The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been given universal praise as it has intersected three characteristics fully – surprising the player, letting the player do what they please, and make the player feel really good.
One of the reasons why Nintendo has managed to pull this off is because Breath of the Wild developers were rethinking about the very fundamental concepts of Zelda titles, questioning them, and reshaping them into something different.
Another reason that may surprise you is all 300 Breath of the Wild developers regularly played the game from start to finish during its development. The game has benefited more this way than just regular playtesting. Here’s how game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi explains it in his own words:
When they hear the story about 300 people testing the game at the same time, I think what a lot of people misunderstand is [in thinking] that the big leaps ahead came from all of the data we got out of that. And obviously we did get a lot of data out of it. But I think what was even more important was just the fact that people were able to see exactly what they were working on in the game, and also what the people next to them were working on in the game, and figure out, ‘Well, what can I do to make that part of the game better?’ Getting that group understanding of how everything was working together really leveled up the staff’s work, and I think that’s a big part of how we came to the level of quality that the game has.