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Breath of the Wild CEDEC 2017 developer presentation

EmCeeGramr

Member
Jun 25, 2005
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4Gamer article with diagrams (Japanese)
Twitter thread with translation and with photos of slides

Interesting stuff:

They had a flagging system where messages would appear in-game marking bugs, things to change with information on the issue




A lot of talk about the game's world design, and how they utilized sightlines and "triangles and rectangles" as guideposts and ways to draw the player's eye.







Heat maps showing how they originally placed events between towers, but that lead to everyone just following towers and having a very linear experience, and it drastically changed after they adjusted this



And they adjusted it by created various tiers of vertical signposts that would distract and sidetrack players so they would wander off toward the one that most attracted their playstyle or needs (ie, aggressive players would go for camps, exploration players would head toward shrines, etc.), and that they deliberately allowed the visibility of these to change during the night.







This is all really neat stuff. The concept of making open worlds "hilly" to make them seem bigger and entice players with landmarks is a super old one, but I didn't realize how much thought they put into it until now.



Uh, so Nintendo ask 4gamer to take down all the slides so 4gamer draw some by themselves.

Here are some other CEDEC 2017 Botw articles.

http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/1078888.html
http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/1078846.html
http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/1078827.html
 

Yoshichan

And they made him a Lord of Cinder. Not for virtue, but for might. Such is a lord, I suppose. But here I ask. Do we have a sodding chance?
Sep 1, 2006
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God, I fucking love this game - and I'm not even done with it despite putting over 200 hours on it. This shows the amount of time and love they put in the game.
 

Skittzo0413

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Jan 8, 2016
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That's incredibly fascinating stuff... it's crazy how much thought and planning goes into things as simple as where to place certain mountains.
 

NinjaCoachZ

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Feb 4, 2015
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It's unbelievable just how much thought they put into every single aspect of the game. Whenever I play it I'm just so fascinated by all the little things they took the care to include and consider. These slides are beyond insightful.
 

Philippo

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Mar 25, 2014
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Or how to make amazing game design 101.

That said, i would have preferred a tighter, more linear experience for the "main" story and events, closer to the hand crafter ones in previous Zeldas. But i also understand it was a deliberate choice, so i'm cool woth that.
Still, hope they'll find a balance to satisfy both next time.
 

Peltz

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Apr 26, 2014
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They could probably write an entire multi-volume textbook on how they designed this game.
 

Neiteio

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Nov 10, 2007
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I'm on my second playthrough of the game, on Master Mode, but this time I'm only focusing on one tower region at a time, leaving no stone unturned as I look for korok seeds and other secrets.

What's amazing is that I've only charted a few regions so far (Plateau, Dueling Peaks, Hateno and Lanayru), but I've already found nearly as many korok seeds I found on my first complete playthrough (around 300 seeds, out of 900 total). Any one of the many, many regions in the game could provide endless hours of wanderlust.

This feels like a game that can never be -truly- completed. It just seems limitless.
 

NinjaCoachZ

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Or how to make amazing game design 101.

That said, i would have preferred a tighter, more linear experience for the "main" story and events, closer to the hand crafter ones in previous Zeldas. But i also understand it was a deliberate choice, so i'm cool woth that.
Still, hope they'll find a balance to satisfy both next time.

This is why I say the best way to go from here is a Majora's Mask style sequel in the BOTW engine. Tighter world design, more story/character emphasis, and beefy proper dungeons. MAN would that be a Zelda for the ages...
 

Raven117

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Oct 5, 2015
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While not my favorite game to even come out this year...The Overworld was truly masterclass in game design.
 

WestEgg

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Jun 1, 2017
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They did such an amazing job telling you everything you need to know about what's important with geography, that the old open world standby of having the HUD pointer just seems hand holdy now. Its damn good design work when everywhere that is important to go is easy to recognize, but you can and are encouraged to wander off, making you feel like you're exploring while never actually getting lost.
 
