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Breaking Conventions and Redefining Gaming: The Legend of Zelda's Lessons for Product Managers
In the development of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the creators focused on breaking conventions and rediscovering the essence of the game by shifting from a traditional passive gaming experience to an "active game" that empowers player choice. This move challenged the norms of linear, predetermined paths and limited player options in favor of an open-world experience where players can think and decide on their own where they want to go and what they want to do. For product managers, this approach serves as an inspiration to constantly push the boundaries of their products and re-evaluate the core elements that make them successful, while also adapting to the evolving expectations and preferences of their users.
One key aspect of breaking conventions in the game was the implementation of a chemistry engine, which allowed for more dynamic and immersive gameplay by governing interactions between various game elements in ways that mimic real-world chemistry. This tech provided players with a richer, more intuitive experience, as they could rely on their understanding of real-world interactions to predict and manipulate in-game events. PMs can learn from this by considering how they can implement cutting-edge tech to enhance their product's overall user experience, fostering deeper engagement and ensuring they stay ahead of the competition in an ever-evolving market.
Lastly, the collaboration between the game designers, technical director, and programmers in the development of gamehighlights the importance of teamwork and communication in building products. Through sharing ideas, prototyping, experimenting, and engaging in open discussions, they were able to successfully break the convention of passive gaming and create an immersive, active game experience that offered players a high degree of freedom. This serves as a valuable lesson for PMs, emphasizing the need to foster an environment of open communication and collaboration within their teams to drive innovation and achieve the best possible results. By working closely together and challenging conventions, teams can unlock new possibilities and create products that stand out in a competitive market.
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