It Looks Like Zelda Games Will be Open World Moving Forward

Eiji Aonuma sat down for an interview with Famitsu magazine and was asked the inevitable question about the future of the Zelda franchise after Breath of the Wild. Specifically, will the series follow the open world (open-air) reality set by the latest release? Eiji Aonuma’s words may be music to some ears, and dread to others. Here is a rough translation:

Famitsu: Making the next Zelda game might be more difficult if you choose to make it an open-air game. What will evolve open-air? How will you make future dungeons? What will the next Zelda title be like?

Aonuma: I think that, in the future, open air games will be the standard for Zelda.

While he doesn’t sound like it’s completely set in stone, he’s pretty certain that open world style Zelda games are the defacto future for the series moving forward. I’m sure the sales and immense positive reaction to Breath of the Wild have nothing to do with that statement (/endsarcasm).

Source: Esutero

  • Nowhere Man

    This is the first western RPG I’ve liked in a long time (haven’t played Witcher 3). I’m excited to see what they can do on a strictly Switch-exclusive Zelda game. I hope they’ve listened to some of the constructive criticisms, because a few tweaks can make this even better.

    • Jacob Parkes

      BOTW isn’t a western RPG. It’s a japanese adventure game.

      • Nowhere Man

        It most definitely is a western RPG. It openly took so many ideas from some of the biggest western RPGs out there. I don’t even know how you would call it anything else with its gear and stats system. Japanese adventure games are visual novels like Danganronpa or Snatcher, or 3D games like Shadow of Destiny, Shenmue, or Killer7.

        • Leo Ryan

          whitcher is an rpg your roleplaying chracter were your choices take you down a different narritive story and can change the end game mass effect is a rpg zelda isnt a rpg

          • Nowhere Man

            Lol, what? First of all, Zelda has ALWAYS been known to have RPG elements (not considered an RPG, though). Branching storylines aren’t even an RPG-specific characteristic. Shenmue, Heavy Rain, and 999 all have branching storylines and none of them are RPGs, for crying out loud.

            Looting and equipment upgrades are core RPG characteristics. Stat upgrades and boosts (i.e. Link’s stealth, defense, attack, stamina, etc. boosts in BOTW) are core characteristics in an RPG. Leveling and experience (or in this case, heart and stamina upgrades) are another core characteristic in an RPG. Everything about BOTW is a freakin’ western RPG. Why are people even arguing this? It’s not an insult to call it a western RPG. And BOTW doesn’t have branching storylines because they are actually a form a linearity (every path is CODED INTO THE GAME). BOTW is the truest open world game — where you actually make your OWN decisions — I’ve ever seen.

          • Leo Ryan

            no rpg leveling is a lot different more stats more storylines. for example skyrim literally have 50 different branching quest lines. Having rpg elements and being a straight up rpg i am pretty sure in zelda you cant put a moblin on the shelf lke you can in fallout there is no depth in the story sure some games have interesting chracters but we are talking specifically about botw

          • Nowhere Man

            Holy crap, I’m done. You have no idea what even makes an RPG an RPG. BOTW is very clearly, to anyone with even a semblance of video game knowledge, a western RPG. Other Zelda games are NOT RPGs, but have minor RPG elements. Putting a moblin on a shelf (whatever that means) has nothing to do with being an RPG. Looting it for materials and weapons, however, is straight from the RPG handbook. There are literally explanations on the internet that tell you what characteristics make up an RPG; look it up. BOTW has a weaker storyline because it is PURELY OPEN WORLD. In order to provide the freedom they did, the story had to suffer. There has never been a console game with this much freedom. Period. And western RPGs pale in comparison to JRPGs when it comes to stories anyway. It amazes me how wrong you are, and how little you realize it.

