The World Design of Hollow Knight | Boss Keys

31 okt. 2019
1 395 954 Weergaven

// This video spoils the entirety of Hollow Knight //
Hollow Knight takes place in the sprawling kingdom of Hallownest: an underground ant's nest of forests, mines, basins, and waterways. In this episode of Boss Keys, I look at the shape, structure, and sequence of exploring this masterpiece game.
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The Making of Hollow Knight | Game Informer
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Video chapters
00:00 - Introduction
02:05 - Hallownest's Layout
04:15 - Exploring Hallownest
17:37 - Sequence Breaking Tricks
19:21 - Dependency Chart
20:45 - Bosses and Upgrades in Hollow Knight
27:59 - Navigating Hallownest
31:40 - Maps
33:59 - The True Ending of Hollow Knight
36:57 - Conclusion
Music used in this episode
AM2R soundtrack - DoctorM64 (
Ori and the Blind Forest soundtrack - Gareth Coker (
Hollow Knight soundtrack - Cristopher Larkin (
Other credits
Hollow Knight Speedrun Tech - The Greenpath Skips | Dr. Crowtron
HOLLOW KNIGHT - Monomon Without Isma's Tear | Astoroth
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  • Hey thanks for watching and for all your lovely comments! Just wanted to issue a few corrections and clarifications: [1] I said that Hornet was referring to the Resting Grounds when she said “seek the Grave in Ash”. She’s actually talking about the Cast-off Shell in the Kingdom’s Edge, where you fight her for the second time. [2] There’s a few extra routes through the game that I didn’t mention, namely a path to Deepnest through the Fungal Core, and a path to the Kingdom’s Edge through a secret tunnel in the King’s Station. [3] It’s true that you can get your shade back without travelling to where you last died by giving a rancid egg to Jiji in Dirtmouth. This is useful in some situations, but I don’t think it changes the underlying design of the shade mechanic in a substantial way. [4] Your soul amount drops by a third, not a half, when you die. [5] I could have worded the DLC stuff better. Mentioning that bosses are “exclusive” to free, auto-installed DLC packs is a bit weird. My intention was to help out people who played Hollow Knight's base game in 2017 and were confused about missing these bonus bosses.

    Game Maker's ToolkitGame Maker's ToolkitJaar geleden
    • I'm kinda sad you didn't enjoy the true ending. When I played the game I would make sure to search every room in every area before I moved on to the next area. I purposefully avoided going places that felt like endings to the game, because I wanted to get every secret and explore everything the game had to offer. And I think that rewarding a player's drive to explore the entire map with the true ending is great game design. Let me know what you think though.

      Durin MillerDurin Miller5 dagen geleden
    • @Bob Zwetsloot Actually, there is a part of Kingdom’s Edge that’s only accessible by tram. When you take the tram to Kingdom’s Edge you come out in a new part of the area. This opens access to the Hive, and a long tunnel that leads back to the Waterways. After a little exploration you’ll find a breakable wall that leads back to the main part of Kingdom’s Edge.

      Ian JossicIan Jossic13 dagen geleden
    • Your video was so great. When it was over i was sad.

      Evan WEvan WMaand geleden
    • @Noah C. Fisher It can also be like this "Hello.",

      Erik NixonErik NixonMaand geleden
    • I hope people see this comment! You're right that the DLC stuff sounded a bit off. The fact that Team Cherry released 4 free DLC packs is amazing.

      Eterick StonelyEterick Stonely3 maanden geleden
  • Hearing Mark describe the "natural" route to the City of Tears surprised me! For me, City of Tears became a late-game area. Having no idea the Mantis Lords fight was optional, I assumed Deepnest was the next place to go, explored until I found the tramway pass, went to the Resting Grounds and started collecting Essence, explored most of Crystal Peak and got the Crystal Heart, went *back* to Deepnest, found the other tram car, and finally found my way into the City of Tears via the Ancient Basin (which I didn't get the map for until much later, so I had no idea what it was called). When I finally got the Dive from the Soul Sanctum, I was a little confused to find that nearly all the places it unlocked were places I'd already been through other routes. I think I may even have awakened Herrah at that point.

