Video: Designing Zelda: Breath of the Wild's unconventional mechanics

At GDC 2017, some of the lead developers on Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild talk earnestly about how (and why) they designed the game's convention-breaking systems and mechanics.

This month Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game that breaks with many of its predecessors' conventions by plopping the player down in a big virtual world with relatively few restrictions on where they can go or what they can do.

The game was released for the Wii U and Nintendo's new Switch console on March 3rd, the same day the Switch itself launched. It was also the final day of GDC 2017, and just two days earlier, some of the lead developers on Breath of the Wild (Nintendo's Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Satoru Takizawa, and Takuhiro Dohta) took the stage during the conference to talk earnestly about how (and why) they designed the game's systems and mechanics.

According to the trio, the goal was to create a world full of objects and systems that interact with each other and the player, leading to a sense of "chemistry" within the world.

If you missed their talk in person -- or if you'd just like to go back and watch it again at your own pace -- we have good news: you can now watch the entire talk for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel!

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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