When Nintendo developer Shigeru Miyamoto talks about The Legend of Zelda game for Wii U to consumers he calls it "open world". But for his designers "open world" is a dirty term.
Nintendo unveiled the next The Legend of Zelda game for Wii U at E3 last month with an eye-catching video, below. According to Ninendo's official blurb: "The newest game in the franchise, scheduled for 2015, introduces the first truly open world in a game from the series."
Players can roam Hyrule Field or set off on a trek to distant mountains if they prefer, Nintendo said. Players can get to any area they can see from virtually any direction. "That's one of the ways the game breaks with franchise norms and introduces new ways to play," according to the company.
Reflecting on E3 during Nintendo's 74th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, Miyamoto discussed the use of the term open world in relation to the game.
"I prefer not to use the generally used term open world when developing software, but we used this term in order to make it easier for consumers to understand," he said.
It's all a part of Nintendo's effort to come up with a new type of The Legend of Zelda experience - and to do that established terminology, such as open world, needs to be thrown in the bin during the development process.
"This term means that there is a large world in which players can do numerous things daily," he explained.
"In the traditional The Legend of Zelda series, the player would play one dungeon at a time. For example, if there are eight dungeons, at the fourth dungeon, some players may think, 'I'm already halfway through the game,' while other players may think, 'I still have half of the game to play.' We are trying to gradually break down such mechanism and develop a game style in which you can enjoy The Legend of Zelda freely in a vast world, whenever you find the time to do so."
Miyamoto said this evolution was already in motion, and pointed to A Link Between Worlds, which lets players rent different items from the beginning so they can use different combinations of items.
In short, Nintendo is "gradually changing the structure" of The Legend of Zelda series. "We are preparing to newly evolve the series for Wii U," Miyamoto said, before teasing: "In addition to that, we have ideas for Nintendo 3DS which we have not announced yet, so I hope you will look forward to them." Food for thought.
Miyamoto was later quizzed on his open world comment by another shareholder, so he expanded on the idea.
"I intentionally used the term open world so that it would be easier (for consumers) to understand, just as the shareholder has pointed out. Please understand I meant that when the development teams have discussions, I dislike heavily using terms that are commonly used (when developing something new and surprising)."