    Life HappensLife Happens10 uur geleden
  • 21:32

    Mihaescu OctavianMihaescu Octavian3 dagen geleden
  • You only need vengeful spirit, nothing cloak, and mantis claw to beat the game, but you'd have to be a pro gamer

    Treedin 68Treedin 683 dagen geleden
    • Autocorrect made mothwing cloak nothing cloak

      Treedin 68Treedin 683 dagen geleden
  • 2/3 not half soul

    GrecklefestGrecklefest4 dagen geleden
  • Love the video; think he went on too long about shortcuts being available to the player once they took the long way once. That's just bogstandard design, innit?

    Tom de KlerTom de Kler5 dagen geleden
  • i find it deeply ironic and really quite sad that a man with an entire channel about game design needed a walkthrough to find the true ending. pathetic. unsubbed.

    Cliffjungling Naga SirenCliffjungling Naga Siren5 dagen geleden
  • I will never tire of seeing or hearing some hollow knight... pure love

    Rodrigo LPZ.Rodrigo LPZ.5 dagen geleden
  • 35:31 I actually think the controls in Hollow Knight are definitely as good as Meat Boy or Celeste, and I never got that frustrating feeling of accidentally dashing diagonally when I meant to dash straight (that often happened to me in Celeste), because you can't dash diagonally at all. The White Palace was definitely hard, but I think it was enjoyable and I never felt like the controls were against me in any way, I personally think they're as sharp as they come.

    Jay MarksmanJay Marksman5 dagen geleden
  • calling the Radians a dude triggered something inside me

    La RanaLa Rana6 dagen geleden
  • Me when I start to read the list of patrons Also me when I see the name Arin Also also me "Wouldn't it be cool if Arin Hanson from game grumps was on here" The last name "Hanson" Me :O

    SnowconeGamesSnowconeGames6 dagen geleden
  • I think the way of the game to tell you there is a better ending is the porcentage completion it lets you see before fighting Hollow Knight, for you to at list 100% the game before ending it (even if there is 112% now...)

    Tomas OlivaTomas Oliva6 dagen geleden
  • I remember when I first booted up the game, I spent a good minute in the room you first spawn in, testing jumping and attacking controls, figuring out whether the other buttons did anything, then broke the barrier to start. That first platforming section I failed to a couple times before I got used to the lack of momentum, but I got to Dirtmouth soon and followed the normal progression to the Mantis Claw and City of Tears. When the gate shut behind me, I panicked. I searched for the Stag Station, and to my relief, I found it. City of Tears then became this area I could explore at me leisure, and not a prison I had to escape from. I now wish it stayed a prison, (they could've put a breakable floor before the Stag Station, effectively telling you that once you get the upgrade, then it's here for you) that would've made for an even better experience for when I finally got the desolate dive and broke out. After that, I explored the Royal Waterways, and then didn't know where to go, so I got a bit bored. The Ancient Basin seemed like a late game area to me, so I didn't want to go there yet, and I'd heard the horrors of Deepnest, so I noped on out of there when I saw the area name, so I had no idea where to go. It was honestly a bit of a chore to play Hollow Knight at that point, but I trudged on through because of the promise that this was a good game. It wasn't until I explored the crystal peaks that I started having fun again. I found the crystal dash, and used it to cross a deep hole that I decided to explore after I explored what was on the other side, the Crystallized Mound (I think it was). I died to the worst enemy of the game (crystal hunters), and proceeded to dash with Mothwing Cloak to try to get back over the gap, I failed, and fell down the hole to the resting grounds. After that it was fairly standard progression to the final boss after 40 hours, and then the true final boss after 80 hours.

    Under DrowUnder Drow6 dagen geleden
  • you know this guy is harsh when he talks about the few bad things about hollow knight and doesent mention the primal aspid

    Tracy KutzTracy Kutz7 dagen geleden
  • The organic oven acly contain because recess intringuingly tug abaft a second-hand nylon. decisive, capable scarf

    Tre HamiltonTre Hamilton8 dagen geleden
  • A lot like Metroid 1. Way too open.

    Thirteen 1355Thirteen 135510 dagen geleden
  • ha even today, almost a year after i first played im still learning theres areas i never saw before

    Jestingwheat856Jestingwheat85610 dagen geleden
  • best area is city of tears, worst area is royal waterways, most forgettable area is ancient basin

    The Vibe ChamberThe Vibe Chamber11 dagen geleden
  • 11:26 how the heck dose he have so much geo

    Abodi animatesAbodi animates11 dagen geleden
  • "Dark souls esc difficulty spikes" shows hornet protector

    The Pale KingThe Pale King11 dagen geleden
  • I should play this game

    Gunta WolfgangGunta Wolfgang12 dagen geleden
  • "it took me 20 hours to get to the credits the first time" * glances at my save file at 50 hours not even a half way through.. * - this game is HAAAARRRD!

    Jack Kirby CrosbyJack Kirby Crosby13 dagen geleden
  • Great video and homage that does justice to describing the depth, heart and attention to detail that was poured into building this game!

    Michael CherunMichael Cherun13 dagen geleden
  • Botw 2, new fallout from obsidian, hollow knight silksong, remake of lego star wars the complete saga, and a nes zelda game and watch. Would make me the happiest man on earth (3 out of 5 are confirmed and the other 2 are likely), but then I realize that costs money and I don't have any.

    xandywxandyw14 dagen geleden
  • The greatest indie game out right now imo

    Domino25Domino2515 dagen geleden
  • It's all just square rooms lol

    BokoBoko16 dagen geleden
  • speed runners you say there's four ways to get there we use a skip

    Dalmation 101Dalmation 10116 dagen geleden
  • “How cool that team cherry doesn’t care if you don’t find all the stuff. Truly exceptional” “Bwaahh I needed to use a walkthrough because the game doesn’t tell me shit, what a let down” Clown.

    FrietuurFrietuur16 dagen geleden
  • The only bit of criticism I want to give is that you mention you had no drive to seek out the required locations for the end game boss, and had to use a walkthrough because you had no idea where to go, but a few minutes prior you mentioned how you can find hidden routes by looking at your map to find locations you hadn't been to yet. I feel like that's a great way to stumble across these areas, especially the "one jump" you need for the Kings Brand. It shows on your map that there's a path you hadn't taken yet in Kingdom's Edge. Otherwise this was really well written and well spoken. Great job on the video. :)

    SquhdeSquhde16 dagen geleden
  • The only thing this video taught me is that there is a mantis boss fight. I finished the game beforehand btw

    whtagainwhtagain17 dagen geleden
  • The great thing about this game is that there are so many paths. After beating hornet, I didn't even know I could go to the city of tears and I ended up going to deepnest and the resting grounds before finding the bridge to the city of tears

    kingcobraarchie gamingkingcobraarchie gaming17 dagen geleden
  • that's called *locked door*

    KittenTheSmolKittenTheSmol17 dagen geleden
  • w

    DimerDimer18 dagen geleden
  • “A deep well of lore that would launch several youtube careers...” LMAO

    Maia KromerMaia Kromer19 dagen geleden
  • 18:19 okay, that´s it! i´m going to sub now-

    SaschaSascha19 dagen geleden
  • i already saw some footage and it being featured in game design analyses by adam millard. and always thought this looks actually really good. now i started this video and thought what the heck before i get to many spoilers, im gonna get it right now. i know im late to the party but whatever...

    MrMelonMonkeyMrMelonMonkey19 dagen geleden
  • For Zote : AND IN THE FUCKING GOD DOMAIN !!!! the 57 fucking little shit

    Just Metal itJust Metal it20 dagen geleden
  • Thank you

    PredaytorPredaytor20 dagen geleden
  • Yeah the game definitely stops holding your hand in the city of tears considering I had to google how to get out

    Yeet DewdYeet Dewd21 dag geleden
  • I remember the first time I played this. I was frustrated at how little information you got. After losing 8000 geo, I quit. However a friend who got me to initially try it told me about the guy shop who trade ransid eggs to bring the soul to his location (ensuring I won't lose my geo again) After starting over, the gane grew on me and now I play every quarter. (I'm trying to find everything without any guides) If they had explained the dying and losing the remnant, I wouldn't have quit and needed a third party to convince me to given it another go.

    Antonio CunninghamAntonio Cunningham21 dag geleden
  • God I love hollow knight so much! Great video!

    AndrewAndrew21 dag geleden
  • Amazing video! Great work. :)

    Hudson UedaHudson Ueda22 dagen geleden
  • there, now you've made me start hollow knight again! I only ever got the bad ending as I could never defeat the traitor lord...

    Paolo Milani ComparettiPaolo Milani Comparetti22 dagen geleden
  • i stuck on soul master lol XD

    WebouuWebouu22 dagen geleden
  • I remember trying to get to the top of the Crystal Peak without the Monarch Wings. I didn't want to look anything up, so I just kept at it until I figured out I could bounce off of one of the miner's pickaxes in mid-air and make it up to an otherwise inaccessible ledge. It felt really good collecting that pale ore.

    DerflerpDerflerp23 dagen geleden
  • I love this game but I end up running around lost and stoned a lot. But with how pretty it is, that's no problem.

    Japseye SpectaclesJapseye Spectacles23 dagen geleden
  • you could make 'the level design of Ori and the will of the wisps'

    Rory BURKERory BURKE23 dagen geleden
  • That was a beautiful testament to Hallow Knight, I loved it!!!

    Chandler McDanielsChandler McDaniels23 dagen geleden
  • 19:24 the Asylum Demoni, Bell Gargoyles, Iron Golem, Nito, Bed of Chaos, Four King, Seath and more important the immortal Pinwheel are skipable

    xx_Lolispoweryt_xx _xx_Lolispoweryt_xx _23 dagen geleden
  • I just got the game and refused to play it for in a few days Then I decided to watch the video and had it all spoiled Good video though! Ima still play it I think

    OppieOppie24 dagen geleden
  • The greatest game ever. After skyrim elder scrolls V of course.

    Stephen BockrathStephen Bockrath24 dagen geleden
  • Man, Hollow Knight is SUCH a good game

    Luxray LloydLuxray Lloyd24 dagen geleden
  • You can also finish the game without isma's tear. This is how my playthrough was.

    SoulsenderSoulsender25 dagen geleden
  • I mean, I'll usually uninstall games as soon as I see the credits. But I keep coming back to HK. I've played other stuff since getting the first ending, but I'll keep it installed, and every now and again I'll just feel it call to me. I've still got to beat the third level of the colosseum of fools, still got to fill out the pokedex (I refuse to call it anything else).

    Luan OliveiraLuan Oliveira25 dagen geleden
  • one year later, and im still excited for silksong

    Aria JanzenAria Janzen25 dagen geleden
  • This is one of the few games where I refused to look anything up online while I was playing and I’m so thankful for that

    Justin BuergiJustin Buergi25 dagen geleden
  • I was so sad when Myla got infected

    Liam Barnes :0Liam Barnes :027 dagen geleden
  • 32:36 why wouldn’t you want to use the compass? It’s op, no reason not to use it

    Burakku RenBurakku Ren27 dagen geleden
    • @Jacob P. for real, it carried me through the radiance.

      Hoes madHoes mad18 dagen geleden
    • @randomguy6679 Works very well paired with Gathering Swarm

      Jacob P.Jacob P.24 dagen geleden
    • So great for boss fights, amirite?

      randomguy6679randomguy667925 dagen geleden
  • Imagine experiencing 20 hours of HK and get the easy ending then figure out there is more content, just to youtube you're way through it and still feel like you can talk about exploring HK authentically, what a joke man, makes sense 30% of what you said was literally wrong, you didn't even play the game

    christian emilchristian emil28 dagen geleden
  • with the part about the radiance, that gave you guys trouble? i beat absrad on my fist go.

  • 40 minutes well spent. Twice actually. Haha. Watched it the first time when it was released, rewatched it now after actually playing hollow knight.

    Md YeasinMd Yeasin29 dagen geleden
  • 1:50 Its so cool How did the video show the game levels in this way

    VistaVVVistaVVMaand geleden
  • Well done and BTW there are three ways to the Deep Nest. 3rd is the fungal core. BTW did you miss the Dream no more ending?

    Grey WolfGrey WolfMaand geleden
  • cute beelets are not the only enemy in the hive. Theres also giant bees that turn into fucking drills

    Mark WakinMark WakinMaand geleden
  • Why walk when you can ride?

    Sterling SundbySterling SundbyMaand geleden
  • And it all started from a little game called hungry knight

    Big boi2.0Big boi2.0Maand geleden
  • Fantastic video, and I agree with your sentiment. At least to me Hollow Knight is the best Metroidvania ever so far. Hopefully Silksong surpasses it.

