Zelda: Breath of the Wild Breath of the Wild prototype used Japanese landmarks for Link to explore Japan landmarks cennec 2017

Nintendo’s massive open-world hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild rebooted the series back in 2017, and we’re extremely excited for its upcoming sequel. Having said that, what would you say to an open-world Zelda set in Japan? It may not be likely to ever happen, but purely for the purposes of prototyping, Nintendo did indeed build some Japanese landmarks for Link to explore during Breath of the Wild‘s development cycle, and some images have hit the web via Pixelpar and Vicente Quesada on Twitter.

Zelda: Breath of the WildZelda: Breath of the Wild

These early development pictures come from a 2017 CEDEC conference, where Nintendo showed off early Breath of the Wild concepts. They are screen grabs from a video presentation, which shows Link running around a Japanese settlement. They also show a skydiving mechanic that was never truly implemented into Breath of the Wild.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

According to Pixelpar, the development team began with a 2D map of Kyoto to judge distances between landmarks. From there, some landmarks were built up into basic 3D models for a prototype. This was probably a clever thing to do considering the ultimately massive scope of the Breath of the Wild map.

In an era where Ghost of Tsushima exists, a Zelda game set in feudal Japan could be a big hit. Would you like to see Nintendo go down this route in the future?


Ben Kerry
Freelance Writer. Work seen elsewhere at Eurogamer & Gamereactor. Fan of action, racing and straight up walkin' in any video game he can get his hands on. When he's not gaming, Ben spends his time listening to way too much Guns N' Roses, watching football and probably eating somewhere...

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