Nintendo's new multiplayer-focused The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes for the 3DS features a number of useful and unique outfits for Link to wear from a Zora suit to a Hammer Bros. costume to Princess Zelda's exquisite dress. However, a much more inventive and scandalous costume was considered for Link during the development process. Bob Mackey at USgamer recently interviewed director Hiromasa Shikata, and one of the discussion topics involved ideas cut from the final game. For a while, the developers considered sending Link out into the world without any costume at all. If there's a Zora suit, why not a Birthday suit?
USg: Were any costume ideas for Tri Force Heroes left on the cutting-room floor?
HS: I can think of one right off the top of my head. That would be one that was inspired by the folktale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” which as you know is the story of the emperor who thinks he’s wearing something of the highest fashion, but he’s actually—when other people look at him, he’s not wearing anything. They thought that would be a great idea for an outfit, but they weren’t able to come up with an implementation that would—they weren’t sure how to wrap up that whole thing as one good feature spec, you know, “How could we actually implement that neat idea as something that’s relevant to the game?” They unfortunately weren’t able to come to a conclusion, so that never made the cut.
It's an interesting idea, but how could that be portrayed without turning the game into a localization challenge outside of Japan? Nintendo has sent its heroes out without clothes before (consider Ness appearing in just his baseball cap in Mother 2's Magicant realm which was changed for international release in EarthBound by dressing him in his pajamas instead), but I think it would be much more effective to use that "Emperor" idea and have Link appear to the player as wearing an amazing, majestic set of the finest robes, but when he talks to other characters, they treat him as if he's not wearing anything at all. The player never actually sees any skin. That raises the question of what the other players controlling the other Links see, however; which side of the fourth wall are they on? Moreover, what special status effect would this suit offer that makes it worthwhile compared to the other costumes? This is a complicated idea and I can see why it went unused in the end.