How Satoru Iwata’s Death Impacted The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Development

It is hard to believe that it has been nearly two years since late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed away. The world mourned his sudden loss, but we can’t begin to comprehend how hard it was for those inside Nintendo to take in the news while working hard on projects that he had been involved in.

Now, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi has spoken about how Iwata’s unexpected death had impacted the development team, and soon “became a source of motivation” when they came to believe that he was still watching over them.

“When he passed away, there were moments we’d come up with an idea which we’d be excited to talk to Iwata about. Then we’d remember he was no longer here,” Fujibayashi told The New Yorker.

“Miyamoto told me it was the same for him. He’d come up with an idea at the weekend and would feel excited to speak to Iwata about it on Monday, only to remember. The sadness runs deep. This is approaching spiritual talk, but we had the sense that he was watching over our work. That became a source of motivation, a drive for us to improve and be better.”

And, perhaps he was right. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, sat with a 98 Metascore on Metacritic which has been aggregated from 73 critics.

We agreed in our own review, concluding: “Breath of the Wild delivers the adventure of a lifetime, and it is exciting that it will thrive on shared experiences around the way that everyone chose to interact with the world before them. 

We have long awaited the day that Ocarina of Time was dethroned, and here we have a renewed blueprint that will similarly have a momentous impact on where the series is steered next.”

Alex Seedhouse
After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.
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