Retro ‘Project X’ Zelda Spin-Off Mystery Seems To Have A Playable Prototype

Sheik, as seen in Super Smash Bros.
Image: Nintendo

New details have surfaced online today about the Retro Studios mystery Legend of Zelda Title ‘Project X‘. While this spin-off never saw the light of day, it does appear that there is indeed a working prototype.

In one ‘Do you know how to play games?’ YouTube Videos, the game in this title has been discussed. According to Paul Tozour, former developer and programmer at Retro Studios, it was an “experiment that went wrong by chance set in the Zelda universe”.

While a prototype was up and running, it was described as a simplified version of ‘Whack-A-Mole’ and was said to be undercooked. Players will control Sheik, fixed in one place, and will fight different types of wolves with the Wii Remote.

“There’s four or five wolves, maybe six, and they’ll just sit idle waiting to lunge at you, then they’ll jump one by one and you’ll ‘Whack’. So that’s really it. all is, only discovered when the player swings the Remote. If so, the wolf dies and if you don’t get it right, you get damaged.” – Paul Tozour, former Retro developer

There is also cross-world – separate from the game’s combat, where players will be thrown into random battles, similar to JRPGs. Tozour further describes it as a “hot mess” and while the art might make the team look like they’re doing something special, there’s just “no gameplay”.

Concerns have been raised several times about the direction of ‘Project X’, but management ignored the warnings and reportedly refused to change course. Tozour added on how he heard the prototype didn’t work well with Nintendo:

“[Nintendo] really can’t understand its head or tail. Their response was basically ‘this is what you’re seriously suggesting? Really?…[It was] immediately rejected [that’s what I was told,] but I wasn’t there when it happened, and I assumed there was a chance it never actually happened and they decided not to show it to Nintendo. “

A separate anonymous source from Retro said the project may also have been hit by the departures of some of Retro’s top developers around the same time. All in all, it is believed that at least seven people worked on ‘Project X’ at Retro Studios before it was canceled in 2008.

There are claims Nintendo is still interested in a Sheik project. You can learn more in the video below and learn more about Paul Tozour’s experience with ‘Project X’ in his previous conversation with podcast KiwiTalkz:

Turns out Retro is also working on another Zelda spin-off called Hero of Hyrule. You can read more in our previous story.

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