When designing Breath of the Wild, Nintendo created a 2D prototype for the game that featured many of BotW‘s mechanics. The idea behind the prototype was that it would allow Nintendo to ensure that BotW still felt like a Zelda game regardless of its many deviations from familiar franchise features.
While many of us simply gawked at the demo and speculated about how cool a 2D take on BotW would be, one fan went out and simply designed that very game.
Allow us a moment to heap praise upon this impressive project known as Breath of the NES. As you’ve gathered from the game’s title and our calculated intro, Breath of the NES is a reimagining of the original Legend of Zelda game that incorporates aspects from Breath of the Wild.
Some of these aspects are relatively minor additions – such as a new day/night cycle – but others actually do add substantial new gameplay elements to the original Zelda experience. For instance, you are now able to perform environmental kills on enemies with help from the game’s simplistic physics system. Want to propel a log into a group of enemies so that they fall into a pit of spikes? By all means, feel free to do so.
Additions aside, the draw of this project is the fluidity of the experience. Everything added to The Legend of Zelda from BotW just makes sense. This truly does feel like the kind of Zelda game Nintendo might have originally made if technology and design were slightly ahead of where they were in the ’80s.
In an interview with Kotaku, Breath of the NES creator Winter Drake confesses that the project is not far along in development and that he’s going to need some help to see it through to completion. He also admits that there’s a good chance Nintendo will order him to take down this project. In that case, he plans on creating a unique adventure in the same spirit as this current title.
It’s a good think that Drake was realistic about the original project’s chances of surviving because Nintendo has predictably issued a takedown notice that has stopped the development of Breath of the NES in its tracks. As he previously noted, Drake plans on designing a spiritually similar project that retains the game’s basic design. Drake isn’t quite sure what direction the project’s new design will take it in, but he hopes to one day release the final version of the game on Steam.