How Games Work: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild



Today I will talk about a game the whole world seems to be talking about for the last months, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I recently bought a Nintendo Switch. The new Nintendo console everyone is talking about and I have to say, the design and the tech inside it, are quite impressive. I also bought Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with it to see what the fuss is all about.

I had read a lot of reviews that said the game is great and watched interviews of the creative team behind the game explaining how they made it. It all looked a bit too good to be true and I admit I was skeptical.

The Game

Well, five minutes into the game and all my doubts were gone. Breath of the Wild is definitely worth the hype and it will definitely give you a great gaming experience and loads of inspiration on gamification. It has so many elements that apply to so many player types that there is no way someone can play it and go “I can’t learn anything from this game This is a game that is so well designed that you can’t really say “wow the graphics are absolutely fantastic” or “you can really explore a vast world”. The guys from Nintendo really designed everything to a very high standard. Everything is of very high quality, from music to graphics to story to gameplay.

Gamification Inspiration

In these blog posts I usually try and pick one game element that stands out in my opinion and we can learn and use it in gamification. I would say that in this game what we should learn from is how well designed the whole project is. All parts are very well balanced and if you watch the following video you will understand how hard that was for the game designers to achieve.

First, the game designers had the vision of what the game is about and what they want to happen in the game, then the software engineers took these ideas and tried to make them happen and finally the art department came up with great art to bring everything together and make a great product. Because let’s not forget that games are products and we can learn a lot from a well-made game.

Let the user decide

Another core characteristic of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the freedom of choice it gives players. You can literally do anything you like in this game. You can follow the story, never follow the story and venture off on your own adventures, fight monsters, avoid monsters and just explore, fight monsters from a distance, fight monsters up close. Anything you can imagine in a video game you can do it if you want to. Breath of the wild motivates all player types because it’s so open and gives the player the choice to do whatever they like. It’s like a huge playground waiting to be discovered by the users.

Open World Gamification?

I wonder if a gamification solution could be as open as this game and not guide users a lot through the experience. How would that look and how would you make sure you achieve your goals is something that I would like to discuss!

If you played Breath of the Wild and liked it or you want to talk more about an open world gamification game, please send me a tweet at @v_gkogkidis

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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