It's no secret that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a great game — Nintendo has sold more copies of the adventure than Switch consoles, which speaks volumes. However, a panel of experts has now delved into exactly what makes the sequel so extraordinary.
Four respected video game developers came together to discuss Breath of the Wild, and it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to find out that they're all big fans. Whether you're in the industry, or just an enthusiast, it seems that the new Zelda is a must-play.
"I'm just running around, having a good time," said Jake Kazdal, founder of Skulls of the Shogun and Galak-Z developer 17-Bit. "I'm going on all these crazy little adventures, and I'm learning about this world just like, beautiful piece of onion skin by piece of onion skin. It's just so dense, and so layered, and so interesting — when have I had this much fun playing a game? I don't know."
"The closest way that I can think to describe it is infatuation," offered Aaron Linde, formerly of Gearbox and now working for Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet. "That sort of 'I am so in love with X person, I'm thinking about them all the time.' All the time, all the time. From the moment I wake up, from the moment I go to bed, I'm thinking about what I'm gonna do in Zelda next."
"I'm a longtime fan, but I haven't really loved any of them since The Wind Waker," shared Ken Levine, the creator of the BioShock series. "For some reason, they just weren't working, and then you start wondering, am I getting older? Am I losing interest in this kind of thing? With big games in general I've had a lot of trouble in the past few years really engaging with anything...then you start playing it and all of that goes away, and you're remembering what it was like to get immersed in a game like back in the day, when the original Zelda came out."
Jake Rodkin, best known for his work at Campo Santo and his presence on the Idle Thumbs podcast, observed that the game is part of a larger trend of Japanese developers borrowing western design sensibilities. "If you look at Breath of the Wild and Resident Evil 7, which totally pulls from western first person shooter and horror stuff, and Metal Gear Solid V, which also has a lot of surprising emergent systems and a lot of physics-based stuff, it's cool to see that sort of stuff happening," he said.
There are plenty more comments from Kazdal, Linde, Levine, and Rodkin in the full video, which runs almost an hour. Early critical reception to Breath of the Wild has certainly been strong, but it'll be interesting to see whether the concensus changes once the honeymoon period ends.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available now for the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch.