There sure are a lot of video game adaptations in the works. And while they likely won’t all be as celebrated as HBO’s The Last of Us or 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog, it sure seems like production companies aren’t holding back when it comes to recreating gaming’s iconic locales. The latest sighting of sets-in-progress is for the upcoming Five Nights at Freddy’s film.
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Five Nights at Freddy’s, the media sensation spanning multiple games, books, and comics set in a children’s-themed pizza restaurant where the souls of dead kids possess otherwise-innocent animatronic mascots, has had a movie in the works for some time. It was first brought to light way back in the before-times™ of 2015. At the time Roy Lee (The Ring, The Grudge) was slated to produce the film, with the game’s creator, Scott Cawthon, expected to play a key role in its development. Things got a little mixed up and in 2017 it was revealed that Blumhouse, the production company behind horror hits like Get Out and M3GAN, would take up production responsibilities. After losing a director in 2021, director Emma Tammi (Into the Dark, The Wind) was attached to the project as recently as October 2022. It’s the usual film and TV game of musical chairs, but with live sets being filmed and spotted in the wild, maybe things are finally on the right track.
Spotted by Kuronuma_Aoba on Twitter, the facade of a Freddy Fazbear’s pizzeria almost looks normal compared to something like the sets of the upcoming Fallout show. That is, until you see Freddy’s familiar face and the fear starts seeping in. “Imagine waking up.” reads one tweet reply, “and now your town has a fucking Freddy Fazbear’s pizzeria.”
As noted in the tweet thread, the set only features the front of the pizzeria. Step behind it and the illusion is shattered:
While this unauthorized sneak peek at the FNaF set sure is cool, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already starting to get exhausted at the prospect of watching all of these high-production-value video game adaptations. I know The Last of Us is a huge hit, Hollywood, but let’s maybe space these out a bit?
Warzone 2.0 hasn’t been a universal hit with fans of Call of Duty. Various gameplay and UI changes and frustrations over a slow and sometimes confusing battle pass structure have pushed many players, including pros and popular streamers, off the game, with many migrating to other games or to Warzone: Caldera, where the original Warzone experience lives on.
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Warzone has always had a cheating problem, which seems to persist across Caldera and 2.0 despite aggressive anti-cheat implementation from Activision. Resilient cheating, however, combined with dissatisfaction over the state of Warzone 2.0, is leading some to suspect that hackers are being paid to chase top streamers off of Caldera. It’s an unlikely theory, but it still speaks to the disappointment many have over the current Warzone offering.
In a March 29 tweet, content creator ModernWarzone alleged that “a company is paying cheaters for ‘bounties’ on famous Warzone streamers like @its_iron.” The reason? ModernWarzone suggests: “This particular company is doing so because they don’t want people on Warzone [Caldera] anymore.” That’s a pretty tall claim, and it’s all based ons streamer its_iron’s repeated instances of getting stream sniped (a form of cheating where a user watches an opposing player’s livestream to effectively see where they are to get the jump on them) by a user with the Activision name Bellgaming13.
But while there seems to be proof that the aforementioned account has managed to get into the same lobby as the snipe target in question, as well as examples of a lingering cheating problem in Caldera, the evidence of some kind of widespread conspiracy simply doesn’t add up. What isn’t as easy to dismiss, however, is that opinions over Warzone 2.0 have definitely soured, leading to dissatisfaction and lower player counts overall.
Claims of paid hackers are paper-thin at best
The tweet speculating that a company is paying hackers contains a video featuring popular CoD streamer its_iron (who did not wish to speak with Kotaku on the record) watching an interview between CoD streamer ComradeGrisha and the “hacker” in question: Bellgaming13. In the video, Bellgaming13 says:
I signed an NDA, basically, if that makes sense? So I can’t really disclose who exactly it is […] it’s not a specific person. It’s…I can’t really say that much but basically like […] all I can say is they do not want you on this game anymore basically. It’s like. That’s basically all I can say.
That video, which can be found on its_iron’s Twitch channel, is titled “Activision Hires Cheaters To [Stream Snipe] Caldera Players” and pulls from another video by ComradeGrisha, titled “Calderagate!!! ‘Is someone paying hackers to get people off Caldera???? You decide!!!!” The Twitch channel also features several videos of Bellgaming13 repeatedly appearing in its_iron’s games, clearly killing him via stream sniping.
