IGN recently held an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, and Bill Trinen regarding the expansive world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. During a part of the interview, the three were asked about the game's story, and the ways in which its open world aspects will impact its narrative. Miyamoto responded by stating that the game won't focus much on story, and that its plot and characters won't be very "clear-cut," since the players will be given the freedom to skip large parts of the narrative. The main focus of the game will be Link's story, and the role of characters like Ganon will be "felt" and discovered over time by the player.
IGN: Asking about narrative structure. What can we expect from the story give the Open Air format of this game?
Shigeru Miyamoto: "This game has a heavy focus on experience and also freedom. It's not really story heavy. You can choose to do all of the tasks and all of the missions and you'll still get to the end, or you could choose not to do all of them, and you can still get to the end. The story isn't as clear cut as it was in the past with the existence of Ganon, Link, and Zelda. With this one it's a little bit more vague. You'll kind of feel what Ganon is, and you're going to feel maybe this is what Zelda is like, or this is what Link is like. It's really Link's adventure in discovering all of that."
Bill Trinen: "They've done a really good job of weaving the story into the world, giving you just enough direction to know, generally, where you need to go to pursue it. If you're off doing other things and you decide you want to go complete the Shrines, or you want to go climb mountains, or you want to go look at deer in the field, or find that pond that had all the ducks in the trailer, you can do that. I get into the game and then go off to do random things. Then, maybe after a couple days of playing, I'll think that maybe I should actually go to that place [someone I met in the story] talked about. Then, you go there and get enough clues to point you in [the next] direction. It's does a really good job of guiding you to where the story is, but it still feels like a sort of chance encounter out in the world when you come across somebody who has a role to move the story forward."
Everything they stated here lines up with what we already know about the game's open structure and extreme emphasis on exploration. It's remarkable to see the freedom given to the player in Breath of the Wild. Personally, though, I'd like some clarification on Miyamoto's vague statements about feeling Ganon's essence, as well as the size of the role that he will play in the game.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch for Wii U and NX in early 2017.