This is the Computer Intelligence Training and Enrichment Center Human Test Subject Research Center or SinTech. But why don't we all just agree to call it the hub?In the beginning, levels were their own separate entities, completely disconnected from one another — beat one, and you go straight to the next, no intervening events or backtracking. Later, games added the idea of a "world map" that connected the areas: you could now travel between worlds at will, perhaps unlocking shortcuts or alternate routes — but the map was a bland, uninteresting area in and of itself, existing only to carry you from one location to the next. This concept was fleshed out and improved with the invention of the Hub Level, in which the space between the levels became a sort of pseudolevel in and of itself, using the same engine as the rest of the game, with geography and secrets of its own. The Hub Level is usually larger than the other levels but lacks the dangers, detail, and unique features that characterize the more specialized areas. It is still essentially a gateway area, but more developed. In many cases, you'll find individual rooms which contain the entrances to each level, with the scenery in the room being similar to that of the level itself, as sort of a preview of what the level will be like. A common tack when using this trope is that the Hub Level is the area where the plot is really happening — the stages are "side areas" of sorts. The characters only need to go into the levels in order to collect the Plot Coupons necessary to proceed further into the Hub Level, where the Big Bad usually awaits. Events that take place in the stages usually have no effect on the Hub Level. This is most frequently used in Platformers. RPGs usually stick to the classic Overworld Not to Scale device, or use the Global Airship to fill the same function. Adventure Games usually connect distinct, separate stages through a full size Over World. If you have to spend a lot of time Talking To Everyone in the Hub Level just to unlock the next stage, then you're looking at Fake Longevity. If the hub level happens to be where the Final Boss takes place, see Where It All Began. Playable Menu is this trope taken to the next (ahem) level. The Hub Level may be presented in-story as a Portal Crossroad World. Not to be confused with Boston, or the cable channel.
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- In Kao The Kangaroo: Round 2, Dark Docks serves as the hub. There are, thankfully, ducats in them, making raising the bribe money that much easier.
- The hubs in the Lego Adaptation Games are gradually populated with characters as they are unlocked... and you can even pick fights against them for the hell of it.
- In the first LEGO Star Wars, Dexter's Diner from Attack of the Clones served as the hub, while the next two installations had the famous Mos Eisley Cantina.
- In LEGO Indiana Jones, Barnett College, where Indy teaches archaeology, acts as the hub, with various classrooms serving various purposes, such as the Art Class housing the character creator and the Mail Room being where you could purchase cheat parcels acquired in the levels.
- In LEGO Batman, the Hub is the Batcave, where you can access settings and mini-games from the Bat-Computer, and explore the Trophy Room. Villain Mode comes with its own Hub: Arkham Asylum.
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean has the Port as its hub. Extra areas are opened up eventually, but the central area is where all the levels are accessed from.
- LEGO Harry Potter (both versions) has Hogwarts Castle as a big labyrinthine area with most of the collectibles in it, with the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley as smaller hubs that hide all the bonus content, purchasables, and level replays.
- And in LEGO The Lord of the Rings, this is taken to the ultimate extreme of having the entirety of Middle-Earth in the form of an open, contiguous landscape as the hub—well, the parts relevant to the movies anyway. The same holds true for LEGO The Hobbit.
- LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes have massive cities as their hubs (Gotham City and New York City, respectively). They're so full of stuff to do that there's as much, if not more content than the main story! Flying around is mandatory to get everything.
- The LEGO Movie Video Game has four mini-hubs (Brickburg, the Wild West, Cloud Cuckooland, and Octan Tower), each with a good amount of collectibles and characters in each one.
- LEGO Batman 3 had several hub worlds, incluidng all the planets in the Green Lantern comics.
- LEGO Jurassic World has four hubs- one for each Jurassic Park movie.
- Rayman Revolution, the PS2 port of Rayman 2, had a set of three large hubworlds as an upgrade from the previous versions.
- In Cave Story, Mimiga Village becomes a hub of sorts as well as the First Town once you unlock Arthur's House and its teleporter, though there are many plot-significant events which take place far from there.
- The Devil's castle in Graffiti Kingdom.
- Taz: Wanted, a GCN game about Taz the Tazmanian Devil destroying wanted signs and trying to rescure the She-Devil from Yosemite Sam, has 3 hubs. One hub is for the 3 "zoo" levels, with various tutorial books. The second hub is for the 3 town level, and the third is for the 3 Wild West levels. While there is a 10th level, it hasn't a hub.
- Despite being by far the largest area of the game, Dracula's Castle in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a hub of sorts, because the meat of the game is in the worlds of the paintings scattered around the castle. Totally not a Super Mario 64 ripoff.
- The castle in Maze Of Galious. Uncharacteristically for this trope, it's a labyrinthine complex bigger than some of the actual worlds, the entrances to which can be a bit hard to locate.
- Thorntail Hollow in Star Fox Adventures serves as the hub of the game world, with paths going to many places on the planet's surface, a Warpstone to send you to two of the other places, and the Arwing to take you to the chunks that are floating around out there (the planet was split into pieces before the game begins).
