Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2D isn’t actually as absurd as it sounds. It appears the developing team actually started the production of the game with a 2-dimensional prototype. The video below shows the changes from the 2D version into the 3D version.
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This 8-bit 2D version of the game obviously doesn’t come anywhere near the 3D version in graphical comparison, but in terms of nostalgia, it’s neck and neck. The 2D prototype was originally created, the developers say, to test different in-game systems that had never been implanted into a Zelda game before.
The 2D prototype wasn’t the only surprise Zelda fans received during the tease at GDC 2017, however. The Legend of Zelda: Invasion was also a part of the keynote, being included under a game called Hyrule Wars. Of course this wasn’t the final result as Breath of the Wild is what we have today, but it is definitely interesting seeing what sort of ideas the dev team had at the early stages of the game’s production.