Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom's sky/cave content was cut from Breath of the Wild due to Wii U horsepower
Free from Wii U restrictions
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild featured an absolutely massive landscape to explore, but some players did find it a bit odd that there weren’t any caves to explore in the game. It turns out Nintendo wanted to include those aspects, but they couldn’t be realized on Wii U.
In the latest ‘Ask the Developer’ feature from Nintendo, we learn that Nintendo held back on both sky and cave content in Breath of the Wild, as the Wii U simply couldn’t handle it. With the Switch, Nintendo could return to those ideas and explore them. You can see Nintendo’s Hidemaro Fujibayashi and Takuhiro Dohta discuss below.
Fujibayashi: Yes, there are the skies and caves to explore now. These are also areas we weren’t able to create in the previous title for multiple reasons.
Dohta: Actually, the previous title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, was originally developed for Wii U, so there were restrictions in development. There were a lot of ideas we wanted to implement during its development, but we made clear decisions on what we wouldn’t do in that game. For example, we decided that it wouldn’t involve flying. Then Aonuma-san kept saying, “If flying is out of the question, I want to dig underground!” And we’d respond, “Oh no! Please don’t make us develop that too!” (Laughs)
For The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, we began by compiling and implementing ideas we couldn’t include in the previous title. We wouldn’t have been able to do so had we made a completely new world, so developing in the same setting as the previous game was significant in this sense as well.
It disappoints me that BOTW suffered so much because of the WiiU. I guess it was an excellent game that could have been even better. But I didn't know it even went this far. I thought it was mostly the gamepad integration and some hampered graphics.
Well, I'm glad at least we're getting this new one made specifically for Switch.