like an age, we couldn’t find one.
When we went back to the essence of what it was that originally made The Legend of Zelda so much fun, we realized the answer was in the very first Zelda game: venturing through wide open fields, using your imagination and trying out different approaches in order to overcome problems… Was this the answer? Was this the essence of The Legend of Zelda? What if we tried making a game where there was a response to every single one of the player’s actions? What would we need in order to make that happen? After we started asking ourselves these questions, we came up with a vast variety of playstyles that served as the basis for everything that was implemented in the finished version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Most of the natural phenomena that occur in the world of Breath of the Wild are based on physics, and they affect all forms of life that appear in the game. In addition, depending on the choices and actions of the player or the effects from the items that they use, there are various kinds of reactions that can occur. Due to the mass of possible combinations, we have on occasion observed things happen in the field that not even we, who created the game, could have imagined. For this reason, there is no one way to beat this game. In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the number of ways that you can tackle and solve any problem is limited only by your imagination.
Unique characters, powerful enemies, and challenging puzzles that can only be found in the world of The Legend of Zelda are waiting for you. This time, our hero Link uses an item called the Sheikah Slate to aid him in his adventures, but with this strategy guide by your side, I hope that you too will be able to venture forth with confidence into the vast world of Hyrule and experience your own adventure to the fullest.
Tantalus discusses their work on Zelda: Twilight Princess HD - convincing Nintendo, Nintendo involvement, dev time
The following info comes from a Fragments of Silicon interview with Tantalus CEO Tom Crago...
On how long it took to convince Nintendo that they could do it…
Several months. I mean they are obviously an incredibly meticulous company, and we’re talking about a beloved property – one of the most beloved properties in the whole house of Nintendo, so we approached it very diligently and carefully, and we went to Kyoto a couple of times to meet with Aonuma-san and his team, and to talk to them about the work that we’d done and what we proposed to do on Twilight Princess, and then there are a series of experiments and tests and trials and so on before you have the opportunity to actually go into full development, and we are fortunate that we got that opportunity.
On how involved Nintendo was with the oversight of the project…
Very, very involved. Aonuma-san himself, obviously, he signs off on everything – it’s his game. At all levels he was omnipresent. And then a team of people there in Kyoto dedicated to the game, so daily conversations, very regular calls, a bit of back and forth between us here in Melbourne and Nintendo in Kyoto, and regular builds and reporting, and all those things. So yeah, absolutely, they were extremely hands on.
On development length…
It must have been 18 months plus, and the team… up to maybe like 40 people at various points. I mean, a big game even in its adaptation in terms of time frame and team size.
The following comes from a Retro Gamer interview with Shigeru Miyamoto plus co-directors Hideki Konno and Tadashi Sugiyama.
On Mario Kart's F-Zero roots:
“Our original plan didn’t include Mario or karts. The game’s roots lie in one of the launch titles for the SNES: F-Zero.
The game was designed for single-player gameplay because of our focus on getting across the sense of speed and the size of the courses. It was a prototype for a multiplayer version of F-Zero that ended up being the starting point for Super Mario Kart, and from there we went through a period of trial and error to find what worked.
You could say that Mario was added to the racing game as a result of this trial and error. F-Zero displays the layer for the course over an area of 100 screens in order to create a feeling of speed and scale. However, because of hardware limitations, splitting the screen for multiplayer required the courses be displayed within an area no more than four TV screens wide by four screens high, i.e. 16 screens.
We tried creating an F-Zero style circuit within that limitation, but found it too difficult to race in with an F1-type vehicle, making it impossible to create a course that could give you a feeling of speed.
