I’m not going to for one moment pretend that I fully grasp the essence of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild from a design perspective. There is just so much going on in this game that it would take a much longer period of time for me to breakdown the systems in play here. That being said however, there is one thing that I noticed (outside of people’s outright anger revolving around the fact that weapons break) is that the game uses its space in a way that few other open world games have done before.


A game design term used here and there is as follows; “Walking in NOT a mechanic”. It is a simple mantra that reminds creators that the method of getting from point A to point B in a video game should never be a key mechanic alone as it is inherently not all that fun. This is why fast travel is a feature we often see in games and in titles like Firewatch, which are described as walking simulators, something else fills up the movement. This can be a conversation, NPC interaction or just set pieces that the player can admire. Over time good designers found better and increasing ways to be clever in how they build these moments.

I mention this because in my entire time of playing this game, I never came up against a moment in which I felt like travelling was pointless. In fact, I barely used my horses or the fast travel system because getting around was just so interesting and, more importantly, fun. When you think about it that is quite shocking; the implications are massive as it would seem that the entire world was crafted in a way that any form of travel would be rewarding.

"The stretches of nothingness make your discoveries interesting..."

"The map unlock is just that, it shows the area and that’s it. No extra features or side quests, just geometry..."