Update (May 1): Of course Nintendo ordered a takedown of Breath of the NES. As such, the game is no longer available on Itch.io, but developer Winterdrake promises to continue making the game after stripping it of copyright-infringing content.
He also told Kotaku that he plans to introduce 32-bit sprites, a soundtrack and perhaps even a cross-platform release. “I may even start a Kickstarter once I can show off what the new game will have to offer,” he added.
Whether you’re waiting on your Nintendo Switch to be delivered so you can play through the new Zelda game or have already run through it several times, you’ll be happy to know that there’s another Breath of the Wild treat in store for you. Only, it isn’t from the folks at Nintendo.
Developer Winterdrake created a 2D version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild after drawing inspiration from the 8-bit prototype that Nintendo built to test the game’s mechanics.
If you watched the demo of Nintendo’s prototype at the Game Developers Conference 2017, you’ll find that Breath of the NES looks fairly similar, albeit with added graphical polish.
The game is still in the works, but you can grab the free playable demo and give it a go on your PC right away. Winter Drake notes that they plan to add more environments and features, and may not necessarily stay entirely faithful to the Nintendo title.
There’s also the issue of the Japanese gaming company shutting down the project so as to protect its intellectual property. It’s done so before; last year, Nintendo ordered a bunch of fans to shut down Pokémon Uranium, a full-length RPG based on the company’s monster-training franchise that took the team nine years to build.
Winterdrake told Kotaku that if it’s faced with a similar dilemma, it’ll continue to work on the project with original characters. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.