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Would Breath of The Wild have Been good Linear?

YIGAhim

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Breath of The Wild is open world. It is the first open world game, and the main focus of the game waws about being able to explore, and choose your own route (Which is what an open world game is).

Let's Take Away the whole "I can do anything in any order" part. Still Breath of The Wild, but also kinda not.

Would it be a good game? What are your thoughts?

If Breath of The Wild were linear, what would be Link's route across Hyrule?

Map out Linear Breath of The Wild!
 
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Ninja

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If Breath of The Wild were linear, what would be Link's route across Hyrule?

Map out Linear Breath of The Wild!
I'll answer the second question first. If it were up to me, after Kakariko Village, Link's general path would be:

1. Zora's Domain/Vah Ruta
- This would serve as a beginning "dungeon" and a nice introduction to the story. On the way there, a requirement to access Zora's Domain would be to locate the "Calamity Ganons Return" memory, which would set the stage to introduce the Champions, as well as the gruesome destruction of the Calamity. After completing Vah Ruta and learning of Mipha and the other Champions fate, that would set the tone for the game. To avenge your fallen fishwaifu and friends and activate the three remaining Divine Beasts.

2. Goron City/Vah Rudania
- Link learns of the sacred sword that can truly defeat Ganon, and learns that it is hidden away in a thick forest. Near the entrance to the Lost Woods before the Korok Forest, an NPC that blocks the path could say that the Divine Beast that is acting up on Death Mountain is damaging the forest (flinging lava/rocks, etc), making it currently inaccessible. Link will then travel to Goron City, and eventually tame Vah Rudania, which stops it from damaging the forest. After the beast is tamed, Link makes his way back to Korok Forest.

3. The Master Sword
- Due to two Divine Beasts falling, the Calamity has increased the strength of the two remaining beasts. The aura of the Master Sword would allow Link to withstand the increased levels of malice in the remaining beasts, however in his current state, Link does not possess the health/valor necessary to pull the sword. The Great Deku tree hints at him to complete enough shrines to get enough fortitude to acquire the Master Sword.

At this point in the story, the game opens up for mostly full exploration. This way Link can still travel around Hyrule, but be unable to get near the remaining two beasts. Link would still be able to go into Gerudo Town and Rito Village, but would unable to progress the "story". Once Link has the 13 hearts, he is able to pull the Master Sword. Link must then travel to the Springs of Power, Wisdom, and Courage to fully awaken the swords power. Think of how we had to awaken it via WW, or TP. Once Link completes the final spring, we could get a voice dialogue from Zelda, sensing the fully awoken power of the sword, and Link is now ready to fight the remaining two beasts, and the Calamity itself.

4. Rito Village/Vah Medoh
- After hearing Zelda's voice, Link hears the cries of Vah Medoh, and using his Sheikah Slate, see's Teba fall from the sky. Link departs to the northwest, and the events of this Divine Beast begin. After going through the normal sequences we see, it's obvious the last Divine Beast remains near the Gerudo Desert, as he feels a sudden, ominous wind brush against his face from the south west, with increasing thunderstorms on the horizon. Link departs to the south.

5. Gerudo Desert/Vah Naboris
- During the trek from Rito Village towards the desert, there is a significant increase in thunder/lightning storms coming from Calamity overloading Vah Naboris with malice. The sequence of this part of the quest occur, nothing changes, Link must still don the outfit of a sexy vai and gain access to Gerudo Town. After quelling Naboris, Link gets yet another voice dialogue from Zelda, encouraging him that now is the time for him to storm Hyrule Castle, and defeat Calamity Ganon.

Instead of having many memories to find, most of them can be obtained through the story developing between the four Divine Beasts, with the smaller, more comedic memories (frog one) being out in the Wild. Of course, there is so many possibilities, but this would be an interesting way for the story to play out.

Let's Take Away the whole "I can do anything in any order" part. Still Breath of The Wild, but also kinda not.

Would it be a good game? What are your thoughts?
It would be a great game regardless. BotW has so much content to do and explore, I would be happy with whatever way they wanted to do it. :)
 
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Spirit

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I think the term linear has become a dirty word during the open world movement.

Open worlds are defined by having freedom in a large area. Had BotW remained large but given a set order of how and where to do things then i think it could have been stronger in a few respects.

