As my breathing in the wild series comes to a close, I have researched partly the game narrative lens of Zelda Breath of the Wild in light of the purpose of shrines. The significance of shrines in the game is pivotal to the game’s progression itself (Majmuder, 2020). Link receives gifts for the Sheikah slate he is given at the start of the game, however as the game continues getting stronger and faster is only achievable by completing the shrines. The design of the shrines are reminiscent of man-built magical essences which is comparative to the natural organic appearance of the wild world beyond it (Majmuder, 2020). Shrines were their own pockets of gameplay in which tutorialisation and experimentation with the Sheikah slate was conveyed for the player, familiarising them with the techniques and puzzles within the Hyrule world (Majmuder, 2020). Thus, the Shrines are a very effective borrow of gameplay in which guides the players to success, designed carefully as mystical atmospheres comparative to the wild world of Hyrule.
The character design in Breath of the Wild is similar to the approach they take upon landscape design. The characters are structured simply like cartoons with anime like facial art, however the beauty in Zelda’s character art is in the shadow/highlight strategy in addition to movement in the hair (similar to the art in the movement of grass and trees). Zelda’s character art additionally meddled with the theory of formative experiences in the perspective that characters needed to be intertwined with exhaling breath or movement in the hair. This artistic technical approach is a cross between simple abstract outlines and realistic behaviour “With careful consideration, the development team decided on an art direction after searching for one with a good balance of realism and abstraction.” (Vidiquist, 2019).
Emotional character design is typically conveyed through exaggerated bodily language and micro facial features “Rather than realistic portrayals, emotions are often exaggerated, staged with respect to other characters in the scene, and expressed through their actions.” (Eludamous, 2019). All the players interacting with Link have emotions and exaggerated body language as well, which thoroughly assists the design atmosphere as the player feels the hylian world is real” NPCs with emotion and increased agency over their own destiny, thus creating complex game characters, should further enhance a player’s enjoyment of interactive games.” (Eludamous, 2019).
Link as a character has been questioned as potentially autistic or have a ‘queer disability’ due to his small emotional demonstration (Hemamann, 2020). However I disagree with this, Link may not talk a lot as a character however as I mention in the video, this may be because the player can integrate their own personalities into Link. Performing a psychoanalysis on Link unveils that he is historically the most free than he’s ever been in the Zelda series in breath of the wild. Typically, Link has a similar purpose to Mario, “The franchise’s core narrative draws upon Anglomedieval iconography: the sword-wielding knight, the Rapunzel-like princess, a castle tower serving as her prison.” (Herfs, 2019). However in this game, the journey to find Zelda is discovered from both the players and Links perspective as he finds out why exactly he is so affiliated with Zelda (through the memories he uncovers). As the player’s uncover the story of Zelda and Hyrule, so does Link.
Smith & Carrette (2019) Design Foundations for Emotional Game Characters Journal for Computer Game Culture • Vol. 10, No. 1
Vidiquvist J (2019) Open-world Game Design: Case Study : The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild Business Information Systems