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Markoman
Member
(03-20-2017, 06:51 PM)
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Originally Posted by R0ckman

I didn't mind how large the world was, my issue was that combined with some other elements, it was a bit clear some areas they had no idea what to do, so they through a bunch of enemy bases in them. Wouldn't hurt to have some settlements or side quests where you can rebuild some of the ruins that Wizzrobes are running around in.

The village ruins in the snow area to the north west probably should have been a legit village and not another enemy stomping grounds.

It kinda has this to a certain degree, tho.
Armorous
Junior Member
(03-20-2017, 06:51 PM)
I think the large world actually helps BotW. It actually gives me a realistic feeling of transitioning between the various climate areas. I think each of them was unique enough and placed very well to make them feel natural. If it was less spread out then i think the transition between cool breeze hills to the cold mountains might feel too quick.
Papacheeks
Junior Member
(03-20-2017, 06:57 PM)
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Originally Posted by TankRizzo

In HZD, you can sprint forever but can't climb mountains to get a better view of the entire over world.

In HZD, you need to complete trivial side quests and kill random monsters to gain XP to survive late game.

I must have been doing different things then. Because you totally can climb mountains and view points to get your barring.
Yoshi
Member
(03-20-2017, 07:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by Burny

There is no sense of discovery whatsoever in a game that has no "empty spaces".

How should there be in the first place? It's the fact that something special compared to its surroundings and missable, that turns it into a discovery in the first place. But the packed world some people advocate here cannot provide discovery. You are let from content A to B without any space inbetween, you won't discover anything. You'll just follow the content.

Just because the world is filled with meaningful gameplay content it does not mean everything's purpose needs to be immediately obvious. Discovery has more to it than just looking around and stumbling on something. E.g. there's this obvious jiggy in Mad Monster Mansion in Banjo-Kazooie. It is clear that everything in this game has a gameplay purpose and that this jiggy is there. Still, it is an interesting discovery that you can get this jiggy by going through the roof instead of the main entrance. Similarly, the second purpose of many objects in the volcano area in Skyward Sword is hidden from the player until he discovers a completely different way of traversing the volcano when the stealth revisit happens. Of course, this discovery is still not obvious to many players, because they don't reflect on it, due to it being part of the main story and in terms of presentation this thoughtful design was not appreciated by most players, still, with a slightly different framing, this would also be an example in a supremly tightly designed world.
dmaul1114
Member
(03-20-2017, 07:08 PM)

Originally Posted by Markoman

Nah, compare BotW to let's say HZD. In HZD you can sprint forever. While playing BotW you'll often go through the simple thought process "I need to do more shrines, so I can sprint longer, or do more jumps when climbing, not getting one-shotted". That's the trick. No judgement on my behalf if that's a good or bad thing. It simply works, but I don't regard this as a revolutionary gaming design concept. Just putting on display how the game's systems work. I honestly wouldn't give a shit about the Korok seeds if they didn't increase my inventory that always feels to small - carrot and stick.

To be fair, I felt similar when playing HZD. I wanted to do quests, fight big, tough monsters to get XP and skill points as there were abilities in the skill tree I really wanted to unlock. I wanted to gather resources and monster parts as there were better weapons and armor I wanted to acquire from merchants.

To me that's one area that the games were similar for me, and areas that both games excelled at IMO.


Originally Posted by Papacheeks

I must have been doing different things then. Because you totally can climb mountains and view points to get your barring.

Same. Zelda certainly does it better IMO and puts more emphasis on it due to the lack of objective markers on the map. But I definitely climbed high points in HZD to look around, see if there was anything worth exploring, too look for the few things you couldn't get map markers for other than getting near like bandit camps and corrupted zones etc.


Put simply, these are two great games. They have more in common that some want to admit, but are also different in many ways. It's a shame there was so much fanboy bickering about the two prelaunch that we haven't really be able to have any good comparative threads post launch for people playing (or beat in my and others' case) both.

Which you like more is just down to personal preference. Horizon gets the nod for me due to being story focused, the lore sucking me in and prefering games that are more densely packed with action as I'm just not huge on exploration. That said, I love Zelda as well and it's so well done I love it despite it not meshing super well with my current tastes/preferences.
gamerMan
Member
(03-20-2017, 07:18 PM)
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Originally Posted by Hattori

Mark Brown is the bomb. He's very succinct and thorough with his analyses.

This was great because he really talked about how before Breath Of The Wild, most "Open world" games were just merely checkpoint to checkpoint linear games stuck inside a large world.
Sub Boss
Banned
(03-20-2017, 07:29 PM)

Originally Posted by bennibop

I much prefer the old Zelda setup, I felt BotW offered no challenge and the lack of proper dungeons really hurt it for me.

I agree with the challenge is lost somewhere around half of BoTW main story and thats a big bummer But at the same time no 3D Zelda has been challenging with exception of SS. MM and now BoTW
jrh2
Member
(03-20-2017, 07:31 PM)
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This thread makes me want to finally get around to playing Ori
Leondexter
(03-20-2017, 07:34 PM)
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I think Nintendo nailed the world size. It's big enough that it impresses; the views from mountaintops and towers are magnificent. When I tag a location, I'm often surprised at how far away it is on the map.

And yet, when actually exploring, I'm constantly coming out of one area into the next before I know it. I repeatedly think "oh, I'm back in Goron / Rito / Zora / Gerudo territory already?". Straight line travel time is never as long as you think it will be...if you can manage to go straight to a place.

Because, as others have said, it can be difficult to stay focused on an objective. This is still true after 120+ hours of playtime. That's the sign of good content. If the content of the world weren't compelling, curiosity would soon fade. But it hasn't. I always want to know "what's over there?", or increasingly "what haven't I found in that area yet?".

Enthusiasts like us are insatiable devourers of content, so the answer to "is there enough content?" is always "no", or at least "not enough types". We want more dungeons, more bosses, more enemy designs, more animals, more unique areas like Eventide.

OP, I think you do the developers a disservice by assuming they painted themselves into a corner on something as crucial as world size, based on your opinion of it. I look at it and see a world that was meticulously crafted to be exactly the size it is. Any smaller and the scale would fail to impress. I would think the critical reaction would be harsh to an open world game, especially from Nintendo, that was perceived as small. Any larger, and the content would indeed be spread thin, hampering curiosity and therefore exploration.

Again, I think they absolutely nailed it.
H4r4kiri
Member
(03-20-2017, 07:42 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Hey GAF,

I always think it's interesting to hear from other game developers what they thought about certain games... So I wanna start a discussion by looking at Breath of the Wild from a designers perspective and after all the well deserved praise the game got, I think it's good to point out the things that I thought it didn't do so well after all is said and done. Let me also state that I'm a huge Zelda fan (With ALTTP being my favorite game of all time and I also have a huge soft spot for the original Legend of Zelda on the NES) and it's clear as day that BotW is easily one of the best Zelda games ever made - So in many ways I'm nitpicking, but I think in order for Nintendo and other developers to improve upon what's been done here in the future, we should just be straight in calling out the obvious issues and things that could've been improved that would've made the game better.

I finally finished BotW last night (all memories, all 120 shrines, most quests completed, etc.) and tried to analyze the game while I was playing it - I'm playing games differently nowadays than I did back in the day, I'm trying to be very analytical in order to really understand how the game was built, how all the systems work, etc., simply because as a game designer it helps me make our stuff better if I know how other devs handled certain problems before us.

