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Famitsu Interview with Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Director of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Cerium

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This is I believe the first time that the director himself has been interviewed. Aonuma, the producer, has done most of the media so far presumably because Fujibayashi has been busy actually crunching on the game.

If you don't know him, he was the director of the Oracle games, Four Swords, The Minish Cap, and Skyward Sword. He is clearly being groomed as the heir apparent to the series.

Keep in mind that this is a translation from Japanese into Chinese into English so some things may have been lost.

Japanese Interview
Chinese Translation
Reddit Source

● "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" director Mr. Fujibayashi Hideyuro(F)

⊙The release date was finally announced March 3rd. It has been a long time for a new Zelda game on home console since Skyward Sword(2011/118)

F: Yeah. It has been 5 years.

⊙Has the game been totally completed.

F: Sure. We are ready for shipping.

⊙The game has to be ready for sale almost right after it's been completed. How did it feel?

F: It's very satisfied that lots of my ideas could be realized in the game. I am also very excited that players can finally play this game.

⊙Let's change another subject. Tell us about the concept of BoTW this time.

F: Generally, the key point is "to review everything that we take for granted in LoZ". This is what Mr. Eiji Aonuma talked about in many places. This time I could explain this as the director. We prepared some consoles for players to experience gameplay. They were allowed to try lots of actions on the field. This is what LoZ series are about, allowing players to do various actions such as throwing, swinging, and pushing. This time however we added lots of gimmicks on the field corresponding to those actions. We called the kind of combination " the multiplication of playing", which is also the motif of this game. For example, when you see a location where you won't be able to get by any means. The process for you to think and try every mean to get there is sort of an application of "multiplication of playing".

⊙In the gameplay, we can see a cliff appeared early in the game. You can also fell big trees to make a bridge to get through the cliff.

F: Yes. You can do that.

⊙It feels like there are many solutions rather than one.

F: There may have been a "single road" to the LoZ games so far. But this time there will be a lot of solutions for one question. Including some we didn't even imagine during the development. Every time one solution was discovered, it surprised even the developers that you could do it this way.

⊙I see. So, the experiences of gameplay and the information sharing to others will be different from each individual.

F: During development, the staff often developed the game and at the same time test it. Even when we were doing the same scene test play, the the conversations were different. "I did it this way." "What? I did it that way!" So many times after knowing the way others did it, it felt like "Oh! I didn't came up with that. And this is the part I would like you all to experience.

⊙The concept "to review everything that we take for granted in LoZ". How did you judge how much it should be reviewed? After all, it would disappoint fans if too much of what we knew about Zelda were changed.

F: In fact we were exploring the borderline while developing the game. Through thinking about "what is a Zelda game should be", we were able to define a Zelda game to be a game with moments when you engage a dungeon, a question, the surrounding of unknown puzzles, and also the surprising moments when you finally solve them. After keeping those basic elements, we started some conversations such as: "Can't we play the way we used to play in the dungeons now on the field?" Or on the contrary: "It might also be interesting if we play the way we used to play on the field in the dungeons?" This is a kind of multiplication of playing I mentioned before. Players could get through a puzzle by method 1, method 2 or change method 3 into method 4, even completely different method A or B. It naturally differed a lot from other Zelda games. We just simply tried to change the "I am getting tired of another routine of Zelda" experiences. We considered why we're getting tired meanwhile thinking about how to make puzzles more interesting in another way. And these thoughts became part of the multiplication of playing experiences. I didn't set principles of changing. I just tried to convince the staff that it's possible for us to change the concept that "if we change something, it wouldn't be Zelda anymore".

⊙It seems that you not only changed the routines, but also got rid of the old frame of Zelda games.

F: Yes, you can say that we want to break the frame. With this idea, we have to create something different.

⊙Speaking of reviewing everything that we take for granted in LoZ, we can find such changes in Zelda games these years. For example, the stamina gauge apeared in Skyward Sword, and in Triforce 2 the items management didn't shown in numbers but gauges as well as in BoTW. This must also be the result of reviewing everything that we take for granted.

F: Of course, the know-how of the system which we have adopted so far has also been accumulated, we also know the advantages and disadvantages of each system, so there are also parts that I have referred to.

⊙I see. This time players are allowed to reach anywhere in the scenery. Are there ends in the map?

F: That is the best part of it. I think that it is better to actually play it and check whether there are ends or not.

⊙The map of the game is so enormous that there should be a lot of places to explore. Would it be very time-consuming.

F: You can ride horses and there are shrines for teleporting. But you are not able to teleport with a shrine before activating it.

⊙Can we just walk by foot through the whole game?

F: Of course. As the map is very wide. There are mountains, valleys and some places you just can't bypass. There are also places where are easy to arrive but horrible on the way back. This time whenever you pick a destination, you will face the choices such as "should I bypass it or climb over it?" No matter which way you take, you can get through it with skills that Link has learned. Once you choose to climb over it, the stamina will be very important. There have to be placed for you to rest and recover the stamina on the way climbing. Or you might think that this way seems impossible, I should take another way. You have to arrange the route by yourself. And with hang gliding, some places might be hard to get to, but easy to return. It's just like in real life. If you tried to get to somewhere, you had to think about it before you act.

⊙It seems that you would like players to think in different ways.

F: That's right. Zelda series might give people an impression of difficulty and maniac in the past. But I give you an example of the ax you can get early in the game. Axes are often used as weapons in games. However after considering what they are for in the first place, not only Japanese but everyone in the world can figure out what to do with them. What players figure out should be similar all over the world.

⊙Daily life ideas are useful in the game. By cooking and eating a meal, you can recover the heart and increase the stamina gauge.

F: The system of heart and stamina could be enhanced with food, and sometimes clothes. Or you can deal with it somehow by your actions.

⊙In the past, if players weren't able to defeat specific enemies, they might think " I must haven't get the necessary item yet." However it won't be that way in this game, right?

F: Right. Such enemies could be defeated in various methods. Players who are not good at actions now can explore different method to defeat them, and might even be able to knock them down cowardly.

⊙I am curious about what is the coward way. But in order to realize all the different methods, it must took lots of time on development. Did any unexpected bugs or something occur during the test?

F: They did happen. But they also created some interesting results in some cases, that we even allowed them to be part of the game rather than correcting them.
 

James Scott

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Cant believe its been so long since the last console Zelda and we are so close to this one
I remember feeling sad after beating TP knowing how long it took to come out and how long I had to wait for the next one.
But I'm glad they're giving the series the amount of time and budget it needs as well as the willingness to change things up.
 

Neoleo2143

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Skill determining play style is something I really want explored because games usually feature specific upgrade paths or specializations. Or they test a specific set of skills like Dexterity or knowledge and then higher difficulties still ramp up those specific skills. Souls Games are something that manage to present both to a extent, but I wonder if Zelda can take this to another level.

For example, if I'm shit at Archery, but awesome at horse riding, how would that change a guardian Battle?
 

TheMoon

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Jeez that is one horrible translation mess. But one gets the gist of it. Same talking points as in Aonuma interviews, nothing really new or interesting in here, sadly.
 

gcncontroller

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Very much looking forward to seeing just how many different playstyles there can be with all of the combat options, and exploring the world! March 3rd is so close but feels so far away.
 
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Jeez that is one horrible translation mess. But one gets the gist of it. Same talking points as in Aonuma interviews, nothing really new or interesting in here, sadly.

Boy just called me a coward. I'll fight him. I'll beat him up and give him a swirlie I can take him!
 

Peru

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Dungeon-like play in the field is something that's stood out as key, and not fully understood by people obsessed by number of big dungeons.
 

Cerium

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Jeez that is one horrible translation mess. But one gets the gist of it. Same talking points as in Aonuma interviews, nothing really new or interesting in here, sadly.
We didn't know the exact method for fast travel, now we know that there are shrines for this purpose. We didn't know the game was gold. They've never before talked about what happens when you reach the boundaries of the map; it's not a clear answer here but it's something. The bit about unintended playstyles being left in the game is also new.
 

Air

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Dungeon-like play in the field is something that's stood out as key, and not fully understood by people obsessed by number of big dungeons.

Yep. It sounds like an expansion of skyward swords over world, which I really enjoyed
 

brad-t

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We didn't know the exact method for fast travel, now we know that there are shrines for this purpose. We didn't know the game was gold.

We knew the former since E3 and the latter since at least this video of Aonuma and co. in Germany running through the retail version of the game.
 

SolVanderlyn

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In the gameplay, we can see a cliff appeared early in the game. You can also fell big trees to make a bridge to get through the cliff.
What kind of interview question is this? What else are they going to say except "Yeah, that's there alright"?

The rest is solid, but this is a bit weird.
 

TheGreatLugia

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Dungeon-like play in the field is something that's stood out as key, and not fully understood by people obsessed by number of big dungeons.

Yep. It sounds like an expansion of skyward swords over world, which I really enjoyed

Yeah, I really liked that aspect of the surface in Skyward Sword. I'm curious about how it'll play out in Breath of the Wild's much larger world.
 

Caelus

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Dungeon-like play in the field is something that's stood out as key, and not fully understood by people obsessed by number of big dungeons.

Yeah, I'm guessing five main dungeons in the game and I expect that people will drag the game for it even though the overworld is many, many times larger than any other Zelda game and will feature a lot of dungeon-like areas, not even counting the Shrines of Trials.