Speaking with Kotaku, ComradeGrisha said that he had run into this stream sniper on multiple occasions with his crew of regular squadmates. It was suspicious enough behavior for him and his squad to reach out to Bellgaming13. That led to the interview in which Bellgaming13 claims that they “signed an NDA” and are acting on behalf of someone who wishes to chase streamers off Warzone. No proof of the NDA, or anything else, was offered.
It seems highly unlikely that an NDA to protect the identity of those hacking or stream sniping, both of which would arguably break the terms of service any Warzone player would have to agree to to even play in the first place, would ever hold up enough to keep someone quiet. Break out the dismissive Johnathan Frakes memes for this one, folks.
Kotaku has reached out to Activision for comment.
Repeat hacking and gameplay changes speak to Warzone 2.0 pains
Though it’s highly unlikely that there’s a coordinated campaign, specifically in this instance, to pay hackers to intentionally target streamers via stream sniping in order to somehow chase them off of the game, it is clear that Warzone 2.0’s player count has begun to collapse. Sinking below 90,000 active players on Steam recently, CoD is falling behind other popular shooters like Apex Legends, PUBG, and even Destiny 2.
A drop in returning players can be attributed to a few factors highlighted by the wider CoD community. Many point to the dramatic changes in the time-to-kill (TTK) rate as one of the most immediate. Others see BR competitors like Fortnite as potentially offering a brighter and more interesting future with the recently released Unreal Editor. There’s also the fact that Warzone1 grew to significant maturity with its various skins and cosmetics, all of which did not carry over to Warzone 2.0.
Live service games have always had a natural ebb and flow in terms of popularity. But what’s clear is that Warzone is starting to tire out a dedicated fan base, some of whom are jumping back into a previous iteration of the game, while others are searching for answers and clinging to conspiracy theories in the absence of them.
Update 3/31/2023: A player count in this article has been updated for accuracy.
Eight months ago, PointCrow, one of the most well-known Legend of Zelda YouTubers, posted a video of himself and a couple of streamers testing out a BotW multiplayer mod. As you might expect, the mod turns Nintendo’s solitary adventure into something that can be enjoyed with friends. Since posting his first announcement video, which has over 1.8 million views, PointCrow has uploaded a couple of other vids of himself and his friends using the BotW multiplayer mod to play hide and seek, attempt speedruns while other players hunt each other, and unite their forces to defeat Calamity Ganon, or at least try to. PointCrow’s most recent BotW multiplayer mod video has over 1.5 million views and now, the mod that makes all of this possible is available to play.
The BotW mod works (kinda)
The BotW multiplayer mod allows players to invite their friends into a game as their own respective Links. Not only do players spawn in wearing whatever clothes they had their Link wear in their own playthroughs, but they can also see players’ animations whenever they open chests or interact with the environment while solving puzzles in a dungeon and fighting enemies. The mod also allows players to explore wherever they want in Hyrule while their party completes other objectives or complete them together Soulsborne-style. You can even commemorate your multiplayer escapades by taking a group photo. Kotaku reached out to PointCrow for comment.
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While the BotW mod’s mere existence is impressive, it still has a couple of kinks to work out. For example, in PointCrow’s first video, the time of day for each player isn’t in sync. Also, whenever a player dies, their Link will A-pose in the sky before respawning, as you can see here. Link’s character model also gets jank whenever multiple Links climb a tree or ride their horses to the same destination.
How the BotW multiplayer mod came into being
According to the YouTube video’s description box, the BotW mod was created by AlexMangue and Sweet, folks who PointCrow reportedly paid a “$10,000 bounty” to develop the mod for him. Hopefully, PointCrow’s already well-publicized and popular creation won’t receive a C&D from Nintendo’s lawyers by the time Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases on May 12.
YouTuber and speedrunner Eric “PointCrow” Morino released a brand new multiplayer mod for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on April 4. It basically transforms the hit 2017 Switch game into a modern open-world version of the beloved co-op Zelda spin-off Four Swords Adventures. A couple of days later, Morino says Nintendo hit him with copyright infringement claims that led some of his biggest YouTube videos to be demonetized.
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“Incredibly disappointed that Nintendo of America has decided to block my videos on Breath of the Wild,” he tweeted on April 6. “It’s the love for the community and the innovation that we bring to it that has kept it alive & brought new people to love the Zelda series. I hope you reverse your decision soon.” Morino also shared a screencap of several of his YouTube videos, including ones featuring gameplay footage from the multiplayer mod, showing they’d been flagged for copyright issues.
