Nintendo unveiled the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild during a day-long livestream. Here’s everything we know about this surprising new entry in the Zelda franchise.
15-6-2016 - by Thijs Kaagman
Reggie Fils-Aime opened the Nintendo Treehouse livestream with a short introduction and the first trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It features Link climbing trees (and buildings and mountains), chopping down trees, pushing boulders onto enemies and cooking food on a fire. This all looked really interesting, but the full reveal would prove even more surprising.
After an hour of Pokémon Sun and Moon gameplay, Nintendo spent the rest of the day revealing a ton of stuff about the new Zelda. First of all, they talked about the Sheikah Slate, a tablet that will prove to be Link’s most important piece of equipment in the game. It will display the map, but also interact with objects in the world to give Link different abilities. Instead of the magical elements we’ve seen in previous Zelda games, Breath of the Wild will feature a lot of technology. For example, you can scout enemies using a scope and tag them to keep track of them.
Link’s other equipment is going through some changes as well. Outfits, weapons and gadgets will have statistics like armor or attack points, meaning one sword might be better than the other sword. Using weapons will also wear down their durability, inevitably leading them to breaking apart. You will have to hunt for new weapons and armor by taking it off of defeated enemies, or by stealing it from them while they sleep during the night.
Link himself has some biological needs as well. You will have to scavenge for food to replenish your hearts, because you won’t be able to find them in the world by cutting up a bunch of grass or breaking pots. You can cook this food by chopping down a tree and setting the wood on fire, which will increase the food’s potency and possibly giving you extra statistical bonuses. Links health can also deteriorate when you don’t keep him properly clothed. Hiking through snowy areas means putting on extra clothes to keep yourself warm.
A lot of emphasis seems to be on these survival elements, but according to the developer we don’t have to worry about keeping Link fed all the time. And that’s good, because there’s a lot of exploring to do. Nintendo showed us a region called The Plateau, which looks really big on its own but is said to only be 2% of the entire game world. This world is littered with shrines (apart from the classic dungeons) that contain puzzles or specific trials and rewards like equipment and even new skills.
While exploring shrines and solving puzzles, you will rely heavily on your Sheikah Slate, which will be upgraded with new skills called Rune Abilities. You can put objects in stasis, for example. The object will freeze in its place and you can hit it with a sword or hammer to build momentum. All that energy will be unleashed when the stasis ends, launching the object away from you. There’s also a magnet that you can use to pull or push steel objects (like weapons) around.
Despite spending an almost eight hour stream showing and playing the new Zelda, Nintendo didn’t say anything about the story of the game. In fact, we know very little about the game’s structure. We saw a lot of free-roaming, scavenging and exploring, but nothing that indicates any form of progress story-wise. So while it all looks amazing, I hope Breath of the Wild doesn’t lose itself in its own freedom.