Nintendo famously created an 8-bit prototype of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to help the development team get acclimated to working with its many interlocking systems. Fans have been clamoring for a chance to play this prototype since its reveal, but Nintendo doesn’t appear to be in any rush to make it available for public use.
Naturally, a dedicated Nintendo fan, Winter Drake, has decided to create a playable version of the prototype in his spare time.
The fangame is known as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the NES, and a demo is currently available as a free download through Itch.io. Nintendo is usually quick to ask their lawyers to issue a “Cease and Desist” order when their characters are used in a fan-created game, but the developer of Breath of the NES has vowed to finish at any costs. Specifically, they told Kotaku that he plans to swap out Link and his Hyrulian enemies with original characters when the time comes:
“When a lot of people hear about this project, they jump to worrying about a cease and desist from Nintendo,” Winter Drake told Kotaku. “While I’m going to stay hardworking on Breath of the NES for as long as I can, if Nintendo asks me to stop using their IP, I do plan to continue development with my own original characters. I’m having way too much fun creating this world to just give up.”
Winter Drake also said they’re not creating a direct conversion of Breath of the Wild, but want to “capture the spirit” of the game:
“This project is still in its early stages… I’ll be adding more areas with distinct elements and atmospheres, puzzle elements for dungeons, and lots of ways to creatively kill enemies,” Winter Drake, the developer behind Breath of the NES, told Kotaku.
“I have a lot of plans for original features in the game, and although I’d like to capture the spirit of BotW and NES Zelda, I’m not restricting myself to be perfectly faithful.”
Winter Drake will be providing additional updates on Breath of the NES’s development on Twitter.