The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild turned out to be a near-masterpiece in the current climate of games, starting a trend that has seen some of Nintendo's top franchises taking bold new directions to fantastic effect. Because of this, we're rather happy that the big N finalised the game's development in the way it did, although these concept art images do have us dreaming of a potential darker tone for future Zelda releases.

Feast your eyes on these genuinely terrifying early designs for the game's Guardians. Of course, the power that these machines have over you in the early stages of the game are scary enough anyway, but if they looked anything like this we'd need at least another twenty stamina wheels to sprint far enough away and never look back.

The images come from the Master Works 30th Anniversary book that was released in December last year. Naturally, the book contains a small tree's worth of beautiful designs and interesting images that show the development process for the game including the Divine Beasts, the many towns and villages that you explore throughout the adventure, and this imagining of Hyrule Castle before everything was destroyed by evil.

The book is only available in Japanese, although it is mostly made up of images anyway, and isn't the easiest to find in the west. It is currently available at PlayAsia if you're interested in grabbing yourself a copy, however.

So what do you think? What sort of artistic direction would you like to see in the next instalment in the franchise? Share your ideas in the comments below.

[via gamingreinvented.com, reddit.com]