Zelda Dungeon Design: Twilight Princess

We’re excited to see Mark Brown of the Game Maker’s Toolkit has a new Boss Keys instalment, this time featuring The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. While everyone is talking about the (relatively) new Breath of the Wild, Twilight Princess has some unique concepts to explore when it comes to dungeon layout. Also remastered in HD on Wii U, the dungeons in this particular Nintendo game really epitomize what Zelda does best: bringing strong personality and presence to imaginary places.

However, Twilight Princess is also a huge shift for the franchise in terms of the dungeon’s structural design. What’s best about the Boss Keys video is that Mark doesn’t overlook one of the better hidden elements of the game: the fact that the dungeons are all extremely similar, despite feeling incredibly distinct. Luckily, this Zelda title still delivers tons of personality and a great game experience despite its redundancy.

Watch Boss Keys break down dungeon design in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

One of the interesting distinctions of dungeon layout in Twilight Princess the value of having a mental map and how players craft their navigational references throughout gameplay. Mark also notes that there is an over-reaching architecture to dungeon layout, much like Majora’s Mask, so any similarities between the dungeons themselves don’t necessarily hurt the game experience. A lot of crafty puzzles make this game a good challenge while helping to hide the simplistic design; but this is a notable departure from the more classically complex Zelda dungeon layouts.

Mark Brown’s Boss Keys series is part of his ongoing research into dungeon design featuring Zelda titles, and how Nintendo designs the franchise to continually delight its fans. Breath of the Wild is an even bigger departure, and we look forward to featuring Mark again with his latest critique of this new Zelda title for the Wii/Switch. If you enjoyed this video, consider subscribing to Mark’s channel, The Gamemaker’s Toolkit.


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  • On March 28, 2017