Will Dungeons Come Back in Breath of the Wild 2?

One of the biggest features missing from the original Breath of the Wild was classic Zelda Dungeons. We did have Divine Beasts and Shrines dotted all over Hyrule, but the bigger Dungeons with unique bosses and memorable weapons were missing from the overall package. Today I am going to try to answer the question, will Dungeons come back in Breath of the Wild 2? I’m going to check out the clues from trailers, IRL clues from job listings, plus look at the benefits of Dungeons coming to the Sequel to Breath of the Wild.

Before I get into today’s topic, let me know in the comments if you want to see dungeons make a return in Breath of the Wild 2. Also, I’d love to hear about your favourite dungeon from the Legend of Zelda series – Which Zelda game did it come from and why is it your favourite?

Breath of the Wild doesn’t have many cons to it, it’s mostly pros with a vast open-world, a sense of discovery and adventure around every corner. If you had to make a list of cons, then not having proper Zelda Dungeons in the game would most likely be near the top of the list. I feel like I have to add a caveat here and define proper Zelda dungeons, given you could argue the Divine Beasts were kind of dungeons in Breath of the Wild.

The addition of Shrines and the Divine Beasts in Breath of the Wild was a great experiment. I talked about the sense of discovery and adventure before, and the Shrines definitely helped with this. It was always exciting turning a corner and finding a new shrine, whether they be hidden behind a wall you had to blast away, or climbing to the highest peak to find.

While I enjoyed the Divine Beasts, I wouldn’t really class them as Zelda Dungeons. I felt the Divine Beasts had a design formula to them, they felt very samey, and the boss fights at the end were very underwhelming. I would like to see classic dungeons make a return, where you have to find the map, compass and a unique item associated to that dungeon, plus have a unique boss battle at the end.

We did get a very smaller teaser in the first Breath of the Wild trailer back at E3 2019, where we see a shot of a big, dark doorway. Since then fans have speculated that Dungeons may be making a return to the series. It was only a very brief glimpse, but it was enough to set the Zelda fanbase onto months and years of speculation related to dungeons.

There have also been some clues out there in real-life, related to Dungeons coming to Breath of the Wild 2.

Nintendo posted some job listings for terrain designer and level designer contract positions, both of which mention dungeons. The listings are mostly composed of standard information such as preferred experience and potential compensation. However, the descriptions of the jobs themselves give us a little more insight into the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel.

The terrain designer position will work on parts of the game “such as field dungeons”, and the level designer will work on “game event/dungeon/field planning.” The latter position will also help with work on creating and tweaking enemies, in case you were worried that the sequel wouldn’t expand on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a relatively limited cast of enemies.

Although this isn’t a specific interview, it is Nintendo posting job listings looking for specific skills. “Field Dungeons” and “game event/dungeon/field planning” sound promising when it comes to the addition of old-school Zelda Dungeons being in the sequel to Breath of the Wild, although you could consider the Divine Beasts as “Dungeons”. Hopefully, we’ll have more info when Nintendo show the next trailer.

I think there are a couple of benefits to dungeons coming back to Breath of the wild; the return of unique weapons, and the return of unique bosses.

When I talk about unique weapons, I’d love to see more unbreakable weapons that play a key part in the adventure. It was a deliberate design decision to have breakable weapons in Breath of the Wild. While I think this was a great experiment, I’d like to see the return of more non-breakable weapons. I do think these non-breakable weapons could live alongside breakable weapons.

One of the tricky things to balance with weapons and items is the freedom that Breath of the Wild offered you. At the start of the game, you got the four Sheikah Slate Runes (Stasis, Bombs, Magnetism and Cryonis) and from there you could go anywhere in Hyrule. You could rush to Hyrule Castle and take on Calamity Ganon if you wanted to, although staying alive would have been tough. I am not a game designer, but I would love to see the Zelda team balance the addition of non-breakable weapons with the freedom of the open world we had in Breath of the Wild.

Another benefit of more traditional Zelda Dungeons in Breath of the Wild 2, is that could mean the return of unique boss battles. The various Blights in Breath of the Wild were good, but they all felt similar. Lynels were good roaming bosses out there in the wild, but again, they felt a little samey after a while. I’d love to see the return of unique bosses, and epic boss fights, with bosses that are tailor-made to the dungeons. For example, if I am in a Forest Temple, I want to be fighting a massive tree. If I am underwater, I was to be fighting an Octopuss or Giant squid. Related to the previous topic of unique weapons, I do miss using the dungeon weapons against the bosses.

The closest thing we have in Breath of the Wild to a traditional Legend of Zelda Dungeon is Hyrule Castle itself. It’s always looming in the background and feels impenetrable and almost impossible to conquer. There’s so much build-up to it, from travelling around Hyrule, getting all the Divine Beasts on your side and then finally taking on Calamity Ganon. Just getting to Hyrule castle is an achievement in itself, given the amount of Guardians that are protecting it from the outside and also on the inner walls too.

Hyrule Castle embodies what is great about Breath of the Wild, given there’s no one ‘right’ way to get in. All entry points are dangerous mind you, so it’s no easy ride whether you find your way in through the front door, or the secret passage.

Here are some great examples of Zelda Dungeons I’d love to see come to Breath of the Wild 2, but don’t just let me suggest things to you, I’d love to hear what you

Forest Temple (The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time)

This was the first temple in Ocarina of Time, and although the game is full of great temples, Forest Temple is up there with my favourites. Visually it’s very recognisable with the lush green environment and the plant-like enemies. The design of the dungeon is great, as the vines and branches twist around each other, really reinforcing the nature theme. We have to hunt down four Poe sisters in paintings, plus there’s the boss battle, which is just genius.

Snowpeak Ruins (The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess)

Snowpeak Ruins was one of the first to change up the Zelda Dungeon formula from traditional underground dungeons. Yeto and Yeta have made this dungeon their home, and help Link navigate the mansion in return for helping them to make soup. There are monsters and locked rooms everywhere, but the overall calming nature of the location isn’t what you’d expect from a traditional Zelda Dungeon. At the end the Twilight Mirror manages to transform Yeta into the Dungeon, flipping the mood instantly.

Earth Temple (The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker)

This is a great example of a Zelda Dungeon. The main gimmick here is light, and Link’s ability to control it by bouncing beams off mirrors to activate switches. It’s filled with undead zombie-like creatures, it’s creepy, plus you have the chance to tackle it with Medli. She can fly and also help bounce light where it needs to go with her harp. This temple oozes atmosphere, plus the mechanics and environment is fantastic.

Let me know in the comments what you think of dungeons returning to Breath of the Wild 2.

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