During Nintendo’s online presentation at E3, The Legend of Zelda development head Eiji Aonuma made an announcement about the long-awaited Zelda title for the Wii U that surprised many fans of the series.
While speaking about previous installments in the series, Aonuma described the process of transitioning from a two-dimensional world into a three-dimensional one on Nintendo’s progressively more sophisticated consoles. “It was very hard to create one large world where everything felt connected,” he explained of the more modern Zelda games, like 2003’s The Wind Waker.
“We had to design small, bounded areas with a defined entrance and exit,” the Nintendo developer lamented. “You still couldn’t cut through the boundaries wherever you liked to explore that world.”
On the heels of this observation, Aunomo dropped his bombshell: the 2015 installment of The Legend of Zelda franchise will be an open world, sandbox game, akin to the incredibly popular Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto.
For the first time ever in the rigidly traditionalist series, players will be free to explore the kingdom of Hyrule at their own leisure, entering dungeons, battling bosses and completing quests in their own order, at their own pace.
Behind him, Aunomo unveiled a vast and idyllic landscape, complete with the series’ legendary hero, Link, visible in the foreground. “We couldn’t create such a wide world like this in the past,” beamed Aunomo with pride. “As soon as those boundaries are removed, it means you can enter any area from any direction. This is a clean break from the conventions of past games in the Zelda series.”
In addition to this announcement, Nintendo released a brief, thirty second teaser trailer of the upcoming game, in which Link is seen to do battle with a gigantic mechanical foe.
No further details, beyond its 2015 release date, have been revealed at this time.