Nintendo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Publishers maintain they have full ownership and control over any footage produced from their games, but they rarely seek to penalize YouTubers and other content creators for sharing it online and potentially profiting off of it. In fact most companies go out of their way to promote the sharing of footage and screenshots from their games to help spread awareness, increase sales, and cultivate a community of passionate fans.
When it comes to social media content around fan projects and mods, however, Nintendo is one company that’s often aggressively pushed back. Late last year, the Switch manufacturer went after a YouTube documentary about an abandoned pitch for a Zelda tactics spin-off, seeking to get it removed from Google’s platform. The creators eventually managed to appeal the decision and get it reversed.
In response to Morino’s post, several other big content creators chimed in. “Not good for them considering they’re releasing a new game soon and many content creators will popularize it even more and may choose not to create videos around it,” wrote Kittyplays. “Nintendo detected fans having fun and they can’t have that,” wrote LostPause. “This is sad given how much love and effort you given them and botw.”
Breath of the Wild is the fourth best-selling game on Switch, and has remained relevant years after its release in part due to the discoveries, tricks, and new stunts pulled off by people like Morino. Outside of the recent multiplayer mod, he’s drawn millions of additional eyeballs to the game with weird runs like Link growing bigger every time the A button is pressed, or trying to beat the game while both the hardest randomizer mode and the very difficult, map-changing Relics of the Past mod are active.
Morino didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but tweeted that he’s currently appealing the decision with YouTube. “As of now, [the videos are still visible for you to watch—however, they are not monetized,” he wrote. “Hopefully Nintendo releases these claims, as I significantly transform their work and my videos are under fair use.”
Sony’s April 13 State of Play was dedicated entirely to Square Enix’s upcoming PS5-exclusive Final Fantasy XVI, showing off over 20 minutes of new gameplay ahead of the RPG’s June 2023 release.
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Announced in September 2020, Final Fantasy XVI is the story of two royal brothers, Clive and Joshua Rosfield, princes of the kingdom of Rosaria. Joshua, the younger brother, has been blessed with the power of a Dominant, granting him control of the powerful Eikon Phoenix (along the same lines as the summons from many of the prior games). His older brother Clive, passed over for the Dominant’s power, becomes “The First Shield of Rosaria” and his brother’s sworn protector. He’s your main playable character. Joining the brothers Rosfield is Jill Warrick, a ward taken in by the Archduke of Rosaria from the fallen northern territories. Together the three must navigate a world of war and political intrigue after a bloody tragedy throws their lives into chaos.
Sony shows off new Final Fantasy XVI gameplay
Today, during the approximately 25-minute long State of Play, Square Enix showed off more about the game’s summons, Eikons, and also talked more about how the anticipated RPG will play on PS5.
The State of Play was introduced by Naoki Yoshida, the producer of Final Fantasy XVI, and all footage shown during the event was running on a PS5.
Square Enix / Sony
This new entry in the long-running franchise was designed from the ground up as the “first true action-RPG entry in the series,” and Yoshida compared it to a high-speed rollercoaster ride.
All combat in Final Fantasy XVIis in real-time. The fluid, flashy, and action-packed combat looks not unlike that of Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV. Clive’s dodges and strikes feel similarly fluid as moves seen in character-action games like Devil May Cry.
As previously mentioned, the game stars Clive Rosefield, and will take place across his teens, twenties, and thirties. Final Fantasy XVI will use flashbacks to show different and important moments from his life.
The game utilizes a world map screen which players can access whenever they want and can use it to explore the world, meeting new characters, fighting monsters, and solving mysteries. While visiting Cid’s Hideaway, players will be able to buy new items, and weapons and talk to quest givers, too.
Players can use abilities points, earned by defeating enemies, to unlock or upgrade different abilities. You can also let the game choose for you. FFXVI also includes various “timely accessories” that can help less-skilled players or folks not comfortable with “action gameplay.” One accessory, for example, will fully automate evasion during combat.
Sometimes Clive will be joined by other characters. But Square Enix promised that players won’t have to micromanage these party members. Instead, they will have their own AI and do their own things during gameplay.
Another cool feature shown off during the State of Play is Eikon Battles. These will be massive fights between God-like summons and each one will play differently. At one point in the video, a fight between flying creatures looked and played a lot like something from the Panzer Dragoon series. Wild!
What the Final Fantasy XVI logo might mean
The game’s logo could possibly reveal what the game’s main conflict will be. It depicts two of the Eikons, Phoenix and Ifrit, locked in battle. In a previously released trailer, Ifrit is seen tearing people to shreds while someone screams for it to stop. It seems then that battling and controlling Eikons will be central to Final Fantasy XVI’s plot.
