Princess Zelda spends most of Breath of the Wild sealed away in Hyrule Castle along with Calamity Ganon but an ongoing mod project is working hard to give her an adventure of her own. The Zelda Conversion project will let players explore the world as Zelda, adding new armour and story tweaks.
The project started when two modders, WilianZilv and Skriller, set out to make a Zelda model that would fit over Link's. Zelda only appears in pre-rendered cutscenes during the game, and they could not find a full Zelda model in the game's files.
Eventually, they discovered that the game had an unfinished model for Zelda that didn't have any limbs which provided the base they could build off. Their work caught the attention of a modder name Ainz, who wanted to see if they could do more than simply let players use her character model.
"I started looking at ways in which we could enhance the mod," Ainz told Kotaku over Discord PM. "Which meant giving Zelda appropriate dialogue, changing music and other tweaks to improve the game. In doing so I invited multiple people to help make this a reality and after certain members joined, left and numerous other events we've reached the stage where we've made considerable gains in the project."
Over twenty people now work on the Zelda Conversion Project, coordinating their efforts using a Discord channel and a haphazard spreadsheet outlining tasks that range from rigging character models to designing new armour and a different title screen.
The modders even plan to change some of the in-game journal entries to reflect Zelda's thoughts instead of Link's. In addition to this project, another modder in their Discord has added Hyrule Warriors' Linkle to the game.
Many of Zelda's outfits are working including a desert themed Gerudo set, the heat resistant Flamebreaker set, and a unique version of the Fierce Deity outfit. The outfits are drawn by a concept artist who coordinates with modelers to bring the designs to life. A process that sometimes hits roadblocks.
"Most of our difficulties come from the fact that the tools to mod this game are still being developed as we speak," Ainz said.
The hope is to have a public release in the future for the Wii U and CEMU emulator before finding a way to bring the mod to the Nintendo Switch as well. Periodic updates can be found on this YouTube channel. A release date has not been set in stone yet.
"We plan on having an initial release really soon so it's a bit of a secret," Ainz said.
Ainz also gave a shoutout to the rest of the team involved in the project:
One of my favourite things are seeing the designs that Amiibolad (our concept artist) create come to life via our modellers.
To add onto this I have to thank Corvo, Mg76 for their model work, Zeiken for doing some intense file system exploratory work, Mystixor for helping with various hair models and model concepts, Zerq and IssueLink for discovering a technique that allows a lot of what we do to become possible. Queeropatra and lynardkiller for sound work, and everyone else that’s helping in some way (including translations into other languages).