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Fan Recreates 2D Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Prototype

While developing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo created a prototype patterned after the classic 2D Zelda games in order to test out Breath of the Wild's complex, interlocking systems. Although players probably won't ever get their hands on that version of Link's latest adventure, thanks to one busy fan, they're getting the next-best thing: a recreation of the original prototype, which blends traditional Zelda gameplay with some of the newest features of Breath of the Wild.

The game, called Breath of NES, is available to download on developer Winter Drake's itch.io page via a pay-what-you-want model. Breath of NES contains pixel art graphics that look like the ones in the original prototype, as well as Breath of the Wild-inspired features like chopping down trees, harvesting food, and physics-based puzzles and combat.

While speaking to Kotaku, Drake said that the "prototype" took him a couple of months to create in Game Maker Studio (Nintendo first showed off the 2D Breath of the Wild game at the Game Developers Conference in early March), and that he plans to add "more areas with distinct elements and atmospheres, puzzle elements for dungeons, and lots of ways to creatively kill enemies."

As development continues, don't expect Breath of NES to hew exactly to the pre-defined structure of Breath of the Wild, either. "I have a lot of plans for original features in the game," Drake told Kotaku. "And although I'd like to capture the spirit of BotW and NES Zelda, I'm not restricting myself to be perfectly faithful."

Meanwhile, Drake said he plans to change the graphics, remove the branding, and re-release Breath of NES if the project runs afoul of Nintendo's lawyers—which, given the amount of attention that Breath of NES is receiving, seems likely. Nintendo has a habit of shutting down ambitious fan projects, so if you want to get Breath of NES while it still has the original Zelda aesthetic, download it quickly. It probably won't last very long.