- Dynasty Warriors Online has 6 different hubs, one for each faction as well as the peach garden. Since there's not always 5 factions fighting, not all of them are always available, and you're usually not allowed to go to any more than two of them at a time.
- Most The Legend of Zelda games avert this trope because of how the overworld is structured.note The following games do play it straight:
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has Hyrule Field. One big, wide, empty field with a few secrets to find while you're running between the other areas.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has Termina Field. All four major regions of the game (Woodfall, Snowhead, Great Bay and Ikana Canyon) are accessed through the field, which in turn has Clock Town in its very center. Romani Ranch can be accessed from Termina Field as well. And these destinations aren't linked to each other at all, except for a river passageway from Ikana Canyon to Woodfall.
- The Sky in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword operates in a similar way to Termina Field. From there, Link can enter not only the three surface provinces of Hyrule (Faron Woods, Eldin Volcano and Lanayru Desert, and by extension all places that relate to them), but also several floating islands as in The Wind Waker. One of those islands, Skyloft, serves as the main core location of the Sky.
- Hytopia Castle Town in The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes has Madame Coture's Shop, the StreetPass Shop, and King Tuft's Castle where levels are actually accessed. It is also the First Town because it is where you first wind up.
- One Piece Unlimited World Red: Trans Town, a sleepy little port town the Straw Hat pirates arrive in. Much of the game revolves around you creating and upgrading the buildings found in the town.
- In Demon's Souls the player's souls is bound by the Nexus after dying, which is the game's hub level that connects the land of Boletaria through archstones.
- The Marvel Ultimate Alliance games have many of these. Exemplifying with the first game: after saving the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, the heroes are relocated to Stark Tower, which serves as a hub until the Mandarin's Palace stage. After that, they are relocated to Sanctum Sanctorum, Dr. Strange's home. Then, after beating Mephisto's Realm, everyone heads off to Asgard (which seemingly works more like a hub than the others, since all other levels—except possibly for Niffleheim—ARE in Asgard), and from there to Attilan, when Uatu saves the heroes' bacon from Dr. Doom. After fetching the items necessary to beat him, they go back to Earth, as it is being modified by Doom, and stay at a Doom-themed Stark Tower before heading off to Latveria. In total, five hubs (or four if you count both iterations of Stark Tower as the same).
- Spiritual predecessor series X-Men Legends used the X-mansion in the first game and various temporary bases in the second.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 has an interesting twist on the hub levels. Since the game is about the Civil War, at the end of Act I you're forced to choose a side: Pro or Anti-Registration. Whichever side you choose determines the hub you're in for Act II: either Stark Tower, filled with SHIELD agents and Pro-Registration propaganda, or an old HYDRA base, re-purposed by Captain America as a base of operations for the Anti-Registration forces.
- Folklore uses the town of Doolin as a hub for getting into the various Netherworld realms and forwarding the plot in the world of the living.
- The sub-games of the Kingdom Hearts series like to use this trope: Castle Oblivion in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, The Castle That Never Was in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, and Disney Castle in Kingdom Hearts coded.
- The village in Arcanus Cella in ClaDun.
- The original Diablo had the town of Tristram, where you were given quests and sold loot. Also, every four or five dungeon levels, a portal directly to that level would open, making backtracking easier. The sequel gave us a hub in each of the four (five with the expansion) Acts: Rogue's Camp, Lut Gholein, Kurast Docks, Pandemonium Fortress, and Harrogath. They served the same purpose as Tristram, though the portal mechanic has been enhanced with Waypoints, which allowed you to go anywhere you already visited.
- The town of Redmont in Ys III: Wanderers from Ys and its remake The Oath in Felghana.
- Most of the major areas in WonderBoy III: The Dragon's Trap/Curse are directly connected to the starting town.
- The main plot of Bastion revolves around rebuilding it using city cores that are picked up from various levels in the world map. The levels are not directly connected to the Bastion; rather, the hero flies to the levels from the titular Hub Level.
- Dishonored has the Hound Pits Pub, where Corvo can discuss things with his allies and acquire upgrades before venturing into the next mission. It doesn't last the whole game, though, as one of the last missions sees the pub overrun with soldiers and Corvo trying to rescue his remaining allies.
- Myst uses the titular island as a sort of hub from which the protagonist travels to other odd locations.
- Riven (the sequel) similarly has a hub area from which any of the other areas can be quickly accessed, but in an inversion, reaching it is one of the main goals of the game.
- Myst III: Exile also does it with J'nanin, and like Myst, it uses the other ages as Plot Coupon-retrieval levels.
- Myst IV: Revelation continues the theme with each of the three game worlds being connected only to the first world, Tomahna.
- In Myst V: End of Ages the various game worlds are connected by interdimensional platform things to the first area, on K'veer.
- Finally, in Uru, any area the player reaches can be quickly returned to from the hub world Relto, which in turn can be instantly reached from any area.
- The titular bus in The Magic School Bus video games generally gets you to the various planets/body parts/time periods/whatever in each individual game and lets you access all of the mini-games as well.
