If you asked me what my favorite moment in gaming history is, I would begin painting a picture for you. You are your kindest man. You’ll be told to wake up with a stone coffin. You put some tattered clothes on and stumble through a cave that has mysterious, ancient technological ties that feel distinctly tomb-like. The door opens, then you climb into the rain. You cross the cliff and see the games landscape wildly before you, while tiny. Hello, Breath of the Wild.
I still rumbled into my spine as I watched Breath of the Wilds opening long enough, many years later. It still evokes the sense of magic, wonder, and excitement that I felt in that moment that I had been taking pictures of while watching video games. But during the five years since Breath of the Wilds released (and as long as I wait for the sequel), I have learnt that the copying of that specific moment will definitely not inspire that same feeling again. Unfortunately, gaming studios don’t have gotten that memo.
As with everything popular and groundbreaking, many studios experienced the same cutscene as me. This is what the people love! Let’s do it on our own, and then it’s going to be well and popular, too. But as soon as the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wilds was releasing, we saw this shot again and again. One character will hit the rock and look at the gorgeous landscape of the island. A studio becomes, look at me! You’re doing an open-world game! If there is a castle, give me bonus points. The first time you heard this, it was magical. It had gone into a tired trope now.
Take Tower of Fantasy, the new Genshin-like MMORPG. At the end of the game, you make a good taste of combat, and pass on to take out your favorite parts. There are strangers who know him and are in the secret of their remote home. From there, you walk out onto the cliffside and ooh, music and the titles while you walk around the vast new landscape you see yourself in! Sure it seems familiar! Those keys are right, not just mine.
Photo via Level Infinite.
De facto, Genshin Impact has a lot of influences from the Wild. Remember the trailer, right? In the first five seconds, the principal character wakes up, heads to an (pointy) cliff & views the beautiful landscape.
But while the desire to recreate Breath of the Wilds magical opening didn’t stop at new episodes that needed familiar footholds in the market. A series of beloved characters established and beloved as The Legend of Zelda and Link are coming in, too. For example, the premise of Sonic Frontiers seems to be, What if Breath of the Wild is merely Sonic? Fans are concerned that Sonic Frontiers won’t really look like a game like Sonic. Again, SEE at the KEY STAFF. They used this as the COVER.
Image: Sonic’s team/sSEGA.
Green, paved roads! Blue skies! It’s the same thing. Immersively. I lost my goddamn mind. It’s gone. Calamity Ganons gross muck got me after all those years ago.
Nintendo’s other branch of offering the games the fun. Although the game of a Wild Pokemon is something about me in the whole world, I think it’s a bit absurd. In fact, the not-quite open world Pokemon Legends influenced Arceus’ skimmering focus. The score for the game is really big. The game itself had no effect of riffing on the story to cliffside view. However, again, look at what the key art condensed into the cover was.
(image: Game Freak)
Take Elden Ring in a nice way. Like Breath of the Wild, Elden Ring is starting in a weird, creepy tomb-like place, and then of course you go into a sunny land. But it does what it does. It’s not something like The Big Shot. And the best way to differentiate Elden Ring in the open-world landscaping realm is to stay with the Erdtree.
I know that. The beauty of the Wild is incredible. This is my favourite game of all time. But as ever, and with all respect for gaming studios? Encounter Breath of the Wild, or with it as an starting point to show how epic your game is, wont win the favour of your game. It will just make me feel like playing Breath of the Wild instead.
If I don’t play The Breath of the Wild, then as a gamer, I want to learn new techniques which make an open-world game epic. Show me what your game is different. I want this era of games to be done with, thank you.
(HD image: Nintendo).