The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is being hailed as one of the greatest games in the series, while handily scooping up multiple perfect scores. But as the game’s developers revealed this week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, early ideas for Breath of the Wild varied greatly, including some that looking back at now in retrospect, seem pretty bizarre.
When it came to Breath of the Wild the developers at Nintendo wanted to break the mold of a Zelda game, doing something new. Sure, The Legend of Zelda games always center around a hero, a princess, and Hyrule, but freeing up the team to think of some new ideas took them to some pretty strange places, including throwing the franchise into a more modern day setting as well as another idea featuring an alien invasion.
According to Destructoid, developers Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Takuhiro Dohta, and Satoru Takizawa showed off some concept art and screenshots of some of those ideas, many of which Nintendo also shared on Twitter.
The first features a Link in modern times, who looks like he’s ready to go on a roadtrip with the crew from Final Fantasy 15. Nintendo described these concepts as Biker Link, Tracksuit Link, and Musician Link. He still has the signature Master Sword slung on his back, along with a green cap and hoodie, but it is obviously night-and-day apart from what came to be in Breath of the Wild.
Another early idea looks to be a spinoff from a proper The Legend of Zelda game, which appears similar to Nintendo’s collaboration with Tecmo Koei, who developed the Dynasty Warriors-esque game, Hyrule Warriors. The concept below was titled Hyrule Wars: From The Legend of Zelda.
Finally, Nintendo showed one other concept called The Legend of Zelda: Invasion, which clearly by the concept name and the accompanying art, featured an alien invasion. While the franchise has traditionally dealt with fantasy threats, those usually being the villain Ganon, this concept was marching into what appears to be Star Fox territory with enemies from space.
Clearly, this was all a part of the process of iteration that is fundamental to game development. But all the ideas to break the traditions of the Zelda franchise obviously paid off for Nintendo, as it led developers to the final product of Breath of the Wild, which has been called an innovative leap forward for the franchise.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches March 3, 2017 on Nintendo Switch and Wii U.