Breath of the Wild Prototyping Was Done In 8-Bit, Says Nintendo

As a part of its Zelda-focused GDC panel today, key Nintendo developers discussed and revealed some of the inner workings of the development process for the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Notable among them was an 8-bit, NES-style prototyping engine that was consistently used as a development tool when hashing out some of the game's physics and "chemistry" based puzzles.

As described by Ars Technica, Nintendo personnel Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Satoru Takizawa, and Takuhiro Dohta explained the following regarding prototyping and development of the game.

The developers explained that the eventual game was built with a modified Havok physics engine that made room for "clever lies" in terms of how physics and chemistry were represented. Before building that fully 3D system, however, a basic 2D engine was used to spell out the kinds of freer experiences players can expect in Breath of the Wild. The result is the prototype, pictured above, which still allows players to push objects (for the physics-based puzzles) and combine and destroy other objects (for the chemistry-based puzzles). Developers showed this prototype in action, and it looked slick.

It's been noted that the prototyping engine Nintendo created heavily resembles a theoretical Zelda Maker. That would certainly be fun, but how about Nintendo simply create a new 8-bit Zelda game? Clearly their 8-bit chops are fresh thanks to Breath of the Wild prototyping, and we also know from Eiji Aonuma that the two separate Zelda development teams (traditionally divided between home console and handheld) aren't being merged in response to Nintendo Switch.

Regardless of what the distant future holds, the very near future holds Nintendo Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild, both launching this Friday March 3rd.


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