In a last-ditch attempt, we came up with what we felt was our only choice: kart racing. Karts were a great fit for these compact courses. However, with the drivers wearing helmets and racing suits, they all looked the same from behind and lacked individuality. It’s hard to tell who is who, so we ran into another problem there.” – Konno and Sugiyama
On the decision to include items:
“When we decided that we would be making Mario Kart as a racing game, I thought that we shouldn’t make a normal car-racing game, but instead create something based around the fun of competing for position, using karts as the medium. It was a natural development that we would use items so that players who aren’t as good could still have a chance to win, or that players who were behind could have something to give them a helping hand.” – Miyamoto
“The first item we made in the prototype was oil, which became the Banana. We created items making sure they would fit with the Mario setting. In order to add offensive, defensive and unique elements to the gameplay while making sure these remained balanced, we added items with a Mario-esque design, such as Shells for attacking, Stars for invincibility and Ghosts for stealing other items, all while still prioritizing the game processing.
Before this game was completed we went through thousands of tests to balance the items It was really exciting during the test plays when we would win or lose thanks to the effects of the items.” – Konno and Sugiyama
Coming from Ian Livingstone, chairman of Sumo Digital...
Sumo has no history of self-publishing so the expectation were, I wouldn't say a wet finger in the air, but you know.... But there were obviously numbers in the budget and that's definitely in line with that, possibly a bit better. They've done a great job in creating Snake Pass and then suddenly we had a new platform in Switch to be able to launch on, which hadn't been considered when we started development, and it's doing really well on Switch.
Livingstone also shared some more insight into how Snake Pass came to be...
...We implemented a game jam. And out of that first game jam, Snake Pass was considered the best. It wasn't on us, the management to vote which one. Again, we wanted to empower the developers themselves and let them vote on which one should be the one so there could be no argument.
Multiple Switch indie devs sing the praises of the platform, ease of use & Nintendo's new approach to digital
The following snippets come from the most recent issue of MCV magazine, which you can read for free right here.
Coming from a GamesIndustry interview with Phil Duncan and Oli DeVine of Ghost Town...
"We had parents sit us down in front of the TV to entertain ourselves with local multiplayer games. We've lost that. The downside of making a four-player game when there's only two of you is that you don't really get to do much play testing,"
Nintendo UK Interview: Cooking up chaos in Overcooked: Special Edition on Switch (port talk, HD Rumble info)
A portion of a Nintendo UK interview with Phil Duncan and Oli De-Vine of Ghost Town Games...
NUK: When did you realise you wanted to bring Overcooked to Nintendo Switch?
PD: We’d been speaking to Nintendo about maybe releasing it on Wii U. Obviously, at that time it was kind of the end of the Wii U lifecycle and everyone at Nintendo was gearing up for the Nintendo Switch and nobody really knew what it was going to be. Then, when it was announced what the Nintendo Switch was, that was when we immediately saw the potential. Everyone was instantly on Twitter or emailing us and just asking, ‘Hey guys, when is Overcooked gonna come out?’. You know, it’s a console that comes with two controllers, so it’s perfect for Overcooked.
NUK: Overcooked: Special Edition will also make use of Nintendo Switch’s HD Rumble. What do you have planned for that?
PD: We’re excited to experiment with it! From my point of view what HD Rumble allows you to do is a completely different kind of force feedback. It allows you more ways to communicate to the player. You can tell them when something is on fire or when something is about to burn out. You don’t even have to look at the screen or listen to the audio, you‘ve got something that instantly tells you something about the game. That great, particularly for a game like Overcooked, when the actions are so quick and so fast and you need to communicate the gameplay instantly.
Coming from RiME creative director, Paul Rubio
Even so, If I had read Neogaf at the time the game probably wouldn't exist. I spent some time six months ago going through two-and-a-half years of comments on Neogaf, and I was literally crying for two days. Partly because I just don't understand the cruelty, but more importantly because I could see those years over those two days, and I began to understand that maybe people can love something so much that they can hate it.
I know the reaction to Mr. Rubio's statement is going to be full of snark and even meaner follow-ups. Being someone who has worked on the internet every single day for 13+ years, I can see why Mr. Rubio was impacted in such a way. It can be a dark, angry place.