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Should Dungeons Become More Like Overworlds?

One of Skyward Sword's promises was to make an overworld that felt more like a dungeon. There were more puzzles, to be sure, but this design choice also stinted exploration. The fact that the three major overworld regions were unlocked after completing a certain quest in the main game and connected through jumping off the Loftwing created the most linear console Zelda yet.

But what if Nintendo took the opposite approach and opened up dungeons to more closely resemble an overworld? While I wasn't the biggest fan of Skyward Sword's dungeons, I thought the Sandship was a very unique idea in design and execution. Having to locate the dungeon in the Lanayru Desert Sand Sea made it seem more connected to its surrounding environment. The boat design also certainly contributed to it not feeling like a stereotypical temple dungeon.

Of course, dungeons can also have simple nods to the overworld by having multiple entrances, such as the Desert Palace or Skull Woods from A Link to the Past. Or an important gameplay mechanic can be tied to a dungeon, as seen by the Spirit Temple requiring players to go back in time and return as Young Link.

Dungeons and overworlds are two distinct sides to the franchise, but perhaps they can be merged into a more coherent whole. Nintendo simply chose the wrong alternative with Skyward Sword. What are your thoughts on the matter?
 

Moonstone

embrace the brand new day
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
I agree. I liked Skyward Sword, but part of the reason it's not my favorite is due to the very limited overworld. I'd much rather have an expansive overworld with more seamless dungeons, ideally the story of the game will allow the player to explore the overworld and find the dungeons in whichever order they happen to find them in. I also think that multiple entrances would be excellent, and if the developers don't want to allow us the freedom to enter a dungeon anyway we want from the get go, they could make alternative entrances inaccessible until a certain item is obtained, whether in that particular dungeon or perhaps in another one.

Truth be told, I'd much rather have dungeons that are less puzzle based with an expansive and seamless overworld, than have a split overworld with lots of puzzles, dungeons with even more puzzles and very little exploration. I prefer to explore and be immersed in the atmosphere of the game than have the illusion shattered by instances and what I consider an overload of puzzles.
 

Squirrel

The Rodent King
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Location
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Well not even going that far, most dungeons have roofs. I'd like a dungeon that maybe still has one entrance, but isn't a building, it's just a continuation of the overworld just outside. It's basically just a closed-off area of the overworld but is generally exactly the same. I want it to look and seem like there isn't a dungeon at all while still maintaining that there is a mid-boss, boss, and one entrance to the area just like a dungeon. It would keep the main mechanic within what's it's supposed to do while giving a very different feeling. And then along with that also have a gigantic, beautiful palace as a dungeon with multiple entrances on different floors too. Maybe if it's a dungeon later in the game, Link can somehow fly up to a balcony from below.
And I'm also a fan of having more than one mid-boss and having more humanoid bosses. And possibly if they can progress that far, interactive environment during a fight. They've sort of done that before but they either do it in a way where it can't be utilized by the player and it's just the boss that can interact with the environment or it's just something that reacts with the specific item you got in that dungeon.

Basically I just want variety. Nintendo seems to have a formula for their dungeons that they stick to much too strictly.
 

SavageWizzrobe

Eating Link since 1987
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Location
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There have been dungeons that have blended into overworld to some extent. The examples that come to my mind are as follows:

-Desert Palace (ALttP): multiple entrances
-Skull Woods (ALttP): multiple entrances
-Spirit Temple (OoT): dungeon items are outside
-Stone Tower Temple (MM): outdoor areas
-Forsaken Fortress (WW): mosty outdoors
-Dragon Roost Cavern (WW): outdoor areas
-Tower of the Gods (WW): a significant outdoor area
-Palace of Winds (MC): mostly outdoors
-Forest Temple (TP): a significant outdoor area
-Goron Mines (TP): outdoor areas
-Snowpeak Ruins (TP): a significant outdoor area
-City in the Sky (TP): mostly outdoors
-Palace of Twilight (TP): outdoor areas
-Hyrule Castle (TP): mostly outdoors
-Sandship (SS): mostly outdoors
-Fire Sanctuary (SS): outdoor areas

Wow, that list came out longer than I thought!