          • Leo Ryan

            in fallout 4 you could put enemys heads on shelves in skyrim you can get armor bonuses to make you take 75 percent damage you can duel wild spells weapons etc etc you can enchant armor you can go and try to slay dragons with arrows there are way more opitions in rpgs then in
            for someone who claims to actually have knowledge of video games you dont even know what i am referring to in fallout 3 and 4

          • Trying too hard. The easiest method to try and argue it’s not an rpg is that it doesn’t contain a leveling system of any kind that boost your raw stats besides life and stamina. It’s always been the defining difference between rpg and action/adventure – not upgraded stats on items.

          • Nowhere Man

            I don’t know about putting heads on shelves because I think Fallout is a mediocre series that I could never get into. I also don’t know why that’s relevant to this argument. Do all RPG games allow you to put enemy heads on shelves? No. Yes, the Ancient armor set provides damage reduction from guardians. You can argue how in depth other games take this, but that matters none. The fact is that BOTW has all of this in the first place. So because Skyrim can enchant armor and slay dragons, and Zelda can’t, any game that can’t enchant armor or slay dragons is not a WRPG? Wouldn’t that mean Fallout is not an RPG because you can’t do those? Oh, but you can store enemy heads on shelves. I forgot. Why is any of this relevant to my argument?

            To copy an excerpt from my above comment: “Pillars of Eternity has no experience points. Call of Duty does. Heck, even sports games do, and stat progression as well. Games like Monster Hunter and God Eater Burst (and Zelda) measure progression based on equipment.”

            None of what you are saying are defining characteristics of RPGs. RPG means ROLE PLAYING GAME, not level up and permanently boost stats game. Or slay dragons and store enemy heads on shelves game (again, an unnecessarily irrelevant comment).

          • Leo Ryan

            it can be argued the more options you have to customize your character. The beter you are able to role play as that character.
            For example say i wanted to be a thief with a sly tongue and i want to be able to scam from people. Cant really role play that chracter. Say, i wanted to only play stealth or play as a trap artist, cant really role play that character in zelda they dont give enough to role play different character archetypes that other rpgs allow.
            For example say i want to only use magic in skyrim say i wanted to be a barbarin with heavy armor i move slowly but i hit like hell they dont give enough options to truly make you chracter unique in zelda thats why those stats matter in rpg because you can customize your character to be what ever you want it to be not what the game designer wants you to be

          • Leo Ryan

            and……no…. the story did not have to suffer witcher 3 is apparently an amazing rpg with a good story an actual rpg with actual choices that matter

          • Nowhere Man

            You are really not comprehending what I’m saying. I said the story had to suffer to provide the amount of freedom it did. You can’t program in branching paths and call it true freedom, because your paths are still coded in. BOTW is the epitome of free roaming, open world.

          • Leo Ryan

            yes you can, you do not have to do those branching paths in skyrim, if you discover a quest line you literally dont have to do it you see that random ass cave over there ? you could go there infact theirs a lot in zelda you dont have to do right away i skipped a lot of the shrine dungeons until after I got the beacons now i am going back and doindg those you dont have to do any of the side quest in the game so no the story did not have to suffer

          • Those aren’t actual “upgrades”. Those are item bonuses. 😛 The key difference that keeps BoTW as a Action/Adventure game is that beyond life/stamina, none of the things you get in the game actually upgrade the base character. There is no all time attack and defense bonus to the base character. Everything is tired up in clothing and items, all non-permanent affair. RPG’s make permanent changes to your character over time that are not gear, food, or item dependent. Action adventure games often have many of the same elements as RPGs, save actually fully upgrading the default character.

          • Nowhere Man

            But they do upgrade Link. Armor bonuses ARE stat boosts. It literally says “stealth up” or “heat resistance up” and speed increases at night, etc. Regardless of whether it’s actually quantified or not, it’s programmed as a statistical boost in the game from whatever Link’s base stats are (and he DOES have some — he has to in order to get a boost, period). Heat and cold resistance is even a measured boost based on the temperature gauge.

