The Zelda games have always to a certain degree featured an open world. Going “all in” the way Nintendo does with the upcoming title, could prove to be somewhat too reckless.
Everyone is doing massive open world games now. Nintendo reveals gameplay from their new Zelda game showing off a Hyrule that spreads out in all directions. This worked well in the Elder Scrolls games where the open world full of places to explore became a great success withe The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Bioware learned from this and shipped their newest Dragon Age: Inquisition with huge areas of exploration, and the upcoming The Witcher 3 will also open up the world for the player to explore.
An open world of the scope seen in Skyrim could be fun and interesting, but could also backfire. The worlds of Tamriel and Thadas are filled with enormous amounts of lore, legend and stories for the player to explore and engage in.
My question is if the Zelda universe has the same depth to be able to fill a world of this scope. A vast open world with little to do and explore is utterly more boring than a small world filled to the brim with exciting content.
The lore of the Zelda universe works well with the scope of the previous games in the series, since they have focused much more on defined areas and polished gameplay. Miyamoto has always stressed that Nintendo’s vision is to make great gameplay first, and then make a story to fit it in. Not the other way around.
When Zelda is suddenly going to open up and fletch out a vast open world of adventure for Link to explore, I fear that the universe simply doesn’t have the depth and complexity for that to stay interesting.
You should always be very careful when trying to eat something bigger than your head.
Watch the demonstration video with Miyamoto and Aonuma here.