Beta BCM215 : Zelda BOTW

Breathing in the Wild: Zelda has been my digital artefact series critically analysing the game media text Zelda: Breath of the Wild in light of the design significance and unique artistic game style it encompassed.

I decided to venture into Youtube series’ to thoroughly explore through different textual analysis’ to adequately unpack my analytical frameworks of Game Narrative, Content Analysis and Psychoanalysis. I altered the feel of my youtube video series’ to be more casual than essay-like videos. They are short 4-6 minute videos with visual content that I captured myself by playing the game and identifying places, situations and tasks that apply to the topic that I am talking about that week.

The feedback I gathered from my Pitch post was extremely helpful. With the resources I was given I was able to find a transcript of an interview with the game designers and art director themselves and gather more insightful material about the way they constructed Zelda: Breath of the Wild and why they decided to go for this art style (Lloyd, 2019). With the resources I was given through the pitch feedback I was able to also touch on the suggestions they asked for.

These included if the game has impacted other games in a design aspect, which I will be unveiling in later videos, as well as how this game’s art material has differed from their previous Zelda games. I discuss in the two videos I have uploaded about the pivotal component that nintendo has employed to create such a successful artistic style. This was to create “formative experiences” (Lloyd, 2019). They stayed true to the historic cartoon approach they always have with Zelda, particularly seen in Zelda Skyward Sword. However, comparatively, the designers particularly stressed the significance of creating realistic intricacies in the game which is what made all the difference (Vidqvist, 2019). From realistic weather obediences to animal behaviours – the cartoon “blocky” approach to the landscape design is accompanied with realism which is what unveils the hidden ‘awe’ of the game design. 

In the first video I analysed the landscape design within the game. I discovered that the landscape design in Zelda was created around the concept of realism in with the cartoon-like art style, “For example, the forests seem realistic in zelda not because of the design and art of the surrounding trees or sporadic flowers but the way the design breathes.” (clee, 2020).  There was a significant effect of Zelda: Breath of the Wild being an open-world game which dramatically assisted its ‘stand-out’ design amongst other games (Lambie, 2017). Additionally, the landscape design of zelda was found to be formulated with the ‘triangular’ rule from heights a well as the ‘rectangular rule’ on level ground (Frank, 2017) (Lambie, 2017). This means that important landmarks are closer to the top of the triangle/rectangle as other less significant landmarks linger at the bottom of the geographical design or in the foreground of the rectangle.

Similarily, the second video analysing the map design of Zelda touched on the same topic of the tringales/rectangles making up the geographic spectrums of the game. This technique heightens a players strive for adventure as it increases an atmosphere of never-ending exploration (Frank, 2017). Additionally, this sense for adventure is illuminated by the way the art director Satoru Takizawa requested that the mountains and other infrastructure within the game be coded not as walls but paths (Lloyd, 2019). This means that players can travel to any location they want both vertically and horizontally, formulating another layer of adventurous mobility to the game (Vidqvist, 2019). This was a very important strategy to note for Zelda as it is one of the stand-out actions within the game that enhances formative experiences; the key to this games design. Finally, the map design of Zelda has been embodied by the infamous Ubisoft gaming creation, similar to Final Fantasy XV, Far Cry 3 and Assasins Creed Unity (Battery, 2019). Zelda: Breath of the Wild entails map features such as fast travel points, binocular features and “ubisoft towers” which are structures that unveil parts of the games map (Battery, 2019). All these utility and structure strategies embedded in the game helped to create ‘formative experiences’ which, as discussed, enlightens the true success to the games design.

Because I have unlisted my youtube videos out of comfort, my public interactions are most vivid through my blog. As previously stated I will be integrating the suggestions I accumulated from the comments throughout the series in further videos to come, as they apply to topics I will be discussing in future.

My digital artefact on Zelda has been an interesting and insightful learning experience on game design and I thoroughly enjoy researching it. In my future videos I plan to be advocating my videos more so I can get more audience feedback on my work.

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