    Oo-De-LallyOo-De-LallyMaand geleden
  • Close your eyes at 1:27 and imagine he's talking about Freddy Fazbear's Pizza Simulator. You're welcome.

    sebastianwillowssebastianwillowsMaand geleden
  • I finished blasphemous, darkest donjeon,xcom 2 but i cant continu this game.he s very hard for me..really.plateforms are insane if you wanna the 100%. So i only could play 7h.. really hard game.

    mic Slave knight gaelmic Slave knight gaelMaand geleden
  • When I realised that I had to go back into deepnest to kill herath i was like: OOHHH FUUUUU-

    Caleb NathanCaleb NathanMaand geleden
  • Excuse me, but I think you're so wrong about the true ending of the game. I finished knowing there was stuff I missed because of my inventory and game percentage, and all it took was turning on the game again and finding out I could buy the maps that I'd missed, which let me see which paths I had yet to explore. Through that I reached Kingdom's Edge. I guess finding the Abyss could be kinda hard, but I remembered seeing a seal there so I knew to check there. The only thing I really didn't know how to do was the birthplace thing, I didn't know it was supposed to be that place, but the game tells you. I just needed to pay more attention because I think Hornet says so.

    Alfonso STAlfonso STMaand geleden
  • Lol, Boss Keys will be back likely when Silksong, Metroid Prime 4 and BotW 2 are out. You pretty much just listed the three greatest videogame myths.

    Alfonso STAlfonso STMaand geleden
  • And then there are the Godmaster endings. Ha-ha! Haha ...

    rd ctrlr レッドコントローラーrd ctrlr レッドコントローラーMaand geleden
  • I like how in your boss chart, the Watcher Knights are towards the end, but in my playthrough, I fought them pretty early in the game. I was so underpowered, I don't think I could ever repeat it again lol.

    Jorge AlvaradoJorge AlvaradoMaand geleden
  • you don't actually need isma's tear to get to monomon, it's just really tricky. it requires very skillful use of parkour and the crystal dash (slightly touched on in the video) and it's terrible, but you can totally do it, which is another testament to how lit this game is.

    Aurora DryeAurora DryeMaand geleden
  • Dude I defeated the radence with the three lifeblood charms and longnail I think

    Liam DobsonLiam DobsonMaand geleden
  • Boss Keys for La-Mulana 1 & 2, my favourite Metroidvanias. This is all I ask for. Axiom Verge 1 & 2 would be interesting as well. I put Hollow Knight on hold until my frustration with it wears off. The grind became unbearable. I lost all my money in an instant death spike zone and can't get it back. Just remembering that place makes me not want to continue. Why is death not just game over? Is death not enough of a punishment? The game could have been good.

    Jango XLJango XLMaand geleden
    • What place are you stuck on?

      Dmsas 360Dmsas 36029 dagen geleden
  • maybe i'm too used to Dark Souls, but i hate Hollow Knight for the combat, because in the first i have a reliable way to get stronger, in Hollow Knight i always feel like i just keep losing geo because of the unforgiving enemy design that doesn't let you get to a boss or a zone, ir shouldn't be easy, but it feels like it's just laughing at me every time i die next to my shadow

    Eric CortazarEric CortazarMaand geleden
  • I LOVE Hollow Knight. Never finished it.

    Kev ZapataKev ZapataMaand geleden
  • It's funny, by my pure desire to end the game with a completed map on my first playthrough, i actually managed to complete all the conditions to get to the Radiance before I'd killed the Hollow Knight, but because I didn't think to dream nail him I ended up getting a variant of the bad ending anyway :

    DanbobskiDanbobskiMaand geleden
  • well, without remembering that i have watched your video before, i walked just like that in the begining..... just like it was time to watch your great video asecond time, its time i start my second run. to hollownest!, and everything in between. :3

    Trimi_XDTrimi_XDMaand geleden
  • God i love 2d dark souls

    Johnathan the memelordJohnathan the memelordMaand geleden
  • I found the resting ground because my friend told me "There are no abyss pits in hollow knight."

    Dish OldUmbrellaDish OldUmbrellaMaand geleden
  • I spent more than 80 hours on my first run, and got 109% completion. Yeah, I only finished 2 pantheons in god home lol.

