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Will ‘Tears of the Kingdom’ Bring Dungeons Back to ‘The Legend of Zelda’?

Zelda and the Master Sword in the third trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom coming to the Nintendo Switch on May 12, there are so many questions about the game we’re all dying to have answered. One that’s a point of concern for many fans is whether the newest Zelda game is going to have “proper” dungeons this time around. After The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild came out, a lot of fans were disappointed that, though rich in shrines, the game came up short on the matter of dungeons. The fact that trailers for Tears of the Kingdom seem to be hinting at another shrine-heavy game has some worried that it’s going to be more of the same.

Though we won’t be able to confirm anything until we have a copy of the game in our hot little hands, we’re pretty sure we can answer whether Tears of the Kingdom is going to have real dungeons.

Nintendo has decided not to comment either way on the dungeon question, but there are clues in the most recent trailer that do seem to point to the answer being “yes.” In a montage of scenes, we see Link intently running through a cave, dodging lasers as he floats down a vertical tunnel, and turning the massive crank of an unseen mechanism—all things you’d expect to see in a typical dungeon. There are also shots of elemental-style creatures emerging from a stone wall and what seems to be a pool of lava respectively; they look like the sort of minor bosses you’d typically have to fight as you progressed through a dungeon.

Then there are the spoilers from people who’ve already accessed the leaked version of Tears of the Kingdom and played it. Though we don’t condone pirating games and playing them before the release date (especially if you’re going to spoil the ending for others), we’d be remiss to ignore the results of this particular fact-finding mission. Kotaku has confirmed the presence of dungeons in Tears of the Kingdom, or at least one dungeon in particular: Ganon’s multi-level castle. While the elementals we’ve seen in the trailer don’t seem to be attached to dungeons (they’re part of different elemental-themed temples with puzzles to solve), each one does come with a final boss fight at the end, which is sort of dungeon-y? Most exciting for dungeon fans is the promise of the underworld, a whole dungeon-esque area to explore that seems to be just as big as the rest of the game’s above ground environment.

So it’s looking good for dungeons making a reappearance in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, but we won’t be able to say for certain until we’ve played it ourselves.

(featured image: Nintendo)

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Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.