Because of the abundance of films and games influenced by Star Wars or Halloween, blockbuster releases can alter the entertainment landscape. The creative process, on the other hand, can be akin to convergent evolution, with multiple works releasing at the same time that are nearly identical. Armageddon and Deep Impact, two 1998 films, are a good example, and there remain not clearer cases in video games than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn.
Breath of the Wild is credited with reforming modern open-world titles, with dozens of new releases including Genshin Impact, Sonic Frontiers, and others. Guerrilla Games’ break-out success, Horizon Zero Dawn, was released just a week before the 2017 Switch launch title. Both post-apocalyptic games involve large real worlds that players explore but find to be crawling with corrupted machines, and they share smaller mechanics such as time slowing down as their protagonists nock arrows in midair.
There are significant differences between the two, with Breath of the Wild focusing on loose exploration and Horizon Zero Dawn developing a deeper narrative, but it’s obvious that the studios each pulled from similar source materials. Now, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and Horizon: Forbidden West are slated to be delivered in 2022, with Horizon’s Shieldwing seemingly copying the functionality of Zelda’s Paraglider. Breathing of the Wild 2 should also absorb some of Horizon Zero Dawn’s best ideas, with archery being one area worth updating.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Archery
The weapon durability system at Breath of the Wild has been one of the most common complaints. By letting almost everything break (the Master Sword and Hylian Shield being big exceptions), Nintendo encourages players to frequently switch out the weapons they’re playing. Players become a jack-of-all-trades throughout their journey across Hyrule because sword and shields, spears, two-handed weapons, and magic tools all function differently. Bows are no exception.
Each bow that Link can pick up in the Breath of the Wildranges carries a different durability, varying from basic Wooden Bows to Royal Guard’s Bows. Some abilities, such as the Yiga Clan’s Duplex Bow and Lynel Bows that fire multiple arrows at the same time, or the Phrenic Bow that zooms in when used, are available. Breathing of the Wild’s weapons may also include modifiers that do everything from increase damage or durability to increase how many arrows can fire at once (from three to five).
Although the attributes and modifiers of an individual bow can vary, ammunition is universal. Link collects basic arrows alongside Fire, Ice, Shock, Bomb, and Ancient Arrows, all of which are used to interface with the environment in various ways. Bomb Arrows, for example, are innert in the rain, but Shock Arrows will become more effective. Players can slow down time by drawing an arrow in midair so long as their stamina holds out, and landing headshots (or hitting critical weak points like a Guardian’s eye) can result in double damage.
Horizon Zero Dawn’s Archery
As a core mechanic, Horizon Zero Dawn is based around archery, which suggests its systems are more complex, allowing for less-developed melee combat. Aloy can purchase different bows from vendors (using Metal Shards and other key components recovered from machines), and these are not the only ranged weapons she keeps at her disposal. She can wield tools like the Rattler, which shoots off multiple projectile bursts, Tripcasters that lay traps, and Slings that lob bombs to increase her arsenal.
The gameplay of Horizon Zero Dawn emphasizes stealth and precision because Aloy is a hunter who has been trained from a tender age. She can utilize stealth to draw enemies into tripwires that break, quickly finish off opponents with weapons, and then attack a number of soft points that cause more damage and break off machine components. Aloy’s inherent abilities grow over time in Horizon Zero Dawn, which also includes a skill tree.
In contrast to Breath of the Wild, ammunition is not available in Horizon Zero Dawn. For example, some bows can use elemental arrows that cause fire or ice damage, and these will often be more effective on specific machines. As a result, Horizon players are encouraged to equip multiple bows and other weapons for various situations, with each weapon being customized to increase its proficiency in certain areas.
Breath of the Wild 2 Should Learn from Horizon Zero Dawn’s Ammo Crafting
Because each game’s archery systems carry unique weights, it’s tough to say whether Breath of the Wild 2 should be based on Horizon Zero Dawn’s mechanics or vice versa. Horizon, on the other hand, has an ammo economy that could easily translate to the next Legend of Zelda game.
Link needs to collect arrows in Breath of the Wild by battle enemies, opening special chests, or purchasing them from shops. Players are out of luck if he is out of arrows mid-fight; they must warp to a settlement or farm arrows at the next opportunity. If players would rather not waste their finite Fast Travel Packs, Horizon Zero Dawn has Aloy craft bundles of ammo on the fly. Ridge-Wood and Metal Shards can be used to make basic arrows, and every other arrow, as well as Sling or Tripwire ammunition, can be constructed using machine parts.
This is a boon for players of all skill levels, considering Horizon Zero Dawn is based on precision. If newcomers are unable to hit a machine’s weak point, they can restock their most important resources, while veterans can clear out hordes with ease and never need to return to a shop. Breathing of the Wild may not encourage precision in the same way, but it still isn’t fun to be out of supplies because players can fire arrows at a monster’s head while also dealing critical damage.
Both titles are survival games that encourage exploration, so it gives sense for Breath of the Wild to have arrows as a limited resource in that sense. Breath of the Wild 2’s Link, on the other hand, will be a seasoned survivalist, and its emphasis on collecting ingredients for systems like cooking would easily translate to crafting arrows on the fly. Link, like Aloy, could even use monster parts to make special arrows, making enemies like Chuchus far more valuable. This would be a great way for Nintendo to learn lessons from its competition if these series are set to continue their streak of similarities.