Nintendo had been planning a successor to GameCube classic The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, but ditched the project due to fan-backlash against the game's cel-shaded visual style, and the cultural influence of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In Zelda: Art and Artefacts, a new companion book to the Hyrule Historia released in 2013, the game's cancellation was discussed by artist Satoru Takizawa.

"Wind Waker 2 would have taken place in a more land-based setting, rather than on the sea, so that we could have Link gallop across the land on a horse," he said (via Nintendo Everything's translation).

"But Link's proportions in Wind Waker weren't very well suited for riding on horseback, he was too short, and an adult version of Toon Link did not seem appropriate either. While we were stuck on those problems, we became aware of the greater demand for a more realistic, taller Link.

"High-budget live-action fantasy movies were also huge at the time, so with all things considered, we decided to [change] it. I was on board with the project as art director, and started off by bringing [Yusuke] Nakano on to do the design for Link."

The next Zelda adventure ended up being Twilight Princess, a much darker game than Wind Waker with a more realistic graphical style, more in line with N64 classics Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. The GameCube and Wii game reviewed well at the time, but isn't considered a classic like Wind Waker.

Skyward Sword followed, which had a visual style somewhere between the two games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – the Wii U and Nintendo Switch game set for release next year – also occupies this visual middle-ground.

Wind Waker was remastered for Wii U in 2013, and did enjoy two spin-offs on Nintendo DS: Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

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