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New 'Legend of Zelda' channels 'Skyrim' sensibility

tech reviews Updated: Jun 12, 2014 11:08 IST

Nintendo's new take on "The Legend of Zelda" looks to create an expansive world for players to explore, drawing parallels with modern entries to the "Elder Scrolls" and "Witcher" series.

Though the 2015 Wii U game will holding fast to core "Zelda" themes, it's doing away with a more directed critical path to completion found in recent series entries.

"This is a clean break from the conventions of past games in the 'Zelda' series, where you had to follow a set path and play through the scenario in the right order," said producer Eiji Aonuma during Nintendo's June 10 presentation, part of a publicity drive at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

"I believe this departure will create oppportunities for new gameplay that have not been experienced in previous 'Zelda' games."

Aonuma's first stint as a designer on the "Zelda" franchise was with "Ocarina of Time" in 1998, coinciding with the series' leap from 2D to 3D graphics.

Technical constraints, he said, meant that the 3D "Zelda" games had to do away with the more open world nature of previous entries, and at their best managed to create the illusion of free exploration, while containing players within connected areas with defined entry and exit points.

It's something that Aonuma and his crew "wanted to do for a very long time," and something that's now being created in the unnamed "Legend of Zelda" game for Wii U.

"As soon as those boundaries are removed, it means you can enter any area from any direction. So the puzzle solving in this game begins the moment the player starts to think about where they want to go, how they will get there, and what they want to do when they arrive."

"You can even reach those mountains in the distance if you walk far enough," he said, a line that recalled pre-release promises made about "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," "Borderlands 2" and upcoming title "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt."