The Ruptured Towers are a series of seven (nine as of version 6.5) dungeons floating in an Apocryphal abyss. They are accessed via the Mirror of Twilight in the Shattered Lands, which can only be opened with the Key of Twilight.
The Ruptured Towers collectively serve as the final dungeon for Relics of Hyrule and function as a trial for the player, testing their aptitude before granting access to the Triforce Shrine. Each portion of the Ruptured Towers has a theme and boss of its own, as well as enemies fitting of that theme. Some items can only be found within the Ruptured Towers. Banners bearing the name of the tower and the theme in two versions of Hylian text can be found outside each tower.
|Doubt||Forest||Spriggans, Skulltulas, Tektites||Aquamentus|
|Fear||Fire||Flame Atronachs, Wizzrobes, Flame Stals, Fire Gimos||Volvagia|
|Anguish||Water||Chilfos, Wizzrobes||Faron's Shade|
|Loss||Shadow||Poes, Stalfos, Staltroops, Skeletons, Darknuts||Stallord|
|Misery||Spirit||Seekers, Lost Hylian Soldiers, Enthralled Weapons||Argorok|
|Grief||Light||Wizzrobes, Iron Knuckles||Onox, Eldin's Shade|
|Guilt||Time||None||Lanayru's Shade, Hero's Shade|
The Ruptured Towers are contained within the remnants of the Twilight Realm, usurped and corrupted by Hermaeus Mora. This is explored in the lore book Twilight and Apocrypha. The origins of the Ruptured Towers are also explained in this book. They are explained by Hermaeus Mora as "fragments of Hyrule, sunken into the sands of [the Twilight Realm], tended to by the Hero's Shade." The Towers are essentially pieces of Hyrule that have blended with the memories of the Hero's Shade, ultimately being corrupted and expanded into physical form as prisons for monsters that were trapped in the Twilight Realm at the end of the Last Great War of Hyrule. The player is simultaneously exploring what it left of Hyrule, as well as the mind of the Hero's Shade.
Background and Inspiration Edit
The Ruptured Towers were designed and implemented in version 6.0 as a final challenge for the player, such that they would truly earn the reconstruction of the Triforce. The Towers also serve to conclude the story of Relics of Hyrule and present that story to the player as they fight their way to the Triforce.
Originally, Itnamzand was going to be directly connected to the Ruptured Towers as a long, 9-part dungeon, lending to its Twilight Princess inspiration. JKalenad ultimately separated Itnamzand into its own dungeon and connected the Towers to the Shattered Lands via the Mirror of Twilight.
Early in development, the Ruptured Towers were called the Sundered Towers, but that name was changed to avoid confusion with the Forsworn-inhabited ruin of the same name. The Towers were also originally intended to be set in the Deadlands like Ganon's Tower, with Ganon's Tower at the center in place of Guilt, and a design much like that of the sections of the Deadlands featured in Oblivion. However, JKalenad decided to reserve the Deadlands-based dungeon to focus solely on Ganon, rather than the Hero's Shade. The implication would have been that Mehrunes Dagon became interested in the fractured remains of Hyrule, which would not have been as fitting as Hermaeus Mora. The involvement of Hermaeus Mora was actually partially inspired by a user's question about which Daedra would have been interested in Hyrule. Enemies were intended to be in the "overworld" of the Towers, but ultimately JKalenad decided to remove them to retain the area's atmosphere.
The themes of the Towers all come from the temples in Ocarina of Time, and the dungeon as a whole references the interior of Ganon's Tower in the game. They were originally planned to be able to be completed in any order. However, JKalenad decided to make the order of the Towers follow the standard order for completing Ocarina of Time. The extra towers, Rage and Crisis, derive their themes from the Earth and Wind temples in The Wind Waker.
The names of the Towers are partially inspired by the Kübler-Ross model of grief. The names were decided upon as a progression of emotions through a traumatic event as well as after. The names essentially tell a story of the feelings of the Hero's Shade during and after the Last Great War of Hyrule.
The nature and appearance of the Ruptured Towers draw some inspiration from the film Inception, one of JKalenad's all-time favorite films. The boss arenas and the interiors of the towers are similar to the layers of consciousness presented in the film.