The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma has shared that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the largest game that Nintendo has ever created.
He admitted that meant there had been concern about where to start, although there had been a team of younger developers in place that had concentrated on creating a larger world for players to explore.
“This is definitely the first time we’ve created a game this large. We didn’t know where to start,” Aonuma explained to TIME. “So it happened to be there was a team that was working on creating a larger world. And this team was a group of younger developers. So we had our old programmers from the Zelda team take a step aside, so we could introduce this new group of programmers.”
That this team were unaware of how past adventures were developed led to new ideas, and has helped Link’s latest quest break away from the conventions that the series has held for so long.
He continued, “But then these new, younger developers had no clue about how past Zeldas had been created. The group of new staff actually would ask us, like ‘Well I know that it’s been done, traditionally, in other Zelda titles, but why does it have to be that way?’ And among those questions there were some I just couldn’t answer, that I didn’t know the answer to myself. That was because I just took those things on as a tradition, and I didn’t really know why the tradition existed.
“When you think about it, maybe those things really didn’t need to be there in the modern world, those traditions. So I started destroying these traditions I’d inherited in the series one by one. But it’s a process that takes a lot of time. And because we were destroying everything we’d done in the past, and rebuild new ideas from the ground up, that was the hardest thing, and it’s really taken a long time to create the thing I most wanted to create.”
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will release exclusively for Wii U and Nintendo NX in 2017.