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.
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[source gamingreinvented.com, via reddit.com]
All those designs would be right at home in Dark Souls or Bloodborne.
That castle though... 😳
Lord, these creatures look like they are taken out of the deep ocean and given even creepier aspects.
I don't think it would be quite fitting to see in a Zelda game, however if Nintendo ever tackles a horror (kind of) setting such as the Souls games as @Garo noted, it would be very interesting to see these designs fit in. I really wish Nintendo did something as unexpected as making a game based on horrific creations as their creative designers are clearly very talented. Would be a breath of fresh air.
They look creepy! yet awesome!
I think I would be totally fine with a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, but darker, twisted and more sinister a la Majora's Mask to Ocarina of Time on N64.
Edit: Just no time restrictions though! totally stressed me out in MM
I love how uncanny they are!
I could definitely go for a direct sequel. Could really do with more of BotW Link and Zelda, but I think a new, darker world would be interesting to explore. Cross the chasm to the north into new lands! And include some of these creepy designs
I spy a giant enemy crab.
@EightyTwoStu the castle just looks like the Windwaker Castle under the sea.
The creatures looks amazing though
As much as I loved BOTW, I feel this would've been even more awesome, though I've always had a preference for natural looking creatures instead of mechanical ones.
The first creature in the second image reminds me of Nitros creatures in Toriko
A direct sequel to BotW would be interesting in that [spoilers] in the end, while Ganon is sealed away and all... The castle is still empty and Hyrule as a country doesn't really have a government. Not even a military force to legitimize a government as a protector of the people. In 100 years Hylians would have become rather self-sufficient, so reaffirming the Crown while fending off another otherworldly threat (and/or getting rid of monsters for good) would make an interesting framework for a game. Not to mention it would give Zelda herself more of an active role. Even if she's still an NPC, escorting her to various parts of the kingdom so she could play diplomat while also recruiting and training new army and reconquering the map from the monsters could be great.
Seems like it would fit with the style of the Wii U tech demo Legend of Zelda.
@Bunkerneath Yea, totally but that's my favourite Zelda!
Been nice if Nintendo followed through with some of these concepts, especially the monster designs, because one of my complaints about Botw was the same enemy mobs over and over again. Was one of my all time favorites, though, but I felt it was missing a small piece. In the end, no game is perfect.
@Zach: My thoughts exactly. This isn't a "near masterpiece", this game IS a masterpiece.
@AndrewJ Haha, just make Zelda pepper enemies with a bow or run around on horseback while the enemies are mainly targeting Link. Yiga clan would definitely try to ambush the heroes and they would probably still be rather unhappy about Master Kohga.
That "recruiting soldiers" part could play here as well: on escort missions Link could take a few helpers with him that would shield Zelda or attack enemies, depending on their "class" (like Hylian soldiers would probably prioritize defense, blocking enemies with their armour and shields, while Sheikah warriors would be more ninja-like and chase enemies down).
Would love another Zelda game with the dark, realistic Twilight Princess art style. Something akin to the Wii U tech demo.
My nightmares shall forever be spent writhing in Skulldad's wiry undergrowth.
Looks to me like it was War of the Worlds-inspired. Neat!
I’m not sure why so many people want a dark Zelda. I like the designs but I think the would have better use in a new series.
Come on Nintendo, pull a Majora's Mask quickie and knock a game out with these designs.
@Perryg92 Majora's Mask had no time restrictions, at least not for Link. I dunno how far you got in the game, but you do eventually get to rewind time
1st picture: I'm glad the guardians don't look like that, otherwise they wouldn't be as terrifying (at the beginning).
2nd picture: This reminds me of Limbo.
3rd picture: This is a place I'd like to visit.
Put these in next Zelda game and make it so dark like dark souls or Bloodborne
I need more creepy cosmic horror in my zelda.
@TeslaChippie I simply meant the 3 day cycle in general was a little too tense for my liking, even with me knowing the inverted song of time etc
Only managed the first 2 dungeons before calling it quits.
We basically got the "for kids" version...
I definitely wouldn't mind a darker Zelda game using those things. It would probably be in a timeline where previous Links failed again and again, though.
Looks great. But not for botw. These are more like giant horror insects instead of Divine beasts. Would be awesome though tackling these insects while controlling a Divine beast
Idk...to me there's a certain quality to the art style that I thought got lost with Twilight Princess because it went as dark as it did.
