Last week we gave you a first peek at Zelda: Breath of the NES, a new 8-bit fan game based on Nintendo’s own retro-style The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild prototype. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s notoriously on-the-ball lawyers have already taken action.
Last month at a Breath of the Wild-related GDC panel, the designers of the game revealed they tested the game’s more open structure by simplifying the game’s visuals and interface as much as possible, essentially recreating the original 8-bit The Legend of Zelda. Of course, fans wanted the game to exist for real, and amateur developer Winter Drake sought to make that reality. Zelda: Breath of the NES wouldn’t be a direct remake of Nintendo’s game, but would borrow many of its mechanics, like the ability to cut down trees, start fires, collect apples, and kill enemies in interesting ways.
Even though Zelda: Breath of the NES wasn’t directly competing with any Nintendo product, you had to know trouble was brewing. Sure enough, our developer recently got a takedown notice from Nintendo’s lawyers. Thankfully, this won’t be the end of the project – Winter Drake has vowed to continue on, just without the copyrighted Nintendo characters.
@RickSnyder3 (1/2)I'm no longer legally able to distribute Breath of the NES. But any donations you made will be spent working on the game!— WinterDrake (@WinterDrakeDev) April 30, 2017
@RickSnyder3 (2/2) The game isn't dead, I just won't be using the Zelda characters. It will live on! 😀— WinterDrake (@WinterDrakeDev) April 30, 2017
Here’s what our developer had this to say to say to Kotaku about the situation:
“If Nintendo asks me to stop using their IP, I do plan to continue development with my own original characters. It stinks that Nintendo treats fan games this way. It’s unfortunate that this came so soon, as I won’t be able to release the massive update that was planned for this week. I’d like to make the final game a big cross-platform release on Steam. I may even start a Kickstarter once I can show off what the new game will have to offer.”
Hey, maybe this is for the best. As a straight fan game, Zelda: Breath of the NES could only go so far, but as an original title merely inspired by Zelda, the sky’s the limit. Who knows, Winter Drake could end up creating the next Stardew Valley.
You can check out more The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild news, right here.