Breathing in the Wild : Beta

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.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Watching your videos literally put me at ease. Even though you are doing a thorough analysis, I just felt zen while watching. I love how you’ve looked deeper into Zelda – its more than just your game play – but you looking into the designers thoughts and processes when creating this visually breathtaking game.
    What I suggest for your videos is creating a seperate tab on your blog here so people can access this easier. It’s easier for people to find rather than just being on your personal Uni blog.
    I like how you’ve got topics that you’re discussing in each blog, It makes the blogs more interesting to read and learn from. Does Zelda have any multiplayer aspects? Maybe it would be interesting for you to compare with another player what you both explore visually and your different experiences with the world – Or maybe you could go to reddit and find other users opinions and thoughts? Perhaps have you considered for one of your topics seeing the differences of the influences of this game design and then comparing it to the game – looking at the background rather than jus the game itself. (Check our this article here I really enjoy what you’re doing here as a fellow design, can’t wait to see how your DA blossoms. 🙂


  2. Hi Chelsea! I absolutely love where your DA is going, even just watching your beta video felt like an immersive experience so great job with keeping the mood! I think your research is so interesting and you will uncover many things about the game that deserve a spotlight and discussion. It’s so good that you took on board the feedback from your pitch too! Perhaps you could do yourself up a plan/schedule to keep your posting consistent and regulated. Also I would suggest posting your blogs to other platforms as well, maybe to smaller subreddits if thats more comfortable for you, I think it could really be beneficial for your DA! Excited to see where you go with this, best of luck! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. amelykoenig says:

    I really like how you have explored BOTW. I have played the game myself and felt a similar sense of calm that you describe about the game. I like how you described the influences of past works on BOTW.
    One thing I would look up is a new game, called Genshin Impact. Many people have been calling it a “BOTW rip off’ because of it’s similar landscape aesthetics and cel shaded style. I think it is worth checking ut why people made comparisons and fi you think they are valid.
    Here is one such article-
    Hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. emmaannj says:

    Hi Chels, I adore all of your videos as they are so calming to watch and they really pack in a lot of content for the short video. The game is so relaxing the way you share it, I suggest that you look into the player relationships within the game. Are these relationships seen as realistic? The emotion within the characters could be explored more and seen in a deeper aspect. I think that research would be really interesting to see what the designers were aiming for within the game in that aspect!
    This may help with a few things!


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