    Pranav BadrinathanPranav BadrinathanMaand geleden
  • most beautifully designed game ive ever played

    Oh Ehm SeaOh Ehm SeaMaand geleden
  • 12:16 2 more soft locks/gates I could think of: Fury of the Fallen can be acquired at the very beginning of the game if you can pogo off the spikes. Same deal with fighting Brooding Mawlek, if you're good enough at pogo-ing, and can find the secret passageway in the Forgotten Crossroads, you can beat her before False Knight.

    NDM_509NDM_509Maand geleden
  • Love the Video only complaint is the list of games in the intro, you should have added The OG Dark Souls, as that was From Softwares attempt at the style, instead of level based games like Demons Souls and Kings Field.

    SilathSilathMaand geleden
  • Got me 38 hours to the bad ending lololol

    That-Guy-ThereThat-Guy-ThereMaand geleden
  • 17:10 actually he can, if you pogo on furniture

    Hubert KosiorHubert KosiorMaand geleden
  • there is no good or bad ending it just ends in another way, just becuse the radiance was defeated does not mean that hallownest will be alive again

    SC ProductionsSC ProductionsMaand geleden
  • Speak for yourself I thought axiom verge was much better than hollow knight

    Alam SteerAlam SteerMaand geleden
    • let me tell ya a secret: he does speak for himself

      Pascal483Pascal483Maand geleden
  • still hate the traitor lord...

    clydefroschclydefroschMaand geleden
  • 17:12 hey you are wrong I woke up her without the wing thing.

    Palnatoke PawlovskiPalnatoke PawlovskiMaand geleden
    • Oh ok I did that 18:11 thing a lot

      Palnatoke PawlovskiPalnatoke PawlovskiMaand geleden
  • I missed some bosses, interesting. I should replay this sometime.

    MerevelMerevelMaand geleden
  • 3 things. 1. Its called SOUL 2. Its one-third of your SOUL total 3. And finally, its called geo.

    Human HereHuman HereMaand geleden
  • I got to the city of tears after getting the crystal heart. It didn't occur to me that I could use the mantis claw.

    Just Getting ByJust Getting ByMaand geleden
  • I plan on getting this getting this game soon not for the fun but for the SPEEDRUN

    Sanuoy DhamSanuoy DhamMaand geleden
  • I liked hollow knight, but personally, I find it inferior to the Ori games. Hollow knight is big and beautiful, but for me, the story was too cryptic and confusing. I believe you have made a story slightly to hard if you have to google what the game is about. I would also have loved some super expensive or super late-game item, that helped you discover some of the secrets. As a completionist, I was super annoyed the number of times I had to look for rather big things in the game (like the entire hive zone!). Overall it doesn't have to be as linear as the Ori game, but make it easier (like if you have beaten the game or collected 50.000 geo or something) to discover what the game has to offer. It could make it so breakable wall slightly glows when you walk past them, not showing them on the mini-map, but does so you don't have to hit every single wall...

    Henrik MogensenHenrik MogensenMaand geleden
    • Stories in games are told in different ways. A story like Hollow Knight’s let’s the player decide how they interpret something. Also every single breakable wall in the game except for the entrance to the path of pain looks different visually. The ori games are incredible though and you are 100% entitled to your opinion

      Andrew DeckerAndrew DeckerMaand geleden
  • oi

    Calos ViníciusCalos ViníciusMaand geleden
  • Hey, I do partly agree with your point about the shade mechanic discouraging exploration; however, I think it also serves a different purpose exceptionally well. Hollow Knight being an extremely hard game, it requires perseverance and determination to beat. The shade mechanic encourages you to persevere instead of basically giving up for the moment and go somewhere else. If someone doesn’t have a high amount of determination alone, the shade is an incentive to go there again; and in most cases, that means starting the bossfight in the process (I think the positioning of the shade in many fights was intentional.) So, I think the shade mechanic shouldn’t be simply removed, but balanced so it encourages perseverance without discouraging exploration. Perhaps by making you lose your geo, but not have your soul vessel be cracked. Geo can be regained without fighting your shade, the other half of your soul vessel, can’t.

    Jamie LynchJamie LynchMaand geleden