- An interesting variant in Halo 3: ODST: You start the game playing as The Rookie; during the combat-drop at the start of the game, the Rookie gets separated from the rest of the squad, and the landing knocks him unconscious for six hours. When he wakes up, he wanders the nighttime city streets (the hub) trying to find his squad. When you find a clue as to what happened to them, the game goes into a playable flashback where you control the squad member related to the clue you just found as the Rookie. When the flashback ends, you return to the Rookie, and go looking for another clue.
- It should be noted that the city streets don't allow much backtracking after each flashback mission. When the player takes control of the Rookie again, they find the previous area of the city has been locked up and the next is unlocked for them to search, thus allowing them to progress through the hub, exploring new areas after each mission.
- Possibly the most surreal example is in Quake, where it even functions as a menu system and can be played as a deathmatch map. This allowed for the hardest difficulty to be hidden within the hub. (The other three difficulties? They are the hub's entrances.)
- Quake II has a hub level in almost all parts of the game, one exception is the Big Gun which is a map that stands on it's own.
- Kingpin: Life of Crime has a hub level for every general area the protagonist visits on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Skidrow, Poisonville, Shipyard, Steeltown, Trainyard, Radio City.
- Clive Barker's Undying had whatever themed enemies populated the next level begin infesting the Covenant estate as a hint of where to go next.
- The faction-specific Sanctuary in PlanetSide. The planet doesn't have a name, it's just NC/TR/VS Sanctuary. This is were platoons ready themselves to travel through a warp gate for a vehicle/dropship assault or use the HART Shuttle. Weapons and ramming damaged were disabled to prevent players from fragging each other. Sadly missing in the sequel, which instead has three separate Warpgates per continent that function like a miniature Sanctuary; enemies cannot enter (or even approach) and players cannot hurt each other.
- The first two Turok games had these. The one in the second game was even named The Hub.
- Wolfenstein (2009) has this in the form of the town of Isenstadt; all locations in the game are either in or around it, and can be accessed via its streets or sewers.
- Hexen introduced support for hub levels to the Doom FPS engine. Their presence both increased the areas players needed to search to find keys and triggers, and by ensuring the player would keep moving between them, allowed the side levels to be more strongly themed than would be the case if they were standalone levels as with the game's predecessor.
- Tek War was one of the first games to feature a Hub, in this case a subway station.
- The early Catacomb Apocalypse has one level in the middle of the otherwise linear progression of the game giving access to a few others. However, the game doesn't really have the technology to do it properly, so to speak. It works on the same "access a new level through a special door" basis as the more linear levels, meaning that both the hub and each of the other levels would be reset each time you entered one of them.
- The Marathon total conversion Erodrome is one of the few mods of this engine to do this; it uses multiple copies of the Erodrome Station level with different entry points. Likewise for the Repository room in Tempus Irae and the Rozinante in the fan-made sequel Marathon Rubicon.
- Pathways into Darkness: The Ground Floor.
- Nosferatu: The Wrath Of Malachi: From the Courtyard, you can reach almost every area of the Castle, and most routes will take you back there eventually.
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- Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure has "The Ruins", the island where the Skylanders' base was until Kaos wrecked the place. In Skylanders: Giants, the Hub is now Flynn's airship.
- No More Heroes takes place in the city of Santa Destroy, which may seem like a Wide Open Sandbox to the untrained eye, but is in practice more of an extremely elaborate hubworld where the player can take menial part-time jobs and low-paying assassination gigs between tackling the game's boss levels.
- The Hub Level really came into its own with Princess Peach's Castle and the surrounding grounds in Super Mario 64, which is often cited as the Trope Codifier. The castle even has 15 stars of its own, some of which involve navigating through bonus levels.
- Delfino Plaza in Super Mario Sunshine. It gives access to all the other levels, most of them via magical M-shaped paintings or red pipes. A grand total of 40 (out of 120) Shine Sprites can be collected here (though 24 of them can only be purchased with the blue coins scattered on all levels in the game).
- The Comet Observatory in Super Mario Galaxy is rather small with relatively little to explore, compared to the previous two examples. 12 stars can be gotten through the bonus galaxies accessible from here.
- Downplayed with the Faceship in Super Mario Galaxy 2, since the game returns to the world map format used in most 2-D games since Super Mario Bros. 3. It's a sandbox where you can practice all your moves and get basic advice on how to play the game—more like the Castle Garden from 64 than the castle itself.
- On first glance, the level select area in Super Mario 3D World looks just like the simple maps with branching paths from the New Super Mario Bros. games. But you are able to freely walk around the area like you can in all the pre-Super Mario 3D Land 3D games in the series.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has Beanbean Castle Town as well as the areas surrounding it.
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time uses Peach's Castle like in Super Mario 64, with warps to the past, in a (fairly) rare RPG example.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has Pi'illo Castle and its grounds.
- The Paper Mario games have Toad Town, Rogueport/Rogueport Sewers, Flipside/Flopside, and Decalburg.
- The Wario Land series has a few Hubs. Wario Land 4 has the Golden Pyramid, and Wario Land: The Shake Dimension/Shake It! has his, erm... Garage.
