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So if the game's map is this big...

Ronin

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Skyrim is really, really small by modern comparison. The only reason it felt so huge was because of the mountainous terrain that needed to be traversed, plus the Dragonborn's natural pace wasn't the fastest. And to be fair, Skyrim felt overwhelming because of the sheer amount of content and ultimately became repetitive in its presentation. Not saying that's a bad thing, but too much can be severely offputting.

Breath of the Wild will hopefully make use of its supposed size and spread things out evenly. As long as it doesn't follow Skyrim's "X person orders you to go to X town to talk to X person to commence X quest" template, then the questing aspect should strike the right balance. The biggest thing that Nintendo should watch out for here is the repetitious nature of overworld questing; recent titles such as Metal Gear Solid V, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Witcher 3 are equally culpable of rehashing quests. More important than this is how exploration is handled, though, and given what's been shown so far, BotW will have plenty of content to stumble on and a heck of a lot more diversity in its map structure than Skyrim/Witcher 3.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Recently I had done some calculations regarding BotW's Hyrule, and made some jaw-dropping discoveries.


The apparent size of Breath of the Wild's map is (we are told) approximately 360 square kilometers. Skyrim, for reference, is about 44. So, ok BotW's map is like nine Skyrims. Impressive, but not the point I'm getting at...

Hyrule in Breath of the Wild, for all its expanse, still only represents the traditional kingdom of Hyrule, just like in Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, and (most importantly) the original Zelda. It looks different in each game, for reasons of both quest relevency and the passage of time, but generally is still the same place, just interpreted differently (and at drastically different scales)

http://www.nesmaps.com/images/posters/Zelda2Overworld800.png

...aaaaaand all 360 square kilometers of it only make up the bottom left corner of Zelda II's map. :P

Assuming that Breath of the Wild represents Hyrule's true size, then the world explored in Zelda II is roughly 21,600 square kilometers. For reference, that is 540 times the size of Skyrim.

Talk about putting things into perspective.
I see a lot of focus being placed on the size of the overworld, but not on the content.

Sure, people can focus on how much bigger the world technically is compared to games like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Witcher 3 (both of which feature vast, detailed overworlds crammed to the brim with unique quests and content), but if Zelda features nothing but same-y shrine quests and an endless number of collectibles, then I'd rather go back and play other games. Sheer size doesn't do a game justice. It's why Ubisoft keeps pumping out bland games while hyping up how big and open their big empty worlds are.
 

Azure Sage

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Collectables and quests aren't the only things to do. You've also got discovering the story/Link's memories, meeting the new characters and helping them out, the big dungeons/sheikah beasts, hunting and gathering and exploring which, if the the E3 footage is any indication, will be fun and rewarding as is, and there's probably more that I'm forgetting about. Literally everything we've seen thus far is telling us that the overworld will be full of many different and interesting things to do.
 
D

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Has a Zelda game really ever been bad? They're not going to spoil/leak the entire game for us. All we've seen is the Great Plateau/Hyrule Field footage, some shrine footage and a game trailer.
I never once said it'd be bad. I'm expressing my concern that the game might be a big empty world. That doesn't mean it'll be bad. Just like having a huge map doesn't make the game automatically good.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Collectables and quests aren't the only things to do. You've also got discovering the story/Link's memories, meeting the new characters and helping them out, the big dungeons/sheikah beasts, hunting and gathering and exploring which, if the the E3 footage is any indication, will be fun and rewarding as is, and there's probably more that I'm forgetting about. Literally everything we've seen thus far is telling us that the overworld will be full of many different and interesting things to do.
...well, no.

Exploring is great, but that's all we've seen. Sidequests have been mentioned, but nothing has been shown. Towns have been glimpsed, but we haven't witnessed any during gameplay. We've seen a lot of exploring the plateau, and while organic cutscene-free exploration is great, it isn't enough to fill a game. The worst thing Breath of the Wild could do is build a world that functions on a separate level from its narrative. If Link's memories are, as implied by the name, self-contained sections, then they're bound to be disconnected from the more open world (I sure hope it's not the case, because that would be the wrong move).

If Breath of the Wild throws all its eggs in the exploration basket... well, that would be disappointing. It would also be a very Nintendo move. Ideally, Breath of the Wild becomes something along the lines of The Witcher 3. The third Witcher game is overflowing with content. It features real sidequests (stuff with narrative, clever writing, and internal storylines) around every corner, and they're spread out enough to feel like the open world helps contribute to the narrative they present.
 
