We're all collectors here at Nintendo Life, always on the lookout for unusual finds, Japanese-exclusive games, awesome region-exclusive box art, and all sorts of weird and wonderful merchandise. However, this weekend, we came across something that we just cannot find any reliable information about, so we need your help!
This boxed version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess looks like an unfinished version of the final art for the full game. The components of the key art are all there — namely, the diagonal colour split and the Triforce in the middle — but without Link or Wolf Link's faces there, or the saturated yellow where the white is on the box.
It looks like it might be a PAL-only box, perhaps something that came in a bundle with the Wii Zapper and Link's Crossbow Training, perhaps, or maybe even a press copy that's made its way out into the world. The sleeve itself is high-quality, definitely not something hastily printed out by a secondhand store on the lowest-grade A4 and shoved in the sleeve.
We've tried all of our usual avenues and explored all of the internet dungeons to try and divine its provenance, but to no avail — it's a puzzle that any Zelda game would be proud of. Quite frankly, we're in need of a heart piece or two!
So, we're reaching out to you! Let us know below if you've spotted this out in the wild — or if you own this version — and drop us a comment if you've got anything on this potential rare find.
It's a marketing placeholder box for meetings. Likely some discussion about how they wanted to represent the two sides of link, but the artist hadn't gotten around to throwing actual art together other than the base outline that was discussed at an earlier meeting. The PDF was then likely printed up in its current form so it could be a physical item for discussion at the Wii Launch Marketing meetings. Sometimes its good to have incomplete pieces there to help guide the discussion and help visualize what final might be.
Thank goodness it's PAL or else I'd be obligated to get it. I'm forcing myself to get every version of every Zelda game + console, but only for NTSC. And no Amiibo! Gotta draw the line somewhere lol
@NotSoCryptic Hey, just for context it was me that found the game. This isn't a bad shout. However, someone else has reached out to me saying they own another one, that's exactly the same. Would it not be unlikely that two placeholder cases (or more) were made? Open to any/all suggestions. Just hope I can get some solid evidence and solve the mystery.
Pal Box looks different, i guess Promo
@retrokong Hopefully we can get this solved!
I wonder how many people who are indicating they own this (in the poll) are being untruthful…
I mean, besides me.
Saw it in CEX a couple of weeks ago. Thought it was one of their own print outs that they do or a faded cover at first but was the correct quality paper.
@dazzleshell that's exactly where I got it. I thought it was a printout at first but upon closer inspection, it wasn't. The sleeve is super high quality, in my 20+ years of collecting I have never seen a printout/fan-made cover like this. That's what led me to believe it was something a little different.
Could be promo, prototype, printing error or fake.
whatever it is, I can tell you one thing. It is awful.
I kinda like the simplistic clean look of it. It wouldn’t sell me on the game by the cover alone, but looking back, knowing what I know after playing it, it’s pretty neat.
Without that well-known Zelda stamp, this doesn’t do much in terms of “buy me now!”
Hope ya’ll get this solved! Pretty neat little predicament to be in haha
There was a time where games just had multiple covers for the same region. It probably just fell into that fad........it might even be just the reversible cover (I cant be bothered to dig up my copy to see if its just simply this)
Oh, hey, that's the custom TP game I had printed for my wedding. It's left mostly blank to symbolize...uh, wedding. Anyway, it's mine. Please send it back to me, thanks.
Kind of looks like a store placeholder art for preorders or something.
It is a prototype. It was used as a presentation before the official release of the game. The final cover was not yet chosen. I had the opportunity to see it on a page of a magazine a long time ago.
I've never seen it before, but of note would be that the rear cover is almost identical to the version that released in the UK, with the exception of the Nintendo Seal of Quality being missing, and, perhaps more interestingly the EDTV/HDTV support advertised at the top right.
From Googling, I can see that the Nintendo Selects re-release in the UK did show EDTV/HDTV support, and some of the other European releases do also, but the original UK print run definitely didn't.
What that means in context, I don't know.
If cex has it, maybe they are upping their reprinting game. The cex I have been to in the states used to reprint covers all the time. It was obvious inkjet tho. They may be printing alternative covers to avoid any legal issues, or whoever prints this stuff picked the wrong art. As to its quality, nice glossy paper and a good high dpi printer? The cex connection is suspect to it being legit either way.
One other thought, usually the bar code is missing and it says not for resale in that spot for bundled games in North America. If they do that in pal territories, it's likely not from a bundle.
