[Warning: this article is just a translation from the original one in italian, there are some “lost in translation” parts, so the original version was more complete, but at least now we have an english version too. If you find some errors or some weird use of the english language, please send us a mail so we can fix them, thanks!]
[Thanks to Evan & Sba sb3002 for the english corrections!]
The second Zelda for the GameCube (and the first for the Wii) had a long development of nearly 4 years, and the final game turned out to be a lot different from what originally appeared in 2004. Some areas and dungeons were removed, while the surviving sections were heavily modified. In this article we will try to analyze the history of the development of TP with the screenshots and the videos available.
This article has been subdivided in three sections (Overworld – Towns & Dungeons – Characters & Items), because of the enormous amount of beta material. Nintendo has worked on Zelda for many years, continuously adding and removing entire sections, of which many are unfortunately lost, and so it is impossible to recreate faithfully the original project. This is therefore an incomplete analysis, made using only the beta screenshots that Nintendo released in the magazines and the websites.
We however think that the online community will still find beta material hidden the code of the game, as it happened with Ocarina Of Time. This article will be therefore updated every time that new discoveries will be made . For every contribution, information or theory not included here, you can simply contact us with an email or you can post on our forum! Will we succeed discovering together all that Nintendo has removed?
Warning: It possible that there are spoilers in this article, and, because Twilight Princess is a very long game, it is possible that some areas, which i considered beta, are in the game.
[original article in italian by monokoma, english translation by Yota]
Overworld – Towns & Dungeons – Characters & Items
The screenshot above is from the build of TP showed at E3 2004. This zone is the first version of the Bridge Of Eldin. We notice the presence of some fire torches in front of the arc and the structure still intact, when in the released version the bridge is in ruins. We can even see a castle in the background… do you recognize it ? It is the Hyrule Castle. The Bridge of Eldin was thus originally located in the Castle Town, but Nintendo later decided to move it to the province of Eldin.
Another photo from the E3 2004 of the beta bridge of Eldin.
This is instead from the E3 2005, and, as you can see, the Hyrule Castle is still beyond the Bridge of Eldin.
The Hyrule Field has changed many times in the course of the development. In these two screenshots, we can see in the background the beta version of Hyrule Castle. The graphics was improved compared to this 2004 screenshot, but the field is just as big as the released version.
This forest it is not present in the final game, but it was probably an area of the beta Faron/Ordon Woods. It is worth noting that this forest is similar to the beta Lost Woods of Ocarina of Time.
It is really strange that Nintendo created and removed two times a very similar forest area. It almost seems like that the programmers use this wood to test the first builds of Zelda. But why it is always left out? Maybe it is too boring and confusing to explore, or there are developement issues.
In another screenshot of the beta wood, we see Epona and Link with two dogs. As we will see in the next paragraph, originally the player was required to interact more with animals, maybe in order to complete some quests.
In this screenshots of a 2005 video, Link finds a group of cats under an ancient tree. In the released game, animals have little importance, and thus it is strange that they showed this scene in a trailer.
This statue, much similar to Doshin the Giant, is yet again from the 2005 video of the beta Faron Woods. We now know that in the Sacred Grove there are some similar statues that protect the place, so we can assume that this was the beta entrance to the Sacred Grove.
This strange, small lake, shown in this 2005 image, is not present in the final version of the game. It could have been a beta version of the Lanayru Spring or one of the several fairies fountains.
This pond is also absent from Twilight Princes. The background seems to suggest that it was connected yet again to the beta Forest. The water is full of fish, so it is likely that it was also a beta fishing zone.
Others screenshots from the beta swamp. Link still has his old dress (that , by the way, it is a little different from the released game) thus suggesting that this fishing zone was near the Ordon Village, also because in the first playable demo of Twilight Princess Link can use the canoe to explore the village. Probably in the beta the Ordon river was much bigger, connecting the village with the beta woods.
The old, black and white, Twilight World. In the final build Nintendo however, as we well know, opted for a world with a strong bloom effect and saturated colors.
Yet another area removed from the beta Faron/Ordon Woods: The cementery. However the “secret” cementery in the last dungeon is very much the same as this one, apart from the trees.
In this old screenshot, we can instead see a different Bridge of Eldin fight scene, where the fire is missing near the exit and the sky has a different color than the final version.
In some other beta screens, we can even see an unused version of the Bridge Of Eldin, where it is more destroyed than the final version and the “secret room” is missing from the bridge. The strange fact is that the original version of the Bridge Of Eldin was not destroyed, because it was the entrance to the Hyrule Castle. It looks like that Nintendo had made a complete version of the bridge (when it was the castle entrance), then destroyed it (as we can see from the screens abobe) and later built it a bit more, to insert the “secret room”. What a weird development.
In the first video of Twilight Princess , the overworld of the game was a very barren and stormy land, full of dead trees. Unfortunately we can’t know if this reflects some changes in the original story of the game.
Another place shown in the 2004 trailer, probably a beta of the Gerudo Desert, where we can see a group of little ogres at twilight. Certainly it was created for the trailer, but it is interesting to see how much it is different from the atmosphere of the final Gerudo Desert.
In this 2005 screenshot we see Wolf Link in a strange snow zone, most probably a beta section of Snowpeak. No more sent us an email saying that this zone maybe was where there is now the snowboard minigame.
Next Chapter >> Beta Towns & Dungeons