The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was in development for many years. Many people forget, but before it was a Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite game, it was in development for the Wii U and the Wii U only. When it was in development, there were a variety of reports about its apparent development troubles. Thus, it should come as no surprise that it has some substantial cut content that didn't make it into the final version of the game that released in March 2017 alongside the Switch.
As Nintendo Everything notes, back in 2017 during a CEDEC session held by Nintendo, some images of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild back when it was in the early stages of development were revealed. While the images are years old, they only started to really make the rounds recently.
The images reveal a variety of real-life Japanese locations, which were presumably implanted for the purpose of testing. But more interesting than this is the reveal that at some point Nintendo had put Skyward Sword's skydiving mechanic in the game. Obviously, this didn't make it into the final version, but it looks like it almost did.
Below, you can check out the images and cut content for yourself:
Testing the game scale of 'Breath of the Wild' with skydiving. A mechanic that ended on 'Skyward Sword' (CEDEC 2017) pic.twitter.com/zTAwUebyZU— Vicente Quesada (@RazorOfArtorias) April 10, 2020
Fun BotW fact:
To help build the world and gauge distance between landmarks, the Zelda team initially started with a 2D map of Kyoto. Some of these landmarks where then built up into basic 3D models.
At one point (during very early stages) Breath of the Wild looked like this: pic.twitter.com/oQgcNECCcf— Pixelpar (@pixelpar) July 23, 2020
At the moment of publishing, Nintendo hasn't offered up any comment on the images, leaving Nintendo fans with little details and a whole lot of room for imagination.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available via the Wii U, Nintendo Switch, and Nintendo Switch. Its sequel is currently in development for the latter two platforms, but for now, there's no word of when it will release.