A PC port of Super Mario 64 appeared essentially out of nowhere in 2020 thanks to a Herculean effort by fans who decompiled the game’s code. A similar decompilation effort for Ocarina of Time was completed last year by the team. reverse-engineered Zelda, and it looks like we could see the fruits of that labor within a month. Videogameschronicle reports that another group of fans are almost done turning this code into a working PC port.
“I’d give it about 90%. We were hoping to be done by mid-February and use about a month until April 1 to refine the game before release,” said one of the developers, who is going through the manage Kenix. According to Kenix, the group of fans working on the port are using a backend called Fast3D, originally created for the Mario 64 port, which supports widescreen and should allow them to add other enhancements, like 60 fps support.
Mod support is already planned: Kenix explained that their rewritten code for Ocarina of Time organizes the game’s resources in the same way as a modern game, which will make it much easier to change things like, for example, the textures.
If you’re wondering how a project like this could be legal, or worried that Nintendo’s lawyers might take it offline now that it’s public, the way it’s scheduled also helps explain it. The decompiled code is legal because of the way it was created: the programmers responsible wrote entirely new source code by deconstructing Ocarina of Time; the code would only be illegal to distribute if it was identical to Nintendo’s original, or if it was created with access to leaked proprietary materials. Nintendo was quick to hit the Mario 64 port executable floating around with the DMCAs as it included all of the game’s original assets along with the new code – textures, music, sound effects, etc. The reverse engineered code itself was fine, but including the rest of those files was a big no-no.
At least that’s how it all plays out in theory. The way copyright works in these situations doesn’t really have a clear precedent in court. This could change in the future: Take-Two is currently suing a modding group that decompiled Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City, and how this case unfolds could clarify this legal gray area. For now, though, it looks like the Zelda port avoids any obvious pitfalls.
“We’ve bundled the assets into an external archive,” Kenix told Videogameschronicle. “There are no assets linked to the exe. We believe this will prevent a DMCA takedown from Nintendo as SM64 has linked all assets in the .exe file.”
To legally play this port of Ocarina of Time when it releases, you’ll need to dump all of those assets from your own copy of the game, although I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere down the line we see a version of the game with 100% original items created by players. Other improvements like ray tracing and 4K textures are probably inevitable, judging by all the cool projects that have come out of the Super Mario 64 port so far.
The Zelda Reverse Engineering team is also working on decompiling the sequel to Majora’s Mask, and Kenix said that when it’s finished, they expect to be able to wrap around a port even faster.
If you’re a lifelong PC gamer and have never experienced Ocarina of Time on the N64 (or the many, many systems Nintendo has also ported it since), keep an eye out for this one – in time. , it is likely to become the best way to play a fantastic game.