Breathing in the Wild – Zelda

My digital artefact will explore the game media text of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the innovative new game art style introduced to this open-map action-adventure game. 

Vidqvist (2019) describes the pre-existing criteria for the art direction would be an abstract realism which would both convince the reader of fantastical situations (e.g. logs turn into fire when struck) yet real enough for the audience to truly believe and care for the game, “the development team decided on an art direction after searching for one with a good balance of realism and abstraction”.

“ In art director Satoru Takizawa’s (2017) words, they needed a style that made it easy to lie.” (Vidqvist, 2019)

I have gathered resources that discuss emotional character in Zelda: breath of the wild, cultural significance and more. One of the academic insights I have found was an analysation of the ‘colonial atmosphere’ that exists inside the game, which comfortably envelopes Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s strategic narrative:

“This paper assesses ‘observant play’ as a purposeful element of game design, whereby the development team manipulates the player’s realization of certain game mechanics, in tandem with the unfolding of a central narrative.” (Hutchinson, 2019).

This paper will also guide my exploration into observant play methodologies as I plan to start investigating these artistic phenomenons in Week 7 the 14th of September. Following this I will explore the different area’s named within the pitch video. 

In the week beforehand I will be taking the next required steps such as purchasing a microSD Card and figuring out where/how I will explore the different domains described. 

Be ready to be awakened on this artistic journey of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

My Research Materials:

  • Vidqvist.J (2019) “Open World Game Design: Case Study of Zelda Breath of the Wild” Tampere University of Applied Systems
  • Hutchinson.R (2019) “Observant Play: Colonial Readings in Breath of the Wild” Universit of Deleware
  • Smith.G & Carrette.J (2019) “Design Foundations for Emotional Game Characters” Eludamos Journal for Computer Game Culture
  • Hut.R, Albers.C, Illingworth.S & Skinner.C (2019) “Taking a bretah of the wild: are geoscientists more effetive than non-geoscientists in determining whether video game world landscapes are realistic” Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Herfs.L (2020) “Dreams of the Japanese Self in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” Leiden University

11 Comments Add yours

  1. I love how you showed clips of the game in your pitch video – you mentioned you wanted to talk about the game design and how the game creators created a world through their art and you so beautifully showed that in your video. I myself have never played Zelda but you made it looks so beautiful, I might just have to give it a go. And even though you didn’t show gameplay yet – I already felt the narrative research come together in this created world. “Fantastical situations, yet real enough for the audience” – I think this is such a key aspect for a lot of games yet it goes unnoticed we just say “WOW these are great graphics” but we don’t appreciate the true beauty. I’m really looking forward to your approaching in dissecting the elements of game design and narrative through psychoanalysis in Zelda. So yes, I am ready to be awoken.


  2. asherfielder says:

    Breath of the wild is B R E A T H T A K I N G

    Great project, I am really looking forwards to being *awoken*. I am sadly a peasant without a switch, although Breath of the Wild is number one on my games to play.

    The art in this is incredible, truly bridging the gap between game and art.

    I would love to see one of your videos exploring how the art in Breath of the Wild has affected a different text if it has shifted the culture yet?

    Great work, I cant wait to follow this 🙂


    1. asherfielder says:

      One followup note:

      Check out this video! Great inspiration

      Liked by 1 person

  3. zanepdobie says:

    Great work on the pitch! Game design is something I feel is under-appreciated in the video game community.
    As someone who actually hasn’t played any of the Zelda games I would be interested in how the design of the game has changed from the previous years.
    Polygon has a great article explaining how they designed the game and I feel like it would be a great source of information.
    Look forward to seeing more of this!


  4. emmaannj says:

    This topic has been so well defined, game design is such an intricate thing to do so I’m excited for you to walk us through this topic within the world of Zelda. The graphics and art within this game look beautiful, and the shots from your pitch were really helpful to understand the thought process you have gone through. As I don’t play games and I don’t own a switch I can’t wait to see what you come up within your findings, as you are a designer yourself I think this is something that will be really great!
    This article explores more of Nintendo’s steps behind the game design and it might be interesting to look into the changes that were made and what they were to reach their final goal.


  5. Pingback: Game Cultures

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