Friday, October 28, 2011

Entering Dungeons

From the latest issue of Iwata Asks:

Fujibayashi: On the other hand, we paid a lot of attention to how to enter dungeons. In the original Legend of Zelda game, Link went into a dungeon with a tomp-tomp-tomp sound. I really wanted to recreate that!

I like Fujibayashi, I'm currently thinking that he has a good influence on the Zelda series and comes up with the right ideas. And the way how you enter a dungeon was a lost art. It basically started with Ocarina of Time, where they introduced the temple concept, which by now became very stale. The temples were basically holy places that got cursed. And because they were holy places, they are mostly open to the world. But I think a real dungeon should be a dangerous and scary place, something that has to be sealed to protect the people from what's inside. As you might know one of my favorite Zelda games is Link's Awakening and one of the many things I like about this game is how they sealed the dungeons. Usually you have to find a key to open it first and sometimes they were sealed on other means. That was a smart concept only copied by the Oracle games. And this now returns in Skyward Sword, for example to enter the Earth Temple you have to get its key first. Dungeons look way more dangerous, if they are not something out in the open.

Dungeons used to be places going deep underground. What you see on the overworld in earlier games is only the small entrance. That's part of what Fujibayashi meant about how you enter a dungeon in The Legend of Zelda, where Link goes down a staircase with a simple animation and sound effect. The way how they recreated this feeling is pretty impressive, we've seen footage of Link entering the Skyview Temple and the Earth Temple. In both cases he walks down a long staircase leading underground. Howling wind blows towards you and it's all very atmospheric. This is very reminiscent of classic Zelda and one of the many things in Skyward Sword done right.

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