- Wario World has Treasure Square.
- Epic Games' first Jill of the Jungle game uses this between levels. At first things are linear and it seems like a gimmick, but soon the same key-collecting and powerup-collecting mechanics from the levels themselves become necessary to progress between levels, and reaching the secret level requires some backtracking in the hub. Mercifully, the hub doesn't provide any enemies or ways for you to die. The second game had a purely linear progression while the third game adopted a top-down overworld.
- Kirby's Adventure may be the first game that used the same engine in the "between levels" segments as in the stages themselves.
- Kirby's Dream Land 2 contains one in each world, which also provides the page image above.
- Kirby & the Amazing Mirror has a MASSIVE hub level that had more and more accessible areas as you hit switches in the levels.
- The hub level from Adventure returns in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, where it acts like the former minus the minigames and whatnot. The Lor Starcutter is this too, which contains minigames, copy ability rooms and challenge stages.
- Whoopie World in Rocket: Robot on Wheels.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Station Square, Egg Carrier, and Mystic Ruins in Sonic Adventure.
- Soleanna in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (split into three hubs), of the Talk to Everyone Fake Longevity variety.
- Each world in the 360 and PS3 versions of Sonic Unleashed has its own hub; the Wii and PS2 versions have to contend with static world maps instead.
- Sonic Advance 3 features hubs for all seven zones.
- The 360/PS3/PC versions of Sonic Generations has one big 2˝D White Void Room hub that serves as an "interactive menu" for selecting levels/bosses, talking to Sonic's friends, accessing extra content, etc.
- Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is the only game in its series that plays this trope straight. The second, third, and fourth game actually made the hub location itself the main stage of the missions. There will be some few "mini-areas" in it, but generally a lot of the missions take place in the hub itself.
- The Gallery of Shame in Stretch Panic.
- Whispering Rocks Camp in Psychonauts is a good example, since the actual levels are inside the brains of the residents.
- The Collective Unconscious serves as a mini-Hub of sorts, allowing you to access people's brains even when they are not present in the actual Hub.
- Many Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon games have a Hub to connect their different levels.
- Most Crash game hubs from Crash 2 onwards were small rooms with a bunch of doors, but Crash Team Racing had a bigger hub akin to Diddy Kong Racing. Crash Twinsanity and Tag Team Racing have one hub per world.
- The GBA and main console Spyro games prior to the Legend reboot tended to play with this trope. The hub levels tended to be levels in their own right as regards collectables like gems, eggs, orbs, dragons, etc., but had no enemies to threaten you. All of them also had multiple hubs that you usually needed to get to by beating all prior levels then killing the boss on the way.
- All Homes in Spyro the Dragon except the Gnorc Gnexus (the hub of Gnasty's World) slowly became levels in their own right with increasingly deadly enemies and challenging platforming, while the Gnorc Gnexus was a circle with level portals attached and had no enemies whatsoever. The Artisans Home straddled the line in that it had enemies, but those enemies couldn't hurt you and only ran away. It's also the only hubbed Spyro game that doesn't require you to beat a boss to go to the next hub.
- Ripto's Rage!/Gateway to Glimmer has Summer Forest, Autumn Plains, and Winter Tundra as its hub levels.
- Year of the Dragon has Sunrise Spring, Midday Gardens, Evening Lake, and Midnight Mountain as its hub levels.
- The Super Bonus World in Year of the Dragon, while technically a Midnight Mountain level and not a homeworld of its own, returns to the style of the original Spyro the Dragon homeworlds in that the world is a level in its own right, but with portals to the various minigames.
- Spyro: A Hero's Tail played the trope the way Spyro 1 did: all hubs had dangerous enemies along with the usual collectables. The trope ended up subverted when Stormy Beach was reached, however; that's the last supposed hub of the game and all the levels that come after it are done in a linear sequence.
- Gruntilda's Lair in the first game.
- Banjo-Tooie has the Isle O' Hags, from which the other levels have to be accessed to formally. The game also has lots of secret connections between levels without needing to pass through the hub, but the provided access is generally limited unless the destination is a previous level.
- Showdown Town in Nuts & Bolts. Rare claims it is the largest hub level it has ever created. It's only the size of a small city, apparently.
- Yooka-Laylee, the spiritual successor has Hivory Towers as the hub world.
- DK Isles in Donkey Kong 64.
- The Windy region in Conker's Bad Fur Day.
- Chakan: The Forever Man on the Genesis/Mega Drive.
- Though most Metroidvania games avert this trope due to the way the zones and overall design style are presented, in the case of Metroid there are some straight examples, namely in Metroid: Fusion, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and Metroid: Other M in the form of the Main Deck, Temple Grounds, and Main Sector respectively. It's also justified: in Fusion and Other M you're inside a space station so a hub is understandable, and in Echoes the Luminoth specifically built the great temple at the center of their other three dwelling areas on Aether, hence, the hub area.
