How Nintendo Almost Killed Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Alien invasions and Skyrim influences are just the tip of the iceberg.

zelda breath of the wild alien concept

Before it became one of the defining games of the generation so far, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was struggling through something of an identity crisis. 2011's Skyward Sword was a critical darling, but it became a bit of a sticking point for fans who were unsure about the direction the series seemed to be going. That, combined with the fact that Breath of the Wild was going open world - which pretty much every property was at the time - and that development had moved from focusing on the fledgling Wii U to the new, unproven Switch, and there really was reason for some amount of caution.

Of course, at launch it was immediately apparent that nobody had any reason to be worried, as Breath of the Wild became one of the highest-rated titles of the 2010s, absolutely nailing the transition to a new genre while setting a new bar for open world games in general. The developers made it seem effortless, crafting a game in which every mechanic complimented the other, crafting a sandbox that was a pure joy to explore.

The end result blended a new vision of Zelda with something that still felt very familiar and on brand, but that synergy only came after months of workshopping completely radical ideas that the developers eventually decided not to push ahead with. Though they all wouldn't have been used, even a single one would have drastically changed Breath of the Wild's core identity, for better or worse...


Writer. Mumbler. Only person on the internet who liked Spider-Man 3