While some fans want Zelda to go back to its classic roots, it sounds like the series will be sticking with its open format for the foreseeable future.
One of the biggest criticisms outside of weapon durability in Breath of the Wild was that it didn’t feel like it had enough of that classic Zelda feel, mostly in relation to the lack of traditional dungeons, and the open world format. While The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom definitely has some more classic style dungeons, it still has that same open world, which isn’t necessarily for everyone. But according to a new interview from Game Informer with series producer Eiji Aonuma and game director Hidemaru Fujibayashi, the open format is here to stay.
In the interview, the point of Ocarina of Time being very foundational for the Zelda series going forward, with Aonuma being asked if Breath of the Wild might act as a similar kind of blueprint for the games going forward. “With Ocarina of Time, I think it’s correct to say that it did kind of create a format for a number of titles in the franchise that came after it.” responded Aonuma.
“But in some ways, that was a little bit restricting for us. While we always aim to give the player freedoms of certain kinds, there were certain things that format didn’t really afford in giving people freedom. Of course, the series continued to evolve after Ocarina of Time, but I think it’s also fair to say now that we’ve arrived at Breath of the Wild and the new type of more open play and freedom that it affords. Yeah, I think it’s correct to say that it has created a new kind of format for the series to proceed from.”
Both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom might not be for everyone, but it’s obvious that this technically not-so-new format (the first game is six years old now (sorry to give you an existential crisis) is resonating with people. After all, it is the highest rated game of all time on OpenCritic.