Some of you may already know where I am going with this, but I wanted to write this post for two reasons. Firstly, I thought that maybe I can explain it in a way that would help people new to the series learn, and secondly that I could perhaps predict what they might do in Tears of the Kingdom.
The cookie cutter approach is not what Nintendo is known for, but they do it in almost every single game they make.
However they hide it by introducing a unique gimmick each time. It could be the Twilight Realm stuff, flying in the sky, time travel, or something of the sort. In any case most major releases follow this same formula, and I have a feeling they are going to take the best parts of it + the best parts of Breath of the Wild. Then put them together for Tears of the Kingdom.
NOTE: Beware minor spoilers for Zelda game series in general!
The Dungeon Formula
Let's start out with the basic outline of the game, as the dungeons themselves are essentially the meat of the game. With things like the spirit realm in Skyward Sword, or the tears of twilight in Twilight Princess, acting like padding in between.
Link to the Past was the first to start this formula, but even the previous two entries kept the eight dungeon format to a degree.
You start out in the first phase, think like light world or child link, there are three dungeons. Almost always Nature/Grass, Death Mountain/Fire, then Water, and you are collecting a trio of powerful objects.. Although LttP didn't follow that elemental typing!*
After that usually something big happens in the game, whether it is you getting the Master Sword usually, or Zelda gets kidnapped, or both. Then you must accelerate your journey, and you find that there is something more to collect.
If the pendants were the trio, then the maiden crystals were the something new (in LttP). If the Spiritual Stones in Ocarina of Time were the trio, then the medallions were the new thing.
In most games it follows a trio dungeon grouping, then followed by a five grouping. Sometimes a mini-dungeon in between, like a first visit to Hyrule Castle, or perhaps the Tower of the Gods, etc.