I'm curious what's at the edge of the map. Would be crazy if it were some Golden Sun type thing.

What happens in Golden Sun?
 

Caelus

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Literally the edge of the world, the oceans fall off like a waterfall. This is part of the plot of the game actually.

Fascinating, I could see that happening with the part of the map that's all ocean, not sure about the edge of the land-mass though, maybe gigantic cliffs (that lead to Termina ;) )
 

Rodin

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Jeez that is one horrible translation mess. But one gets the gist of it. Same talking points as in Aonuma interviews, nothing really new or interesting in here, sadly.
He said he used google translate because he didn't know how to translate some parts.

Dungeon-like play in the field is something that's stood out as key, and not fully understood by people obsessed by number of big dungeons.
.
 

ReyVGM

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Ok so what the hell does this mean? Hopefully it's a translation error or something:

This time players are allowed to reach anywhere in the scenery. Are there ends in the map?

Fujibayashi Hideyuro:
That is the best part of it. I think that it is better to actually play it and check whether there are ends or not.

There's no way the map is "endless". Assuming it's not a translation error, then my guess is that there will be something outside the bounds of the map, but it will be like in Spirit Tracks where you have to 'exit' the map to enter the Dark Region where the last boss is.
 

TheGreatLugia

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Yeah, I'm guessing five main dungeons in the game and I expect that people will drag the game for it even though the overworld is many, many times larger than any other Zelda game and will feature a lot of dungeon-like areas, not even counting the Shrines of Trials.
If Breath of the Wild's overworld is as interesting as the surface in Skyward Sword, I'll probably be fine with less dungeons. Something I remember the developers discussing about Skyward Sword is how they wanted to blur the line a bit between playing in the overworld and the dungeons. Lanayru is probably the best example of that philosophy.

That being said, Breath of the Wild's world is probably going to feel less dense than Skyward Sword's areas just because it's so much larger. I just hope it avoids feeling empty in some spots like a few of the locations in Twilight Princess did.
 

gogogow

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What kind of interview question is this? What else are they going to say except "Yeah, that's there alright"?

The rest is solid, but this is a bit weird.

That question is used to get into the next question. "So there are different ways to reach a certain place".
 

forknknife

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I love that Nintendo is trying to do something new and risky. It will probably not be a perfect game but holy shit does it sound interesting!

Great interview!
 
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Incredible how long it's actually been since Skyward Sword, I find it almost hard to believe with the actual dates in front of me.
 

skypunch

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Sort of off-topic, but I have nowhere else to post this since mods have banned me from being able to make new threads.

I was watching the Zelda story trailer and I thought the line "You must save her. My daughter" really sounds like Charles Dance.

Listen to him here: https://youtu.be/sSat6whCa-Y

Have the Zelda trailer up in another tab then listen to the "You must save her. My daughter" line at the end of it. Pretty sure it's his voice.
 
Apr 17, 2007
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Sort of off-topic, but I have nowhere else to post this since mods have banned me from being able to make new threads.

I was watching the Zelda story trailer and I thought the line "You must save her. My daughter" really sounds like Charles Dance.

Listen to him here: https://youtu.be/sSat6whCa-Y

Have the Zelda trailer up in another tab then listen to the "You must save her. My daughter" line at the end of it. Pretty sure it's his voice.
...Nah, I don't hear it. Out of curiosity, are you British? 'Cause as an Englishman, I'm struggling to see how anyone could think it was him.
 
Oct 1, 2006
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Sort of off-topic, but I have nowhere else to post this since mods have banned me from being able to make new threads.

I was watching the Zelda story trailer and I thought the line "You must save her. My daughter" really sounds like Charles Dance.

Listen to him here: https://youtu.be/sSat6whCa-Y

Have the Zelda trailer up in another tab then listen to the "You must save her. My daughter" line at the end of it. Pretty sure it's his voice.
Could be but I'm sure a lot of guys have that accent.
 

Dremorak

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Jan 14, 2015
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Sort of off-topic, but I have nowhere else to post this since mods have banned me from being able to make new threads.

I was watching the Zelda story trailer and I thought the line "You must save her. My daughter" really sounds like Charles Dance.

Listen to him here: https://youtu.be/sSat6whCa-Y

Have the Zelda trailer up in another tab then listen to the "You must save her. My daughter" line at the end of it. Pretty sure it's his voice.

Not even close dude. Sorry.
 

caffeware

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It seems to be a systems driven game and most of those eventually break in fun ways as the systems interact unexpectedly. This isn't a knock against the game, if anything it's exciting.

This.

Nowadays, even controlled/linear games are broken. Look at the Nier demo, for example. Forget it in a game like this.

Not hating.