Well, to answer the thread's question, dungeons should be more like overworlds in terms of a gameplay perspective, because these examples show that some dungeons are like overworlds from an aesthetic perspective. In other words, I would like some more non-linearity to be added to dungeons to encourage exploration, rather than to always follow a rigid path.
 

Vanessa28

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The idea of unlocking parts of the overworld in itself is actually not bad at all. I like it. But the problem with SS was not only the annoying flying into the sky to reach another part of the overworld, but also the very limited overworld. They should have added a dungeon or perhaps maybe a puzzle to unlock parts that connect the overworld with each other so you didn't have to fly all the time to go to another part. That's what I would love; a game with already a part of an overworld to start, and besides the regular dungeons they could add puzzles or dungeons to unlock another part of that same overworld so you can explore more. Heck, they could even make it a cave like TP had. So you have to go through a cave to unlock that other part.
 

Dio

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One of Skyward Sword's promises was to make an overworld that felt more like a dungeon. There were more puzzles, to be sure, but this design choice also stinted exploration. The fact that the three major overworld regions were unlocked after completing a certain quest in the main game and connected through jumping off the Loftwing created the most linear console Zelda yet.

But what if Nintendo took the opposite approach and opened up dungeons to more closely resemble an overworld? While I wasn't the biggest fan of Skyward Sword's dungeons, I thought the Sandship was a very unique idea in design and execution. Having to locate the dungeon in the Lanayru Desert Sand Sea made it seem more connected to its surrounding environment. The boat design also certainly contributed to it not feeling like a stereotypical temple dungeon.

Of course, dungeons can also have simple nods to the overworld by having multiple entrances, such as the Desert Palace or Skull Woods from A Link to the Past. Or an important gameplay mechanic can be tied to a dungeon, as seen by the Spirit Temple requiring players to go back in time and return as Young Link.

Dungeons and overworlds are two distinct sides to the franchise, but perhaps they can be merged into a more coherent whole. Nintendo simply chose the wrong alternative with Skyward Sword. What are your thoughts on the matter?
The problem with SS is that the overworld felt unnatural and didn't look like a place I would even want to explore. TP on the other hand and MM looked much more appealing and I wanted to explore all of it. I think MM delivered with the content more as there was a fair bit to find and TP was more barren, however that did not hinder my enjoyment of it.

I think now the importance would be to make the world more believable and less like a game world. It makes no sense to have a puzzle filled overworld but having roaming beasts and nature based dangers is much more appropriate.
As for dungeons, the traditional trap filled temple designed to protect its treasures from intruders needs to stay, but that doesn't have to be the only form of dungeon. There could be a haunted house or something which would not have all the traditional traps but be dangerous in its own way or like the Ship setting which is obviously not a traditional dungeon it's a ship but would offer more unique dangers.
 

Iridescence

Emancipated Wind Fish
Joined
May 11, 2014
Location
United States
There have been dungeons that have blended into overworld to some extent. The examples that come to my mind are as follows:
...

Well, to answer the thread's question, dungeons should be more like overworlds in terms of a gameplay perspective, because these examples show that some dungeons are like overworlds from an aesthetic perspective. In other words, I would like some more non-linearity to be added to dungeons to encourage exploration, rather than to always follow a rigid path.
Thanks for making the list, and yes, these are some of the most memorable dungeons out there.
 

Salem

SICK
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May 18, 2013
That would simply make the dungeons an extension of the overworld, that would completely change the game's approach. It would resemble Metriod more than Zelda.
 

Zorth

#Scoundrel
Joined
Apr 22, 2011
If you go into the steps of something like the Stone Tower from MM and its following dungeon, then yes definitely. You have an enclosed area that heavily resembles Ikana Canyon, and is pretty much part of it too, and has its own tricks and treats. But the point of a dungeon is to be dark, enclosed, and cut off from the overworld.

It is afterall where you keep your prisoners, and important items to the plot. So keep these areas in the game too, at least something like the Savage Labyrinth or Cave of Ordeals. Dark, dangerous, and fun.

Although having these sort of introduction areas that have puzzles, bosses, and items, (stone tower, MM) before you step into the actual area that is part of the entire story? go for it
 

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