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Naoki Yoshida, director of the wildly successful MMO Final Fantasy XIV, is leading development on Final Fantasy XVI. Final Fantasy XVI will mark Square Enix’s return to making original installments in the Final Fantasy franchise after releasing Final Fantasy XV in 2016.
Final Fantasy XVI is set to launch exclusively on PS5 on June 22, 2023. A PC version is expected, though not confirmed, at an unknown future date.
There’s a lot you can do with $300,000: buy a couple Teslas, invest in some stocks, get a PS5 or Xbox Series S/X (or a few of them). It’s an amount of money some people will never see in their lifetimes. Yet, someone with the cash to burn took their $300,000 and bought a super-rare Pikachu Pokémon card at an online auction. Spend it if you got it, I guess.
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Pokémon cards are collectible and playable cards part of the series’ trading card game (TCG). While some have fetched high prices before, including one from July 2022 that YouTuber Logan Paul spent $5 million on to turn in an NFT (yuck), most are just your standard printed art on cardstock. That’s not to say folks don’t go buck wild for a limited-edition card, as evidenced by Japan recently running out of the things thanks to a new double-set pack that featured a rare Grusha and Iono. And while there was one auctioned off for almost half a million dollars earlier this year that seemingly nobody bid on, there’s another card with an equally eye-popping price tag that seems to have actually sold.
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The ‘extraordinarily rare’ Pokémon card is now someone’s centerpiece
Dexerto reports that a high-graded Pikachu Pokémon card ran someone’s wallet $300,000 on the multi-national auction house Heritage Auctions. The card itself, a 1997 Trophy Pikachu issued to the third-place winner during the TCG’s first-ever tournament in Japan, is extremely rare. According to the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), a site that authenticates and grades cards around the world, less than 100 of these cards were ever printed. On top of that, the PSA graded the Trophy Pikachu Pokémon card an NM-MT 8, meaning it was in damn-near-perfect condition. So, unless you attended and placed high in that Japanese tournament, you ain’t getting one.
In a press release announcing the news, Heritage Auctions’ trading card games consignment director Jesus Garcia said that, though the team was confident the card would do well, the price it sold for exceeded everyone’s expectations.
“This card was not in the booster boxes that were offered at the time,” Garcia said. “It only was available to trainers who finished third at the First Official Pocket Monsters Tournament in Chiba, Japan, in 1997. It is an extraordinarily rare card [that] now stands as a centerpiece in the winning bidder’s collection.”
Kotaku reached out to Heritage Auctions for comment.
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You could buy the card from the person who scooped it up from the Heritage Auctions, but according to the site, your offer would have to start at $450,000. However, there is a warning message attached saying that the “owner’s willingness to entertain and respond to offers has not yet been verified.” And at the moment, the number of offers pending is labeled “not applicable.” For now.
With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom dropping on May 12, Nintendo is looking back and sharing more details about its predecessor, Breath of the Wild. Those details include confirmation that the Wii U console held back the production of and content included in BotW.
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As part of the eighth generation of consoles (alongside the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), the Wii U was Nintendo’s first attempt at bridging the gap between on-the-go and at-home systems. It wasn’t a success. Yeah, it had some great games, including Bayonetta 2, Splatoon, and Xenoblade Chronicles X, among others. But the confusion around how to actually use the console, coupled with the proximity with which the GamePad had to be to the Wii U itself, made it cumbersome and frustrating. Hell, I remember when it was revealed during E3 2010 and folks (myself included) thought it was some sort of add-on for the Wii.
It wasn’t, but Nintendo certainly didn’t do a good enough job of making the case that this was a separate console clear. Now, over a decade after its launch, the Wii U has only sold an estimated 15 million units to date, a far cry from the over 100 million the Wii pushed and the Switch’s 122.5 million.
Despite some heavy-hitter titles like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Maker, the Wii U was not the success Nintendo hoped it would be—or the success it’s used to. And although some of the better Wii U games are now on Nintendo Switch, the company’s home run handheld-console hybrid, Nintendo has admitted in a recent interview that BotW would have benefitted from being a Switch exclusive all along.
Some BotW features wouldn’t work on Wii U
Five Nintendo developers, including Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma, sat down to answer some questions about Tears of the Kingdom in a multi-part interview. In the latest segment, published on the official Nintendo website on May 10, the group was asked about how TotK has expanded in relation to its predecessor. Technical director Takuhiro Dohta explained that certain design elements couldn’t be implemented due to hardware limitations.
