“He just kept climbing trees. Up and down.”
When Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto was first shown The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all he wanted to do was climb trees.
In an interview with Kotaku, Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi discussed his experience first showing the game to Miyamoto and and series producer Eiji Aonuma. Early on in development the two asked him what the theme of the game was, to which he told them: “You can do everything.”
In order to best convey this concept to Miyamoto and Aonuma, Fujibayashi wanted to showcase Link’s ability to climb and presented a prototype that contained a small field with trees. “We put rupees at the top of the tree to let them know that this is something we’re taking into account, but I didn’t tell them,” Fujibayashi said. The only instructions Fujibayashi gave Miyamoto were to play, and immediately he started climbing a tree.
While there were other things in the world, Miyamoto couldn’t stop climbing trees. “When we first presented this to Mr. Miyamoto, he spent about an hour just climbing trees,” Fujibayashi added. While they left goodies for him to find in other parts of the area, “he just kept climbing trees. Up and down.”
Fujibayashi eventually asked him if he wanted to explore some of the other content, but just continued climbing. After exiting the Shrine of Resurrection, the director said Miyamoto “spent an hour just within a 25-50 meter radius outside of that cave just climbing trees.”
For our thoughts on why Link’s new open-world adventure is a “masterpiece,” (and not just for the tree climbing) read IGN’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild review. While you’re at it, be sure to check out our comprehensive wiki guide, which contains a full walkthrough, interactive map and loads of helpful tips and tricks.