How Nintendo Solved Zelda’s Open World Problem – GMTK

How Nintendo Solved Zelda’s Open World Problem by Mark Brown for Game Maker’s Toolkit

You might think this is just another GMTK game analysis that is timed for the release of a new game. While the timing part is true (gotta appease the SEO gods), the actual analysis is not Mark’s usual.

In 2017, Nintendo gave a presentation at the Computer Entertainment Developer Conference in Japan about how they solved for an open world where the player can go anywhere and do anything, yet still end up at key locations to progress the story. The talk was never uploaded and photos were essentially DMCA’d by Nintendo.

So Mark has recreated the talk. By digging through the Wayback Machine, having articles translated, and using modern tools, Mark has done his best to represent the original talk by Nintendo; and I think he nailed it. Insight directly from Nintendo is quite rare, as Mark notes, and this may be the closest we get to access that original material in a video/presentation format. It’s tight, focused, and insightful.

As for Tears of the Kingdom, I wonder how the horizon of triangles will be translated to floating blocks in the sky. Then you have to think, up on the floating islands, you can see the world below, so how do landmarks appear from above, with no obstruction (except for draw distance). I’m excited to see how Nintendo’s open world design has evolved in a post-Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey world.