“Actually, the previous title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, was originally developed for Wii U, so there were restrictions in development,” Dohta said. “There were a lot of ideas we wanted to implement during its development, but we made clear decisions on what we wouldn’t do in that game. For example, we decided that it wouldn’t involve flying. Then Aonuma kept saying, ‘If flying is out of the question, I want to dig underground!’ And we’d respond, ‘Oh no! Please don’t make us develop that too!’”
Now that TotK is a Nintendo Switch exclusive, though, those concepts left on the cutting-room floor—like cliffside caves that should present new exploration opportunities—are making an appearance. This is largely because the team is reusing the BotW map to streamline development.
“For The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, we began by compiling and implementing ideas we couldn’t include in the previous title,” Dohta said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do so had we made a completely new world, so developing in the same setting as the previous game was significant in this sense as well.”
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Elsewhere in the interview, art director Satoru Takizawa confirmed that “traditional” Zelda dungeons are coming back as well. Although we learned this from the recent TotK leaks, it seems they will be more expansive than you saw in Link’s last outing.
“Making a ‘wide variety’ was pretty challenging,” Takizawa said. “The four Divine Beasts were the dungeons in [BotW], and they shared similar designs. This time, the dungeons are huge and each carry their own regional look and feel, just like traditional The Legend of Zelda games. We think they will provide a satisfying challenge for players. They were certainly a challenge to develop!”
Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for comment.
Tears of the Kingdom looks to be a huge expansion to Breath of the Wild, and not just because of the sky island you can explore above The Great Plateau. With Link’s plethora of new abilities, such as the Fuse skill that al mostly directly responds to weapon durability, it’ll be interesting to see what other ideas Nintendo has in store when Link’s latest adventure drops on May 12.
We might be two sleeps away from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s hotly anticipated release on the Nintendo Switch but its predecessor, Breath of the Wild, just achieved the impressive distinction of being ranked as the best game of all time. According to one group of industry notables, at least.
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On Wednesday, GQ published a list attempting to rank 100 of the best video games of all time. GQ’s best games list was constructed with the help of a list of 300 experts including video game developers, journalists, and influencers (you can see who at the bottom of the page—hi, Luke Plunkett!), each of whom submitted a top 10 of their personal favorite games. Of the 652 games submitted to GQ, Breath of the Wild “not only received the most votes, but also placed in people’s number-one [slot] more than any other rival.”
BotW changed the game for a lotta folks
In its blurb about BotW being the best video game of all time, GQ said the 2017 Nintendo Switch launch title “changed how many saw open-world experiences” with its freeform approach to exploration, combat, and puzzles.” GQ’s last point is evident in the fact that folks are still discovering secrets and wacky new ways to solve BotW’s puzzles six years after its release.
In our BotW review at the time, we said “can’t” is one word that will rarely come up whenever players talk about the game with their friends, because the game lets you decide how you’ll climb to the zenith of the Temple of Time or descend to the deepest abyss of Hyrule. Whether or not Link hilariously ragdolls while blowing stuff up in the process is just part of BotW’s charm.
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For those curious, GQ’stop 10 games of all time in descending order are:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Last of Us
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Mass Effect 2
Metal Gear Solid
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To GQ’s credit, its best-of video game list rankings seem less hampered by recency bias than these things often are. For example, fan-favorite games like Supergiant Games’ roguelike, Hades (#38), ranked lower than Konami’s 2001 cult-classic horror game Silent Hill 2 (#37) and the 2022 game of the year, Elden Ring (#20), ranked below Doom 1993. Even deep-cut landmark games like Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (#95) were represented among GQ’s best games of all time list. Time will tell whether Tears of the Kingdom will dethrone its predecessor as the best video game in the hearts and minds of players and industry professionals. One thing is for certain, Ganon’s TotK design is the glow-up of the decade.
Thanks to Link’s new skills in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, folks can build all kinds of contraptions to decimate monster camps and torture Koroks. But let’s be real: You kinda need an engineering degree to construct any number of the wild creations you’ve likely been seeing online—until now, that is, as there’s a website that helps you determine the required materials to craft these intricate designs.
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With a new Zelda game comes a new set of skills for Link, which transforms the way you interact with Hyrule Kingdom. Two specifically have caught the internet’s attention—Fuse and Ultrahand, abilities that let you build things like dicks, dicks, and, um, more dicks. But all of the possibilities can create a daunting fear of how to even get started.
