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BotW2 linear and gated progression

Storm_Echo

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So, regarding villages. If you had to design the gating method, how would you keep someone from, in this example, going to a village before the story intended them to? Assuming you have all the climbing abilities from the first game.
Just a simple game design option.... make the village be overrun by bad guys, and you need to defeat a boss that requires THE BOSS SLAYING KEY ITEM in some way, be it that the boss won't spawn / have a health bar until you've claimed the legendary Bottle of Regular Water or Bug-Catching Net of Justice (B-CNJ) or whatever, or that it can't be properly defeated without the item. You could even have it be that if the boss isn't defeated with the B-CNJ, but is defeated normally, you get temporary access to the dungeon/village but at the next blood moon it resets and you need to do it again!
 

MapelSerup

not actually Canadian
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Feb 19, 2020
Just a simple game design option.... make the village be overrun by bad guys, and you need to defeat a boss that requires THE BOSS SLAYING KEY ITEM in some way, be it that the boss won't spawn / have a health bar until you've claimed the legendary Bottle of Regular Water or Bug-Catching Net of Justice (B-CNJ) or whatever, or that it can't be properly defeated without the item. You could even have it be that if the boss isn't defeated with the B-CNJ, but is defeated normally, you get temporary access to the dungeon/village but at the next blood moon it resets and you need to do it again!
This reads like a TV tropes article
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Just a simple game design option.... make the village be overrun by bad guys, and you need to defeat a boss that requires THE BOSS SLAYING KEY ITEM in some way, be it that the boss won't spawn / have a health bar until you've claimed the legendary Bottle of Regular Water or Bug-Catching Net of Justice (B-CNJ) or whatever, or that it can't be properly defeated without the item. You could even have it be that if the boss isn't defeated with the B-CNJ, but is defeated normally, you get temporary access to the dungeon/village but at the next blood moon it resets and you need to do it again!
I guess I'm just not a fan of the dungeon item design. If an item is intended to help when defeating a boss, then the boss should be beatable without the item. Just make the encounter more difficult.
 

Storm_Echo

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This reads like a TV tropes article
I'll take that as a compliment? I think looking at tropes for game or media design is really useful!

I guess I'm just not a fan of the dungeon item design. If an item is intended to help when defeating a boss, then the boss should be beatable without the item. Just make the encounter more difficult.
Which this system would handily allow! "Yeah, you can go to chuchu-ravaged Hateno by killing the boss with a spring-loaded hammer and a bow you found in the gutter, but if you don't slay the PeakaChuChu properly you won't be able to do X subquests and it'll return at the next blood moon, closing the village once more!"
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Which this system would handily allow! "Yeah, you can go to chuchu-ravaged Hateno by killing the boss with a spring-loaded hammer and a bow you found in the gutter, but if you don't slay the PeakaChuChu properly you won't be able to do X subquests and it'll return at the next blood moon, closing the village once more!"
I just worry about dis-empowering the player. One of BotW's shining characteristics was how it let you run for the final boss right away, but surrounded it with enemies who would kill you by breathing in your general direction. It makes it incredibly hard, but also makes it so that the player's preparation and equipment are strictly responsible for your ability to face the Calamity, not some dungeon item.
 

thePlinko

What’s the character limit on this? Aksnfiskwjfjsk
I wouldn’t mind it. Like I’ve said on multiple occasions, linearity isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s required in order to have a story, no matter how simplistic. That’s why BotW was such a narrative disaster. Even from a gameplay perspective linearity is needed in some regard. BotW still has some semblance of linearity to it. You can’t finish the game without starting it first. Every prior Zelda game (including Zelda 1) has had a ton of linearity, so this wouldn’t exactly be different. Honestly BotW was too open for my liking. What’s the point of exploring anything if it doesn’t open anything up? Why should I go out of my way to obtain these abilities if i can just beat the game by going directly into the boss room? Imagine how lame Zelda 1 would’ve been if none of the triforce pieces were required and instead they just made ganon easier. Getting rid of the journey makes the destination weaker. Going straight to the boss turns the game from a triple A game to a tech demo.
 

MW7

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I really dislike strictly enforced linearity but prefer when there is a suggested route through the game from which you can deviate. For example Super Metroid has a clear "normal" route to complete the game but experienced players can do pretty much whatever they want. We've seen a slightly more restricted version of this in LoZ and AoL as well as ALttP and OoT in the second halves of those latter two games. Breath of Wild could have benefited from a little more structure.

If it's just a gated progression for a little while at the start, that's not much different from the Great Plateau. I do really like the idea of bringing back classic Zelda items like the hookshot. My ideal would be an open world that has a heavily suggested order to tackle things. A way to do this is to give out items that aren't absolutely necessary but make the next dungeon easier. For example you could make environmental protective clothing available in dungeons rather than purchasable, and Zoras give you clothes that cool you off for the Goron area, the Gorons give you clothes that keep you warm for the Ritos, and the Ritos give you clothes with electric resistance for the Gerudo area. You could still do whatever you want, but it's a lot harder to go your own way.
 
