The Open World Of 'Legend of Zelda Wii U' Pushes The Console To The Max

By @chriscoker555 on
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A man rides an escalator past Nintendo Co advertisements at an electronics retail store in Tokyo May 7, 2014. Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd on Wednesday said it expects to return to profit in the current business year after three straight years of losses, helped by a series of new video games for its Wii U console. Reuters/Toru Hanai

Last year's reveal of actual gameplay footage was one of the highlights of "The Game Awards 2014." The short video offered the first real hints at the scale and scope of Nintendo's work on "The Legend of Zelda Wii U." A new interview with Group Manager of Nintendo EAD Software Development and "Legend of Zelda" producer, Eiji Aonuma has shed further light on just how far Nintendo is pushing the hardware.

Speaking with Gamereactor UK, Aonuma spoke about the franchise's open-world debut stating the development team has always tried to push the hardware it's working with as far as possible. "A huge, seamlessly unfolding world is something that can't be achieved if the hardware isn't advanced enough. Ever since we made the very first generation of Legend of Zelda games though, we've had as large a world as can be realised with the hardware, so you could say it was inevitable that we've now done the same with the new Wii U title," he said

"Legend of Zelda Wii U" promises to be a massive entry in the franchise. In its coverage, Zelda Informer stated Aonuma once drew comparisons of the scale of "Zelda Wii U" to the size of Kyoto, one of the largest cities in Japan. He added one of the team's goals was to make the very act of exploring this vast landscape rewarding for players.

Speaking with MMGN last year, Aonuma stated that gamers would need to plan and execute on their goals efficiently. He also said successfully overcoming obstacles in the game world could reward the player with experience and new abilities.

In the gameplay video released in December last year, during "The Game Awards 2014," Aonuma and General Manager of Nintendo EAD Shigeru Miyamoto touched on a number of new features being implemented in "The Legend of Zelda Wii U." YouTube channel GameXplain helped break these points down and expand upon them.

GameXplain noted the ability to mark locations and points of interest on the map automatically by using the in-game telescope to place a beacon on the landscape. Getting to marked locations is made easier than before, as the sailcloth from "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" returns. In "Zelda Wii U," the sailcloth allows players to traverse long distances by using it as a sort of parachute/hang glider hybrid.

Link's trusty steed, Epona also returns and has a few new tricks up her sleeve, as she automatically dodges incoming trees and small obstacles. This leaves the player free to concentrate on other things while riding, like swordplay and archery.

GameXplain was able to get a true sense of the scale of what appears to be the entirety of the open world in "Zelda Wii U." This is accomplished by comparing the distance shown on the map, fully zoomed out, to the in-game distance seen when creating the beacon.

Also notable in the footage is the presence of an in-game clock, which indicates the game features a real-time day/night cycle. It's not yet known whether this ties in to gameplay, but GameXplain speculates certain quests might require players to complete them at a specific time of day or night.

Though no firm release date has been set, "The Legend of Zelda Wii U" is scheduled to launch exclusively on Wii U sometime in 2015 and Nintendo fans will be crossing their fingers and hoping the title isn't delayed. As Gamespot points out, "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" was delayed on Gamecube and "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" suffered a longer than the expected development cycle.

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(Credit: YouTube/GameXplain)