The Legend of Zelda franchise has a long and storied history, rivaling the Zelda games’ own convoluted timeline. It’s seen dozens of games across many consoles and handheld devices since 1986, and Nintendo is likely constantly at work on the next installment. A few particularly interesting ideas have been scrapped over the years, including a canceled Zelda spinoff that would have starred a male Sheikah.
Many canceled Zelda games are the subject of rumors and speculation only, but some have more compelling evidence than others. Supposed concept art for a canceled Zelda game about Sheik appeared online last year – something Shigeru Miyamoto had spoken of in the past. Others have been explicitly confirmed, such as the canceled Wind Waker sequel series producer Eiji Aonuma has claimed was in early development before being canned, as well as a third-party-developed Wind Waker GBA sequel that never made it past the ideation stage.
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According to DidYouKnowGaming?, Metroid Prime developer Retro Studios worked on pre-production material for the unnamed Sheikah spinoff between 2005 and 2008. It was supposedly going to take place in a post-apocalyptic Hyrule and be set in the timeline where Link is defeated by Ganon in Ocarina of Time. The protagonist would have been the last surviving Sheikah, left behind after the tribe was wiped out in a “genocidal event.” Although it was supposed to take place after Ocarina, the game was envisioned as an origin story for the Master Sword and would have featured the birth of Ganon as a male Gerudo – an event that only happens once a century – as a backdrop.
Elements Of The Canceled Sheikah Game Lived On In Other Zeldas
The history of the Master Sword did eventually make it into a Legend of Zelda game, being central to the narrative of Skyward Sword, which is chronologically the first game in the series timeline. Post-apocalyptic settings are also not unfamiliar to Zelda; The Wind Waker takes place long after a deluge destroyed Hyrule, and Breath of the Wild more directly addresses an apocalyptic event, with Link waking up 100 years after Calamity Canon conquered the land.
It would have been interesting to see a Zelda game with a hero who isn’t Link, but the project was shut down at Retro after key developers left the studio. Information on the canceled project is scarce, likely in part due to non-disclosure agreements with Nintendo or Retro Studios. The Sheikah are an underexplored but integral part of The Legend of Zelda, so maybe one day the series will give them the game they deserve.
Next: Breath of the Wild: Real-World Mummy Monks Inspired the Sheikah
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