So without further ado, let's start with my criticism:

The Open World:
Generally speaking, I thought the world was too big. I'm generally not a HUGE fan of open world games (and yet I have to admit that BotW is definitely the best open world game I've ever played), simply because I'd never want to design a game that way. I think it's wrong to start with a huge landscape and then try to shoehorn a ton of content into it versus building really strong content in smaller chunks and then putting it together to ensure that every inch of the world truly feels well designed.

If you're not a game developer, here's a bit of info on how these open world games are built: You usually start with a large terrain and sculpt the landscape, then you fill in the landscape with content. This video gives you a basic idea of how these worlds are crafted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozXYKpUugd8

So, throughout my entire time playing the game, I couldn't shake the thought that Nintendo must have decided on the size of the world at the start of the project and couldn't back-paddle afterwards simply because the world is made out of one huge terrain. Most Terrain engines don't allow you to easily modify and change sizes once various parts have already been built, since scaling the terrain would affect everything you've already built (again, I'm not saying Nintendo didn't have more sophisticated terrain tools, but that's my simple guess since the world feels way too large for its own good).

So why do I think the world is too large? Because of a lack of varied content. That's always the problem with Open World Games - What good is a huge world if large parts of it are fairly empty with nothing for you to do? I'm honestly sick and tired of developers proclaiming that the world of the game they're building is x times larger than the world in their previous game - That's only a great thing if you also scaled up your team by a lot in order to be able to fill that world with super fun content, which is most often not the case. Me just having to traverse longer distances that a designer didn't even touch doesn't mean the game is more fun, in fact, the opposite is usually true, which games like No Man's Sky have proven very well I think. Just running around in boring areas with little to no interactivity is just not fun.

I do think Nintendo did a good job giving you movement tools like Shield Surfing, Paragliding, Climbing, etc., but a hell of a lot of time in the game is spent just traversing through the terrain by holding the analog stick forward, running, climbing while always keeping an eye on your Stamina bar - and that in itself isn't the most fun you could have. Often times you have to run 5-10 minutes from one place to another doing fairly menial tasks like running and climbing just to arrive at your goal.

And that's also when Fast Travel comes into play, since having to do that once is bad enough and developers know that you want to quickly get to the fun parts, so they allow you to skip large parts of the Open World. But the irony here is... if that's your design process, then maybe your world shouldn't be that large in the first place?

At Moon, we have this 'fun per inch' principle - If we have the player just running for too long without any varied interactivity and fun content, then the level design is probably not great and should be reworked. We always try to put as much interactivity and diverse challenges into every inch of the worlds we're building as possible. We usually build hundreds of levels and then only use the levels that we feel are really fun, the rest gets cut and out of the good stuff we build the actual world. That way we know that there are no 'empty-feeling levels' - Everything needs to be well designed, all the stuff that feels empty should be improved or cut. Obviously there are always 'transition zones' between certain levels, but even those should be fun to traverse through or interact with. And again, that is often times not the case with open world games, the 'transition zones' usually end up being huge and empty... Simply compare that to how Zelda 1 or ALTTP were designed: Almost every single screen in those games is packed with secrets, enemies, objects you can interact with, etc. - There's barely a screen in those games where all you do is holding the analog stick into a direction without any other possibility of interactivity. And interactivity is where the fun comes from, interactivity is what games are all about.

So what did Nintendo do in order to make traversing the open world more fun? Obviously, they added content, so let's take a look at that:

The Open World Content:
If you really analyze Breath of the Wild, the overall design used here is fairly simple. There's a big open world terrain that you traverse and within that world you find various things: Shrines, Korok Challenges, Enemy Camps, etc.

The problem here is that since the world is that big and a developer only has 24 hours in a day, repetition is the key to get the project to a finish line. And repetition is all over Breath of the Wild:

Let's start with the Shrines: All 120 shrines look exactly the same. The actual puzzles and challenges in there are usually really well designed (apart from the horrible Motion Controlled ones, these shrines are just horribly bungled in my opinion), but I do think the game would've been better if there would've been more variation within the shrines to make them more memorable. Wouldn't it have been cool if the shrines in the Death Mountain Area would've been themed around fire and exploited all the various ways you can interact with fire in the game? Wouldn't it have been cool if the Death Mountain Shrines actually looked more like they belong in that area? Instead, all the 120 shrines in the game are completely interchangeable, shrines that are in the Death Mountain area could just as well be placed within Gerudo's Desert, etc.

Also, the combat shrines... They're literally all the exact same. Seriously, nobody was able to come up with something more interesting here? You have 3 different enemy types in those shrine, but they're literally all the same: You walk in, a single enemy spawns and you need to defeat that enemy in order to complete the shrine. Not once did I fight multiple enemies in there, let alone more varied types - It's always the same walking guardian types. Couldn't Nintendo have mixed it up a bit more by putting a walking guardian AND a flying guardian in one of the combat shrines just to make things a LITTLE more interesting? That design decision was baffling to me.

The same is true for the Korok Challenges: Most of these are completely mindless and similar: Find a certain rock in the world that stands out, pick it up, a Korok appears. Put a rock in the right spot in the middle of a ring of rocks, boom, a Korok appears. Jump into a ring of flowers in the water, a Korok appears. Shoot some balloons, a Korok appears... Rinse and Repeat. You'll do these exact same challenges DOZENS of times. Again, I'm guessing Nintendo just saw that their world is too big and they had to put in a lot of these repetitive, not very fun little challenges in order to at least have SOMETHING in the world instead of just traversal followed by more traversal. Why have such a huge world if you then have to fill it with repetitive content?

Enemy Camps: Again, most of these are just the exact same setup. Yes, sometimes the enemies are a little tougher, but I'd really like to know how many of these 'Skull Structures with Bokoblins next to them' are in the game - My guess is dozens. Beat a few of the enemies, the chest unlocks, done. The same setups are then again scattered many, many, many times throughout the open world without any variation in challenge. In general, enemy variation was also a bit of a disappointment to me: For a world this large, it very much felt like there's barely a dozen different enemy designs in there. We have Guardians, Bokoblins, Keese, Octoroks, Lizalfos, Lynels... And I have a hard time naming more off the top of my head after just having finished the game. Again, that would've been fine in a smaller game, but for a game of this size, it becomes a bit of a drag that you always have to fight the same types of enemies that are only varied in color, but not behavior.

Combat / Controls: This is the most baffling to me, since I think the controls are quite a bit too convoluted. The Quick-Weapon switching with the 'Dpad' is all kinds of weird to me (the game pauses while doing that... really?) and breaks the games flow, the combat in general is just a notch over the traditional 3d Zelda combat, things like Shield Surfing require the player to press 3 buttons... all of that makes the game feel a bit less polished than what you usually expect from a Nintendo game. Regarding the UI in general, Brad Colbow made a great video about improving BOTW's UI that I 100% agree with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0td--XguPXA

Quests: Here again, the game suffers from the same exact issue all Open World games have, meaning, most quests are just variations of fetch quests. You have literal fetch quests in there that are as simple as "NPC tells you to bring item X to it, quest completes once you do that", others are a little more clever, but overall, a hell of a lot of the side quests feel pretty menial and boring. A really good Quest was Eventide Island (The Robinson Crusoe inspired one), but those are few and far between... I have a few quests left open and have little to no motivation to actually finish all of them.

Dungeons: One of the reasons why I LOVE Zelda is because Nintendo has some of the best level designers in the industry working for them. Even though games like Skyward Sword or Twilight Princess get a lot of shit today for following the same old Zelda formula, the dungeon designs usually are just genuinely well figured out. They're less sprawling and open than they were in the 2d Zeldas, sure, but they're still brilliantly designed. The 4 Breath of the Wild Dungeons felt pretty short to me and I breezed through them in almost no time. Variation within the dungeons is also not as well figured out as it used to be. You see, Zelda usually did a good job sectioning the dungeons into Puzzle Zones, Combat Zones, etc., so if you're stuck on a certain puzzle, you can go to some other area and fight some enemies... not so here, since the dungeons here feel like one big puzzle and if you don't know how to solve it, you're just shit out of luck.
And in the older Zelda games, everything got varied up once you got the dungeon item and had to re-traverse the dungeon using the item you just acquired to put another twist on the dungeon designs. That is obviously not the case here - Nintendo did try to put a little variation into the Divine Beasts design by allowing you to 'control' the Divine Beasts, but if you break down the dungeon design of Breath of the Wild, I'd argue that Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess had way better designed dungeons.

Before all the Nintendo and Zelda fans are going to kill me now for actually pointing out some flaws I THOUGHT the game had, please keep in mind that I think Breath of the Wild is a tremendous game, a huge achievement and easily one of the best games Nintendo ever made. But I'm always on the search for perfection and I don't think Nintendo quite reached that goal with Breath of the Wild.

So let's try to have an objective, level-headed discussion on what else could be improved to make new Zelda AND open-world games better! What are your thoughts?

Edit: Fuck me for not looking over the title before I posted. Can a mod delete the 'Completed' from the title? Thanks! :)

Since you pointed out the Open World flaw, which I have in every Open World game except Wicher, I would love to know your opinion on Withcer 3's World in comparison to Zeldas. For me Witcher was the first game who made me appreciate an open World, despite the fact, that the main story loses its value. That why I am so afraid to try Zelda.
Danthrax
Batteries the CRISIS!
(03-20-2017, 07:50 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Enemy Camps: Again, most of these are just the exact same setup. Yes, sometimes the enemies are a little tougher, but I'd really like to know how many of these 'Skull Structures with Bokoblins next to them' are in the game - My guess is dozens. Beat a few of the enemies, the chest unlocks, done. The same setups are then again scattered many, many, many times throughout the open world without any variation in challenge. In general, enemy variation was also a bit of a disappointment to me: For a world this large, it very much felt like there's barely a dozen different enemy designs in there. We have Guardians, Bokoblins, Keese, Octoroks, Lizalfos, Lynels... And I have a hard time naming more off the top of my head after just having finished the game. Again, that would've been fine in a smaller game, but for a game of this size, it becomes a bit of a drag that you always have to fight the same types of enemies that are only varied in color, but not behavior.

Hey, I'm gonna take issue with this. Yes, there are not many more than a dozen classically defined "enemy" designs in the game, counting the "overworld minibosses," although there is a lot of variety within each type that often changes how they attack the player and how the player must take action to defeat them. They are:

Bokoblin (can ride horses or be on foot; can use clubs or bows; can be in red, blue, black, white, silver, cursed and skeletal varieties)
Lizalfos (can use spears or bows; can be in normal, blue, black, white, silver, ice, electric, fire, cursed and skeletal varieties)
Moblin (can be in red, blue, black, white, silver, cursed and skeletal varieties)
Chuchu (can be in blue, ice, electric and fire varieties)
Wizzrobe (can be in ice, blizzard, electric, thunder, fire and meteo varieties)
Keese (can be in normal, ice, electric and fire varieties)
Octorok (can be in forest, rock, snow, treasure and water varieties)
Pebblit (can be in forest, rock and fire varieties)
Yiga ninja (can use spears or swords along with bows and magic; can be in footsoldier and blademaster varities)
Guardian (can be in decayed, stalker, scout, skywatcher and turret varieties; scouts can use axes, swords or spears and sometimes use shields)
Lynel (can be in red, blue, black, white and silver varieties)
Talus (can be in rock, senior, rare, luminous, ice and fire varities)
Hinox (can be in red, blue, black and skeletal varities)
Molduga

And really, it's too general to lump all Guardians together, since the scouts, stalkers, skywatchers and turrets are all totally different enemy designs with different capabilities. (The decayed Guardian is just a stalker stuck in the ground, of course.)

On top of the classically defined enemies are the wildlife throughout the world, some of which pose a threat to the player and must be fought like an enemy:

Bears
Bees
Boars
Cuccos, heh
Goats
Wolves

I'd say there are 22 different enemy designs in the game, not counting granular varieties, plus the four dungeon bosses, the Yiga boss and Ganon. That's pretty good.

Perhaps your criticism would be alleviated by some of the camps having enemies besides Bokoblins in them? Like camps of Pebblits, camps of Lynels, camps of Chuchus, camps of Wizzrobes? A lot of the enemies would be a bit odd if placed in a group on a little fort or around a campfire with a nearby lookout tower. Bokoblins just kinda work the best for that sort of thing — but Lizalfos could have worked, too. (And taking on a handful of Wizzrobes or Lynels would suuuuuuuck)

I suppose Nintendo could have designed different types of setups (instead of Bokoblin camps and forts) to make more sense for other enemies to group up in. Chuchus could have a big nest they congregate in; Moblins could be in caves; Pebblits could be in castle-like structures made of rocks. You could kind of consider the roaming swarms of Keese to be an idea for how to apply the "Bokoblin camp" to that type of enemy.

That said, though, we don't know what kind of time and manpower restraints Nintendo had — there's only so much that can be done before a game has to go out the door. Asking concept artists to come up with new types of camps for the various enemies, texture artists and modelers to bring them into the game and programmers to implement them might have been too much to ask considering what's already in the game.
OrbitalBeard
Member
(03-20-2017, 07:55 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Just imagine ALTTP in 3d and then extrapolate from there.

I don't have to imagine it . I can go play the five 3D Zelda games that preceded BotW.
brad-t
Member
(03-20-2017, 08:01 PM)
Definitely agree that lack of enemy variety stood out to me as a shortcoming, but it's way less about "I'm bored of fighting these guys" and more about "I want to see something new!" More region-specific enemies (and not just variants) would've alleviated this somewhat. But it's not a huge complaint, and I'm certain we'll see more enemy types in future games that build on this framework.

Also, it's not like they just made this world big for the sake of it. They talk a lot about the map size in this making of video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLMGrmf4xaY
Leondexter
(03-20-2017, 08:05 PM)
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Originally Posted by Danthrax

Perhaps your criticism would be alleviated by some of the camps having enemies besides Bokoblins in them? Like camps of Pebblits, camps of Lynels, camps of Chuchus, camps of Wizzrobes? A lot of the enemies would be a bit odd if placed in a group on a little fort or around a campfire with a nearby lookout tower. Bokoblins just kinda work the best for that sort of thing — but Lizalfos could have worked, too. (And taking on a handful of Wizzrobes or Lynels would suuuuuuuck)

I've come across several camps of Lizalfos. They also hang out in those giant skull buildings, and the tower/platforms.

