Art You Can Walk Through

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The Legend of Zelda : Breath Of The Wild is a vast open world game with a wonderful art design and leaves the player to explore at their hearts content. Anywhere you see, be it from the top of a mountain or while just running throughout your adventure, you can reach. This modern Zelda game was created by a very varied and dedicated team that was being led by three major artists that shaped the game to what it became. These three gentlemen are Eiji Aonuma, Hidemaro Fujibayashi, and Satoru Takizawa. They wanted to recreate the feeling of exploration from the very first Legend Of Zelda but in a modern 3D game and that became the goal for Breath Of The Wild. Fujibayashi, the Director for Breath Of The Wild, wanted the game to break the mold of recent Zelda titles by granting the player freedom. Anywhere you could see would be a place you could travel to. Aonuma, Zelda’s producer, wanted the game to not only allow freedom for the player to explore but also give the player tools to interact with the world in unique ways. Takizawa, Zelda’s art director, wanted the game to feel unique yet familiar to previous Zelda titles. What made all of their ideas and planning unique was that they wanted to create a game they too wanted to play and experience. They used their experience from previous Zelda titles and newer open world game such as Skyrim to shape this new experience. This matters to the game’s creation because it shaped the game quite backwards compared to normal games. They shaped it through the eyes of a gamer and what they wanted as players of the game.

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“The designer and player each have a different perspective.” (MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research)

When designing a game, it’s creators usually create a game from mechanics to dynamics to aesthetics while the player absorbs this the other way around, in reverse order. The team for Breath Of The Wild did both as the team constantly took long breaks to unite all the pieces they had been working on and playing each other’s unified work. They even had a mini working model to quickly add ideas in and play with shown in this making of video at 4:24.

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Some images of my own adventure in Breath of the Wild

The three knew the game they wanted to create was a game they wanted to play. This makes them the artists because the game was shaped mostly around what they wanted themselves. They also have authorship because the game not only is something they wished for in a Zelda game but what they wanted to create as a Zelda game as well. Zelda Breath Of The Wild has a similar objective to previous games in where you save the princess and save the land of Hyrule, the only difference this time around is that you actually experience the hardships and beauty of Hyrule. You can see how vast the land is from a mountain top or bridge. You will struggle to stay alive while climbing Death Mountain yet also admire the morning sunrise in Rito Village. The aesthetics of Zelda Breath of the Wild are just wonderful and give the world life. It shares the same world of Hyrule from previous Zelda games but this time connects them all together in a very realistic feeling world. As Aonuma views the game of what you imagined in the past but is now realized in front of you.

My new favorite game so far and it just keeps surprising me!

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15 thoughts on “Art You Can Walk Through

  1. You use the MDA which talks about the author and the reader having different experiences but also talk about how the developers wanted to make a game they wanted to play. This was a little confusing to me because of the contrast in ideas. PS is Zelda worth the hype?

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    • I updated my blog with images of my own play through of Breath of the Wild. I really believe the game is worth all of the hype. There are so many things that surprised me in this game and I never get tired of exploring. There’s also always a goal to become stronger and even when you think you’re strong enough, you’ll find a new enemy that will one shot you and leave you speechless.

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    • I agree with you, the video you linked helped me understand a little of what the developers were doing in creating the dynamics of the game, however, I would like to know a bit more of what their intentions were in the game.

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  2. Well that’s the wonderful thing about breath of the wild, I talk about MDA for that very reason. The developers of Breath of the Wild created the game as a game they wanted to play and they did just that. They’re the author but also the reader because of the weird way they worked on the game.

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      • It really makes the game feel special. You can watch the making of videos linked in my blog post! There are some crazy early ideas from younger developers of wanting to add aliens attacking Hyrule as a plot. Funny part is that there is some footage and early art of the proposed idea shown and it looks like it could have been fun and another entirely epic adventure on its own.

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  3. I wanna play Breathe of the Wild sooooo badly. I don’t want to buy a switch though. Such a dilemma right? That slideshow of images you put in was pretty cool. Games that allow you to do as you please just add towards the fulfillment you get as you play. You’re not confined to do one certain thing. I think if an artist creates something they want to see, it’ll reflect onto the game and make the players want to see through the eyes of the artist.

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    • Not at all actually! The game doesn’t lock you into a ground of pure realism like an uncharted game where Nathan Drake can somehow manage unimaginable leaps of faith across canyons breaking your belief of his feats. Link is very clearly in the world of Hyrule where monsters, magic, spirits, and other worldly powers are at play. Even the way the game ties in the advanced Sheikah technology works really well. The characters in the game also acknowledge you in many ways, from you gear, to your actions, to the changes you cause in the environment. Whenever something goofy does happen such as using a giant bolder and a metal door as a makeshift seesaw to launch yourself sky high, it all feels really possible and is possible during the game!

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  4. I think the main reason this game is art is the approach that was taken by its creators, while building this game. Having a merge of mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics from both the designer and the player’s perspectives. The game can be considered art alone just by its beautiful landscapes and outstanding graphics.

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    • I agree and it’s just beautiful to stand outside and look around. I once stood outside during a lightning storm waiting for it to pass as pulling out metal weapons makes you a target for lightning to reach ground and during the storm, a bolt of lightning struck a tree! It instantly fell over throwing the apples it had on it to the ground and catching fire! Not only that though but the same rain during the storm ended putting the fire out too. I was just amazed.

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  5. An interesting take on MDA. I’m a bit confused though. You’re calling all three the author? And yet you note that Aonuma and Fujibayashi are the ones pushing the “freedom” thing. This is what you mostly describe, so why bother with Takizawa? You aren’t fully explaining why you picked these three. Otherwise, good use of bold to highlight your point, but you can also give you images explanatory text (you don’t have to do the bold above/below them).

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  6. Though I have never played the game I have heard excellent reviews and I am happy to see that someone finally wrote about it in this course. I think your descriptions were excellently done and I thoroughly enjoyed your snapshots of your own personal experiences throughout your own individual gameplay. Overall, very well done and I look forward to reading your final blog when that time comes.

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  7. The way that you included the impacts of both the artists and the producers confused me a little in regards to your argument with the MDA model. Do you think that the artists and the game producers impacted the players experience differently? Or are you attributing the overall aesthetics to a collaboration?

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  8. Nice job on the MDA explanation. Btw I definitely do agree that the graphics in this game are beautiful. I also love the fact that you can see the whole landscape of the game when the player stand on a tall mountain.

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