The Legend of Zelda franchise is all about a cycle of storytelling and gameplay. There’s always Link the hero, Zelda the princess, and Ganon the bad guy. Each game gives us a lengthy adventure of dungeons, tutorials, and an annoying partner that tells us where to go. Breath of the Wild is perhaps the most drastic departure in terms of design we’ve seen from a first party Nintendo game yet, and delivered the first amazing game for the Nintendo Switch. If it wasn’t for a few nagging points, this could very well be one of my top 10 games of all time.
I’ve already posted my review of Super Mario Odyssey and the massive disappointment it was for me, but I want to take a closer look at one area in particular. In my review, I cited that the gameplay and structure of the levels were at odds with one another, with one major exception. There was one level in Super Mario Odyssey that not only was the best designed, but it actually made the rest of the game worse by comparison, and that is certainly worthy of being studied.
Continuing from my previous post about environmental vs. level design, it’s time to drill down further and discuss what makes a level work in a video game. When I think about good level design, regardless of the genre, there are three key aspects to discuss.
For this recorded cast, I spoke with Luke Hughes who is the lead designer on the game Burden of Command. We discussed the design of the game, and what it’s like to tell these hard stories without trying to glorify or condemn the actions of the people. We had some internet related issues here and there, but this was still an amazing cast.