And also combinations of Bokoblins, Moblins and Lizalfos, any of which might be silver and up the difficulty. It can be tough to fight a group when their abilities are so different.
Last edited by Leondexter; 03-20-2017 at 08:11 PM.
pringles
Member
(03-20-2017, 08:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by DeanBDean

I think someone mentioned wanting to see what Mark Brown would think of Breath of the Wild. Well here it is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmIgjAM0uh0

Pretty interesting thoughts

Great video. He especially nails how much better the quest structure is than in other open world games.
Burny
Member
(03-20-2017, 08:24 PM)
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Originally Posted by Yoshi

Just because the world is filled with meaningful gameplay content it does not mean everything's purpose needs to be immediately obvious. Discovery has more to it than just looking around and stumbling on something. E.g. there's this obvious jiggy in Mad Monster Mansion in Banjo-Kazooie. It is clear that everything in this game has a gameplay purpose and that this jiggy is there. Still, it is an interesting discovery that you can get this jiggy by going through the roof instead of the main entrance. Similarly, the second purpose of many objects in the volcano area in Skyward Sword is hidden from the player until he discovers a completely different way of traversing the volcano when the stealth revisit happens. Of course, this discovery is still not obvious to many players, because they don't reflect on it, due to it being part of the main story and in terms of presentation this thoughtful design was not appreciated by most players, still, with a slightly different framing, this would also be an example in a supremly tightly designed world.

That's not discovery. It's finding hidden things to me. And they're not hidden there, because the characters living in the world would hide them there. It's blatantly hidden there, because the level designer wanted you to search the area for it. But that's the difference between what I woul dcall a world and differently masked courses: Banjo Kazooie does not sport what I would call a world. The J'n'R concept may be so abstract that a believable world would directly clash with it, but filling any game world only with authored content is making it blatantly unbelievable, rather then enjoyable as a game world. It reduces the world to a course and that's exactly what Banjo Kazooie sports: interwoven courses with a consistent theme. Nothing more.


If a game sets out to build a convincing world, you expect it to adhere to some logic. If two settlements are right next to each other, rather than separated by a mountain or plain, you expect an explanation. Why would people of the game world settle this close? If none is given, but every inch between them offers some authored content, the question is irrelevant, because the lie told by the game's author becomes immediately apparent: It's there because the game designer wanted you to experience that content. It shows blatantly that the world has no life or logic transcending the game mechanics.

This is also true for non-top down 2D games: Nothing living being in the world would only move on a 2D plane. It is fine for games, because a 2D sidescrolling or metroidvania game just has no pretense to build a convincing world in the first place, so they don't have to bother and can rather focus on pure mechanics. Same for blatantly course based games, like recent Mario J'n'Rs. But they will never be able to render a convincing world, because they limit themselves to the technics to circumvent hardware limitations of old. Those limitations have been lifted however and just as that happened, these technics have been made obsolete for building a convincing game world.
Last edited by Burny; 03-20-2017 at 08:31 PM.
Markoman
Member
(03-20-2017, 08:30 PM)
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Originally Posted by Danthrax

Hey, I'm gonna take issue with this. Yes, there are not many more than a dozen classically defined "enemy" designs in the game, counting the "overworld minibosses," although there is a lot of variety within each type that often changes how they attack the player and how the player must take action to defeat them. They are:

Bokoblin (can ride horses or be on foot; can use clubs or bows; can be in red, blue, black, white, silver, cursed and skeletal varieties)
Lizalfos (can use spears or bows; can be in normal, blue, black, white, silver, ice, electric, fire, cursed and skeletal varieties)
Moblin (can be in red, blue, black, white, silver, cursed and skeletal varieties)
Chuchu (can be in blue, ice, electric and fire varieties)
Wizzrobe (can be in ice, blizzard, electric, thunder, fire and meteo varieties)
Keese (can be in normal, ice, electric and fire varieties)
Octorok (can be in forest, rock, snow, treasure and water varieties)
Pebblit (can be in forest, rock and fire varieties)
Yiga ninja (can use spears or swords along with bows and magic; can be in footsoldier and blademaster varities)
Guardian (can be in decayed, stalker, scout, skywatcher and turret varieties; scouts can use axes, swords or spears and sometimes use shields)
Lynel (can be in red, blue, black, white and silver varieties)
Talus (can be in rock, senior, rare, luminous, ice and fire varities)
Hinox (can be in red, blue, black and skeletal varities)
Molduga

And really, it's too general to lump all Guardians together, since the scouts, stalkers, skywatchers and turrets are all totally different enemy designs with different capabilities. (The decayed Guardian is just a stalker stuck in the ground, of course.)

On top of the classically defined enemies are the wildlife throughout the world, some of which pose a threat to the player and must be fought like an enemy:

Bears
Bees
Boars
Cuccos, heh
Goats
Wolves

I'd say there are 22 different enemy designs in the game, not counting granular varieties, plus the four dungeon bosses, the Yiga boss and Ganon. That's pretty good.

Perhaps your criticism would be alleviated by some of the camps having enemies besides Bokoblins in them? Like camps of Pebblits, camps of Lynels, camps of Chuchus, camps of Wizzrobes? A lot of the enemies would be a bit odd if placed in a group on a little fort or around a campfire with a nearby lookout tower. Bokoblins just kinda work the best for that sort of thing — but Lizalfos could have worked, too. (And taking on a handful of Wizzrobes or Lynels would suuuuuuuck)

I suppose Nintendo could have designed different types of setups (instead of Bokoblin camps and forts) to make more sense for other enemies to group up in. Chuchus could have a big nest they congregate in; Moblins could be in caves; Pebblits could be in castle-like structures made of rocks. You could kind of consider the roaming swarms of Keese to be an idea for how to apply the "Bokoblin camp" to that type of enemy.

That said, though, we don't know what kind of time and manpower restraints Nintendo had — there's only so much that can be done before a game has to go out the door. Asking concept artists to come up with new types of camps for the various enemies, texture artists and modelers to bring them into the game and programmers to implement them might have been too much to ask considering what's already in the game.

Nioh got critizied for the lack of enemy variety. Nioh has more bosses than BotW regular enemies. If we also start counting variants, I really don't see the point.
Danthrax
Batteries the CRISIS!
(03-20-2017, 08:31 PM)
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Originally Posted by Leondexter

I've come across several camps of Lizalfos. They also hang out in those giant skull buildings, and the tower/platforms.

And also combinations of Bokoblins, Moblins and Lizalfos, any of which might be silver and up the difficulty. It can be tough to fight a group when their abilities are so different.

Oh, well there you go, then.
Hero
Member
(03-20-2017, 08:55 PM)
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Originally Posted by Markoman

Nioh got critizied for the lack of enemy variety. Nioh has more bosses than BotW regular enemies. If we also start counting variants, I really don't see the point.

Nioh is an action game so?
brad-t
Member
(03-20-2017, 09:01 PM)

Originally Posted by Markoman

Nioh got critizied for the lack of enemy variety. Nioh has more bosses than BotW regular enemies. If we also start counting variants, I really don't see the point.

To be fair, the variants in this game all behave quite differently. It's not just higher stats or whatever. Fighting a Bokoblin with a sword, a spear, or a bow are all basically completely different encounters. (But as I wrote above, I still wish the game had more enemies.)
Markoman
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(03-20-2017, 09:04 PM)
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Originally Posted by brad-t

To be fair, the variants in this game all behave quite differently. It's not just higher stats or whatever. Fighting a Bokoblin with a sword, a spear, or a bow are all basically completely different encounters. (But as I wrote above, I still wish the game had more enemies.)

Same with Nioh. A human enemy with a sword has a different move-set than a guy with a spear. My post was directed more towards the people critizing Nioh in the first place, because BotW proves that not every game has 50+ different enemies.
brad-t
Member
(03-20-2017, 09:19 PM)

Originally Posted by Markoman

Same with Nioh. A human enemy with a sword has a different move-set than a guy with a spear. My post was directed more towards the people critizing Nioh in the first place, because BotW proves that not every game has 50+ different enemies.