D

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Skyrim is really, really small by modern comparison. The only reason it felt so huge was because of the mountainous terrain that needed to be traversed, plus the Dragonborn's natural pace wasn't the fastest. And to be fair, Skyrim felt overwhelming because of the sheer amount of content and ultimately became repetitive in its presentation. Not saying that's a bad thing, but too much can be severely offputting.

Breath of the Wild will hopefully make use of its supposed size and spread things out evenly. As long as it doesn't follow Skyrim's "X person orders you to go to X town to talk to X person to commence X quest" template, then the questing aspect should strike the right balance. The biggest thing that Nintendo should watch out for here is the repetitious nature of overworld questing; recent titles such as Metal Gear Solid V, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Witcher 3 are equally culpable of rehashing quests. More important than this is how exploration is handled, though, and given what's been shown so far, BotW will have plenty of content to stumble on and a heck of a lot more diversity in its map structure than Skyrim/Witcher 3.
There's nothing wrong with having a small map if you have as much content as there was in Skyrim. Also not all of Skyrims quests fwere repetitive, the random miscellaneous one's definitely were but there was more variety to the handcrafted ones (daedra quests, dark brotherhood, main story, fighters guild etc). Also I don't think Skyrim would still be as high on steams most played games list if it was that repetitive, yes, mods definitely help that along but bethesda basically built a game that has unlimited replayability.
 

Azure Sage

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That's not completely true. We did get a glimpse at one sidequest. Link was asked to tame a white horse that looked to be directly descended from the white horse of the ancient Hyrulean Royal Family. And it looked like we can keep track of them via the game menu. Everything else we know due to the information given at various points from E3 to now. This includes what we see in the trailers as well. We can infer pretty clearly that the narrative this time is pretty involved and deep despite us having to look for it ourselves. It definitely does not appear to be separate from the overworld as you wondered. And nothing we've been told has suggested otherwise. If we have to explore the world to discover the story, then it's connected to the world which, according to what you're saying, is the right move.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Skyrim is really, really small by modern comparison. The only reason it felt so huge was because of the mountainous terrain that needed to be traversed, plus the Dragonborn's natural pace wasn't the fastest. And to be fair, Skyrim felt overwhelming because of the sheer amount of content and ultimately became repetitive in its presentation. Not saying that's a bad thing, but too much can be severely offputting.

Breath of the Wild will hopefully make use of its supposed size and spread things out evenly. As long as it doesn't follow Skyrim's "X person orders you to go to X town to talk to X person to commence X quest" template, then the questing aspect should strike the right balance. The biggest thing that Nintendo should watch out for here is the repetitious nature of overworld questing; recent titles such as Metal Gear Solid V, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Witcher 3 are equally culpable of rehashing quests. More important than this is how exploration is handled, though, and given what's been shown so far, BotW will have plenty of content to stumble on and a heck of a lot more diversity in its map structure than Skyrim/Witcher 3.
Firstly, we've got to disagree about Skyrim' map being incredibly small. It... isn't. I don't know what else to say to that. It's not.

We haven't seen any Breath of the Wild content outside of exploring the plateau. We don't know if it will offer enough variety to compete with the likes of Skyrim and Witcher. A hundred shrines? That sounds like a lot of the same thing. Hundreds of koroks? Sounds like the Assassin's Creed's incredibly tedious flag collection. While the Amazon page for the game's player's guide attested to sidequests, that could mean anything. Clearing out monster outposts could be considered a sidequest, but not an interesting or exciting one. is a sidequest. I'd like to see some gameplay from said sidequests before I cut out my Nintendo pessimism, because Nintendo hasn't exactly done a lot of stellar decision making when it comes to their franchises as of late.

That's not completely true. We did get a glimpse at one sidequest. Link was asked to tame a white horse that looked to be directly descended from the white horse of the ancient Hyrulean Royal Family. And it looked like we can keep track of them via the game menu. Everything else we know due to the information given at various points from E3 to now. This includes what we see in the trailers as well. We can infer pretty clearly that the narrative this time is pretty involved and deep despite us having to look for it ourselves. It definitely does not appear to be separate from the overworld as you wondered. And nothing we've been told has suggested otherwise. If we have to explore the world to discover the story, then it's connected to the world which, according to what you're saying, is the right move.
Nintendo has said that it's possible to go beat Ganon right away and that exploring the game to find out why exactly you're off to beat Ganon is suggested, but optional. That suggests to me that the storytelling will be handled in a manner disconnected from the gameplay. That doesn't bode well for me.

But I'm also a Negative Nintendo Nancy.
 

