Nintendo have published parts of an interview with Director Hideomaro Fujibayashi & Producer Eiji Aonuma about the Champions’ Ballad DLC for The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. In this interview, Aonuma and Fujibayashi talk about the new story elements, the design for the new divine beast, new outfits and more. There may be some light “spoilers” ahead so if you don’t want to read them, turn away now.
For new players, should you play the DLC after you beat the main story?
Fujibayashi: While developing DLC pack 2, I thought the game is at its best when you have both DLC Packs 1 and 2, and has more memorable moments. This might sound market-y but for those who haven’t played it yet…
Aonuma: It’s not too late! (laughs)
Fujibayashi: For those that haven’t played it yet, I think the optimal way to play is to have all of the DLC included in the beginning.
Could you tell us why you decided to focus on the Champions for this DLC pack?
Aonuma: Especially after the launch, the Champions have been popular, so we assumed players will be interested in them. We’ve presented them as new and distinct characters in the series, so I think they stand out just as much as Link and Zelda. I hope that we can use them again in the future. (laughs)
Us too! Also, how was the idea born to deepen the Champions’ story through Kass’ new ballads?
Fujibayashi: In the main story, some of the story was told through Link recalling his memories, and the idea sprouted from discussing if we can have a different approach to tell the story. From there, we thought it would match the world of BotW to tell the stories from 100 years ago, and even ten thousand years ago through ballads passed on through the world’s long history.
So that meant someone needed to sing these ballads… and we remembered we already had a bard in the game! So we thought Kass would be fit to recite the story to Link.
Aonuma: I believe Kass is another character that stands out. After the game’s launch, I’m assuming Kass left quite an impression along with the sad melody recited on the accordian. In DLC, it’s a great opportunity to actually fully create the abilities and “what-ifs” for some characters.
Speaking of the Champions, who’s your favorite Champion?
Aonuma: After working on DLC Pack 2, Mipha became my favorite. In the main story, I had an impression that Mipha’s feelings towards Link felt like a devoted love that seemed a bit too much for me. But after working on DLC Pack 2, I learned that her feelings were more deep – something similar to a mother’s love towards her child – and I felt that was really touching.
Fujibayashi: Urbosa is still my favorite. She’s strong, king, and beautiful. I think the traits that make her a cool leader of the Gerudo make her the most charming character to me.
Is there anything you want to say to new players, Mr. Aonuma?
Aonuma: Since this game is part of the Zelda game series, some people may assume that you need to play the other games to understand it. However, Link starts this game without any memories. So it’s a game where Link goes on a journey figuring out who he is, and why he was asleep there. Because of this, players can enjoy the game without knowing anything about the past Zelda series games, and it’s a game focused on discovering what the game is about.
In addition, some games we’ve created don’t allow players to progress without defeating specific enemies. In BotW, there’s so much you can do that doesn’t require defeating enemies, and by doing tasks that don’t require defeating them, it can help you defeat enemies you couldn’t defeat before. And even if you still can’t defeat some enemies, you can discover new things to do and progress the game at your own pace. I would be happy if players that have gotten lost and stuck in other games play this game – it was designed to open up more paths as you explore.
Let’s talk shrines and dungeons! First, how do you go about designing dungeons in the main story?
Fujibayashi: Ah yes, there were two approaches. Since these dungeons focus on physics, one approach was creating a dungeon that fully utilized the physics. The second approach was to create a dungeon that gets affected by events in the dungeon – such as dynamic movements, changes in direction, and getting transferred to different locations. By having players discover a dungeon within these large beings, it links the story and gameplay, and that’s the king of dungeon I wanted to create.
Ah, interesting. So how did this affect the new dungeon in The Champions’ Ballad?
Fujibayashi: Since the new dungeon was created with more ideas after we’ve created the four Divine Beast dungeons, I believe the dungeon added in DLC Pack 2 is the most fun and different among the dungeons we worked on.
There are many outfits in the game that are from past Zelda games, but how did you decide on which ones to use? Also, which outfit is your favorite?
Fujibayashi: All the staff got together to decide on them, focusing on the impact of the outfits, like Zant’s Helmet, the Island Lobster shirt, and Phantom Ganon armor. We really wanted to choose impactful and fun outfits like the lobster shirt, and outfits that make Link look totally different.
I’m personally a fan of the Phantom Ganon armor set because when it’s equipped, Link looks like a totally different character – it felt like I’m playing a different game while riding the motorcycle with this outfit. I had Link riding around in it while we were testing the content!
Aonuma: As producer, I was interested to see how the outfits would appear in the world of BotW. Surprisingly, it seems like most outfits would work in this game’s world.
Honestly, the outfit I wanted to add into the game the most was the Island Lobster Shirt. I own a replica of this shirt, I’ve worn it to many promotional activities, and I even wear it during my life outside of work. It’s a design that strangely looks decent even when an adult wears it. In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where this shirt originated, the ocean appears in the game, but no lobsters. I’m still puzzled why there’s a lobster pattern shirt in a game with no lobsters.
Many players have used the capturing function of the Nintendo Switch system to post interesting screenshots and videos of the game online. Have any of them surprised you?
Fujibayashi: I think there’s a road where the Yiga Clan ambush you in the game, and I saw someone post a series of videos showing different ways to defeat Yiga Clan ambushers. In one video, they stopped an item midair with Stasis – when the Yiga Clan member appeared, the item drops and crushes them. I thought that was fun and clever. Very unique.
Aonuma: There are a ton of them shared online, so I’ve seen quite a few of them – like people hitting something several times under Statis and riding it a far distance. The one thing that really surprised me, and I don’t know how this user pulled it of, but they made a strong enemy called a Lynel chase them a far distance – leading it to another Lynel to fight. Looking at it I was worried what would happen! I was surprised with the user’s determination to do what they want and their challenging spirit.
Mr. Fujibayashi, thank you for providing tips for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild news channel. Could you give a brief rundown of how players can benefit from this channel?
Fujibayashi: Of course. Some of these articles provide items you can use in-game, so it lets players test out the tips right away. A funny example is the article that distributed eggs. If you tried to redeem the item at the wrong location, they’d fall from the sky and break. Naturally, we make sure you can retrieve the distributed items, but we thought it was funny that they’ll break if you’re not in water… so we distributed them as is. There’s no limit to the number of times you can redeem the items, so try it as much as you’d like!
We were wondering about those eggs! And finally, I would like to ask a very important question. (pauses) Why does the Yiga Clan love bananas so much?
Fujibayashi: (laughs) This is actually a secret that hasn’t been told yet. As mentioned in the main story, the Yiga Clan used to be members of the Sheikah tribe, and between you and me, the Sheikah tribe apparently liked bananas ten thousand years ago. There’s actually a scene that proves this in DLC Pack 2. It’s a secret where this location is at, but if you do manage to find it, it gives players a fun nod from ten thousand years ago. However, it’s still a mystery why they specifically love bananas so much.
I am honestly surprised to get such a deep answer from such a casual question.
Do you have anything to add, Mr. Aonuma?
Aonuma: I was also wondering “Why Bananas?”, but it’s still a mystery to me, too.
I see (laughs). Assuming this mystery will not be solved anytime soon, that’s it for today. Mr. Aonuma and Mr. Fujibayashi, thank you again for making time for us!
Aonuma & Fujibayashi: Thank you very much.
Source: Nintendo Switch News