SOFT LAUNCH

EDGE - - BORN TO BE WILD -

Breath Of The Wild is Nin­tendo’s most am­bi­tious project to date, and the com­pany’s own staff re­quired some as­sis­tance to get it fin­ished. Around 100 staff from

Xenoblade Chron­i­cles de­vel­oper Mono­lith Soft have worked on it. Mar­shalling a work­force of that size is no mean feat, par­tic­u­larly when you’re mak­ing a game with so many vari­ables. But en­sur­ing ev­ery­one was on the same page was less of a prob­lem than you might as­sume, as Fu­jibayashi ex­plains. “Since this was a rather large-scale project, we were com­ing up with a lot of ideas for fea­tures and game­play at the same time as we were creat­ing the game,” he says. “When do­ing this it’s im­pos­si­ble to avoid some in­con­sis­ten­cies in terms of de­vel­op­ment de­ci­sions and what’s ac­tu­ally be­ing made. So at mile­stones dur­ing de­vel­op­ment, we were sure to have all of the de­vel­op­ment staff take plenty of time to play the game that had been made so far and un­der­stand the prob­lems we had.”

This might sound time­con­sum­ing, but Fu­jibayashi says it be­came a use­ful short­cut, ul­ti­mately cut­ting down de­vel­op­ment time rather than ex­tend­ing it. “By re­peat­ing this process, the di­rec­tor just has to de­fine the prob­lem, and the staff work­ing on the game can then eas­ily un­der­stand what the is­sue is, avoid­ing any dif­fer­ences in key ar­eas in terms of de­ci­sions, or the di­rec­tion we should go. Also, by un­der­stand­ing the game as a whole by playtest­ing it, our de­vel­op­ers were able to un­der­stand what the col­league next to them was work­ing on. It’s hor­i­zon­tal in­for­ma­tion shar­ing. We over­came the bound­aries of roles, which of­ten iso­lates in­for­ma­tion.”

This col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach al­lowed staff to eas­ily ex­change in­for­ma­tion with col­leagues, en­cour­ag­ing ideas to be freely shared and im­ple­mented. “It may seem ob­vi­ous, but this had quite a huge ef­fect on the project,” Fu­jibayashi says. “For ex­am­ple, the en­e­mies in this game re­ally have lots of unique ac­tions. If you throw a bomb, they may kick it or throw it back to you, or they might pick up and use weapons dropped by oth­ers. These ac­tions were cre­ated by staff work­ing on all kinds of other ar­eas find­ing things that could be fun and bring­ing up those ideas.”

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