I haven't played Nioh, just saying that I think it's not pointless to count variants when the variants are completely different save for their visual design.
TheMink
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(03-20-2017, 09:19 PM)
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Originally Posted by Burny

That's not discovery. It's finding hidden things to me. And they're not hidden there, because the characters living in the world would hide them there. It's blatantly hidden there, because the level designer wanted you to search the area for it. But that's the difference between what I woul dcall a world and differently masked courses: Banjo Kazooie does not sport what I would call a world. The J'n'R concept may be so abstract that a believable world would directly clash with it, but filling any game world only with authored content is making it blatantly unbelievable, rather then enjoyable as a game world. It reduces the world to a course and that's exactly what Banjo Kazooie sports: interwoven courses with a consistent theme. Nothing more.


If a game sets out to build a convincing world, you expect it to adhere to some logic. If two settlements are right next to each other, rather than separated by a mountain or plain, you expect an explanation. Why would people of the game world settle this close? If none is given, but every inch between them offers some authored content, the question is irrelevant, because the lie told by the game's author becomes immediately apparent: It's there because the game designer wanted you to experience that content. It shows blatantly that the world has no life or logic transcending the game mechanics.

This is also true for non-top down 2D games: Nothing living being in the world would only move on a 2D plane. It is fine for games, because a 2D sidescrolling or metroidvania game just has no pretense to build a convincing world in the first place, so they don't have to bother and can rather focus on pure mechanics. Same for blatantly course based games, like recent Mario J'n'Rs. But they will never be able to render a convincing world, because they limit themselves to the technics to circumvent hardware limitations of old. Those limitations have been lifted however and just as that happened, these technics have been made obsolete for building a convincing game world.

I think Dark Souls really succeeds at both content density and logical progression. While not falling under the open world category, I still think should be looked to as a good touchstone for world design.

It's why the open world category almost always suffers because of the reasons you are marking as necessary for building a convincing world. I believe the opposite criticism is quite accurate, i.e that open world built around realism and world building that lacks content to me is a worse offense than a developer asking you to suspend your disbelief to give you more content. I would always accept more content if given to me.

Obviously it's not objective but I think that 'gamey' games are more my speed.
Timeaisis
(03-20-2017, 09:26 PM)
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I think Ken Levine said it best on the GI podcast, but BotW constantly has this invisible hand subtly guiding you to the next cool discovery. You never have to follow a set path, but there is almost always a carrot on a stick out there in the world for you to explore. This effect would be non-existent with a less empty open world.

BotW, in my mind, strikes a near perfect balance of density and emptiness, and I'm constantly surprised how much there is to find in the world.

I feel like this thread has veered more into open world game design criticism, which is fine. I just think that's comparing apples to oranges. Open world design will never, ever, ever, be as tight or well paced than linear. It just won't happen. To me however, BotW strikes that balance like never before. Granted, it could be better but, in my opinion, would require sacrificing some of the open design of the game in favor of linearity. Something that, after playing, I would not wish for.
Chaos17
Banned
(03-20-2017, 09:28 PM)
This video was posted on the subreddit game dev.
Author Game Maker's Toolkit : https://youtu.be/vmIgjAM0uh0


Thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/nintendo/co...an_open_world/
Last edited by Chaos17; 03-20-2017 at 09:34 PM.
OrbitalBeard
Member
(03-20-2017, 09:29 PM)
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Originally Posted by Chaos17

This video was posted on the subreddit game dev
https://youtu.be/vmIgjAM0uh0

Thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/nintendo/co...an_open_world/

Mark Brown probably has the best Zelda-related videos on the internet.
Chaos17
Banned
(03-20-2017, 09:36 PM)

Originally Posted by OrbitalBeard

Mark Brown probably has the best Zelda-related videos on the internet.

I though it was gameexplain XD
jariw
Member
(03-20-2017, 09:46 PM)
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Originally Posted by Chaos17

This video was posted on the subreddit game dev.
Author Game Maker's Toolkit : https://youtu.be/vmIgjAM0uh0


Thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/nintendo/co...an_open_world/

Great analysis! The game developer discussion on GameInformer stream provided some other viewpoints as well (as how the landscape guides the user):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk-EnbS42dM
Chaos17
Banned
(03-20-2017, 10:08 PM)

Originally Posted by jariw

Great analysis! The game developer discussion on GameInformer stream provided some other viewpoints as well (as how the landscape guides the user):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk-EnbS42dM

Thanks!
Gonna go watch it now for science \o/
OrbitalBeard
Member
(03-20-2017, 10:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by Chaos17

I though it was gameexplain XD

I love those guys, but no.
The Hermit
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(03-20-2017, 10:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by Mexen

As I grow older, the need to 100% games (especially open world) has lessened.

I understand the importance to give hardcore fans that challenge but my fun factor comes from enjoying the world you present to me without it feeling like a chore to complete tasks.

This is something that this Zelda excels and beats even previous game.

There is no % in the menu to see how much you need to explore. I loved so much that aspect is not even funny.
Peltz
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(03-20-2017, 10:19 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler


And that's also when Fast Travel comes into play, since having to do that once is bad enough and developers know that you want to quickly get to the fun parts, so they allow you to skip large parts of the Open World. But the irony here is... if that's your design process, then maybe your world shouldn't be that large in the first place?

Come on dude... seriously? Some form of fast travel is in every Zelda game starting with the first one. The open world aspect has nothing to do with it. It's a series staple even in smaller Zelda games like OoT, LTTP, and MM.

Originally Posted by Timeaisis

I think Ken Levine said it best on the GI podcast, but BotW constantly has this invisible hand subtly guiding you to the next cool discovery. You never have to follow a set path, but there is almost always a carrot on a stick out there in the world for you to explore. This effect would be non-existent with a less empty open world.

BotW, in my mind, strikes a near perfect balance of density and emptiness, and I'm constantly surprised how much there is to find in the world.

I feel like this thread has veered more into open world game design criticism, which is fine. I just think that's comparing apples to oranges. Open world design will never, ever, ever, be as tight or well paced than linear. It just won't happen. To me however, BotW strikes that balance like never before. Granted, it could be better but, in my opinion, would require sacrificing some of the open design of the game in favor of linearity. Something that, after playing, I would not wish for.

This^

They nailed the open world. There's always something unique or fascinating within view at all times.
Hero
Member
(03-20-2017, 10:20 PM)
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Originally Posted by Peltz

Come on dude... seriously? Some form of fast travel is in every Zelda game starting with the first one. The open world aspect has nothing to do with it. It's a series staple even in smaller Zelda games like OoT, LTTP, and MM.

Shh, don't tell him that LttP had fast travel. It's gaming perfection to him.
riotous
(03-20-2017, 10:24 PM)
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I like huge open worlds, and disagree with what you have to say about how fast travel somehow is evidence or proof of them being bad game design. I have fun exploring an area for the first time, or occasionally forgoing fast travel to make a trek in real time to see what I happen upon.

I do agree that BoTW's open world isn't super appealing to me; but I don't think it's a choice that on it's own is bad game design.

"Fun per inch" is cool too; but then you tend to lose out on that feeling grand scale can bring you. Being on the top of one mountain, knowing you have to travel to another, and knowing there lie hazards in between.
Staccat0
Fail out bailed
(03-20-2017, 10:24 PM)
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Good read, but there are a few minor factual inaccuracies that kinda made me raise my eyebrow.
commish
Jason Kidd murdered my dog in cold blood!
(03-20-2017, 10:28 PM)
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Originally Posted by Staccat0

Good read, but there are a few minor factual inaccuracies that kinda made me raise my eyebrow.