- The Mega Man Zero series has the three incarnations of the La Résistance Base as a hub for missions: one is set in a city deep underground (1st game), the second is more elaborate with a harbor and turrets (2nd and 3rd), while the last is a two-truck trailer, with Area Zero just next door.
- All of the 3D Gex games have one of these. The second game has just one: The Media Dimension, the third has several that are also proper levels.
- Rainbow Cliffs in Ty the Tasmanian Tiger and The Outback in Bush Rescue. Regarding the latter, instead of walking around it normally, you drive around it in a four-by-four.
- Lode Runner 2 had one, aptly titled World Hub. It was rather nice to look at, partially because one of the coolest of the game's seven tilesets (called Jump Station) was dedicated to it exclusively. You couldn't even use it with the in-game Level Editor unless you hacked your level files.
- Braid plays this straight with Tim's house, but uses it to shed some insight on the internal nature of his journey.
- An early example for platformers is The Addams Family for the SNES. Entering the mansion leads to the Hall of Doors. Each one leads to a different series of rooms which in another game would count as a world. Some of these "worlds" even connect one another.
- Jett Rocket's ship is a tiny version, with switches that lead to the level maps.
- Spelunky features the hub in which you unlock shortcuts to deeper levels by paying increasingly exorbitant prices which you will have to pay for within at least three playthroughs.
- The first Jak and Daxter has three hub worlds, each providing access to three different areas. Getting enough Power Cells in a world unlocks a fourth area which connects to the next hub world (or, in the case of the third, to the final level), giving the impression of traversing across one massive world instead of between a few disconnected areas. While the hub worlds themselves have no enemies, each one does have eight Power Cells of its own, though most are of the "bring X Precursor Orbs to Y person" variety.
- Jak II: Renegade has Haven City, which has several gates scattered throughout that provide access to outlying areas which act more as levels in the traditional sense. However, unlike the first game's hub worlds, the vast majority of the game's plot occurs in Haven City, and the city itself houses quite a few of the game's missions as well.
- While Daxter also features Haven City as a hub world, in this game it's only a small section of the city, and it's a hub world in a much more traditional sense than the Jak II version.
- The pod in the first LittleBigPlanet. In the third game, Manglewood, the Ziggurat, and Bunkum Lagoon each have one. They're full of prizes and the currency of the game, Collectabells, and have links to the main levels and some sidequests scattered about.
- Dustforce originally had a single massive hub level with stages scattered around it, clustered according to theme. This tended to confuse players as to where they should go, and as to the relative difficulty of stages, so early May 2012, coinciding with the release of the Mac version and the level editor, it was overhauled. Now, there's a small central hub containing the multiplayer, tutorial, level editor, and custom maps, as well as doors to the four areas or "themes." Within these, doors are arranged so that easier levels are easier to get to and usually closer to the door back to the main hub.
- Pinewood Heights from Within A Deep Forest.
- The Dark Castle games each featured hubs, with the hubs getting more complex as the series progressed:
- Dark Castle had the Great Hall, which provided a simple point-and-click choice between the 4 other areas.
- Beyond Dark Castle had the Ante Chamber, a more traditional hub room where you placed the orbs collected from the main levels in order to unlock the final level.
- Return to Dark Castle has a hub level connecting the hubs from the first two games as well as a hub for the new levels created for the game.
- Uberhub Zone in Sonic Erazor is a lot linear than most examples, basically being a straight shot to the ending, with each level accessed by falling down a hole (or, in the case of the two Special Places, giant rings). Progress is limited by doors that only open when their corresponding level is cleared. Finally, two giant rings on either side of the map access the options menu and the ending, respectively.
- In Flashback, New Washington is laid out like this, in contrast to the other more linear levels.
- Pac's school in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures houses both the overworld, a screen tracking your collectibles, several characters to talk to, and finally some minigames to play.
- Conrad and Sally's house acts as the go-between in all of the levels in The Cat in the Hat.
- Bonk's Revenge's final stage, the Moon Pyramid, has a central hub leading to its four sublevels, each ending with a boss rematch. After completing these, you fight the Round 6 boss followed by King Drool.
- The central hub in Freeze ME is called, well, Hubbiton, and in addition to containing the entrances to worlds and sub-challenges, it also provides playground equipment you can practice your platforming on.
- Portal 2's co-op mode features a hub area that connects the mode's five test courses. What you can access is determined by the farthest test chamber you or your partner have made it to, with any test courses/chambers beyond that locked and inaccessible. This effectively means that a first-time co-op player can access every test chamber from the start if their partner has completed them all, but then may find later chambers locked if they later switch to a partner who hasn't progressed as far. It also allows players to skip test chambers or even entire courses if they want. Because of this, a first-time player can literally go from the calibration course to the final test chamber and see the credits in a whopping ten minutes if they have the right partner.
- In a rare example, you can literally kill your robot off by jumping into the Bottomless Pit below while in the hub, which GLaDOS proceeds to mock you or even be confused at how you died in an area that wasn't a part of the test. Since your robot always respawns after death with no ill repercussions, this example is most likely Played for Laughs.
- Repton 2. All levels except the last two are accessed via transporters on the first level. In the PC remake, additional scenarios often have more complex structures, but having one or more hub levels is still common.