The white/grey design just screams Wii. But it pretty much makes half the Nintendo logo completely invisible, so it's almost certainly not an official release, especially considering that in doesn't even have the Nintendo seal. In fact, a bootleg cover would probably try to mimic the seal, so the fact that it's missing suggests that it's either a promo or prototype version.
The Hylian crest also seems to have an unusual pattern to it, almost as if it was lifted from somewhere. The photo isn't a high enough resolution to make it out very well though.
Did it come with a disc? If it did I wonder what version of the game it is? If you're able to inspect the game files you can find the build date in a file.
Oh yeah, I own like half a dozen of em. Why? They worth sumthin?
Im guessing a limited release for a smaller part of the PAL market.
Stop the press, we have folders on Switch!
Can't check my own case at the moment, but didn't the cover have a foil effect to it?
This one looks like a foil layer might've been accidentally skipped when printing, which might explain why random things like the 'Seal of Quality', 'The Legend of', and 'The biggest Zelda adventure of all time' are missing too.
Probably rare and maybe valuable, but have you seen the Wii U amiibo edition values lately?
I remember game in Ireland used to use their own box designs as shelf placeholders for a few months before they got the official boxed games in, could be that or something similar from another retailer?
@Diogmites My uncle worked at Nintendo…
I can tell you exactly where that is from it's from the Nintendo Wii pre launch showcase event held for "industry" people in the uk. I still have my tshirt and goody bag from the event too.
Looks like a placeholder box that would be used at a gamestore or as a temporary image on a website. probably made just to take a picture of.
There are a few of these oddities for Twilight Princess.
The "Zelda sells itself" edition.
@SoulChimera Ah, Toilet Princess, the sequel to The Wind Breaker…
@linktothebreizh You're not the first person to mention they've seen it in a magazine. Do you have any more info? Name of the magazine/which issue? I would love to track a copy down.
@ThePizzaCheese thanks for your input. You bring up some interesting points. The Hylian crest is the same as the official release, it just looks odd because it doesn't have a darker colour behind it. I compared the two for ages trying to spot differences.
The seal of quality is a strange one, like you say if someone was making a copy, that's one thing you'd be sure to include. One thing to note is the seal of quality and the main artwork on the front is foil, leading me to believe the base art was printed then there was an error while getting the foil print done.
It came with a disc, but it's the same as the original release. The disc wasn't inside the case when I bought it and the store had multiple copies of Twilight Princess in stock. I asked to check all the discs just in case, but they were all the same.
@bluesun this is a solid theory. A couple of other people have suggested this too. I compared the two last night and it is mainly the foil sections that are missing. The only thing that wouldn't explain is why the Nintendo logo is white and not red. Unless they stamped the logo after the foil went layer was added.
@Cosmo_Joe thanks for this. Not that I doubt your story, but do you have any evidence to support this? Any photos etc from the event (that include this case)? If so I would love to see them and put the mystery to rest.
@SoulChimera Now this is one for the collection
There does seem to be a point at which the logo changed from red to white for newer copies, looking at eBay.
If there was a misprinted batch at one point, that might even narrow down the potential time it happened.
There seem to have been quite a few minor changes over the years:
@bluesun The revision with a white Nintendo logo must’ve happened before 2008 because I own a German copy with a big diamond shaped USK rating that was used since 2008 (before being replaced by the redesigned square rating in 2009):
Until 2008 the USK used a smaller diamond shaped rating:
@bluesun this is super helpful. By the looks of it, they switched to the white logo between 2006 and 2010, and from my research, I think EDTV was added to the Wii in 2010. So I guess this was printed in 2010, as I assume they stopped printing the standard version once they released the "Selects" cover.
@retrokong how do I post photos in the comments? The event was no photos sadly but I have the tshirt and the goody bag still. They had box mockups of all the launch games at the event most of which changed by the time of release.
@Cosmo_Joe not sure how you upload photos tbh. What year was the event? 2006 I presume? and where was it? Last question I promise, was this box defo on display there? Just trying to cobble as much info together as possible.
@retrokong must have been sometime between before November 2006 - edit on the dates
It was in Slough, UK
I'm pretty confident that is the box I saw there. Alot of the game boxes were simply the franchise logo on a plain background. The TP box had the diagonal split with just the logo (no wolf link/link image) I never saw the back of the box.
@SoulChimera how do you post an image?
I think you're getting close to figuring it out. Considering it seems to have features from newer prints (such as the white logo and EDTV symbol), could it simply be a test print of a newer version without any foil added?
I have never seen it before. I think its fake, or a press copy.
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