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General Zelda Story Based Dungeons

So, I just answered in a thread about having more dungeons in future Zelda games and my answer got me thinking about how dungeons as a whole could work in the future... So I'm proposing the idea of story-based dungeons.

For example; The Spirit Temple in OoT saw us tackle the dungeon in two parts, the first as Young Link and the second as adult Link, at the beginning of this dungeon we meet Nabooru, she talks to Link, introduces the temple, tells him what to do and gives some character and story exposition, later on we see her as adult Link being kidnapped by Koume and Kotake and later again she is revealed to be a prisoner within an Iron Knuckle before the final boss.

Now I'm not saying we need to rescue a recurring damsel within every dungeon in this hypothetical Zelda instalment but having plot devices, character interaction and or narrative exposition happen more often when you have nothing but a checklist of dungeons like OoT, TP and ALttP gave us where the narrative ground to a halt until you did a select amount of them for the story to continue may be something at least fresh rather than boring.

This is of course only possible if nintendo began to give a damn about the story at all.

So, thoughts?
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Feb 23, 2011
That's an excellent idea. However, many fans equate a plot-heavy focus to linearity, which - if true - would surely be a pain in the side to them if it were included in a hypothetical future title. If Nintendo were to find a means to balance this potential issue and avoid excessive linearity, then I'd be all over it. Story-based dungeons for the win...


Jul 1, 2012
I think I have seen similar elements in both the Fallout games and the likes of Skyrim....

There version of the Dungeons, for example in Fallout you have vaults. There will be a specific sidequest/mainquest within the game which will point you in the direction of one of these Vaults or a specific building/facility. Now it may be to collect a certain quest item, kill a tribe leader, help out someone or saving trapped npc's. Now one in this game can explore the entire area if they so desire and they will be rewarded but if you just want to go in and do the main quest task itself, then you can.

Having a specific task within a dungeon would be a nice feature and it would go away from the typical..."Go through the dungeon, acquire the map, get the dungeon item, defeat the boss Etc. This will give Dungeons a bigger meaning instead of just being an obstacle in order to advance, it would also give the dungeon a different aspect in terms of gameplay as with rescuing a character for instance, you will be searching or looking for clues not just continually trying to advance for the sake of advancing...

Overall I think this idea is great :) Itwould be a great way to make dungeons more unique as well as a making them more important to the grand plot.


Darkest of all Dark Links
Oct 28, 2012
Well...games have already done that. Like TP. It included a little small story for dungeons like the Forest Temple, Goron Mines, and Snowpeak. Of course none of them were that big and I don't think we'll ever see a big story for a dungeon. I think Nintendo would rather keep story separate from dungeons if nothing else.
Aug 25, 2012
Indiana, USA
Not only could Nintendo do this, but they should. Now obviously, every dungeon in the Zelda series has some sort of story significance, especially since Ocarina of Time. In OoT's Fire Temple, for instance, you're entering the lair of Volvagia the dragon to rescue the Gorons and aid Darunia in slaying the beastie. That's some incentive, but it tends to be very basic. The Spirit Temple was kind of the exception to the rule in that you actually met and interacted with a character (Nabooru) and learned more about the Gerudos and Ganondorf, then went on a mission to rescue her as an adult later, ironically using the treasure you'd promised to give to her.

I know this seems like a tired old trope I pull out frequently, but we can look back to games like the Paper Mario series for inspiration here. In The Thousand-Year Door, my personal favorite, most of the side-stories were self-contained, but they all clearly tied into a bigger, darker plot. Zelda could do something similar, where each dungeon tasks you with something personal, like rescuing a hostage or retrieving an important character's ancestor's treasure. But each dungeon also brings something that sheds more light onto the overarching plot, like the reason the villain turned evil or where he was born. In the end, you'd see how the villain's influence had affected the area around the dungeon and give you more drive to overthrow them. So you've got the past (the villain's origins), the present (helping people in need), and the future (looking forward to the showdown). All that wrapped into one dungeon. But it has to be a constant learning experience, or dungeons will feel repetitive story-wise.
Jan 30, 2013
I posted something similar to this in another thread (I'm not sure wich one). I think a little bit more thought could go into the dungeons and the bosses particularly, instead of getting to the end of a dungeon and finding a giant spider that ganon summoned I think bosses should be given a small back story as to why that are there.
I'm not asking for a well thought out intricate story behind each boss but I think the game would play better if we had something to fight for other than to get that quest item.
It's not something I condemn but dungeons should never be heavy on story. I enjoyed the concept present in the Gargoyle's Domain in A Link to the Past where the boss was woven in disguised as a maiden in distress. Snowpeak Ruins didn't force narrative elements either integrating the plight of the Yetis with Link's search for the pieces of the Mirror of Twilight.

Dungeons should primarily focus on gameplay incorporating Link's entire arsenal to slay enemies, avoid traps, and solve puzzles. While I enjoyed the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time, it was initially sluggish with Princess Ruto's appearance and leads. Smaller contained plots within dungeons are preferred to shedding more light on the main story. Zelda has been lacking surprised lately. Introducing subplots would also bring Nintendo a step closer to achieving its goal of nonlinearity.

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