Azure Sage

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Nintendo has said that it's possible to go beat Ganon right away and that exploring the game to find out why exactly you're off to beat Ganon is suggested, but optional. That suggests to me that the storytelling will be handled in a manner disconnected from the gameplay. That doesn't bode well for me.
You know, you're not the first person here to have that concern, and I really just can't wrap my head around it. I really can't understand why people think that makes it disconnected. Being optional doesn't make it less important. The sidequests in Majora's Mask are optional. You can completely ignore the Anju & Kafei quest if you choose, that doesn't make it any less meaningful to the story of the game. What Breath of the Wild is doing is basically the same kind of thing with the story, just kicked way into overdrive. The whole essence of the game is exploring what you want, how you want, in whatever way you want, and that includes the story. It completely eludes me how people come to the conclusion that it will be disconnected because of this.
 

CrimsonCavalier

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I'll chime in with the worry that this game's world will be too big. I said this about Xenoblade X, and there's the same potential here: the world in X was too big. However, I think the biggest problem in X was that I didn't really care enough about the world to explore it. It was beautifully made, but it didn't interest me. It was huge and full of a ton of set pieces, but they didn't make the world feel alive. It felt fake and empty. I explored Mira because I had to, not because I wanted to, and that's the biggest difference in terms of world size.

No, Skyrim wasn't the prettiest world, it wasn't the most exciting, but it did have a feeling that it was alive. Mostly because of the random encounters. And no, it wasn't the biggest world. A lot of it was just mountains that you couldn't traverse. It made the world feel bigger than it was. Clever game design to make the world feel bigger, but the point is that it felt organic. But there was enough interaction that it felt alive, as opposed to Mira, which had a lot more going on in it, but felt fake.

I'd much rather have a smaller map with a lot to do, or more importantly, a world that feels real, than a huge one that pretends to be full of stuff, but upon closer inspection, is empty and devoid of immersion. Mira was a world that was great for trailers and videos, but when you actually played it, you saw how set-piece-y it was.

You know, you're not the first person here to have that concern, and I really just can't wrap my head around it. I really can't understand why people think that makes it disconnected. Being optional doesn't make it less important. The sidequests in Majora's Mask are optional. You can completely ignore the Anju & Kafei quest if you choose, that doesn't make it any less meaningful to the story of the game. What Breath of the Wild is doing is basically the same kind of thing with the story, just kicked way into overdrive. The whole essence of the game is exploring what you want, how you want, in whatever way you want, and that includes the story. It completely eludes me how people come to the conclusion that it will be disconnected because of this.
Because side-quests ≠ main story? Saying you can skip side quests, but you'll be missing out on more story exposition is different than saying you can skip the main story.

The very idea that you can literally finish the game without doing any of the story is the conclusion that it has the potential to be disconnected. We don't know whether it will be disconnected or not, but people with that concern have a very good reason to be concerned: because the evidence presented at the very least is enough to show, prima facie, that a disconnect may exist.

Personally, I'm not concerned, but the people who are aren't wrong to be concerned.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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You know, you're not the first person here to have that concern, and I really just can't wrap my head around it. I really can't understand why people think that makes it disconnected. Being optional doesn't make it less important. The sidequests in Majora's Mask are optional. You can completely ignore the Anju & Kafei quest if you choose, that doesn't make it any less meaningful to the story of the game. What Breath of the Wild is doing is basically the same kind of thing with the story, just kicked way into overdrive. The whole essence of the game is exploring what you want, how you want, in whatever way you want, and that includes the story. It completely eludes me how people come to the conclusion that it will be disconnected because of this.
I'm talking less about sidequests and more about the main storyline, since that's what Link's memories appear to be.

Imagine if the entirety of Majora's Mask's storyline were optional. Also imagine that all events related to the storyline are disconnected and exist within their own instances versions of the world, so you can't go from exploration to storyline naturally.

That's what I'm worried about.

(Bear in mind that I still have the game and the Switch pre-ordered and will so my best to enjoy the game. I seem negative on here, because Nintendo has wounded me too often in the past.)
 
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I am completely fine with a massive world. Exploration is part of the game after all. And the more you explore, the more resources Link will be able to collect. I can see a instance where Link will need to revisit to get more of the certain items.

OoT has a empty hyrule field, TP had a mostly empty world, WW had a mostly empty ocean, and SS didn't have a open world at all.

I just don't see a problem here.
 

Azure Sage

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@CrimsonCavalier I did make a distinction between side quest and main story in my post, hence saying they're taking it way into overdrive this time. I see what you mean, though.

@Future Soldier I sort of get where you're coming from but it just doesn't register that way with me. The evidence presented shows me the opposite of what you're seeing. If you discover the story by means of exploration, I don't understand how that can be considered disconnected.
 