Well don't keep us in suspense.
Otnopolit
Member
(03-20-2017, 10:32 PM)
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Originally Posted by OrbitalBeard

Mark Brown probably has the best Zelda-related videos on the internet.

They really are lovely and insightful, aren't they? His impressions and uncovering of BoTW so far do not disappoint.
AndrewDean84xX
Member
(03-20-2017, 10:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by hawk2025

Lest we forget, the concept of maximizing content within a given area gave us the mind-numbing, overwhelming checklistfest of Rise of the Tomb Raider.

There is no sense of discovery or special content in that game, precisely because it overwhelms you with content-per-square-foot.

It tacks in missions, challenges, side quests, more collecting, more crafting, more more more. And it all crumbles under the weight.

This. Zelda isn't trying to be a fun-by-inch type of game. That's made clear very early, and you are either with that, or against it. And that's fine, because that's on the gamer, not the game. It makes it so when you do happen upon something, it's special. Why? Because you're not just going down a checklist of what's next on my discovery list.

Breath of the Wild is meant to be explored by each person, not guided from one one event to the next.
thomasmahler
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(03-20-2017, 10:52 PM)
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Originally Posted by Timeaisis

I feel like this thread has veered more into open world game design criticism, which is fine. I just think that's comparing apples to oranges. Open world design will never, ever, ever, be as tight or well paced than linear. It just won't happen. To me however, BotW strikes that balance like never before. Granted, it could be better but, in my opinion, would require sacrificing some of the open design of the game in favor of linearity. Something that, after playing, I would not wish for.

I think your assertion is definitely true - And I'm guessing it leads us to the big question of: "Why make Open World Games in the first place?"

I mean, I get it for stuff like GTA. GTAIII started it all in my opinion, that city back then was just a revolution, it was insane and amazing what Rockstar pulled off back then, but level-design wise, I doubt anyone would look at that city / world nowadays and point out how brilliantly it was designed. It wasn't, what makes open world games fun is that it's a huge sandbox where designers don't design literally every inch of the world, it's more about giving players various ways of making their own fun and that's obviously totally fine. But Open World Terrain-based Games will always - because of the nature of how they're built, their size and because of what's required to fill them with content - sport weaker level design than worlds that are completely hand-crafted by designers.

So we know that. Now the question is: Did Zelda benefit from being an open world game? First of all, I honestly don't agree at all that Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, etc. are '3D versions of ALTTP', as many here tried to point out. That was only true to a certain degree, like when it comes to the dungeon designs, which are literally a 3d emulation of what Nintendo did with the 2d Top Down Zelda games, but definitely not when it comes to the Overworld.

ALTTP wasn't a huge game all things considered. ALTTP is a game you can easily finish in under 10 hours if you know what you're doing and even faster if you REALY know what you're doing. Ever since then though, Nintendo tried to increase the scale of Zelda and it very much felt like somebody told the Zelda team that they need to be able to put a '50+ hours of content!' slogan on the box. If you look at how cheaply Wind Waker (Triforce Hunt), Twilight Princess (insanely empty Overworld) or Skyward Sword (Finding Tears, having to constantly re-visit environments you already finished) were padded out, I think it's hard to argue with that statement and padding them out definitely made them worse designed games than the earlier 2d Top Down Zeldas.

Games like ALTTP, Link's Awakening, etc. had a tight feeling, every screen in the game had a purpose (and sometimes that purpose was to have 'white space' in there where you just had a couple of bushes and enemies on the screen - but even then you often found a little secret cave or something interesting in those spaces!). You never ever got bored within those worlds, the designers made sure of that.

Then came Ocarina of Time and ho-boy, say hello to the emptiness of Hyrule Field or the hugely empty Lake Hylia and so on. Was it impressive back in the day to see those environments? Sure. Were these environments better designed than comparable environments in the prequels? Absolutely not. And by todays standards, if you walk around in those environments, do they not just feel very empty and barren and devoid of design? So, apparently some people here like walking around in large, empty virtual worlds, but is that really good design for a game like Zelda? If it is, why is everyone today so quick to point out that Twilight Princess has a huge, empty Overworld that's boring to traverse?

I would argue that the open world of Breath of the Wild is the logical next step for Nintendo who apparently think that Zelda absolutely needs to be a 50+ hour experience that can compete with GTA and the likes. And yes, I think Breath of the Wild absolutely delivered a WAAAAAY better overworld than Wind Waker, TP and Skyward Sword, but are we really all okay with tossing the tightly designed worlds of ALTTP and Links Awakening by the wayside that easily? Especially since A Link Between Worlds has shown that there's a reason why those games were masterpieces and that that kind of design still absolutely holds up today?

Here's the direction I would take 3d Zelda games into if I'd be in charge of Nintendo: I'd make the game look exactly like the NES Cover Art and craft a 20-30 hour long game (again, similar to ALTTP) where every single spot in the game, the Overworld, the Dungeons, etc. have been meticulously hand crafted. Every item you'd get in a dungeon or through the Overworld would have to have tons of usecases within those environments and within the core gameplay pillars and you'd constantly find secret little entrances to amazing areas that were hand-crafted for you to enjoy. I'd still make it fairly non-linear, similar to Zelda 1, but keep the Zelda loop and the Zelda magic, every boss would need to be an epic event so that finishing a dungeon would feel insanely satisfying. I'd want to take players on an epic adventure where every second screams gaming bliss and I'd not ever be okay with having spots in the game where I'm doing nothing but holding the analog stick in a direction for a minute.

...and actually, now that the team that made the handheld Zeldas is freed up and the big Zelda games will now probably follow the same BotW formula for the next two decades or so, they might just do something like that. So I hope that's what they'll be doing :)
Last edited by thomasmahler; 03-20-2017 at 11:04 PM.
Staccat0
Fail out bailed
(03-20-2017, 10:54 PM)
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Originally Posted by commish

Well don't keep us in suspense.

I mean, I'm not gonna slag somebody over quibbles. It was a good read and I think anyone who has played the game probably noticed the same things.

One quick example: The explicitly says all shrines look the same and are interchangeable with their geographic location and feature no mechanics tied to those locations.
I haven't finished the game, not by a long sight, but I've already come to two shrines that are not actually shrines at all, Eventide Island and The Western Spring and more than one that includes mechanics directly reflective of the geography including the ice shrine in the starting area

This is an instance where I would say "almost all" if I were writing a professional critique.
Northeastmonk
Member
(03-20-2017, 10:56 PM)
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I didn't stray along the path to get to X, Y, or Z. Sure I roamed around, but that was my experience. It was like a road trip. I didn't do everything. I did what was mandatory to progress in the main storyline. I did however stop to sight see. I did quite a few shrines here and there and I always wondered what was on the next continent.

Once I got a general feel of the world and what it all looked like.. I went straight to the end. I was powerful enough to do what I needed to do.

What I liked about Horizon was that side quests feel like main quests at times. I like the idea of actually gaining some eye candy, experiencing a new boss, or getting something useful as a side mission.

I thought the memories thing in BotW was kinda meh. I didn't feel the need to search for all those things. I felt like it would just hold me up with what time I have to play. I wanted to finish the game, which I did, today.

I'd like developers to maybe add more meat to the side stuff and/or make something more unique about going out in the wild.

I fought a few sub bosses and sold their stuff for rubies. That was perfect timing. I needed rubies, but I still felt like I was cheating to get to the next point. Y jumping off a high cliff just to dodge going down a mundane area.

It was a great experience. I think it'll be approved upon and I'm not trying to discredit Nintendo because the game is awesome.