            Permanence is not a requirement for stat boosts in RPGs, they are just the norm. Pillars of Eternity has no experience points. Call of Duty does. Heck, even sports games do, and stat progression as well. Games like Monster Hunter and God Eater Burst (and Zelda) measure progression based on equipment. How to get better equipment? Story progression, looting, upgrading with materials, purchasing (which is mostly done through selling looted materials in BOTW). These are all RPG elements and essentially how you progress in BOTW, on top of heart and stamina boosts (again, a form of stat progression, and permanent in this case). It’s not conventional, but it has very clearly taken from most elements of RPG games. It took the minor RPG elements Zelda games always had and fully expanded on them, on top of adding a lot more. While I disagree with Nintendo, they even label all Zelda games as RPGs on the eShop, so even they think merely having those elements makes the series an RPG. BOTW, however, has way too many and way too thoroughly to not be a WRPG.

        • Jacob Parkes

          It’s just an open world adventure game. There is little to no RPG elements. There’s no stat system, no leveling up, no choices to make. The only Zelda game you can call even close to being an RPG is Zelda 2.

          • Nowhere Man

            I’m just going to copy and paste this: “But they do upgrade Link. Armor bonuses ARE stat boosts. It literally says “stealth up” or “heat resistance up” and speed increases at night, etc. Regardless of whether it’s actually quantified or not, it’s programmed as a statistical boost in the game from whatever Link’s base stats are (and he DOES have some — he has to in order to get a boost, period). Heat and cold resistance is even a measured boost based on the temperature gauge.

            Permanence is not a required qualifier for stat boosts in RPGs, they are just the norm. Pillars of Eternity has no experience points. Call of Duty does. Heck, even sports games do, and stat progression as well. Games like Monster Hunter and God Eater Burst (and Zelda) measure progression based on equipment. How to get better equipment? Story progression, looting, upgrading with materials, purchasing (which is mostly done through selling looted materials in BOTW). These are all RPG elements and essentially how you progress in BOTW, on top of heart and stamina boosts (again, a form of stat progression, and permanent in this case). It’s not conventional, but it has very clearly taken from most elements of RPG games. It took the minor RPG elements Zelda games always had and fully expanded on them, on top of adding a lot more. While I disagree with Nintendo, they even label all Zelda games as RPGs on the eShop, so even they think merely having those elements makes the series an RPG. BOTW, however, has way too many and way too thoroughly to not be a WRPG.”

            There is a serious misconception about what actually is an RPG characteristic and what are generally in RPG games. I can, however, definitely assure you it’s not a Japanese adventure game.

          • Jacob Parkes

            It’s made in japan. You go on an adventure. There is no stat system except temporary bonuses, there are no choices that affect the gameplay or story. It has action gameplay, no party system, and no leveling up or stat changing. It is an adventure game like nearly every Zelda game before it. RPG’s are primarily stat-based games that put their emphasis on number-crunching and grinding to strengthen your character(s). Zelda has never been about the numbers as much as it is about the exploration and puzzle-solving. It’s more action-adventure than anything else.

          • Nowhere Man

            Where a game’s made (or the ethnicity of a development team, at that) have no bearing on genre. Gameplay characteristics are what make up genres. You wouldn’t consider Metal Gear or 3D Sonic games as Japanese adventure games (at least I hope). Like JRPGs, Japanese adventures are used in conjunction with specific gameplay mechanics, storytelling styles, etc.

            I’ve already given you examples of how BOTW does have stats, as well as examples of JRPGs that don’t measure progress through leveling or stat progression. Yes, they are “primarily” that. “Primarily” implies there are other secondary, tertiary, etc. types of RPG gameplay styles. They don’t all have to be like Suikoden or Mana games, as Monster Hunter’s success shows us.

          • Jacob Parkes

            Well… 3D Sonic games are action-adventures/platformers. MGS2 is an action-adventure/stealth game so that’s not entirely inaccurate. Monster Hunter is a Hack n Slash game with RPG elements but I suppose it could pass for an action RPG.

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