- The room you start in acts as a overworld map, a settings page, a place to track all the quotes you've found so far, and the place you can escape to anytime when stuck.
- Also, the two first rooms, "Leap of Faith" and "A Jump Too Far", are connected to lots of different rooms, more than any other room in the game. Together, the different branches allows fast access (if you know well the layout, that is) to every area of the game. This includes the top of The Tower (which contains the Red Matter Gun), shortcuts to the rooms with the Green and Yellow Matter Guns and the access to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. This Speed Run video shows it's possible to complete the game without getting too far from those two rooms, thanks to their connections.
- The Talos Principle: The "stage" maps have three or four puzzles each. These are connected together by three Hub Levels, each with a different theme that extends into the puzzle maps. These hubs in turn are linked by another hub with a fourth theme. You start the game in what is otherwise an ordinary puzzle map.
- Makai Toshi SaGa (aka Final Fantasy Legend) has The Tower, which fits this trope in spades. Each floor offers a door to another whole world.
- Bloodborne has the Hunter's Dream, where the Hunters rest and prepare their dreams. It doubles as Where It All Began, your journey ends at your last meeting with Gehrman, either he puts you out of your misery or you free him from this nightmare.
- Chrono Trigger has (after a certain point in the plot) the End of Time, where you can access all the gates you've been through, as well as where your extra party members wait for you to use them. It's also home to the Master of Magic, who can unlock four of your party members' magical power. Just stay away from the bucket unless you're prepared.
- Firelink Shrine in Dark Souls, with most of the trainers and relatively quick and easy access to most of the rest of Lordran after you unlock the shortcuts.
- Its sequel has the surprisingly sunny coastal village of Majula serving this role. If nothing else, you'll be going back there a lot because you need to talk to a certain NPC to level up.
- The airship in Final Fantasy X. As the game has no Overworld Not to Scale like its predecessors, the airship is the only way to go around the world without travelling through every area in the game (in linear order).
- To a certain extent, Lumiose City in Pokémon X and Y. It's slap bang in the middle of Kalos, and it marks the start of routes which lead to most places in the game. So before you get Fly, you're going to be there a lot. Doesn't help that it features a Gym and one Team Flare base.
- New Los Angeles in Xenoblade Chronicles X. You'll be coming back here after every big story mission because the BLADE Barracks, your base of operations, is located here.
- EverQuest originally did not have a Hub Level, and instead let characters wander the entire world on foot to get to the various dungeons and adventure areas. With the release of the Shadows of Luclin expansion a Hub Level called "The Nexus" was created that had portals to and from 4 of the 5 continents in the world and merchants that would sell to any character (and was located on the moon, essentially a sixth continent for gameplay). With the release of the next expansion, Planes of Power a new Hub Level called the "Plane of Knowledge" was created: an extraplanar city with trainers for all classes, shops selling almost everything that Player Characters would ever need to buy at a store, and portals to every single city in the game (which seriously cut down on the game's Nintendo Hard travel element).
- One of the dungeons in the MMO Asheron's Call became known as the Hub because it contained within it portals to most of the games major towns and cities. As a direct result of this the large chamber at the start of the dungeon became the best place to meet other players and trade items. It ended up being the most populous place in the game.
- While rather small in comparison to some of the other examples, the Null Chamber from zOMG serves as both a respawn point, a transportation hub (provided you've attuned yourself to the relevant crystal), and the only place in the game world that allows you to power up and rearrange your rings.
- The Jita system in EVE Online.
- Toontown Online has not one, but six hubs: the Playground in each of the six neighborhoods. These areas are Cog-free and slowly restore your HP. The central area of each Cog HQ could also qualify, as they lead to more areas within the HQ, but they are treated more like the streets are: if you lose your HP, you return to the last Playground you set foot in.
- This ended up happening inadvertently in World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King. There was already Dalaran, a city with portals to all the other cities. Then that was combined with the ability to enter a queue for nearly any dungeon (within your level range) or PVP area in the entire game from the UI. It led to people never going out into the world for anything once they hit level cap except for the occasional raid (dungeons using a large number of people) or grinding professions. Blizzard has attempted to fix this by adding more daily quests and achievements that require travel, but they've also added a way to queue for raids from anywhere alongside the system for dungeons and PVP, which makes travel even less necessary.
- The city of Stormreach in Dungeons & Dragons Online is essentially this, though it was more prevalent in earlier versions of the game.
- Vindictus has the town of Colhen and the city of Rocheste, from where you travel to instances that make up the majority of the game's action.
- AdventureQuest Worlds has one in the town of Battleon, where everyone first spawns upon beginning a game session and where the latest content can be accessed.
- The Republic and Imperial Fleets in Star Wars: The Old Republic are the Hubs for players instead of the capital planets Coruscant and Dromund Kaas, surprisingly. The fleets contain shops for everything you need in the game, skill trainers for class/crew and also the entrances to dungeon raids (Flashpoints and Operations) via shuttles.
