Crimson Desert Has a Lot of Influences, But The Zelda Similarities Are The Clearest of All

Crimson Desert Has a Lot of Influences, But The Zelda Similarities Are The Clearest of All

There are many influences evident in the most recent Crimson Desert trailer, though none with more presence than Zelda’s open world titles.


  • Crimson Desert is shaping up to be an ambitious single-player game with a massive map, allowing players to roam freely as the mercenary Kliff and uncover hidden truths about his past.
  • The game draws inspiration from various open world titles, but it shares a strong resemblance to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its sequel Tears of the Kingdom in terms of the emphasis on sky islands and player freedom.
  • Crimson Desert aims to capture the open world liberty of Breath of the Wild, allowing players to approach problems from any angle. It also incorporates elements like dynamically capturing horses and interacting with the world through special powers. The game has a lot to prove to stand out from other modern open world games that have borrowed elements from Breath of the Wild.

It’s been a while since it last surfaced, but Pearl Abyss’ upcoming title Crimson Desert is shaping up nicely. While initially pitched as an action-MMO in the same universe as the developer’s other MMO Black Desert Online, Crimson Desert has been reimagined as a singleplayer game since then. As seen in the Gamescom 2023 trailer, players are free to roam a massive map as Kliff, a mercenary trying to find his comrades and the hidden truths about his past and the world he inhabits.

Along the way, Kliff can interact with townsfolk, survive in the wilderness, climb or fly just about anywhere, and have all sorts of adventures in the continent of Pywel. Crimson Desert is extremely ambitious, even compared to the fusion of action and MMO traits that Black Desert deployed. Thanks to that, there’s no release date in sight, though the game looks like it’s making progress. Some help focusing its development may come from Crimson Desert‘s various open world inspirations, one of which is more obvious than the rest.

Tears of the Kingdom’s Sky Islands Return In Crimson Desert

The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom TOTK Link freefalling above Great Sky Island

The various survival simulation elements in Crimson Desert could be said to resemble Red Dead Redemption 2, and various other parts of the title draw comparisons to popular open world titles like Skyrim or The Witcher 3. However, all of that is nothing in the face of the many elements shared not just with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but also its recently-released sequel Tears of the Kingdom. It’s surprising how much it resembles the recent Legend of Zelda title after both spent years in development, sharing a strong emphasis on sky islands and different methods for flight.

While the chances of a subterranean map in Crimson Desert like TotK‘s Depths are low, the game almost seems to be a direct response to Tears of the Kingdom‘s 2021 gameplay reveal trailer. Judging by available footage, certain regions of the world have tightly-packed groups of sky islands that can be reached through portals, hot air balloons, skydiving, and possibly other methods like the protagonist’s shadowy wraith form. These seem like an idealized version of the more thinly-spread sky islands in Tears of the Kingdom, though it’s too early to say if this is accurate, or if these weren’t always planned for Crimson Desert.

Crimson Desert Gives Many Breath of the Wild Elements Its Own Twist


Setting Tears of the Kingdom-specific comparisons aside, there are plenty of similarities to Breath of the Wild as well. First and foremost, Crimson Desert is taking inspiration from Zelda‘s acclaimed open world freedom approach. It seems players can approach problems from any angle, and will be met with the appropriate resistance, such as a castle launching explosives at a falling Kliff. How far this approach goes is unclear, but if Crimson Desert can recapture the magic of Zelda allowing players to define their own story progress, it should impress many.

Plenty of other details are present, such as dynamically capturing horses, climbing certain surfaces freely, and, perhaps most conspicuously, interacting with the world through special powers. Chances of Crimson Desert replicating Ultrahand are low, especially with how broad its many mechanics are, but something functioning similarly to Breath of the Wild‘s Magnesis Rune is featured in the Gamescom trailer. Many modern open world games are recognized for borrowing elements like climbing, gliding, and Shrine-like mini-dungeons from BotW, so Crimson Desert has a lot to prove if it wants to stand out from the rest.

Crimson Desert is now in development for PC and consoles.

MORE: Why It Seems Like Every Game is Copying The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Lately

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *