By the time The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time released, there had already been four games in the series, but the Nintendo 64 title was responsible for bringing the Zelda franchise in the realm of 3D animation, a process that likely required considerable experimentation. Today, video game marketing is a big industry itself, and developers don’t usually look squarely at the early stages of game creation. Ocarina of timeon the other hand, had a rather public development, and there are a lot of Ocarina of time screenshots that give an insight into the evolution of the game in its early days.
When Ocarina of time released in 1998, the The Legend of Zelda series already had four 2D entries – the original, Link’s Adventure, A link to the pastand Link’s Awakening. Even though Link’s Adventure had a poorly received side scroll and Link’s Awakening is a kind of Zelda parody, the franchise had a well-defined identity in terms of gameplay. As the industry began to embrace 3D games, Nintendo had the difficult task of transitioning its iconic characters to a new format, but thankfully the developer didn’t shy away from sharing the process with interested audiences.
Several dozen premieres, low resolution Ocarina of time screenshots have been collected in an album by wonderboyblue. They’re only loosely laid out in any order, but they provide fascinating insight into how the game has changed throughout its development. Characters, locations, enemies, HUD, gameplay, and items have all undergone changes. Some of the game elements that can be seen in the screenshots look exactly like they do in the final version, while others look a bit out of place in Ocarina of time.
Screenshots from Ocarina Of Time that show link, location and HUD changes
The most easily recognizable difference between these Ocarina of time screenshots is how Link’s appearance has changed. Apart from previous playbooks, Ocarina of time It was the first time players got a detailed view of Link, and his appearance from 1998 is still one of his most iconic looks. Link sometimes sports a slightly different or brighter tunic in these shots, but some have an entirely different character model. In these, Link closely resembles his prior art appearance, as in the instruction booklet for A link to the past. Link’s hair color has been changed (but not for Link’s pink hair). A link to the past), his head was reduced in size and the design of his tunic was changed. Other characters were formed similarly, such as one who appears to be an early version of Malon from Lon Lon Ranch.
Link also always appears as an adult at the start Ocarina of time screenshots, which highlight how certain locations and dungeons have changed. For example, adult Link can be seen standing in what looks like Dodongo cave and Gohma’s boss room inside the big Deku tree. A few other screenshots are in completely unrecognizable areas that were apparently removed before release, like a generic forest, a larger castle town, and a handful of nondescript dungeons, including a clip that may have helped fans to think the Triforce was in Ocarina. These are also filled with early, still recognizable enemy designs like tan masked Poes, smaller Stalfos, a floating hand that looks like a Wallmaster or Floormaster, Octoroks that look a lot like the ones seen usually in 2D games, and what appears to be an Iron Fist.
The aesthetic changes to the HUD elements can also be seen throughout. In what may be the oldest of these Ocarina of time screenshots, the C buttons are missing, with only blue and green circles for the A and B buttons. Some screenshots have the B button removed, replaced by the bottom three C buttons, and others show button B dedicated to invoking Navi. Some item icons on early HUDs seem to suggest multiple swords could be equipped and Sage Medallions were once usable items. Ocarina of Time’s The iconic Hylian Shield and Master Sword also went through some changes, with several iterations before their designs were finalized.
These Ocarina of time the screenshots offer a fascinating insight into how the game changed throughout development to become the gaming classic known today, and while they don’t allow viewers to virtually browse an early version to see things for themselves, the curiosity that such a sense of history arouses is no less powerful.
Next: Zelda: Why Majora’s Mask Repurposed Characters From Ocarina of Time
Sources: A link to the past Instruction booklet, wonderboyblue/Imgur