Now, however, that intimidation can be (mostly) tempered with the help of Zeldabuilds.gg, a site that lets TotK fans upload their builds and list the materials needed to construct them so you, too, can wreak havoc in Hyrule Kingdom.
Building in TotK just got a little bit easier
Created by Daniel Luu, the CEO of the video game online trading marketplace (think Nookazon) and esports organization Akrew, Zeldabuilds.gg is a very simple repository. While the site doesn’t feature instructions on how to build anything, which would likely be a welcomed addition for folks who have a hard time putting objects together in TotK, it does appear to be regularly updated with new creations. At the time of this writing, there are 10 builds available to click through, including a giant mech, Korok cannon, and Twitter user idonum’s viral battle carriage.
In Twitter DMs with Kotaku, Luu said he created ZeldaBuilds.gg over a few days, explaining that the hardest part about the whole thing was getting the site in front of people. Within a few days, though, folks began to take notice of it.
“The site has been gaining a bit of popularity,” Luu said. “I posted it on Reddit and [have] been implementing suggestions from there. I’ll keep improving the site and hopefully more people will [check it out]!”
One way he hopes to get more eyes on the site is by bringing in new features. In one example of the many planned updates, Luu implemented the ability to add step-by-step build instructions with images to go along with them on May 16.
“I’m always taking suggestions from the community,” Luu said. “A few features on deck are adding your own YouTube video preview and a map of Zonai Dispeners and what devices you get from them.”
Of course, Luu is also playing Tears of the Kingdom right now. He’s “built some pretty basic creations,” like the first few on ZeldaBuilds.gg to get the site going, but he isn’t far enough in the game to have the good stuff yet. The real inspo for Luu making the site, though, is everyone else’s creativity.
“I love building games and the creativity they spark in people,” Luu said. “I wanted a central place where I could see everyone’s amazing creations and learn how they made them! It’s actually incredible how Nintendo was able to not only meet but far exceed everyone’s expectations. It’s pretty much all I’ve been playing in my free time.”
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I can imagine this site becoming a useful tool when traipsing through Hyrule Kingdom. There’s a lot the game doesn’t tell you, particularly when it comes to constructing things with Link’s new abilities. So, having something like Zeldabuilds.gg on the side will absolutely aid in the fight against hot Ganon.
Update 05/17/23, 1:15 p.m. ET: Added some comments from Luu.
While Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom are widely beloved, there are some Legend of Zelda fans who miss the more streamlined, non-open-world approach of games like Ocarina of Time. To those of you who fall into that category, I’m sorry to tell you it doesn’t sound like the series is returning to its roots anytime soon.
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In an interview with Game Informer, director Eiji Aonuma admits Ocarina of Time was foundational when it launched on the Nintendo 64, but Nintendo found its closed format “restricting” from a design standpoint. While there were some open areas like Hyrule Field, much of the game was spent in carefully crafted temples that had specific puzzle solutions. Breath of the Wild didn’t have temples, though there were temple-like structures in the Divine Beasts, and the lack of this series staple was, and remains controversial years later. Despite the pushback from some long-time fans,it sounds like Breath of the Wild’s open-world structure and experimental game designis the blueprint moving forward.
“With Ocarina of Time, I think it’s correct to say that it did kind of create a format for a number of titles in the franchise that came after it,” Aonuma tells Game Informer. “But in some ways, that was a little bit restricting for us. While we always aim to give the player freedoms of certain kinds, there were certain things that format didn’t really afford in giving people freedom. Of course, the series continued to evolve after Ocarina of Time, but I think it’s also fair to say now that we’ve arrived at Breath of the Wild and the new type of more open play and freedom that it affords. Yeah, I think it’s correct to say that it has created a new kind of format for the series to proceed from.”
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So there you have it, folks. If you were hoping for a Zelda of a smaller scale, it doesn’t sound like that’s in the works. Not to sound too doom and gloom (heh) about it. In all honesty, I’ve actually enjoyed Tears of the Kingdom a lot more than Breath of the Wild. So I’m a bit warmer on the format these days, and if you’ve loved both of these games, then it sounds like you’ve got more to look forward to in the future.
Whatever the next game looks like, it sounds like Nintendo already has some ideas in mind for how it will iterate on Tears of the Kingdom, ranging from how it will implement old characters and why it’s so attached to the experimentation more recent entries allow.