Why The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild Did Not Introduce Big Dungeons?

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild podcast dungeons shrine

Nintendo Power Podcast launched its very first episode featuring an in-depth interview with  Eiji Aonuma and Hidemaro Fujibayashi about the making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In particular, the developers have shed the light on the lack of large dungeons in the game.

The team has decided to axe the dungeons in favor of spreading the content more evenly across the game world. Instead, players were able to visit shrines which were not quite as big but available in a greater number. Thus players got almost as much content as they would’ve with the dungeons.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi stated on the matter:

So in the past Zelda games, one dungeon was very, very long and because this game had a very wide field to explore and one of the themes we had was finding things, we were thinking about what the ratio is for finding Shrines while players are wandering around the field. And when we calculated that, we kind of ended up with 100 or more Shrines. And as for size, we thought about perhaps making long, big dungeons, but that would take long, and players would dedicate their time too long in the dungeons, so we thought perhaps one Shrine is maybe 10 minutes.

When we considered that each Shrine would take around 10 minutes, we thought maybe for a Zelda title, it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t meeting that dungeon feel for the game, so we thought maybe for this game, we could incorporate a big dungeon and perhaps one that moves or one that incorporates a gravity movement system and so we considered a big dungeon and that’s how we thought about the Divine Beasts. And so initially when we were thinking about the Divine Beasts, we thought about something that could be seen from afar, and maybe like a humanoid form, but then because these Champions were controlling Divine Beasts, we thought well maybe it would be interesting if the Divine Beasts themselves were a dungeon. And so then that met the requirement of a moving dungeon and also something that could be seen from afar. That’s how we kind of came up with the idea of the Divine Beasts.

The developers have also stated that the Champions’ Ballad DLC released earlier in December will be the last for Breath of the Wild. However, a new game is already in development.

Have you liked the shrines? Or would you have preferred good old dungeons instead?

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While growing up in the wilds of Russia, Catherine learned to talk, write and game at almost the same time. You can follow her attempts at latter two at and GameSpace.

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