Tears of the Kingdom brings back "traditional" Zelda dungeons, and I couldn't be more excited

 The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Nintendo has finally provided the confirmation fans have been waiting for ever since the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - dungeons are back, baby!

"The four Divine Beasts were the dungeons in the last game, and they shared similar designs," art director Satoru Takizawa says in an official Nintendo interview. "This time, the dungeons are huge and each carry their own regional look and feel, just like traditional The Legend of Zelda games. We think they will provide a satisfying challenge for players. They were certainly a challenge to develop!"

Dungeons have been a core part of nearly every mainline Zelda game, and for all of Breath of the Wild's excellence, the limited scope, variety, and number of its Divine Beasts was a disappointment for old-school fans like me. I loved the sandbox freedom of Breath of the Wild's open world, but sometimes I want to spend a few hours taking on some challenging puzzles and combat encounters, you know?

Nintendo has made some efforts to combine the two styles of play, too. Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi says that "there is a dungeon that connects directly from Hyrule's surface. If you dive from the sky straight into the dungeon, you'll trigger an event. We think this will be a new experience that wasn't possible in the previous game."

Technical director Takuhiro Dohta also notes that the dungeons are "unique to their respective environments, so we think you’ll be able to enjoy the wide variety of regional characteristics." Massive dungeons built in ways that make sense for and interact with the regions they're in? Here I thought I couldn't be any more excited for Tears of the Kingdom.

Of course, there's a non-zero chance you've already seen some of these dungeons in action, given the Tears of the Kingdom leaks that are continuing to spill forth, despite Nintendo's somewhat awkward attempts to stamp them out. But if you've been digging into only official information about the game, today's confirmation is an absolutely fantastic one.

Nintendo's multipart interview series also revealed that the dev team faced internal controversy over having too many sky islands and that the team "experienced strong deja vu" over the game's similarity to Breath of the Wild.