As the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild prepares to hit shelves tomorrow alongside the Nintendo Switch, gamers are still learning new details about the development of the long-awaited Zelda title. Players may remember that Breath of the Wild featured some touchscreen features in an early reveal demo, but the final version doesn’t feature any of that. Nintendo explains that the change had to do with making the final gameplay experience as strong as possible.
Developing a game on two consoles that are as different as the Switch and the Wii U at the same time seems like it was a bit of a challenge for the development team. The team started off with touchscreen features because they were developing with the Wii U Gamepad in mind, but after switching to some touchscreen-less play sessions on the Switch, they realized that the gameplay was improved by not looking back and forth from controller to TV screen.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi explained the thought process behind the changes in an interview with IGN…
“When we were developing the game for the Wii U, we had touch features implemented as you have seen… Once we began to develop the game in tandem for the Switch, we aimed to provide the same gameplay experience across both on Switch and Wii U… In doing our testing without the touch features we noticed looking back and forth between the Gamepad and the screen actually took a little something away from this type of Zelda game.”
“Without the touch features it actually turned out to be a really strong gameplay experience… After more experimentation and testing out, we realized that this is the best way to experience the game. That’s how we ended up with the current gameplay style in the production version.”
As readers can see in our Breath of the Wild review, the change seems to have paid off. There’s no way of knowing that adding touchscreen features might have hurt the final product, but Breath of the Wild definitely isn’t the kind of game that needs any extra waggle or touch gimmicks to be a hit.
Are you glad the touchscreen features were left on the cutting room floor? Let us know in the comments.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild releases March 3, 2017 for the Nintendo Switch.