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Tears of the Kingdom Dungeons Are Finally Explained by the Developers

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom dungeons confirmed creative lead developers explain how they work interview series Nintendo Switch

Ever since the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was first announced, fans have had a few major questions, and one of the biggest from a gameplay perspective has been — will dungeons be back? In Part 3 of their Ask the Developer series, the key creators for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom have explained that, yes, dungeons are back, and they are huge and take up large amounts of space in their natural environments.

Dungeons Are Back, and Here Is How They Work in Tears of the Kingdom

Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi said that dungeons have changed since Breath of the Wild, presumably referring to the four Divine Beasts. He elaborated, “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.”

Technical Director Takuhiro Dohta added, “We’ve made dungeons unique to their respective environments, so we think you’ll be able to enjoy the wide variety of regional characteristics.”

Art Director Satoru Takizawa went into a bit more depth about how dungeons work in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom:

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! (Laughs)

Elsewhere in Part 3 of the interview, the creators explained that “digging” and going underground was a feature series producer Eiji Aonuma had wanted for Breath of the Wild, but technical limitations of Wii U prohibited that. Aonuma had wanted that because Breath of the Wild wasn’t really capable of “flying,” again because of Wii U limitations. Tears of the Kingdom will now emphasize both sky and cave exploration, fulfilling Aonuma’s original wishes. In general, the developers had compiled a list of ideas they couldn’t do in Breath of the Wild as a starting point for the development of this game.

Yesterday, in Parts 1 and 2 of the developer interview, the Tears of the Kingdom creators revealed that the game’s theme is “hands” and that the game will address the events of the Imprisoning War referenced in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Parts 4 and 5 of the interview will be released tomorrow, ahead of the release of the game on Nintendo Switch on Friday, May 12.

But for now? Dungeons are back in Tears of the Kingdom, baby.

About the author

John Friscia
Managing Editor at The Escapist. I have been writing about video games since 2018 and editing writing on IT, project management, and video games for around a decade. I have an English degree, but Google was a more valuable learning resource. I taught English in South Korea for a year in 2018, and it was exponentially more fun than living in Pennsylvania. My major passions in life are SNES, Japanese RPGs, Berserk, and K-pop. I'm currently developing the game Boss Saga with my brother, which is guaranteed to change your life and you should buy it.