Zelda: Breath of the Wild director inspired by Minecraft and Terraria, talks developing for Switch
In the past, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has spoken about being inspired by games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in creating Breath of the Wild. But what about the game’s director, Hidemaro Fujibayashi?
Fujibayashi cited two games while speaking with EDGE this month about games that inspired him: Minecraft and Terraria. He told the magazine:
“I was rather inspired by playing Minecraft and Terraria. I was able to learn from the gameplay and the possibilities found in. I could learn from the sense of adventure, exploration and how it inspired curiosity.”
As for real life inspiration, Fujibayashi is involved with an adventure club with other Nintendo staff in which they participate in outdoor activities:
“[We do] things like cave diving where you actually go down into the water to get into the cave, as well as rafting tours and so on. I know this may not be such a big deal in the west, but in Japan it’s quite an adventure!”
Fujibayashi later spoke with EDGE about how Shigeru Miyamoto shaped his view of what a Zelda game should be:
“More than anything, what’s influenced my personal understanding of what a Zelda game should be has been the teachings I’ve received from Shigeru Miyamoto in the 15 years since the Oracle games. I really feel that it’s not because of knowledge or experience that I’m here working as a developer for Zelda, but because of the people.”
Moving on to actual development, when Switch was added to the project, Fujibayashi was actually thinking about “whether we could add in any new ideas”. However, he admits it “was probably not the best thing to be thinking of at the time”.
“Of course, we didn’t have a huge amount of leeway in terms of time. But as director I wasn’t particularly fazed by this. I have a very strong impression that work proceeded without panic under the specific instructions of our producer, Mr Aonuma. Personally, when I started thinking about what kind of features the Nintendo Switch hardware had, I ended up thinking about whether we could add in any new ideas, which looking back on it now was probably not the best thing to be thinking of at the time!”
Next, the Zelda director talked about having originally developed early portable games and how that compares to making something for Switch:
“The Oracle games and The Minish Cap were 2D pixel-art games released on the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Compared to the Wii, Wii U or Nintendo Switch, graphically they can’t even begin to match up – the kinds of animations, the text we can show, the audio, and storage space are definitely not comparable. The most notable difference is simply that we can no longer ‘fudge’ things when it comes to anything graphical. What we have previously left up to players’ imaginations can all now be shown for real, so continuing to use our previous methods of expression would lead to some very odd experiences for players.”
Fujibayashi did ultimately say that he doesn’t view Zelda as “being especially appropriate for drawing out the abilities of Nintendo’s hardware.” The puzzle gameplay does allow for features to be easily shown, however.
“Actually, I don’t really think of only Zelda games being especially appropriate for drawing out the abilities of Nintendo’s hardware. However, solving puzzles is at the root of Zelda games, so maybe it is this way simply because the puzzle solving gameplay allows us to show off new features in a very easy-to-understand way.