It is no secret that the Legend of Zelda was originally intended to be a first-person dungeon romp. That is if you are a hardcore Zelda fan. The late Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, brought this up at least once in his “Iwata Asks” series. For the rest of us, apparently, the original Legend of Zelda was intended to be a first person dungeon romp similar to Might and Magic and the Wizardry series. What is interesting is that a screen shot was recently released that shows off what the original Legend of Zelda might have looked like.
The single screen shot comes to us from the Hyrule Encyclopedia group and shows off a 3D first person view of what appears to be a dungeon entrance.
It is interesting to note that in North America first person role playing games were not all that popular on consoles. Sure, Sega tried it with Phantasy Star on their Master System console, but then dropped first person dungeons in subsequent sequels. Then you have games like Wizardry and Might and Magic, but they were more popular on PCs than they ever were on the Nintendo NES or Sega Genesis.
That leaves the question, what would have happened if Nintendo had indeed launched The Legend of Zelda using a 3D first person point of view and no overworld (according to previous Iwata Asks sessions)? Would Zelda still have been a hit? I mean, I lived through that period and Zelda was not the overnight success it is made out to be today — it was more of a slow burn title. I am not arguing if it was a hit or not, just that it was not immediate. Could having a first person point of view have changed that in any way?
What do you think? Would you have preferred Zelda to be first person dungeons?