While Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom have taken the Zelda franchise to new heights, longtime fans of the series occasionally yearn for the days of yesteryear, a return to the top-down puzzling and combat of the original. With remakes of the foundational games of other legendary franchises (Resident EvilFinal Fantasy, etc.), some have pondered a remake of the game that started it all: The Legend of Zelda (1986).

Developer Lloyd Empty has been working to make this dream a reality. For the past few years, he has been designing The Legend of Zelda: Era of Decline; he has shared two trailers over the past year for this work-in-progress. The original trailer can be viewed here and the latest here.

A beta version of the game is currently available for download here. The current control system is set up for either keyboard gaming or controller and mapped as the following:

(Keyboard) / (Controller)
Movement = Arrow Keys / Left Stick
Sword = X / A Button
Interact = C / B Button
Items = S and D / X and Y Button
Shield = SPACE / L and R Button
Inventory = A / Start Button
Menu = ESCAPE / Back Button

While it’s certainly convenient to have actions mapped to the keyboard, I personally feel playing the original with anything other than a controller just wouldn’t feel right. It is, however, exciting to see the downfall era getting re-imagined, especially for those of us who grew up playing games on this branch of the timeline. Era of Decline looks beautiful; Unreal Engine 4 brings the classic overworld and dungeons  into the era of modern gaming in a way that somehow captures the spirit of the original. Era of Decline looks how The Legend of Zelda felt in my mind as a kid in the 80s.

Era of Decline also has an original soundtrack created by composer Alcibiade. You can check out the song “Lullaby (Era of Decline)” below.

There’s no word yet about when the project will be finished. Those hoping to enjoy the game in its completed form will certainly worry about legal action from Nintendo, given the gaming giant’s history with issuing cease and desist orders for similar content. However, since this particular project isn’t for sale, it may fall within the fair-use practice of copyright law. Despite its reputation, Nintendo doesn’t always issue C&D orders.

Tell us what you think! Are you impressed by this remake of The Legend of Zelda? Do you think it will get completed before Nintendo drops the legal hammer? Share your reactions in the comments below.

Sources: Lloyd Empty, Alcibiade

Editor’s note: This article has been edited to correct a misspelling.

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