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That sounds like an instant turn-off for me. Gated progression via items and artificial gate-keeping is the big thing that made other Zelda games lose their appeal to me. I like exploring and discovering things, not being given permission to visit things.
In my opinion, that gated progression was exactly what made going to the effort of getting those items feel rewarding and worthwhile; I found very little of that feeling in BOTW. Feeling like I basically already had everything useful from the beginning, and it didn't really give me a strong incentive to explore just for its own sake.
To each their own, I guess. I would like to ideally see BOTW2 have somewhat more of a mix of those two extremes.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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In my opinion, that gated progression was exactly what made going to the effort of getting those items feel rewarding and worthwhile; I found very little of that feeling in BOTW. Feeling like I basically already had everything useful from the beginning, and it didn't really give me a strong incentive to explore just for its own sake.
To each their own, I guess. I would like to ideally see BOTW2 have somewhat more of a mix of those two extremes.
I suppose it's sort of the opposite for me. If I'm given a specific item designed only to unlock specific doors, I don't feel any accomplishment from that. Rather than using my skills to solve a problem, it feels more like the game has given me permission to advance. I can't count the number of times I've been in a new dungeon, seen the specific thing a dungeon item will interact with, and said, "Oh, I see how that works. Guess I just come back later." If I already know how to solve the puzzle, being given permission to solve it doesn't feel good.
 

Dio

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Playing Elden Ring at the moment and when you have such a huge world it doesn't have to feel like you are being massively confined when it comes to gated progression. But it does make progress feel more rewarding when there are obstacles in the way that do need to be overcome and not just bypassed completely like you can do with the whole game in BoTW. In some instances it's bosses that need to be fought others it's key items to find.

A good example is there's a time when you will need to collect two medallion halves to access an elevator to a new area but there is also the option to take a enemy filled mountain pass route with a boss you must fight to get to the same place. I think having this choice is good however I don't think that BoTW's approach of just letting the player ignore everything is the way to go.
 
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Playing Elden Ring at the moment and when you have such a huge world it doesn't have to feel like you are being massively confined when it comes to gated progression. But it does make progress feel more rewarding when there are obstacles in the way that do need to be overcome and not just bypassed completely like you can do with the whole game in BoTW. In some instances it's bosses that need to be fought others it's key items to find.
I agree, I like how Elden Ring managed to make you feel the plot progression throughout the game although many things are optional. As you said, mostly it is required to defeat certain story bosses, story dungeons or finding key items to progress further. Also, as you progress much further in the world map, you'll recognize soon that the enemies are much much stronger in some areas, so you really need to level up or progress further in the game to explore the more difficult areas.

Technically, we already discovered the whole map of BotW, so there's really no use of the exact same formular if we can still just directly go to the final boss. Plus, story dungeons would still suffer the same issues if the dev team completely used the same formular again. There has to be some sort of restrictions in the overworld which can be solved via plot progression or finding key items and similar kind of things.
 

Dio

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I agree, I like how Elden Ring managed to make you feel the plot progression throughout the game although many things are optional. As you said, mostly it is required to defeat certain story bosses, story dungeons or finding key items to progress further. Also, as you progress much further in the world map, you'll recognize soon that the enemies are much much stronger in some areas, so you really need to level up or progress further in the game to explore the more difficult areas.

Technically, we already discovered the whole map of BotW, so there's really no use of the exact same formular if we can still just directly go to the final boss. Plus, story dungeons would still suffer the same issues if the dev team completely used the same formular again. There has to be some sort of restrictions in the overworld which can be solved via plot progression or finding key items and similar kind of things.
I just wish they had gone down that route with BoTW 1 and required the freeing of the divine beasts to progress to Ganon along with making enemies in certain areas do a lot more damage to really encourage maxing out the hearts.

For BoTW 2 it looks like there will be both sky and underground areas so instead of blocking off parts of the overworld which we have already explored I would have some of these areas that need completing in order to progress the story and making some areas with very tough enemies which require link to level up to get through. I think Nintendo should simply do away with being able to fight Ganondorf at the beginning of the game and require the players to actually do some bosses and dungeons first. BoTW did it as an experiment and I personally didn't think it was good.

Maybe have areas you can see but have nowhere to get to until the story progresses, that builds anticipation and rewards the player for their efforts.
 
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BOTW already has more gating then people like to admit. Central Hyrule and Hyrule Castle are filled with guardians, Gerudo Highlands and Hebra are to cold, Southwest (gerudo desert) is to hot and Eldin is also to hot and you kind of need to go that stable with the NPC that sells the fire protection potions. Sure theirs nothing stopping you from going to those places, but you do need some gear if you want to survive. The majority of people in BOTW do Vah Ruta first because of the gating.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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BOTW already has more gating then people like to admit. Central Hyrule and Hyrule Castle are filled with guardians, Gerudo Highlands and Hebra are to cold, Southwest (gerudo desert) is to hot and Eldin is also to hot and you kind of need to go that stable with the NPC that sells the fire protection potions. Sure theirs nothing stopping you from going to those places, but you do need some gear if you want to survive. The majority of people in BOTW do Vah Ruta first because of the gating.
That's what I've seen commonly referred to as soft gatekeeping: locks that you can bypass by smacking them hard and skillfully enough. That's the sort of progression system I prefer, since it incentivizes player skill and disincentivizes finding a bow and saying, "Woah, I guess I am for the glowing eyes now."
 

Mikey the Moblin

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That's what I've seen commonly referred to as soft gatekeeping: locks that you can bypass by smacking them hard and skillfully enough. That's the sort of progression system I prefer, since it incentivizes player skill and disincentivizes finding a bow and saying, "Woah, I guess I am for the glowing eyes now."
what if intended progression includes finding the bow and aiming for the glowing eyes, but a skilled player can hit the glowing eyes without the bow
 

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