From one modern masterpiece to another.
Nintendo have not been shy in naming Bethesda’s uber-successful The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as one of their biggest influences during the development of their recently released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and that is immediately apparent when one plays the game. From the massive, seamless game world that offers an unprecedented level of freedom to players to the heavy focus on exploration and discovery, there are heavy shades of Skyrim and Morrowind in Nintendo’s latest modern masterpiece, and clearly, that has worked very well for them.
However, is there anything that Bethesda can learn from the game that learned from themselves in the first place when the inevitable The Elder Scrolls 6 finally releases? We definitely think so- most games in the industry stand to learn a thing or two from the incredible Breath of the Wild.
But what exactly is it that a Skyrim sequel could learn from the latest Zelda entry? Well, the most obvious answer would be dungeon design- the quality of dungeons in The Legend of Zelda games and The Elder Scrolls games over the years have been at opposite ends of a pole, with the former being recognized as a master of dungeon design and the latter having been criticized over and over again for the same (although dungeons were better in Skyrim compared to the previous two iterations).
Where Zelda has taken a lot of cues from Skyrim’s overarching, massive game world design and used it to great effect, so too can The Elder Scrolls take a look at the smaller sections of Breath of the Wild and learn from the game’s dungeon design to improve the one aspect where it has always been lacking. Incorporating it seamlessly with its game world, the way Breath of the Wild does, is something that would elevate it even further.
Another thing The Elder Scrolls 6 can learn from Breath of the Wild is how the latter uses its game world not just as a means for exploration and traversal, but also as a means to passively tell a story- Hyrule is a desolate place in Breath of the Wild, but Nintendo has crafted it expertly to passively tell the story of what happened to the world and how it is faring in its current post-apocalyptic state. The Elder Scrolls has never been known for its storytelling, and many would even argue that that’s not even the point of a typical Elder Scrolls experience, but an open world game that tells a story well is better for it, and Breath of the Wild does exactly that.
Oh, and one more thing that The Elder Scrolls 6 should definitely learn from Breath of the Wild– how to do horse riding properly in a game. Definitely that. More than anything else, definitely that.