Legend of Zelda
Taking dungeons back to their roots.
Breath of the Wild went all-in on offering players dungeons for the Divine Beast encounters. However, these dungeons looked the same stylistically, regardless of their place in the world. In an ‘Ask the Developer’ interview shared on the official Nintendo website, senior members of the development team have revealed that won’t be the case for Tears of the Kingdom.
In the first Legend of Zelda game for the NES and many of its successors, the dungeons are more tied to their surrounding area, and each has a different look (as much as something could on an 8-bit system). Nintendo is completely embracing that idea for the Link’s newest adventure. This was also clear in the Fire, Water, Shadow and Desert temples (just to name a few) in Ocarina of Time, too. Each one had a distinct look and feel, with puzzles that tied into their appearance and elemental origins.
Technical Director Takuhiro Dohta suggests Tears of the Kingdom’s dungeons will adopt a similar format. He noted that the game’s dungeons will be “unique to their respective environments, so we think you’ll be able to enjoy the wide variety of regional characteristics.”
Following up on this, Satoru Takizawa says:
Making a “wide variety” was pretty challenging. The four Divine Beasts were the dungeons in the last game, and they shared similar designs. This time, the dungeons are huge, and each carry their own regional look and feel, just like traditional The Legend of Zelda games. We think they will provide a satisfying challenge for players. They were certainly a challenge to develop!
Considering Breath of the Wild’s story largely revolved around the four Divine Beasts, this only goes to show that whatever story challenge we have this time will be far more expansive. “Wide variety” also seems to suggest that it won’t just be down to four of these, either.
In addition to this Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi hinted at a particularly interesting change to dungeons, citing one example.
For example, there is a dungeon that connects directly from Hyrule’s surface. If you dive from the sky straight into the dungeon, you’ll trigger an event. We think this will be a new experience that wasn’t possible in the previous game.
Link will certainly have his work cut out for him, as the game looks set to be just as expansive with its exploration as its predecessor, but with new Ultrahand and Fuse mechanics to allow you to approach these puzzles in whatever creative way you see fit.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases exclusively on Nintendo Switch on May 12, 2023.