Zelda: Breath of the Wild Director Explains the Lack of Traditional Dungeons, Why the Shrines Are Short

Nintendo’s attempt at adapting the Zelda franchise into a more open-world format with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild resulted in a game that many fans loved, while others had gripes with. The first episode of the Nintendo Power podcast had game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma on to help shed light on their design decisions.

In the interview Fujibayashi said that while in previous Zelda games one dungeon was very, very long and because of this the team focused on creating big fields to explore, they tinkered with the ratio of finding Shrines to players exploring the world in Breath of the WildAt that point they came up with having around 100 or so Shrines.

They then pondered making each Shrine a long, big dungeon but worried players would spend too much time in dungeons, so they settled on making each Shrine around ten minutes long.

They were still concerned over having each Shrine only ten minutes long (as many would feel that’s too short for a Zelda game) and thought of making bigger dungeons that incorporated gravity and moving parts, which led to the creation of the Divine Beasts.

Aonuma followed up by noting that Shrines double both as short dungeons and as warp points, a decision they came to after realizing players might fail at a shrine and have to come back to it later. They were concerned that this would become annoying, so they made each Shrine a warp point.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently available for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U. In case you missed it, you can find our thorough video and written review for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild here.

How do you feel about the formula Nintendo went with in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildDo you miss the traditional-length dungeons and themes? Or were you happy with their design changes? Sound off in the comments below!

Brandon Orselli


Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer, Nicchiban, and Pretentious Media. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer.