Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity devs on Zelda team’s supervision, making the story, incorporating Breath of the Wild elements, more
It was easy for us to imagine how Link and the Champions would fight, but we were amazed by how ninja-like Impa was, and how Zelda fought with the Sheikah Slate. How did you come up with these ideas?
Matsushita: Zelda gave us a lot of trouble until the end. She was never intended to be a princess who fights, so it was hard to decide on the actions typical for Musou games. But seeing that she is a character with a sense of duty, we felt that she’d take action using the Sheikah Slate.
In regards to Impa, it was rather easy and the process went smoothly. When looking at the first three characters in the game, it’s a perfect fit: Link is the traditional warrior, Zelda uses magical moves, and Impa uses tricky attacks like a ninja.
Were there any difficulties when incorporating elements of Breath of the Wild such as cooking and parasailing?
Matsushita: Considering that Breath of the Wild is Link’s solo adventure, this game places emphasis on cooperating with other characters. All we had to do was make these elements unique. This applies to cooking and parasailing as well. Four characters can fight together, so it’s only natural for them to eat or sail together, too. The challenge came when considering how a particular character eats or flies. Overall, we incorporated things that were hard to imagine in the first place. We’d really like players to experience these aspects for themselves.
The Musou series is renowned for action that plays out on vast, open battlefields, so it was surprising to see how much exploring is open to players inside buildings as well. Were you trying to evoke a similar feeling of exploration to the original Breath of the Wild?
Matsushita: The game is a story about war where players are often dropped right in the middle of the action, so the aim was never for players to explore in any great detail. That being said, Age of Calamity is set in the BotW universe and brings to life many of its iconic locations as they looked 100 years prior. Our goal was to make sure each location could accommodate Musou-style action but being a game based on BotW, I think it’s important to make exploration an attractive part of the experience as well. For those players with the urge to explore, we’ve prepared some rewards throughout the game.
Weapons use a crafting system in Age of Calamity. Did you feel it would be a better fit for a Musou title compared to the Breath of the Wild system?
Matsushita: Gameplay elements like collecting weapons, weapon degradation, and weather effects are what made Breath of the Wild an enjoyable survival adventure. Age of Calamity is a different type of game, so we decided it would be better to omit those elements.
One interesting part of the game is how each character interacts differently with the Sheikah Slate. Was it difficult to give every character something unique?
Matsushita: It was actually pretty smooth. The Breath of the Wild characters are all very distinct and their fighting styles have strong personalities, so giving them something unique was quite straightforward. For example, in response to Revali using Stasis, we’d say, “Of course he’d use it like this!” And we had the team bounce ideas off of each other on his actions. Everybody had tons of suggestions. (Laughs)
Fighting normal enemies in this game is in line with other Musou titles, but boss fights seem to revolve more around evading and counter-attacking. Is this to mirror the original game?
Matsushita: Lock-on and Perfect Dodge are systems lifted straight from Breath of the Wild, and making use of those abilities with characters other than Link was a first, which is why we decided to introduce those aspects into our battle system. On top of these abilities, players can make use of the Sheikah Slate and environmental elements to help take on strong foes. Breath of the Wild is a game where Link has to take on the entire world, and there are an infinite variety of ways to do so, not just through fighting. That said, the stories in Age of Calamity are focused on war. Reacting to your surroundings while playing is something that really draws out the spirit of the original game. As an example, you can clear the game without successfully dodging enemy attacks once. So even if you don’t consider yourself well-versed in action games, we’d love for you to give this game a try.
Hayashi: I think the action in the game does a good job of fusing elements of both the previous Hyrule Warriors and Breath of the Wild. It might seem like there are a lot of battle elements at first, but as Matsushita said, the versatility of battle mirrors the versatility of Breath of the Wild. That’s something we felt Age of Calamity needed as well. We hope players will explore all kinds of battle strategies as they play the game.
There seem to be a lot more voiced lines in this game compared to Breath of the Wild. Was there anything particularly important about this that you can share?
Matsushita: This game had a lot of shouting to accompany the action which was tough for the voice actors. But they all came to the studio prepared to fight against the calamity. We had some great recordings for all characters, including those who didn’t fight in Breath of the Wild. They were so convincing that we could easily imagine those characters fighting in the game. Even the sound director was just as impressed. On a side-note, when we recorded the scene where Princess Zelda gives a speech to inspire the Hyrulian soldiers, we hadn’t recorded the soldiers responding yet, but all of us in the studio naturally shouted as if we were the soldiers. It made us feel like we were going into battle to win! (Laughs)
And lastly, anything you would like to say to the readers?
Matsushita: Breath of the Wild took the world by storm. It was the story of Link regaining his memories of the past 100 years. In this game, players return to 100 years ago to see how the conflict unfolded. We hope you enjoy experiencing how it all went down.
Hayashi: The first Hyrule Warriors was made with the essence of Zelda in mind. In this Hyrule Warriors, we used Breath of the Wild as a new and refreshing essence. As a result, we have made a new and improved Hyrule Warriors for players to enjoy. Currently, we have the demo version of the game available, so we want every gamer including those who did not play the first Hyrule Warriors to check it out!
Translation provided by centurionnugget, Jarop, and Oni Dino on behalf of Nintendo Everything.
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