A spin-off game from The Legend of Zelda series was apparently in the pre-planning stages from Retro Studios for the Nintendo Wii. The Metroid Prime developer was apparently considering an action/JRPG starring "the last male Sheikah." Sheik was a major character in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and was eventually revealed to be Zelda herself! The game's existence was revealed by former Retro Studios artist Sammy Hall, who posted concept art on his ArtStation page (which can be found here). In an interview with IGN, Hall stated that Nintendo might not have even known the art existed.
"I doubt many at Nintendo proper saw much of any of this stuff. I was mostly put into a room like Milton from Office Space and tasked to brainstorm between other projects."
This new game would have apparently taken place "after the dark timeline of Ocarina of Time," meaning the world where Link is defeated by Ganon. This new Sheik would have explored a ruined Hyrule, where a Dark Gerudo tribe is trying to bring back Ganon. The game would have possibly provided an origin for the Master Sword, which is a story element that would later be seen in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Alas, nothing ever came of this project. The concept came from ex-studio heads at Retro, and was cancelled after they left to join other developers. Meanwhile, Retro went on to work on other games for the Nintendo Wii, including Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Hall is no longer in the gaming industry, while Retro Studios is currently working on Metroid Prime 4. Originally, that game was going to be made internally by Nintendo, while Retro was working on a different project. Retro was brought on to Metroid Prime 4 a few years ago, and development started over from scratch. Unfortunately, fans never did find out what the studio was working on in the years between 2014's Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Metroid Prime 4, and it's unclear whether that game was cancelled or put on hold. Perhaps one day we'll find out from a former staffer, just as we did with this Zelda spin-off!
Would you have been interested in a Sheik game from Retro Studios? Are you disappointed the project never happened? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!