Late last year, Nintendo released an interesting book to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Zelda series. Named The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild Master Works, the book was meant to be a celebration of the game and series as a whole, with artwork for numerous characters, enemies and places throughout the game.
However, as it turns out, that’s not all the book has in store. It’s not merely a collection of official art for Breath of the Wild characters.
Nope, it has exclusive concept art for things from the game’s development too! From older versions of characters to unused Divine Beasts and enemies, the book is crammed with interesting details about the game you’d never know otherwise.
And unfortunately, there’s no word on if it’ll be translated into English. As a result, it’s unknown when non Japanese fans will be able to see this artwork, or if they’ll ever be able to see it at all.
Well, until now that is. Because thanks to certain sources online, we’ve got a hold of much of this new concept art and have been looking through it for the best details on Breath of the Wild’s development and lore. So, in this article, we’ll be looking at some of these designs, and seeing exactly how different Breath of the Wild could have been had Nintendo not gone down their current route.
Starting with the most well-known enemy in the game.
Yep, the Guardians from Breath of the Wild didn’t exactly start out with their current design. Nope, way before their reveal trailer (the one which also showed Link in his Champion’s Tunic outfit), the enemies had some very different designs laid out by Nintendo. Such as these ones, which should look awfully familiar to die hard Zelda fans.
Yeah, it’s the one from the Silent Realms in Skyward Sword. Seems like the Breath of the Wild ones really were originally meant to resemble their older counterparts here.
And that’s not all. Oh no, other artwork on the pages shows some very unusual designs for the mechanical monsters. Like a much more organic looking crab creature, or a Grim Reaper like revenant from the depths of hell:
Indeed, it seems like most of the original plans didn’t have the robot aspect at all, and were going for much of a darker feel for Breath of the Wild in general. Wonder what version of the game was going to be like anyway?
2. Divine Beasts
Ah well, there’s a topic for a day. Because as you’d expect, the Guardians weren’t the only fundamental part of Breath of the Wild’s lore that changed during its development. No, the Divine Beasts also changed a bit in development too.
For instance, you know how at the moment, we’ve got Divine Beasts based on an elephant (Vah Ruta), a salamander (Vah Rudaniana), a bird (Vah Medoh) and a camel (Vah Nabooris)?
Well it seems those weren’t the only ones planned for the game, with Divine Beasts based on a variety of other animals being considered as well. Have a look at some of them from here:
As you can see, there are quite a few interesting beasts there. There’s a Manta Ray that can swim through the oceans. A giant enemy crab that was presumably meant to stand in for Vah Rudania at some point.
And heck, even things like a jellyfish or dinosaur themed Divine Beast. When it comes to finding animals to represent as giant mechs, Nintendo certainly left no possibility untouched here!
But the most interesting one of the lot isn’t one of the unknown ones. No, it’s actually the whale themed beast shown in the bottom right of the picture.
Why is that? Because as it turns out, the game developers actually left in references to it in the game, with the tech labs having models of the unused Divine Beast hanging from the ceiling:
Which in turn implies the developers cut it from the game quite far into development. And that may answer a question I’ve always had about Breath of the Wild. Namely… why are the beach areas so empty?
Think about it. When was the last time you had to visit a beach like area in Breath of the Wild? You know, as part of the main story rather than a sidequest or optional shrine?
The answer is probably never, since even Lurelin Village has very little to do in it.
However, if a Divine Beast was originally meant to be located there (which the whale, jellyfish and manta ray ones likely were), that would have given the region some purpose, and tied it to the story of Hyrule overall. Heck, maybe Lurelin Village may have even once had its own Champion!
Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell at this point.
Still, moving on…
3. Hyrule Castle
To a non ‘beta’ related topic also found in the book. Because you see, as neat as the beta content actually is, that’s not the only thing the book gives away details on. Nope, it actually includes a fair bit of backstory too, with pictures showing scenes that were never available in the game itself.
And this includes what Hyrule Castle looked like before the Calamity. There’s a picture of Castle Town as it was in peacetime, looking rather like the ones in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess:
Plus a few other pictures showing the castle itself in all its majestic glory. Damn, that place looked absolutely incredible in its prime, didn’t it?
It really does make us want to see a full game set in this time period, with Link exploring a version of Hyrule right at its prime. Ah well, maybe it’ll happen later in the Switch’s lifespan!
4. The Horse God
Either way, back to early development concepts now, this time with a character you’d never expect to see change all that much. Yep, as the subtitle suggests, Horse God Malayna also went through a few redesigns in the making of the game too.
Like how in this picture he resembles a Lynel rather than a skeletal fairy:
Which makes me wonder…
Was Malayna always meant to be a good guy?
Cause with his creepy design and mannerisms, he’s also struck me as the sort of character you could almost see as a bonus boss. Heck, I almost expected him to fight Link after realising the latter killed his own horse!
And the Lynel like designs just strengthen those suspicions. Perhaps he was meant to be a Lynel leader instead of a fairy, or the leader of the group who’d tell them to stop attacking Link after being bested in battle. You just have to wonder, don’t you?
Still, enough about Malayna for now. Cause there are quite a few other characters who went through radical redesigns as well…
5. King Dorophan
Like the Zora King. In his early concept art, we actually get to see him as a young adult, complete with a figure that bears a lot of resemblance to his son Prince Sidon:
So, if you’re wondering where Sidon got his looks from, well wonder no more. Seems his dad was a lot cooler looking in his own youth too!
However, not all characters changed as much as the Horse God or the Guardians. No, some like the Akkala Tech Lab’s Robbie mostly kept the same design throughout the game’s development.
Or at least in Robbie’s case, they kept most of their design throughout development. Because his original hairstyles…
Look absolutely and utterly ridiculous. He’s got an afro in one of them, he’s got a fireball for hair in another…
And then he’s got the one at the bottom, which can best be described as ‘a winged hairdo struck by lightning’. Seriously, just look at these early designs. The hairstyles look so ridiculously silly:
They’re certainly appropriate for the ‘mad scientist’ vibe he’s going for in game, but yeah, you can kind of tell why they went with the hairstyle they did here. It’s just impossible to take a character seriously if their hair looks this strange!
And talking of the Sheikah, they too went through a fair few designs in development as well. For instance, here’s one dressed like Sheik from Ocarina of Time:
As well as another picture showing early concepts for the Sheikah in general. Seems they didn’t go for the rural Japan aesthetic first of all, and actually considered all manner of different clothing styles for the tribe before settling on what they had:
Earlier today, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts held the Bafta Games Awards. These awards turned out pretty well for Nintendo, with the company’s products being nominated for nearly every category and winning quite a few of them with titles like Super Mario Odyssey and the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild.
However, what really got people’s attention was not the ceremony. Oh no, it was the follow up interview the BBC held afterwards.
That’s because in that video, Nintendo’s Shinya Takahashi made reference to a new system that Nintendo was supposedly working on. Here’s his original comment from the interview, as translated by a nearby interpreter:
Nintendo constantly works on hardware, so we have been doing research and development. You may see the new system sometime in the future.
As you can tell, it’s certainly an interesting hint towards an unannounced system. But is it really a big deal?
Well, to be honest it’s hard to know.
Because you see, Nintendo is always working on new hardware. Seriously, that’s how the company operates. Whenever one system comes out, they start work on its successor shortly after. Same with their games, with each Mario and Zelda title usually starting developing not long after the previous one wraps up.
Yet that doesn’t mean said new games and systems are coming ‘soon’. It just means they’re in development right now.
And nothing in the video contradicts that. Indeed, Mr Takahashi doesn’t say the system is coming in the ‘near future’, nor does it say it’s coming ‘soon’. Heck, he doesn’t even give a timeframe from when it might be announced.
Just that you ‘may see the new system sometime in the future’.
And well, given that Nintendo’s always working on new things (and that they’ll inevitably be releasing new games and systems in the future), that quote really just reaffirms what we already know.
So don’t panic about it, okay? Relax, and remember that Nintendo is always working on new products, even many years before they’re due to be released.
Nintendo Celebrates Bafta Hat Trick (BBC News)
Just like Breath of the Wild before it, the worlds in Super Mario Odyssey do not stop at the level boundaries. Indeed, whether it’s the distant metropolis of New Donk City or the giant dome of Steam Gardens, the backgrounds to the very levels sometimes seem even more intriguing than many of the places you actually visit.
As a result, the game’s basically crying out for a Boundary Break episode about now. It’s one where a free camera hack and a bit of time seems like it could find hundreds of interesting details and secrets in the distance.
Problem is, the Switch hasn’t been hacked yet. Or at least, it hasn’t been hacked enough for free camera codes to be made available for its games.
This means that Shesez cannot make a video on it, and nor can any of the other people out there talking about off camera secrets like Slippy Slides either.
Well, unless they realise that a free camera isn’t the only way to get this information. Nope, snapshot mode and out of bounds glitches can give you a pretty good look beyond the boundaries too! Which is why in this article, we’ll be doing just that.
So, sit down, get the tea ready and keep reading to see just how Mario Odyssey’s kingdoms work beyond the view of the player!