Zelda games open up near the end anyway so we can go back and find what we missed when we're done with the quest or last cleared place. This means that the all important story is a driving force. Story is why i play Zelda and i definitely would have been more invested in BotW if the story had been well paced and not optional.

Instead of going out of my way to find memories to fill in the blanks they could have been integrated into a proper narrative and could have given the game better pacing and a chance to be more in depth.

A good story is a driving force behind any worthwhile piece of escapism but BotW made things weird with making the point of the game totally optional.

So a linear BotW may have been better in that respect.
Would also stop us from going places clearly designed for end game or later on like the desert.
 

Mido

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I would say more on the subject, but I think both NinJa's game layout and Spirit's assessment of linearity's positive force in the series encapsulate the subject matter quite well.

If I had anything to add, I do think a linear progression as far as the story goes would have given BOTW just a tad more structure and reason to keep the players invested in the story. This idea was, in truth, what I was expecting after watching the trailer that revealed the game's release date. Actually, I was sort of expecting an Elder Scrolls approach to the matter. The open world would certainly be present, and the world accessibility would still be nearly boundless; and yet the main story would still retain a framable structure that keeps the purpose of the quest afloat. While story was certainly present in the final product, it felt more disjointed as opposed to focused even with the final goal in mind of defeating Calamity Ganon.

Overall, I believe a linear apporach, with main focus on the story structure, would have been a boon for the game (Ideally, the open world exploration would still remain strongly intact as to not remove an integral part of the game's identity). Balance seems to be the name of the game. Now, I don't have an idea as to how to frame the quest in light of the thread's proposed scenario, but like I previously mentioned, I think NinJa did a good job with it.
 

MW7

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I feel like the open world is so essential to the game that making it linear would make it a totally different game and impossible to compare. If I'm envisioning the same game with most aspects of the open world but forcing a specific order through the divine beasts, I think it would make for a worse game.

If you forced the game to be linear, I believe the order would be: Kakariko, Zoras, Ritos, Gorons, Gerudos, and Ganon.
 
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It would have been amazingly epic had it been made with a linear story line, sequences, dungeons, etc. This does NOT mean you take away the open world concept. You just set up the game where it requires you to do the plateau, then whatever order for the main villages/races and their respective dungeons ... and then something like the Trial of the Sword to power up the sword (which would be required to defeat Ganon) ... so on and so forth.

Think about it. I'd be willing to bet nobody felt "contained" on the plateau ... at least not to any degree that took away from the game. You were eager to complete the plateau so you could get out and explore the next area ... then the next, etc. So what if your general path is pre-established? As long as you get a real area to explore, with stuff to do, etc, then you're good to go. Finish that area, get a dungeon, prize, reward, etc. then your next adventure starts.

This could have been well beyond amazing, with a story told in sequence ... a way to scale up enemies as you scale up, with unique weapons, etc. Sure, the game couldn't be exactly like it is now ... but it most definitely should have had a set, general path ... and dungeons. REAL dungeons.
 

Deus

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BoTW didn't have a good story. It was poorly and thoughtlessly written. Making you actually experience it and in a particular order wouldn't have improved it.

That means the story would need to be rewritten to be any good. Should a hypothetical rewritten story be linear? Well I think one works best when it is designed to progress in a certain order. This allows for scripted events to occur during the plot which don't work in non linear storytelling.
 
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The game does actually guide you into a specific order if you pay enough attention to it, so I followed the hints as I played, which gave me my linear route.

The game obviously leads you to Kakariko and Hateno first before sending you north towards Zora's Domain, with the Zoras themselves guiding you there.

In Zora's Domain you will meet a Goron who tells you about Goron City, pointing you in that direction next. You can also head to Tarrey Town on your way there where you'll learn that the first person you need to recruit is a Goron.

In Goron City you will meet a Gerudo, pointing you towards Gerudo Town. The second person you need to recruit for Tarrey Town is also a Gerudo, and by this point you will likely have completed the first few parts of the weapon connoisseur sidequest, with the fourth and fifth being Yiga weapons.

On your way there, you will meet a Rito in Kara Kara Bazaar, pointing you to your final destination, Rito Village. This is also where you'll find the third person needed for Tarrey Town, and the seventh item for the weapon connoisseur sidequest can be found north of here
 

DarkestLink

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Given that all the more restrictive/linear areas of the game are the best, I'm going to say it'd certainly be better. But it wouldn't save BOTW from all its other shortcomings.
 

