Part of the fun of an open world is exploring it. An open world game isn’t fun to play if it isn’t fun to traverse. The InFamous games on PlayStation did this with awesome superpowers. Games like Skyrim offer up horses and fast-travel. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets you ride a horse, sure. It lets you glide – that’s a bit better. Climbing is fun, too. Or you can just, you know, grab onto a rock and hang on for dear life, like this player:
A glimpse into the future of BotW speedruns. pic.twitter.com/2a7dFRaXEN
— Venick (@Venick409) March 8, 2017
Emergent gameplay means creative fun
What Twitter user Venick409 is doing in the video is applying Stasis to the boulder in question, and then using a blunt melee weapon to hit it a bunch of times, building up a bunch of force. Some puzzles in the game ask you to do exactly that. Venick combines that with Link’s ability to climb just about anything and ends up with a pretty awesome mode of transportation. It takes a while to get going, but once that rock is moving, you’re off to the races.
While we can’t know for sure if the team behind the game planned for that combination of mechanics, it doesn’t seem like it. Instead, it’s the player combining a couple of the game’s systems to make it work in an unplanned way. Game designers call that emergent gameplay. Deus Ex designer Warren Spector is very fond of working emergent gameplay into his games wherever possible, and 17 years after Deus Ex released, loyal fans are still goofing around with the game. I suspect Breath of the Wild, already one of the best-received and most successful Zelda games, will travel down a similar path as players find new ways to experiment with and combine the different systems the game dumps players into.
This kind of stuff is Nintendo at its best and gaming at its best.