For a while now fans have been under the impression that Nintendo‘s upcoming Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda would be an open world title. It all started when series producer Eiji Aonuma discussed modern features that might be incorporated into the next Zelda and has persisted thanks to the open world design of the game’s E3 2014 trailer. In fact, Nintendo flat out used the words when describing this new game.
As it turns out, this new Legend of Zelda might not actually be an open world game. It may have many of the qualities of the genre, but series creator Shigeru Miyamoto doesn’t like to use term when describing the upcoming game.
Speaking at an annual Nintendo shareholder event, Miyamoto explained why he doesn’t use the term “open world” when describing Zelda on Wii U.
“I prefer not to use the generally used term “open world” when developing software, but we used this term [at E3] in order to make it easier for consumers to understand. This term means that there is a large world in which players can do numerous things daily.”
What isn’t entirely clear from Miyamoto’s comments is what traits from the open world genre Zelda Wii U will have. He says that Nintendo’s decision to use the term was meant to make the game’s aims a little more understandable, but he doesn’t explain if his definition of the term — a large world where players can do numerous things daily — applies to this new Zelda or not.
Miyamoto did, however, explain how this latest iteration of Zelda might deviate from the series’ standard formula. In the past, there has been a natural progression to a Zelda game with players moving from one dungeon to the next in a set order, but that likely won’t be the case here. Rather, it sounds like Nintendo is shooting for something a little closer to The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, where players have the freedom to explore dungeons in any order.
“In the traditional “The Legend of Zelda” series, the player would play one dungeon at a time. For example, if there are eight dungeons, at the fourth dungeon, some players may think, “I’m already halfway through the game,” while other players may think, “I still have half of the game to play.” We are trying to gradually break down such mechanism and develop a game style in which you can enjoy “The Legend of Zelda” freely in a vast world, whenever you find the time to do so.”
Based on Miyamoto’s comments and past quotes from other development team members it seems pretty clear that Nintendo is trying to mix up the formula a bit for this latest iteration. However, with talk of multiplayer, an open world, and even early rumors of a female protagonist (don’t worry, they’re not true), gamers still don’t have a solid idea as to how Nintendo plans to do so. Hopefully that should come into greater focus by year’s end.
How would you like to see The Legend of Zelda (Wii U) incorporate an open world? What do you not want to see from the game?