Video game history is always full of “what ifs,” mainly because there are plenty of titles that are opened up as possible games to be released or made but never get to see the light of day or have to be changed quite a bit before they are released in full. A great example is The Last of Us–creative director Neil Druckmann had the idea for the game years before Naughty Dog made it, and he changed the idea multiple times over the course of years until it was finally made. As for Legend of Zelda, it has had a very interesting history in terms of what was made, and what was not.
We know that games like Majora’s Mask were famously made in less than a year and that influenced the plot of the title. Plus, there was the infamous 3D teaser of a new Zelda title that was completely discarded and then replaced with Windwaker later on. Enter DidYouKnowGaming, who uncovered a story about a title set within the universe, but wouldn’t be tied to the other games at all, and would be starring none other than Sheik.
Sheik is of course the famous “transformation” that Zelda herself used in Ocarina of Time to avoid capture by Ganon. She used the Triforce of Wisdom to keep herself safe and it worked until she revealed herself to Link and got captured by Ganon. The character would live on not just in people’s hearts, but in games like Super Smash Bros Melee where Zelda could transform into Sheik, as well as the Hyrule Warriors title where Sheik was also a playable character.
According to the YouTube channel, the game starring Sheik was being created by none other than Retro Studios, the team behind the Metroid Prime saga as well as the two most recent Donkey Kong Country titles. They had an early concept of the game, but nothing came of it. In fact, it was apparently dropped really quickly after it was made.
Former Retro programmer Paul Tozour talked about this in the video and apparently noted it was a really bad “experiment,” even going so far as to say that because it was being made during the Wii era, they tried to use the motion controls to make combat that felt like Whack-A-Mole! Yeah, really. The game apparently wasn’t that fun, didn’t feel like the rest of the franchise at all, and when key members left Retro Studios, the project just collapsed.
Perhaps this is for the best. The last thing Legend of Zelda fans need is a bad spinoff. Sadly, the wait for a new title in the line grows ever longer as Breath of the Wild 2 hasn’t been given a release date as of yet.