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- Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It's become obvious to most folks following the game's long, drawn-out, and often epic development cycle that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is no ordinary Zelda game. Nintendo knows this too, and wants give its game-industry peers a closer look at what exactly a "break with many of the traditional conventions of the franchise" actually means.
This closer look will be conducted by way of developer panel at the upcoming Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, just days before the Nintendo Switch is released. Entitled "Change and Constant — Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," the panel aims to provide "an in-depth look at how these convention-breaking changes were implemented."
It's fitting for Nintendo to hold such a panel. Since the passing of former company president Satoru Iwata in 2015, tales of high-profile Nintendo development have been conspicuously missing. This is, of course, due to the discontinuation of Iwata's famous "Iwata Asks" series, which offered detailed interviews with key Nintendo development staff and in-depth looks into the process, philosophy, and experience of creating its games. I was worried I'd never get the full story of Breath of the Wild without Iwata to extract it from the development team for all to see, so learning of Nintendo's planned GDC panel is, frankly, a huge relief to people like me.
Slated to partake are, like with Iwata Asks, a number of important Zelda developers and staff. The panel will feature Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi (also the director of Skyward Sword), art director Satoru Takizawa, and technical director Takuhiro Dohto. The latter two are not heard from publicly as frequently as Aonuma and Fujibayashi, so getting their perspective ought to be fascinating.
The panel is scheduled for 11AM on March 1st at the Moscone Center, so if you're headed to GDC I'd strongly encourage making it a priority. Of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches on Wii U and Nintendo Switch just two days later on March 3rd, so we'll all be playing the game soon enough anyway.