The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GC) Ultra HD Panorama Collection
Title: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
Developer: Nintendo EAD, Publisher: Nintendo (2003)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is an amazing game , a classic Zelda game in many respects: beautiful to play and to explore, one can also experience a unique natural environment a game that challenges the traditional environment design approaches to the balance bewtween landmass and water.
The relationship of water to land is an important design consideration in any game that uses a representation of the natural environment. Zelda: Wind Waker’s natural environment is relatively unique given the history of games using natural environments. Wind Waker doesn’t use the conventional approach in natural environment design: i.e. basing the game world around a central land mass, it reverses the conventional balance of land to water (i.e. a large land mass with pockets of water) to one where no real large central landmass in the game exists, but rather a series of archipelago islands with gameplay taking place across the world through ‘island hopping’ wind waker’s world , which is composed around 49 islands in a 7×7′ grid.
There is a real sense of exposure felt in exploring Wind Waker’s ‘Great Sea’, land is given as a reward rather than a expectation on exploring the world. Exposed to the elements whilst boating around the Great Sea and glimpsing an a island in the distance, altering heading to finally set foot on a strange unknown shore, and finding a new island to explore often evoked a sense of wonder mixed with relief. The islands themselves weren’t huge, often being home to nothing more than a few palm tree’s and perhaps a key game item/sub-level.
The use of multiple small islands spread across a vast sea appears to go against the traditional design paradigm of avoiding large spacing out of areas in the game world and thereby introducing ‘travel boredom'(common in open environment games, where the player must travel large distances between goals, often resulting in boredom) ZWW is in fact the opposite with the player being forced to set sail and endure significant amounts of time in finding a landmass to land and explore on, and the reception from players appears to indicate it works, extremely well. Players earnt the reward of both the opportunity to exlore a new land mass, and the potential of a new quest items to aid them in their journey.