I'd love to see Nintendo try something different like this!
@Perryg92 the cyclical time was my favorite feature though! That’s like the game’s main mechanic! I dream of a day we get another Zelda game like that - I mean, if it’s not your cup of tea you don’t have to get it, but it wasn’t a BAD mechanic, the trick is you just had to plan what you were gonna do each cycle so you don’t waste time going back and forth, and unless you’re going for efficiency (trying to 100% it in the least amount of cycles or something) then missing something is no big deal, just do it next cycle and have a few relaxed cycles where you enjoy the game world. If you think ahead a bit and don’t obsess over doing EVERYTHING you can fit into a cycle, it’s not that bad.
Now I’m really wanting a MM styled sequel though I know that’s incredibly unlikely...
NEAR-masterpiece?? Come on.
we want another Zelda game to be dark, atmospheric and evil!!
Could possible go more realistic given it doesn't have to be tailored for the WiiU anymore
OK, we need a non-destroyed Hyrule Castle to explore in HD, STAT.
Nintendo clearly needs to make a horror game with some of these designs. I don't even play horror games and I'd play something with stuff that looked as cool and fantastical as these prototype Guardians!
Yeah, near masterpiece. BOTW wasn't perfect.
Put these in the new Metroid Prime.
I want a Breath of the Wild sequel more than anything
Man, those look great. I'd love for them to rematerialize sometime soon.
Though I do wish the Guardians in the final game acted more like they did in the E3 2014 trailer. Faster pursuit, more frantic shots, tentacle attacks, greater damage, perhaps more fluid movement in their legs. I have noticed that some Guardians in the game are naturally, barely noticeably, faster than others, however. So perhaps the idea partially made it in, in the end.
Do it Nintendo. It'd make sense too. Majora was much darker than Ocarina, so this darker Zelda can be the Majora to BotW's Ocarina.
MAKE IT HAPPEN NINTY
@Varkster Twilight Princess doesn't look like it fits in the Zeldaverse but they made it work lol.
@patbacknitro18 TLOZ:TP and this are completely different levels of dark.
Fantastic, lovely creepy designs. And you thought Calamity Ganon was creepy...
@Varkster But Twilight Princess still has a very dark and grim gothic style about it. Something that vastly different from a majority of the Zelda games. So if we could get Twilight Princess after Wind Waker. Why not this after Breath of the Wild?
Wow those concepts are so creepy and cool!! 😮
@patbacknitro18 I guess I'd just be more interested in Nintendo tackling something new where they could have this kind of horror-oriented theme without restrictions.
If this were to become a Zelda game it could limit the creativity and extent to which they would take the scary creative aspect of the game, just my thoughts.
@Varkster Not really. Zelda has had plenty of terrifying creators in its games before. Remember the Miniboss in the Well in OOT? It doesn't need to be a horror game. But it can have a dark grim feel to it like TP. And it can have some scary and unsettling bosses like plenty of Zelda games had. Just because it has a grim style like this that doesn't mean it has to become a full-fledged horror game. Just a Zelda game that's taking on a more grim art style.
@patbacknitro18 You're missing what I meant, I was just saying I'd like to see Nintendo go all out and try to create something grim and horror based that is not Zelda, where I think these creations could have fit much better.
I must have just been bad at wording.
@Varkster That's also the thing, these things weren't meant to fit in. They were meant to feel otherworldly. The original concept for Breath of the Wild was an alien invasion, which you get is what they were going for with these creatures designs. Which is why these creatures could still work in a Zelda setting, and even more so since they would have contrasted with the cartoony style of Breath of the Wild, making it truly feel like creatures from another world. But I would still like a zelda in their grim style.
@idrawrobots Zelda is a series older than many users of this site and thus many people have "grown out" of cutesy Zelda games and would like some more mature things.
Also being a hero in an oppressive, dark world makes him look more heroic and powerful. I don't think anyone wants Link to become angsty, wicked or zealous as well. But a shining hero of a dark fable? Yes please
Those creature designs are pretty cool, maybe we'll see them or something similar get it's time in the sun in another game. On the other hand am glad they chose not to go with the alien motif in Breath of the Wild, it could have been a shark jumping moment for Zelda.
No one would have complained about a lack of enemy variation if those 4 beasts had made the cut.
Those are terrifying. Just terrifying.
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