- The more recent entries in the Phantasy Star series feature hubs. For example:
- Phantasy Star Online: Pioneer 2
- Phantasy Star Universe has four hub levels: The GUARDIAN's Colony, Holtes City on the planet Parum, Ohtoku City on Neudaiz, and Dagora City on Moatoob.
- Phantasy Star Zero: Dairon City
- Phantasy Star Online 2 has the ARKS Ship, which is divided into a Gate Area where players select quests to undertake, a Shop Area with a variety of stores, and a Casino Area with minigames. The former two areas have monitors which advertise additions added to the game in patches, media that the game does cross-promotion with, and occasionally shows fan-made videos uploaded to Nico Nico Douga.
- In Ultima Underworld II, Britannia acts as something of a hub for the various worlds you must visit.
- Depending on the chapter, The Witcher demonstrates this in variations or averts it completely. The Prologue has no clear Hub, the first and fourth chapters are too wide open a sandbox to identify a Hub. The second chapter has an entire city district as a Hub, in the third chapter when the range of exploration expands, the Hub contracts to a single tower. The war-torn battlefield in the fifth chapter appears to be a Hub at first, but it's really the swamplands. The Epilogue is a linear rail of No Return.
- BioWare games since Throne of Bhaal often have this:
- Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal gave the protagonist a personal Pocket Dimension where he/she could escape to with their party from almost any location and come right back. Notable for the fact that neither of the original games had anything similar.
- Knights of the Old Republic gives you the Ebon Hawk, a Cool Starship to which you always return before traveling to another world. The Sith Lords recycles the Ebon Hawk, despite replacing most of the main cast including the protagonist. Additionally, it serves as the residence of the party members who are not on your current strike team.
- The SSV Normandy plays the same role in Mass Effect and is replaced with Normandy SR-2 in Mass Effect 2.
- The Warden's Party Camp in Dragon Age: Origins is perhaps the straightest example: it is a (for the most part) perfectly safe location where you can travel to whenever you have access to the global map to heal, sell loot, and talk with your companions. It is implied that the camp is set up anew when you enter a major location (which is why you never have to travel far to reach it) but the layout is always the same. Also, Arl Eamon's Estate becomes your hub in Denerim late in the game (though the Party Camp is still accessible).
- In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, your own castle-fortress Vigil's Keep quite naturally acts as your hub, though the city of Amaranthine is just as frequented. In the endgame, you are forced to defend just one of them against the Darkspawn, though you can save both with enough foresight and investment.
- Dragon Age II doesn't have a single designated hub, as each companion, as well as Hawke, has their own Home Base across Kirkwall. However, you will likely be visiting the Hanged Man tavern very often, considering how it is a) a mostly safe location, b) the Home Base for two characters at once, and contains c) a merchant (Act II onwards) and d) an item for changing your active party roster.
- Dungeon Siege has a teleporter system in its Utraen Peninsula multiplayer maps. The actual central location is just a small platform floating in blackness with a fountain and a bunch of teleport pads. It was called the "Helios Utrae Basilicus," or "H.U.B." for short.
- Alpha Protocol has safehouses in each city (Moscow, Rome, Taipei) which serve as hubs between missions.
- Neverwinter Nights 2 has the Sunken Flagon inn for the first two-thirds of the game, then Crossroad Keep for the remainder.
- In the Fallout 3 expansion pack Mothership Zeta, the Engineering Core has this function for the first half of the quest line.
- The Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money has two hub areas; the Villa, which connects to all of the outdoor quest areas, and the Sierra Madre Casino itself.
- The Frozen Throne expansion to Warcraft III makes a dramatic break from tradition with the Orc campaign. Instead of a long 6-9 chapter linear Real-Time Strategy campaign like the others, this one has three chapters in the form of an RPG, each consisting of multiple areas. The first one has a large main area, with pathways leading to remote valleys and caves that must all be visited at one point (sometimes multiple times too). The second one has a main area with various dungeons and side quests, and several equally large areas where the main quests take place. Some of these aren't seen again after your first visit. The last chapter only consists of two areas: a search and destroy mission and a massive Multiplayer Online Battle Arena-style battle.
- Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf has a game show studio of the same name.
- A trope in horror games is to have the hub level become less safe every time you return to it. Since the hub level is usually a safe area, it can be a good way of invading the player's sense of security.
- The Roivas Mansion in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was one of the first to do this.
- It may have been perfected in Silent Hill 4: The Room, in which the titular room is the Hub until the Hub itself begins attacking you.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent has multiple hub levels. As you complete the levels within them, weird bloody growths come out of the walls and fountains fill with blood, but you're always safe from monsters.
- Lakeview Cabin Collection uses its hub as a Framing Device: It's a movie theatre that's holding a late night Horrorfest. Before selecting which episode you want to play, you can fool around with the patrons and employees for a while.
- Inkopolis Plaza serves as the game's main hub, from where one can access all modes and stores. It is filled with the Inklings of other players, and with Miiverse drawings appearing as graffiti on the walls.
- Octo Valley serves as the single player hub. It is divided into five areas, all of them filled with hidden kettles that are used to transport to the single player levels.
