If you’ve spent any time in the Zelda community, you may have heard whispers and rumors about a Legend of Zelda spinoff game starring Sheik, the alter-ego of Princess Zelda in Ocarina of Time, being developed by Retro Studios, the acclaimed developers of the Metroid Prime trilogy. Though this Sheikah-themed spinoff was mostly talked about as somewhat of an urban legend, thanks to a new video from DidYouKnowGaming?, we now know that this game was much more real than anyone ever thought.
DidYouKnowGaming? spoke to two former Retro Studios developers, Sound Engineer Paul Tozour and another employee who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. Former Concept Artist Sammy Hall’s previously leaked ArtStation concept art was also used as a point of reference in the video as well. According to the Tozour, there was over nine months of work put into this game, with a team of about seven people in late 2007 working on a concept first created back in 2005.
According to Tozour, the concept was pitched to Nintendo and immediately rejected. The concept featured some fairly mature themes, and featured “weird, weird stuff” according to Hall, so it’s not surprising that the traditionally conservative Nintendo wanted to pass on the game.
This video details the development of this prototype, codenamed ‘Project X’, outlines the general plot scenario of this Sheikah spinoff, details what kind of gameplay this game wouldn’t feature (i.e., not a traditional Zelda), the surprising gameplay mechanics this prototype did feature (something between a JRPG, whack-a-mole, and a simple rail shooter), who at Retro Studios was working in the project, and the possibility of a future Zelda title that stars Sheik.
Not only this, but the video also reveals the existence of a second Zelda spinoff game that Retro Studios pitched to Nintendo. This project was called Heroes of Hyrule, and looks to feature classic tactic RPG style gameplay (think Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics). A video is on the way detailing that project, so make sure to subscribe to DidYouKnowGaming? to watch that when it drops.
Would you have been excited to see what Retro Studios could have done with the Zelda franchise? Or after hearing a little more about the project, are you glad that this prototype is one that never saw the light of day? Let us know in the comments below!
Andy Spiteri is the Webmaster of Omega Metroid and Host of the Omega Metroid Podcast, The Zelda Cast, and Virtual Theater. Probably drinking a Tim Horton’s Double Double as you read this.