If you’re a fan of The Legend of Zelda games, you’d probably have noticed that the art style for each game is drastically different.
In the latest Master Works book released in Japan, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild developer Takizawa explains that it is a result of trial and error during development and Nintendo wants to create an art style that is considered the definitive standard of Zelda titles.
Here’s Takizawa’s full explanation:
– “Why does the art style change for each game in the Zelda series?” That’s a question many have probably considered. It’s the result of trial and error during the development of each title to figure out what would best make the world feel like something players would be excited to adventure in. The conclusion was to marry the believability of the world with playability – this would help them satisfy the goal of “rethinking the conventions of Zelda” and creating an art style that could be considered the definitive standard for Zelda. This lead to things such as the “comical” effect of tree wood magically “poofing” into bundles of wood – anything more realistic would feel like a waste of time for the player.
– Although Takizawa-san knew that this art style that utilizes the less realistic and more stylized choices would work for the purposes of the game, he couldn’t help but feel uneasy as to whether the general populace would accept it. Those worries were swept away when the general reaction to the first trailer at E3 2014 was positive.
- There are several things that they paid particular care in implementing during development – things like smell. Obviously, smell isn’t something that can be portrayed by video game systems, the artists worked with the graphics programmers, environment designers and effect designers from the beginning with the goal of creating the kind of world that a player could exist in and even get a sense of the kind of smells that exist within it. The kind of world that you could walk around in, and even before the sound effects were implemented, get a sense of how it sounds. Another goal he had put a lot of weight on was being able to create a sense of the air of the environments – how the air feels humid in tropical environments, how the sun is stronger in the desert.
- Takizawa-san went to GDC to give a presentation, and the next morning he woke up to emails from the dev team – “The reviews are crazy, check them out!” He rushed to check the web and found many outlets giving high scores – nearly all perfect 10s! He was so moved he got goosebumps. It felt like a dream – partly because of the haziness from waking up – and in a foreign country no less. He was ecstatic to see many different reviews complementing the work he and so many other designers worked so long and hard on.