Ronin

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There's nothing wrong with having a small map if you have as much content as there was in Skyrim. Also not all of Skyrims quests fwere repetitive, the random miscellaneous one's definitely were but there was more variety to the handcrafted ones (daedra quests, dark brotherhood, main story, fighters guild etc). Also I don't think Skyrim would still be as high on steams most played games list if it was that repetitive, yes, mods definitely help that along but bethesda basically built a game that has unlimited replayability.
My point wasn't that Skyrim's quests were repetitive. On the contrary, I feel that they were some of the best out there by pointing you to a place you didn't know existed and letting you move about at your own pace. But much of the level designs felt like rehashes with only a handful of moments that made me stop to take in the scenery (like finding a cedar forest at the bottom of a grotto). The vast majority of dungeons consisted of Draugrs, bandits, or Falmir in addition to those strange animal pillar puzzles. And the dungeons tied with stories were a nice surprise, I enjoyed those.

Firstly, we've got to disagree about Skyrim' map being incredibly small. It... isn't. I don't know what else to say to that. It's not.
Skyrim barely holds a candle to many modern games, though, even with the addition of the expansions. The map is still immense for a 2011 release, but it's dwarfed by the likes of 2016's Witcher 3 and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Metal Gear Solid V and Final Fantasy XV might be bigger also, but they are both empty as heck.

We haven't seen any Breath of the Wild content outside of exploring the plateau. We don't know if it will offer enough variety to compete with the likes of Skyrim and Witcher. A hundred shrines? That sounds like a lot of the same thing. Hundreds of koroks? Sounds like the Assassin's Creed's incredibly tedious flag collection. While the Amazon page for the game's player's guide attested to sidequests, that could mean anything. Clearing out monster outposts could be considered a sidequest, but not an interesting or exciting one. is a sidequest. I'd like to see some gameplay from said sidequests before I cut out my Nintendo pessimism, because Nintendo hasn't exactly done a lot of stellar decision making when it comes to their franchises as of late.
One thing that immediately sticks out with BotW's landscape is variety, which Skyrim and Witcher 3 didn't have much of. Instead of the standard mountains, forests, and rivers, this new "Hyrule" has various regions; a staple for the Zelda series, but a welcome change of pace too. The 100-something shrines and 900 Koroks are enough to raise a brow; how exactly are they going to work? Will the shrines replace the usual dungeons in the long run? Will collecting all the Koroks reward us with some super legendary gear? As for the monster outposts, if you'd say that clearing out the giant camps in Skyrim were sidequests then I guess that's no different here.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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My point wasn't that Skyrim's quests were repetitive. On the contrary, I feel that they were some of the best out there by pointing you to a place you didn't know existed and letting you move about at your own pace. But much of the level designs felt like rehashes with only a handful of moments that made me stop to take in the scenery (like finding a cedar forest at the bottom of a grotto). The vast majority of dungeons consisted of Draugrs, bandits, or Falmir in addition to those strange animal pillar puzzles. And the dungeons tied with stories were a nice surprise, I enjoyed those.


Skyrim barely holds a candle to many modern games, though, even with the addition of the expansions. The map is still immense for a 2011 release, but it's dwarfed by the likes of 2016's Witcher 3 and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Metal Gear Solid V and Final Fantasy XV might be bigger also, but they are both empty as heck.
Size isn't everything, as games like The Division and Far Cry have shown. While Skyrim might not be as large from a purely geographic poin of view, it is much larger from a content point of view. I also can't comment on Xenoblade's size, since I never bought into the Wii U.


One thing that immediately sticks out with BotW's landscape is variety, which Skyrim and Witcher 3 didn't have much of. Instead of the standard mountains, forests, and rivers, this new "Hyrule" has various regions; a staple for the Zelda series, but a welcome change of pace too. The 100-something shrines and 900 Koroks are enough to raise a brow; how exactly are they going to work? Will the shrines replace the usual dungeons in the long run? Will collecting all the Koroks reward us with some super legendary gear? As for the monster outposts, if you'd say that clearing out the giant camps in Skyrim were sidequests then I guess that's no different here.
The number of shrines and koroks that's been suggested... I don't like those numbers.

Since we're on the subject of Skyrim's dungeons and how they're very same-y from a design point of view, how can we not be worried about Breath of the Wild's alleged 100 shrines? If the shrines we've seen in available gameplay are any indication, they're going to suffer from one of the same symptoms suffered by Skyrim's many, many dungeons: recycles designs. Eating one hundred donuts is all well and good, but if those donuts are all plain and unseasoned, then eating all hundred of them is going to be pretty darn boring.
 
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