Zelda on Wii U will be as large a game as the console hardware will allow.
Speaking to Gamereactor, producer Eiji Aonuma said that the power of Nintendo's current home console relative to its predecessors has afforded it a new level of development scope.
"A huge, seamlessly unfolding world is something that can't be achieved if the hardware isn't advanced enough," he said. "Ever since we made the very first generation of Legend of Zelda games though, we've had as large a world as can be realised with the hardware, so you could say it was inevitable that we've now done the same with the new Wii U title.
"What's changed now is that the hardware has progressed to the point that you can now explore this vast world seamlessly; the underpinning of the game hasn't changed."
Aonuma has also questioned the use of the term open-world” in relation to the game. Not because the game isn't open-world, but because he thinks every Zelda title ever has been open-world, albeit in a technically limited fashion.
"When I first showed off the new Zelda game on the Wii U, it seemed everyone was very excited and started proclaiming that a Zelda game had at last become open world,” he added. Zelda games have always allowed you to roam and explore a huge world.”
Last summer lead Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto also expressed discomfort at the use of the term.
I prefer not to use the generally used term ‘open world' when developing software,” he explained. This term means that there is a large world in which players can do numerous things daily.
In the traditional Legend of Zelda series, the player would play one dungeon at a time. For example, if there are eight dungeons, at the fourth dungeon, some players may think, ‘I'm already halfway through the game,' while other players may think, ‘I still have half of the game to play.'
We are trying to gradually break down such mechanism and develop a game style in which you can enjoy The Legend of Zelda” freely in a vast world, whenever you find the time to do so.”