Earlier this year, Kotaku reported that while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was in development, Nintendo worked on a prototype of the game that was a fully playable 2D Zelda game with NES-style graphics. They used this prototype to experiment with new mechanics, such as wind and fire physics, as well as chopping down trees.
Inspired by this 2D version of Breath of the Wild, a developer named Winter Drake began work on a full version of this prototype to make available to the public. The name of his project is Zelda: Breath of the NES. The game is in its demo stages now, but is available to download for free. The game has to be free since Winter Drake doesn’t own the rights to the Zelda franchise and therefore earning money off of the Zelda name could land him in legal trouble. However, you can donate to the development of the game if you wish.
Winter Drake told Kotaku recently, “I don’t feel the need to be bound to BotW’s exact structure… I have a lot of plans for original features in the game, and although I’d like to capture the spirit of BotW and NES Zelda, I’m not restricting myself to be perfectly faithful.” He specifically discusses the Byoki Berry, a completely original item that, while poisonous to humans (and I assume Hylians), can be used to lure Octorocks, either getting them out of the way or trapping them in an area.
Even though the game is still just a demo and is available for free, it is still certainly possible that Winter Drake will receive a cease and desist from Nintendo for using their intellectual property without their permission. In response to this possibility, Winter Drake states, “While I’m going to stay hardworking on Breath of the NES for as long as I can, if Nintendo asks me to stop using their IP, I do plan to continue development with my own original characters. I’m having way too much fun creating this world to just give up.”