Zelda: Breath of the Wild dev reveals how a random real-world encounter solved a sound effect problem
A sound decision
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is less than a month away, but we wouldn’t be getting that sequel if it weren’t for Breath of the Wild before it.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was an absolutely massive undertaking for Nintendo, making for its biggest game at the time. That led to all sorts of challenging situations, and sound design was definitely included in that.
The amount of sound effects needed for a game like Breath of the Wild is insane, and much of their creation was handled by developer Takuro Yasuda. Yasuda faced a particularly perplexing issue when trying to represent what Link was carrying through sound.
If you’ve played Breath of the Wild, you no doubt know that Link is often carrying swords, shields, and bows and arrows. Yasuda was struggling with the sound effects for these items, specifically when Link was walking around with them in his inventory. Making the sound for these items rattle around led to an audio mess, and Yasuda said he couldn’t quite find a good way to make the sound work. This is when happenstance led to seeing a solution in real-life.
You can see Yasuda’s solution below, as translated by Nintendo Everything.
That was when something I saw on a regular day on my way home from work became a big hint for me. There was somebody walking in front of me wearing a shoulder bag, and every time one of their feet hit the ground, their shoulder bag made noise. So I made it so that when Link steps with his right foot, only the shield makes noise, and when he steps with his left foot, the arrow makes noise, and then the sword at a slight offset. That was how I made it possible to tell them apart without losing the individual characteristics of each material.
It’s funny how things work out sometimes. One day Yasuda was left wondering if he could find a solution to his audio puzzle, and the next day showed him a real-world solution. It just goes to show how things we take for granted in games can cause all sorts of headaches to the dev team.
Another interesting note on Yasuda and his sound work in Breath of the Wild comes from the Yiga Clan. Ever wonder who provided the voice work for the Yiga Clan members? It turns out Yasuda took on the role himself!