Zelda: Breath of the Wild devs on The Champions’ Ballad DLC – approach to the story, dungeon design, new outfits, more
Nintendo has published the latest parts of its interview with Zelda: Breath of the Wild director Hideomaro Fujibayashi and series producer Eiji Aonuma. Once again, the discussion focuses mostly on The Champions’ Ballad DLC. The two talked about how they went about approaching new story content this time around, dungeon design, the new outfits, and more.
You can read the discussion in full below. Nintendo warns of spoilers, but there’s not really anything that’s discussed in terms of the story scenes or sequences specifically. Still, keep that warning in mind before proceeding.
For new players, should you play the DLC after you beat the main story?
Fujibayashi: While developing DLC pack 2, I thought the game is at its best when you have both DLC Packs 1 and 2, and has more memorable moments. This might sound market-y but for those who haven’t played it yet…
Aonuma: It’s not too late! (laughs)
Fujibayashi: For those that haven’t played it yet, I think the optimal way to play is to have all of the DLC included in the beginning.
Could you tell us why you decided to focus on the Champions for this DLC pack?
Aonuma: Especially after the launch, the Champions have been popular, so we assumed players will be interested in them. We’ve presented them as new and distinct characters in the series, so I think they stand out just as much as Link and Zelda. I hope that we can use them again in the future. (laughs)
Us too! Also, how was the idea born to deepen the Champions’ story through Kass’ new ballads?
Fujibayashi: In the main story, some of the story was told through Link recalling his memories, and the idea sprouted from discussing if we can have a different approach to tell the story. From there, we thought it would match the world of BotW to tell the stories from 100 years ago, and even ten thousand years ago through ballads passed on through the world’s long history.
So that meant someone needed to sing these ballads… and we remembered we already had a bard in the game! So we thought Kass would be fit to recite the story to Link.
Aonuma: I believe Kass is another character that stands out. After the game’s launch, I’m assuming Kass left quite an impression along with the sad melody recited on the accordian. In DLC, it’s a great opportunity to actually fully create the abilities and “what-ifs” for some characters.
Speaking of the Champions, who’s your favorite Champion?
Aonuma: After working on DLC Pack 2, Mipha became my favorite. In the main story, I had an impression that Mipha’s feelings towards Link felt like a devoted love that seemed a bit too much for me. But after working on DLC Pack 2, I learned that her feelings were more deep – something similar to a mother’s love towards her child – and I felt that was really touching.
Fujibayashi: Urbosa is still my favorite. She’s strong, king, and beautiful. I think the traits that make her a cool leader of the Gerudo make her the most charming character to me.
Is there anything you want to say to new players, Mr. Aonuma?
Aonuma: Since this game is part of the Zelda game series, some people may assume that you need to play the other games to understand it. However, Link starts this game without any memories. So it’s a game where Link goes on a journey figuring out who he is, and why he was asleep there. Because of this, players can enjoy the game without knowing anything about the past Zelda series games, and it’s a game focused on discovering what the game is about.
In addition, some games we’ve created don’t allow players to progress without defeating specific enemies. In BotW, there’s so much you can do that doesn’t require defeating enemies, and by doing tasks that don’t require defeating them, it can help you defeat enemies you couldn’t defeat before. And even if you still can’t defeat some enemies, you can discover new things to do and progress the game at your own pace. I would be happy if players that have gotten lost and stuck in other games play this game – it was designed to open up more paths as you explore.