Stormageden747

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No, not in my opinion. See the entire point of BOTW is to be able to travel across Hyrule without a certain path of events. You can go to Ganon right after the Great Plateau, or go to Death Mountain. There are no limits to the many different paths, and that's what Nintendo wanted. This game is perfect how it is, it shouldn't be touched. Unless it's DLC.
~Stormageden, signing out!:keese::keese::keese:
 

Nicolai

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That's a complicated question. The whole world is designed around the open world concept, from the great plateau to all of the landmarks around it, and how the first main objective after the great plateau is so far away. It would be strange to keep the map the way it is and only create an order of objectives, and so you change the landscape a bit, maybe have Link starting around Hateno Village, with the road to Kakariko Village. You'll also want to control a difficulty curve to make sure that every time you set out in the world is a test of your abilities up to that point, and you may want to rearrange the map so that high-level sections are further away from Hateno, in case the player wanders off and can't get back due to the lack of having unlocked any maps (or maybe cut the Sheikah Towers in favor of a map at the beginning). And straying off the path might seem pointless anyway, since you can't progress through the story without it, and spending hours collecting upgrades might make a huge chunk of the game too easy, so the developers might put guiding boundaries on the path to prevent the player from making the mistake of exploring too early in the game. Sure, it could work, though.

My point is that Breath of the Wild might work as a linear game after many changes, but at that point, is it even Breath of the Wild anymore? This games main features include no boundary exploration and being able to fight Ganon at any time, so take it away and all that's left is... some other Zelda game.
 

Castle

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Having bleated about a return to a non-linear Zelda for years it would be rather hypocritical of me to suggest that BotW should have ever been linear.

I mean, yeah, there's nothing to say it wouldn't have been "good." Linearity wouldn't have necessarily detracted from the game's appeal. After all, Zelda games have only become increasingly linear with each passing installment.

Still, it would have been better if BotW's dungeons were a bit more structured in how you could approach them. To have some dependent on having completed others or on having fulfilled some specific task would have added some methodology to finding the dungeons beyond "Here it is. Go." Of course simply having more of them would have sufficed.

I don't know why it is so difficult for ninty to get their fuzzy little heads to bounce off the idea that putting dungeon items in the overworld allows players to approach dungeons in any order. Not only does this free up players to approach dungeons in any order they wish, but it also necessitates exploring the overworld in order to find the means to access them. This isn't a new thing for this series!! Allowing multiple methods of traversing dungeons would lessen the item requirements to advance so that players wouldn't have to halt progress in a dungeon part way through to go out and search for that tool they need to continue.
 

DarkestLink

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Allowing multiple methods of traversing dungeons would lessen the item requirements to advance so that players wouldn't have to halt progress in a dungeon part way through to go out and search for that tool they need to continue.
It would also kill the puzzles. There wouldn't be puzzles, just arbitrary barriers requiring specific items and nothing else.
 

Castle

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It would also kill the puzzles. There wouldn't be puzzles, just arbitrary barriers requiring specific items and nothing else.
That's not even remotely what I meant. Quite the contrary, in fact. Besides, what you described sounds to me an awful lot like what Zelda has been doing since forever. See hookshot target -> need hookshot. See eyes switch -> need bow. See cracked wall -> need bomb.

I'm suggesting multiple methods of getting past each obstacle. Let's say the player only has the bow in this particular example, and has not yet acquired the hookshot. In this instance he's in a room with a door and an inaccessible balcony. There's an eye switch above the door and a hookshot target above the balcony. Using the bow, the player is able to shoot the eye switch which opens the door and allows him to progress upstairs. When going further he would pass the balcony. If Link had the hookshot, he could grapple up to the balcony and end up in the same place. You could even have a situation where going through the door might be tougher because there is a room full of monsters you must fight before you get to the balcony. If you have both items, you can consider whether or not it's worth fighting the monsters or using the hookshot to get to the balcony and bypass them entirely.

Zelda has very few instances of this. And even in places where it would make sense for two items to have the same effect, they don't. Why doesn't the megaton hammer or ball and chain also demolish rocks and walls like bombs do? Or Din's Fire even? The hookshot works on crystal switches but not eye switches? wut? (<-- not sure if I'm remembering that correctly.)

I've long been a proponent of organic puzzle solving in Zelda, multiple paths through levels and multiple methods of solving puzzles. Not only is it more fun and challenging for players but it will allow for the use and acquisition of essential items outside of any predetermined order.
 

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