I felt satisfied to finish it. The last game I felt this satisfied about finishing was RE7.

For some reason I'm not really drawn to pick Zelda back up for another session unless it's to explore a few areas I missed. Maybe. I wish there were more unique things like how I thought there would be more large temples and so forth.
EatinOlives
Harass A Bull?
Report to HR.
(03-20-2017, 11:09 PM)
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The first dozen or so hours felt like the possibilities were endless. There were so many little instances of the unexpected, but after several hours of traversing the world map you start to see patterns and the illusion of a living, breathing world faded away and was slowly replaced by a video game landmass with a set of rules and #content. Which, I mean, even at the very beginning I certainly didn't genuinely believe it was anything but that (like, duh, this is a video game programmed by people with finite time and resources). But the illusion was there.

Take, for instance, the first time I encountered my first adversary from the Yiga clan. The idea that not every NPC is friendly and some will attack on sight was so completely unexpected and un-Zelda that it was an extremely pleasant surprise and made me deeply fall in love with that moment of "holy shit truly anything can happen in the game!" but after 20 hours you see the same disguised Yiga people spawning in the same spot trying to pull the same trick and some of that magic is lost. It's no longer a mysterious NPC who pulled a fast one on you, it's now just another spawned enemy.

That was just one example. Imagine ~10 or so of these mechanics that, as you discover, tickle your sense of discovery and make you think "anything can happen!" Then after a couple of dozen hours you've discovered the ins and outs of that particular mechanic and you have completely compartmentalized said mechanic as a discrete set of rules that abide by video game conventions. Again, it's all realistic because we've yet to create a video game that doesn't do that. But along the way it's made me stop thinking of the game as a unique quantity that transcends any standard definition of "sandbox game" and I've actually started to carve together its spot in the crowded open-world genre.

This happens a lot. The first time you discover a Korok puzzle and inadvertently solve it, vs. the 30th Korok puzzle you encounter. The first time you find a camp with a Moblin in it vs. the 30th Moblin camp. The first time you find Beedle wandering in/out of a stable you happen to be at, vs the 30th time you find him in every single stable.

Then there's the other, less frequent elements of surprise that turn out unsurprising. I got into the Fountain of Power, and was told to find a "scale" from some name. The Adventure Log's description matched my thought. "Who or WHAT is that name!? How could I find that scale??" My mind raced with ideas, perhaps this was the kickoff to a complex questline like the Biggoron Sword sidequest of Ocarina of Time. THEN, independently of this questline I find a dragon! Unbelievable! Even the game acknowledges the mythical and mysterious nature of these creatures. Unfortunately, this only lasts until you realize that the only use of the dragon in the game world is as a dispenser for unique items that you then use later. Lo and behold, this scale was the one I was looking for. Well neat I guess, I can go to the Fountain and retrieve my prize! Well, except for that the "prize" was a standard shrine that yielded a standard orb. Even the name "Fountain of Power" invited the notion that this was a special place and that you would get something meaningful like say, a permanent small increase in your base attack stat or something? Nope, just another orb.

So this is what I mean by the longer you spending in the game, the more the magic being lost. It's hard to feel like any of the mysteries have anything other than a relatively shallow conclusion. It's like the old adage of horror movies where the mystery and buildup are almost always more intriguing than the boring truth. No matter how special and important the "payoff" in these mechanics may be, there's always a sinking feeling for me in grasping the entirety of a mechanic in Breath of the Wild. And that's why I fear that I'll be disappointed with the game when I finish it, because that's the point when I'll truly grasp the game from beginning to end.

It's hard to fault Nintendo for that, although I would have liked to see more than just a handful of "rules" of the mechanics. Like, did the Yiga clan dopplegangers REALLY have to spawn in the same exact spot? Did the shrine side quests always end with you finding Yet Another Shrine? Did every shrine HAVE to give you an orb at the end? I feel like Nintendo set the stage to expect the unexpected, but then turned around and made sure that nearly every mechanic fell into an expected pattern.

This is for sure the most interesting approach to an open world game that I've seen since, well, probably GTA III (what many would consider the first modern open world game), but I can't shake the feeling that Nintendo doesn't quite stick the landing at the end of the through-line.
thomasmahler
Member
(03-20-2017, 11:16 PM)
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Originally Posted by EatinOlives

The first dozen or so hours felt like the possibilities were endless. There were so many little instances of the unexpected, but after several hours of traversing the world map you start to see patterns and the illusion of a living, breathing world faded away and was slowly replaced by a video game landmass with a set of rules and #content. Which, I mean, even at the very beginning I certainly didn't genuinely believe it was anything but that (like, duh, this is a video game programmed by people with finite time and resources). But the illusion was there.

Take, for instance, the first time I encountered my first adversary from the Yiga clan. The idea that not every NPC is friendly and some will attack on sight was so completely unexpected and un-Zelda that it was an extremely pleasant surprise and made me deeply fall in love with that moment of "holy shit truly anything can happen in the game!" but after 20 hours you see the same disguised Yiga people spawning in the same spot trying to pull the same trick and some of that magic is lost. It's no longer a mysterious NPC who pulled a fast one on you, it's now just another spawned enemy.

That was just one example. Imagine ~10 or so of these mechanics that, as you discover, tickle your sense of discovery and make you think "anything can happen!" Then after a couple of dozen hours you've discovered the ins and outs of that particular mechanic and you have completely compartmentalized said mechanic as a discrete set of rules that abide by video game conventions. Again, it's all realistic because we've yet to create a video game that doesn't do that. But along the way it's made me stop thinking of the game as a unique quantity that transcends any standard definition of "sandbox game" and I've actually started to carve together its spot in the crowded open-world genre.

This happens a lot. The first time you discover a Korok puzzle and inadvertently solve it, vs. the 30th Korok puzzle you encounter. The first time you find a camp with a Moblin in it vs. the 30th Moblin camp. The first time you find Beedle wandering in/out of a stable you happen to be at, vs the 30th time you find him in every single stable.

Then there's the other, less frequent elements of surprise that turn out unsurprising. I got into the Fountain of Power, and was told to find a "scale" from some name. The Adventure Log's description matched my thought. "Who or WHAT is that name!? How could I find that scale??" My mind raced with ideas, perhaps this was the kickoff to a complex questline like the Biggoron Sword sidequest of Ocarina of Time. THEN, independently of this questline I find a dragon! Unbelievable! Even the game acknowledges the mythical and mysterious nature of these creatures. Unfortunately, this only lasts until you realize that the only use of the dragon in the game world is as a dispenser for unique items that you then use later. Lo and behold, this scale was the one I was looking for. Well neat I guess, I can go to the Fountain and retrieve my prize! Well, except for that the "prize" was a standard shrine that yielded a standard orb. Even the name "Fountain of Power" invited the notion that this was a special place and that you would get something meaningful like say, a permanent small increase in your base attack stat or something? Nope, just another orb.

So this is what I mean by the longer you spending in the game, the more the magic being lost. It's hard to feel like any of the mysteries have anything other than a relatively shallow conclusion. It's like the old adage of horror movies where the mystery and buildup are almost always more intriguing than the boring truth. No matter how special and important the "payoff" in these mechanics may be, there's always a sinking feeling for me in grasping the entirety of a mechanic in Breath of the Wild. And that's why I fear that I'll be disappointed with the game when I finish it, because that's the point when I'll truly grasp the game from beginning to end.

