Zelda: Breath of the Wild producer Eiji Aonuma shared some thoughts on the development of the game in a recent issue of Edge magazine. We already knew that the developers had lots of challenges making Breath of the Wild, including issues with the physics engine which delayed the game.
Aonuma commented on the day/night cycle that Breath of the Wild has, saying that it was “extremely hard” to make it work in the game.
He said that they didn’t want to create a situation where the night time was “dark and scary” for players, so it had to be lightened up. But by lightening it up, it loses some of the effect of being “dark”.
“We didn’t want to create something that was dark and scary. I’ve been up a tall mountain at night and seen the stars; it was completely dark, but the starlight made it brighter. I wanted our nighttime environment to be something like that. And when it’s dark, there are elements in the environment that glow, so the player can use those to find their way.”
Other Zelda games have had a day/night cycle, but it was then mostly for cosmetic reasons. In Breath of the Wild, the day/night cycle has a direct impact on the gameplay. For example, some enemies will sleep at night. Also, the temperature will drop at night, which affects the environment and Link himself.