Jun 27, 2015
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In think in contrast to a lot of people who had issues with the world design, for me it was more the "rewards" system. The world design was EXCELLENT. I've never played an open world game that more naturally promoted exploration than BOTW. While for a number of them, it's side quests that distract of lead players to go off the quest path, in this game it was natural landmarks and places of interest.

My issue was, especially in the late game, the rewards just didn't have as much of an impact. Okay, I can get another heart container, but I'm already have plenty. Okay, I can get this piece of armor, but I'm plenty strong/durable already, etc. But that's a topic for another thread
 
D

Deleted member 465307

Unconfirmed Member
They could probably write an entire multi-volume textbook on how they designed this game.

I hope they do. I'd be happy to have a fourth Zelda book focused on Breath of the Wild.
 
Jan 18, 2013
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after miiverse came bugverse

That's the sad thing isn't it. If this had remained a Wii U only game, or Miiverse had been included with Switch, that feature would almost certainly have been left in for players to use to leave messages for one another.
 

DMiz

Member
Feb 28, 2013
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That person who thought of putting bug reports in-game...

You are awesome.

I was really impressed with this. I imagine that other developers probably do something similar, but this really does help quickly and visually showcase what the error is. I can imagine that the designers were super thankful for this as well.

I hope that one day we get more into the development process behind Breath of hte Wild. I can imagine that Nintendo may want ot keep some of their cards closer to their chest to permit them to iterate on it a bit longer, but the industry as a whole can likely learn more from them.
 

BorkBork

The Legend of BorkBork: BorkBorkity Borking
Oct 11, 2004
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Super interesting stuff. Blows my mind how organic and seamless they made everything.
 

crooked spin

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Apr 11, 2013
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Saw the thread on Twitter earlier, glad it got posted. I suppose this is like the UX of game level design and I love it. Almost wish I had chosen that career path.

LOVING the minimal UI in both this game and Mario.
 

JershJopstin

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Sep 3, 2015
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The triangle thing is freaking brilliant. Simple, and done before, but to see it explained is neat-o.



This is neat; showing how they decided to go for a more minimalist UI language.

While most of this is just UI, it seems they had 5 armor slots at one point. Interesting.
 

phanphare

Banned
Aug 21, 2013
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the multi tiered sign post thing is really cool and definitely explains how the game can speak to so many different play styles

what an amazing game and an amazing accomplishment in game design. I still can't believe that after so many years between announcement to release, after so many years of speculation and hype, after seemingly seeing so damn much of the game at E3 (that turned out to be a tiny tiny fraction of what was in the game), and after the stellar reviews came out that the game still managed to shatter my expectations. that feeling will always stick with me, that in this day and age a game managed to knock my socks off like botw did with all the baggage that the series carries, with waiting 4 years from announcement to release, and with all the hyperbole in the reviews that turned out to not be hyperbole at all.

this game will be studied for many years to come and I can't wait to see what other developers will take from the game going forward.
 
Aug 17, 2011
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Played on my Wii U, rebought as soon as I got my Switch. Think it will be one of these games I have to buy whenever it gets a re-release.

It actually puts me off replaying other Zeldas.
 

m051293

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Dec 10, 2014
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In think in contrast to a lot of people who had issues with the world design, for me it was more the "rewards" system. The world design was EXCELLENT. I've never played an open world game that more naturally promoted exploration than BOTW. While for a number of them, it's side quests that distract of lead players to go off the quest path, in this game it was natural landmarks and places of interest.

My issue was, especially in the late game, the rewards just didn't have as much of an impact. Okay, I can get another heart container, but I'm already have plenty. Okay, I can get this piece of armor, but I'm plenty strong/durable already, etc. But that's a topic for another thread

Yes this is true, as is a lack of variety after a certain point (some of the overworld shrine/puzzles/riddle were GOAT level gameplay, but the letdown was that they still only resulted in you discovering yet another shrine).