It's hard to fault Nintendo for that, although I would have liked to see more than just a handful of "rules" of the mechanics. Like, did the Yiga clan dopplegangers REALLY have to spawn in the same exact spot? Did the shrine side quests always end with you finding Yet Another Shrine? Did every shrine HAVE to give you an orb at the end? I feel like Nintendo set the stage to expect the unexpected, but then turned around and made sure that nearly every mechanic fell into an expected pattern.

This is for sure the most interesting approach to an open world game that I've seen since, well, probably GTA III (what many would consider the first modern open world game), but I can't shake the feeling that Nintendo doesn't quite stick the landing at the end of the through-line.

Quoting your post because that was an absolute brilliant writeup. You always see this effect happening in all the Bethesda games as well - I remember being completely blown away by Oblivion and its open world, until you actually understand that it's all smoke and mirrors and most of that content is just repeated over and over and over again, which is what they just have to do because of the sheer size of the world. Once you're at the spot where you can look behind the magic and you understand the trick, it's not exciting anymore and you get bored quickly - Very similar to a magic trick, actually :)
DeanBDean
Junior Member
(03-20-2017, 11:29 PM)

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Quoting your post because that was an absolute brilliant writeup. You always see this effect happening in all the Bethesda games as well - I remember being completely blown away by Oblivion and its open world, until you actually understand that it's all smoke and mirrors and most of that content is just repeated over and over and over again, which is what they just have to do because of the sheer size of the world. Once you're at the spot where you can look behind the magic and you understand the trick, it's not exciting anymore and you get bored quickly - Very similar to a magic trick, actually :)

I mean, some people dump hundreds of hours into Bethesda games. And they enjoy that. I'm sure there are many people that if they played LTTP enough times in a row to get to 80 hours, they'd get bored from repeating the same content over and over. I wouldn't, I've played LTTP many times through and not gotten bored. Just like I've been through the loops and seen the "smoke and mirrors" of Breath of the Wild's content and it's still exciting and not boring to me.

An 80 hour magic trick is pretty impressive.
EmCeeGramr
Mr. speaker, we are for the big
(03-20-2017, 11:30 PM)
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I played over 100 hours of Breath of the Wild and never got tired of the world or finding stuff, so this claim that "no no, you'll get tired of it, you'll see" is kind of missing me. As does trying to compare Twilight Princess's overworld (which was boring because it was just a series of funnels to dungeons without anything in them of interest) to Breath of the Wild and acting like BotW's is the same thing just done better, where there's always something in every location that's a fun goal or interaction in and of itself.
hawk2025
Member
(03-20-2017, 11:34 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Quoting your post because that was an absolute brilliant writeup. You always see this effect happening in all the Bethesda games as well - I remember being completely blown away by Oblivion and its open world, until you actually understand that it's all smoke and mirrors and most of that content is just repeated over and over and over again, which is what they just have to do because of the sheer size of the world. Once you're at the spot where you can look behind the magic and you understand the trick, it's not exciting anymore and you get bored quickly - Very similar to a magic trick, actually :)


But here's the thing -- BotW's magic trick lasts twice as long as any other game out there.

And I'll repeat, it's completely unfair to characterize its world in this way by comparing to Oblivion or Skyrim. BotW is an achievement precisely for pulling the trick that every single Bethesda, CDPR, and even Rockstar has failed: There is more varied, fun, genuine hand-crafted content in the approach to Zora Domain than most linear games.

You are talking about the simple card tricks that add flavor (Korok puzzles and shrines) while everyone else is actually enamored by the main disappearing act.
Last edited by hawk2025; 03-20-2017 at 11:38 PM.
xevis
Member
(03-20-2017, 11:37 PM)
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Originally Posted by DeanBDean

I think someone mentioned wanting to see what Mark Brown would think of Breath of the Wild. Well here it is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmIgjAM0uh0

Pretty interesting thoughts

Oh hey, look: an interesting critique of BoTW's open world design! It's nuanced and insightful and Mark doesn't once diminish the work by comparing it to his own pet project and suggesting he could have done things better. How refreshing.
Nickle
Cool Facts: Game of War has been a hit since July 2013
(03-20-2017, 11:39 PM)
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Originally Posted by EatinOlives

post

Imagine how good the game would be if they cut the size of the Overworld in half and spent much more time making sure that the content within the world was as good as it could be. They don't need to remove the empty space, they just need to make sure that the content that you do discover is great. If they took out half the villages, side quests, Shrines, and Korok puzzles, then they would've had the development time to give us 60 really great shrines, or 40 complex sidequests, or 5 truly unique villages.
AndrewDean84xX
Member
(03-20-2017, 11:43 PM)
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Zelda is the cure I was looking for, as I was knee deep with open world fatigue. Worlds built with the purpose to have gamers check off markers from a heavily populated map. While I loved my time with the Witcher III, it was a bore in terms of discovery. What is there to truly discover if there's a map that shows you exactly where a buried treasure side quest is?

Zelda isn't perfect, clearly, but fuck, it's the best game I've ever played. I haven't played a game like this since Ocarina of Time.
EatinOlives
Harass A Bull?
Report to HR.
(03-20-2017, 11:47 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Quoting your post because that was an absolute brilliant writeup. You always see this effect happening in all the Bethesda games as well - I remember being completely blown away by Oblivion and its open world, until you actually understand that it's all smoke and mirrors and most of that content is just repeated over and over and over again, which is what they just have to do because of the sheer size of the world. Once you're at the spot where you can look behind the magic and you understand the trick, it's not exciting anymore and you get bored quickly - Very similar to a magic trick, actually :)

Yep, and to be honest this is a source of conflict for me. I don't really want to pin that as necessarily Nintendo's fault. After all, is there really any magic trick that is just as "magical" feeling after you have seen it and understand it? It almost feels inherent to the video game medium; spend enough time with any one game and you will see behind the curtain whether or not you legitimately want to.

And another thing to put in favor of Nintendo, is the fact that the "magic" was created at all. I've played enough open-world games that I've started to hit the ground running on these games already having knowing their inner workings (because those games tend to be derivative and not interested in capturing this sense of discovery), so the fact that Zelda was even able to make me genuinely think "holy shit, anything can happen!" is an accomplishment in and of itself.

I see some people are countering with the notion that the illusion lasts longer than that of many other games, therefore the criticism is invalid. First off, I wouldn't take away from the fact that the illusion lasts a long time. Like I said, I've spent probably like 25 hours and just now I'm having the "peek behind the curtain". Plenty of games I've played to completion in 25 hours (with my "peek behind the curtain" moment happening at like hour 5, if that), that's a great accomplishment! But it just doesn't really negate the criticism either. Maybe it's a certain notion that "the bigger they are the harder they fall". Maybe the notion that the game genuinely felt endlessly mysterious and full of possibility was only going to yield a bigger proportional disappointment when you uncover the inner workings of the game's mechanics. To wrap this back to the first paragraph, this does feel inherent to gaming in general. But one point I am confident in is this: there are plenty of areas where Nintendo COULD have further made the illusion last, or rather my point of contention is that the illusion ended up lasting much shorter than I would have anticipated. I referred to some ideas in my previous post.

As an aside, the illusion being broken doesn't mean the game is not fun, it only means it no longer has that magical feeling of mystery and "anything can happen!" as the first few hours did. The game still remains fun after 25 hours well after you've uncovered essentially every major game mechanic. After hour 20 I'm still finding it fun to see a "suspicious" rock and making my way over there to uncover the Korok to get his/her seed. But what I'm not doing is having any sort of illusion that I'll find anything BUT a Korok under that rock. And that's why some of the magic has been lost on me.
Last edited by EatinOlives; 03-20-2017 at 11:49 PM.

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