The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a groundbreaking game for many reasons, but one feature that may go unnoticed by many players is the green, blowing grass that sweeps across Hyrule. Well, it turns out that same grass caused a lot of problems for the developers of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
Age of Calamity is a Musou-style spinoff of Breath of the Wild, developed by Koei Tecmo. The game launched in late 2020, and it tells a story of what happened in Hyrule 100 years before the events of Breath of the Wild.
Because the spinoff takes place in the same world as Breath of the Wild, Koei Tecmo had to recreate many of the same locations, including Hyrule Field.
In an interview with the Japanese gaming magazine Nintendo Dream (translated by Nintendo Everything), some of the lead developers on Age of Calamity say creating the grass in Hyrule Field took hundreds of employees over half of the development time of the game.
"That grass took ages," Art Director Yuu Oohoshi said. "It took about half of development time to finishing touching up the grass in the game. We really struggled to recreate the atmosphere of Hyrule Field."
Oohoshi says the team wanted to focus on the Hyrule Field because the mission was at the beginning of the game, and Koei Tecmo wanted to stun players. The developers even had to ask Nintendo's Zelda dev team for assistance.
"We asked the Zelda team at Nintendo how they made the grass in Breath of the Wild, and even though they shared everything down to the finer details of their methods, there was still uncertainty about whether we could reproduce it," Development Producer Masaki Furusawa said. "The game has a lot of grass, so we also considered if there were other methods available to us."
The grass remained an ongoing problem for the Age of Calamity developers, who say the grass talks continued throughout the entirety of production.
"The whole company got dragged into the grass mess, didn’t they?" Game Director Ryouta Matsushita said. "It’s no exaggeration to say we were in talks with development staff, CG departments, background and technical support the whole time."
Well, all the hard work seems to have paid off, as we said the game has a "clever adaptation of Breath of the Wild’s vision of Hyrule" in our Age of Calamity review. Recently, Koei Tecmo finished the second wave of DLC for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which includes new stages and a further expanded roster.
As for when you can expect to romp around Hyrule's grass once again, the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is scheduled to come out sometime this year. You can learn more in our Nintendo 2022 preview.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.