In addition to being one of the most talked about games at E3 2016, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the first totally new console release in Nintendo's long-running franchise since 2011's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. And though Skyward Sword was critically acclaimed, many elements of the game were divisive among fans.
According to producer Eiji Aonuma, many of the sweeping changes that Breath of the Wild brings to the franchise are based on the negative feedback Nintendo received from some fans for Skyward Sword.
"A lot of the fans that played Skyward Sword said that they were really bummed out that they couldn't find the hidden element of the game," Aonuma told Polygon. "A lot of the users, when they looked at the map, they said, 'OK, there's these places I can go, but how come I can't go over here?'"
Aonuma said that the decision to create a much bigger world in Breath of the Wild was in large part shaped by those fan responses. He wanted to make sure players had a plenty of treasures and surprises to track down.
"A lot of Zelda fans are the type of people that really like to explore those hidden elements," he said. "I realized that creating this bigger world and letting them freely play may be the solution to all of that."
Aonuma recognized that not all gamers love big, aimless open-world games, but he's hoping to win them over with Breath of the Wild.
"I've always thought that when creating a 3D game where it's easy for users to get lost, it's really important to tell the users what they need to do," Aonuma said. "But then, after creating this larger world, I realized that getting lost isn't that bad. Having the option to do whatever you want and get lost is actually kind of fun. I think fans that enjoy a more linear type of gameplay will also enjoy this type of gameplay."
There is, however, one class of fan that Aonuma is worried will be upset with the changes in Breath of the Wild.
"Fans that enjoyed the motion controls in Skyward Sword may actually be a little bit disappointed playing this game," he said.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released in 2017 for the Wii U and Nintendo's new NX hardware. We'll have more coverage of the game throughout the week and in the coming months.