My thought is that this first pass of development helped them refine their world building/design tools, so going forward they can focus resources more on depth of gameplay/reward/lore/storycrafting, as well as actually developing interior environments.

This world is huge, and it's locales deserved a little more fleshing out (MM or TW3 style). I don't want to just climb around the shell of Akkala Citadel, I want to dive in and learn its secrets, see what's become of it, perhaps help out a treasure hunter in actually exploring it.

They mostly nailed it with Hyrule Castle, so I hope they can take that template and apply it with greater volume and variety.
 

Nyoro SF

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Jul 5, 2011
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The heat map study is interesting. That being said, in the final product, the game does tend to guide you towards Zora's Domain and the quests there in the beginning. I think they thought at least that much guidance was necessary so that people could get a grip on the basics.
 

Formless

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Aug 28, 2007
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I wonder how other devs do similar things in other open world games. This seems all very well thought out from Nintendo's part.
 

Mr. Badger

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Nov 30, 2016
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The heat map study is interesting. That being said, in the final product, the game does tend to guide you towards Zora's Domain and the quests there in the beginning. I think they thought at least that much guidance was necessary so that people could get a grip on the basics.
Zora's domain was the last one I visited....
 

NinjaCoachZ

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The heat map study is interesting. That being said, in the final product, the game does tend to guide you towards Zora's Domain and the quests there in the beginning. I think they thought at least that much guidance was necessary so that people could get a grip on the basics.

In Zora's Domain you meet a Goron who tells you about Goron City. In Goron City you meet a Gerudo who tells you about Gerudo Town. At the oasis near Gerudo Town you meet a Rito who tells you about Rito Village.

It's brilliant just how the game subtly lays things out and nudges you in certain directions like that. Like you're not necessarily forced to go there right away, but they definitely plant the seed in your brain to potentially follow things in that order in case you need more of a push.
 
May 22, 2011
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The heat map study is interesting. That being said, in the final product, the game does tend to guide you towards Zora's Domain and the quests there in the beginning. I think they thought at least that much guidance was necessary so that people could get a grip on the basics.
Its funny they say that, because its what happened to me and a lot of others but in reality you dont feel guided I didnt feel like I was guided at all I was just going there.
 

Cutebrute

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Jul 6, 2012
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I wonder if this dev-focused miiverse (or bugverse I suppose) will be utilized by Nintendo moving forward. I'm sure it will be hugely important for future Zeldas, but I'll be curious to see if other Nintendo studios are using this tool in their larger games like Mario Odyssey or Prime 4.

Also, I want a dev commentary mode using this feature now.
 
Jul 26, 2013
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Man, put me in the camp that would buy a book on this in a heartbeat. Specifically, I want to read more about how they designed the game to appeal to different types of gamers at the same time. More than anything I want to know how they formulated these types in the first place.

All I'm saying is

The sequel to BoTW will be the ALTTP to TLoZ.

Crazy to think about but I reckon you're right.
 

KooopaKid

Banned
Jun 3, 2014
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the multi tiered sign post thing is really cool and definitely explains how the game can speak to so many different play styles

what an amazing game and an amazing accomplishment in game design. I still can't believe that after so many years between announcement to release, after so many years of speculation and hype, after seemingly seeing so damn much of the game at E3 (that turned out to be a tiny tiny fraction of what was in the game), and after the stellar reviews came out that the game still managed to shatter my expectations. that feeling will always stick with me, that in this day and age a game managed to knock my socks off like botw did with all the baggage that the series carries, with waiting 4 years from announcement to release, and with all the hyperbole in the reviews that turned out to not be hyperbole at all.

this game will be studied for many years to come and I can't wait to see what other developers will take from the game going forward.

Exactly what I was about to post.
The expertise in game design on display here is just astounding.
BotW easily enters my top 10 GOAT list.