Starting with the first kingdom you encounter in the game, the Cap Kingdom. Yeah, we know. It’s technically not the first on the list, but hey that’s postgame content for you, and we’ll be delving into that one later in the article.
Either way though, going of bounds here reveals some interesting little tricks the developers used to set up various mechanics in the level. For instance, you know that pond that appears near the shop? Do you ever wonder just where the water comes from there?
Well as it turns out, the answer is exactly what you’d expect:
The water just sits under the ground, and removing the stake raises the layer up so it covers the hole and creates the pond. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a setup like this one, but it’s nice to have confirmation none the less.
However, what’s less expected is how Nintendo coded the poison pit in the Paragoomba bonus room. You see, here the poison appears to go off screen, with the poison river passing through a gate and off into the distance. Based on this, you’d assume it’d just cut off shortly afterwards, perhaps with a V shaped endpoint like in so many other games.
And you’d be right… initially.
However, if you wait around out of bounds a bit (say, half a second), then even more poison materialises underneath you! Yep, for whatever reason Nintendo coded the poison river to spawn based on the player’s coordinates in the level and set it up so going further and further out of bounds would just make the river longer and longer to make up for it. It’s a very weird trick, especially when you consider that the river neither dynamically loads when you’re in the room nor is meant to be encountered past the walls of the area. Guess their poison spawning mechanics originally had a few more uses planned out!
Still, enough with the Cap Kingdom for a moment since there’s really not much more to be seen there. In the Cascade Kingdom however, there is a rather… interesting discovery to be found outside the main playing field.
You see, if you clip through the wall near the waterfall and make your way around, you eventually land on this invisible platform. It’s a round platform that’s basically about the size of the Odyssey, and it’s never encountered while playing normally.
Or at least, that’s what we initially thought. In fact, it seems like the mystery platform is in fact the Odyssey. The version found when you first visit the kingdom.
Cause ya see, on the first visit, the Odyssey is found broken down just after the bridge. It’s then reactivated, which removes it from that location and puts it back at the start of the kingdom like normal.
For whatever reason though, Nintendo seemingly couldn’t just remove the collision for the thing, so they just plonked the whole kaboosh outside the map and left it there for safekeeping. Interesting development tactic there.
The last few months not been kind to Twin Galaxies. First suspicions were raised about Todd Rogers, leading to his scores being taken down after they were proven impossible. Then the site itself came under fire, with comments from ex staffers claiming that certain referees were biased or willing to look the other way for famous players.
And now it seems another famous player has been caught cheating as well. This time, it’s Billy Mitchell himself.
Yup, the King of Kong star himself is the latest player to be found to have submitted questionable scores to the site. This time, thanks to his records seemingly being recorded in an emulator instead of on the original hardware:
That’s against Twin Galaxies rules (as well as various community norms in general), hence the scores got removed and Mitchell banned from submitting any others in future.
It’s quite the fall from grace for everyone concerned. One minute Mitchell is at the top of the world as one of the most well-known gamers in existence, next minute Twin Galaxies bans him for life and removes his scores.
Either way, the decision is made. Mitchell’s high score has been nullified, Steve Wiebe is now the official 1st million-point record holder for Donkey Kong and Twin Galaxies has removed another questionable case from its site.
Let’s hope they continue to root out these dubious records in future!
Billy Mitchell’s Scores Removed from Twin Galaxies (Twin Galaxies Dispute Text)
Ah, it’s always nice when secrets are found years later, isn’t it? Whether it’s the secret weakness to Forest Water Kalle Demos has in the Wind Waker or the hidden room in Shadowrun, a late secret is like a trip back to your childhood. A journey back to an era of mystery, of games being magical experiences with secrets lurking in every corner and shadow.
Which is why today’s discovery in Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door is all the better. Why? Because it’s a whole debug mode… that no one had found in nearly 14 years. Yep, by entering a certain sequence of buttons on the title screen, you really can access a debug mode hidden in the game.
This sequence doesn’t do much out of the ordinary at first glance, but upon an issue occurring (like a game crash), it displays information about the situation meant for programmers and others in the title’s development team. It’s like the ones in Super Mario 64 DS and Mario Kart DS really.
Here’s the code required to activate it (which you enter at the title screen):
X, B, R, B, Y, L
As well as a picture showing the game’s build date only available in this mode (hold Z at the title screen after entering the above for this one):
Yeah, it’s not much right now. After all, it’s more of a debugging tool than a public feature, and a far cry from the cheat menu Smash Bros Melee’s version was.
But hey, it’s worth messing around with none the less. So, give it a try when you can, and tell us about what you find here on Gaming Reinvented.
We’ll be interested in seeing what happens with this one!
Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door (Cutting Room Floor Wiki)