- Nippon Ichi strategy games frequently use these:
- The Disgaea games have relatively small hubs with a gate and a "Dimensional Guide" to help you through to each of the levels. In the first game, it's the Overlord's Castle. In the second game, it's Adell's hometown. The third's is the lobby of Maritsu Evil Academy, and the fourth's is the lobby of the Hades prison facility (Though it can later be any map that you've cleared/made).
- Phantom Brave uses the island Marona lives on.
- Makai Kingdom uses Zetta's little pad in the void.
- Zettai Hero Project uses the main character's secret base. You can even customize the facilities.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In Yume Nikki, the strange world outside your dream home serves as a Hub Level, called the Nexus. It featured a weird Aztec silhouette floating in a black background, with bizarre doors, all of which were unique, floating the in the abyss as your gateways.
- Your home planet/colonies in the Space phase of Spore. They let you recharge and repair for free where every other planet will charge you but the real problem is getting there. The galaxy is a very big place so it's best if you carry some Batteries and Repair Packs for long distances unless you are a Shaman civ as their "Return Ticket" ability lets them open a wormhole back to their home planet, cutting time off of one-way return trips.
- The X-Universe games starting with Terran Conflict have the "Gate Hub". It's a large Big Dumb Object that fills the entire sector, which allows you to modify the jump gate network. The Hub has 3 sets of jump gates, which upon your command, will link "between" two sets of gates, allowing you to link the edges of the X-Universe together. You could for example, set the HUB to link a race's homeworld to their distant colonies, so that only one jump is needed instead of say, twenty jumps. A popular location for the Player Headquarters, as the sector rarely has enemies in it (unless you link it to a Xenon or Pirate sector), and is one jump away from the rest of the sectors in the universe.
- The cities in Assassin's Creed II and the rest of the Ezio Trilogy serve this role, though it's not an entirely straight example. Since AC revolves less around distinct levels and more around "memories", some of the latter can take place entirely within the hub with minimal differences, some impose major changes onto the hub (e.g. all guards on permanent alarm), while yet others transfer you to entirely separate levels.
Non-Video Game Examples
- Ponyville takes the place of the White Void Room from the original game in Sonic Generations: Friendship is Timeless. The portal to the Final Boss is located in Canterlot, though.
- In The Captain of the Virtual Console, Selene's domain has portals to the video game worlds.
- The ring of trees with holiday-themed doors performs this function for the various holiday realms in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- The Wood Between Worlds in The Magician's Nephew, the (chronologically) first book of The Chronicles of Narnia. Diggory's Uncle Andrew invents rings that transport you to different worlds - he intends the yellow one to send you away, and the green one to return you to Earth, but in fact the yellow one sends you to the Wood and the green one can send you from the Wood to anywhere else (including Earth).
- Hikari Photo Studio in Kamen Rider Decade. However, the way Tsukasa and company go to different worlds relies on pulling some chains, though sometimes other methods are used, for example, the way they entered Den-O's world was that Tsukasa and Yuusuke gave each other a high five.
- Plus, they can't really select a world it seems, as random chains open different worlds, the same chains used to open some worlds open others (making them inconsistent) and also, the different methods as mentioned above.
- Most Dungeons & Dragons settings have the Astral Plane and sometimes the city of Sigil (or an Expy) work as this. The Astral Plane is filled with portals that—in theory—connect to every other plane in the multiverse, no matter how minor or remote. Sigil is also known as the City of Doors for similar reasons. The Astral Plane also meets the common Hub Level qualities of being the largest plane (as much as something can be larger than "infinite"), and being empty aside from white nebulous sight, the aforementioned portals, and the occasional traveller.
- Disney Theme Parks:
- Central Plaza, located at the end of Main Street, USA in both Disneyland and Disney World, connects directly to the four major themed "lands"—Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. It even has The Hub as an alternate name.
- The novel Utopia has the titular theme park being very similar to this.
- Universal Studios:
- In the same vein as the Disneyland example, the Port of Entry at Islands of Adventure (part of Universal Orlando Resort) originally functioned as a Hub of sorts. Seuss Landing and Marvel Superhero Island were easily accessed, while the other islands could be accessed quickly by boat. The boat service is now defunct, however.
- Citywalk, also at Universal Orlando, is a straight example, connecting all the hotels, parks, and attractions. It even features scenery shifts when someone is approaching one of the theme parks. The area closer to Islands of Adventure begins to resemble the Port of Entry, while the entrance for Universal Studios contains its iconic globe fountain and giant arc entrance.
- Real life cities are usually like this, especially in sparsely populated areas such as the Midwest US and eastern Russia; the spread of railroads in fact turned nowheresvilles like Worcester, Massachusetts into major hubs by virtue of being convenient transfer points. It's subverted in the case of Bielefeld, Germany, where the "Bielefeld Conspiracy" (the meme that Bielefeld doesn't actually exist despite having a population of 300,000) has to do with the fact that a) Bielefeld is a major city essentially in the middle of nowhere (at least by European standards) and b) the nearest major railroad trunk never goes anywhere near the city center.