Ocarina of Time might be the most talked about video game of all time. It’s been praised endlessly not only for its memorable quest and gameplay, but also for the groundbreaking technological advancements it made in its day. Ocarina of Time didn’t just appear out of nowhere, however. As with any great work, it took a visionary team of developers to make it what it is today.
In a recent feature story, Kotaku sat down with Shigeru Miyamoto to discuss Ocarina of Time’s development. Miyamoto, acting as both a producers and supervisor on the project, played a central role in creating the first Zelda game on the Nintendo 64. Many Zelda fans likely already have a working knowledge of the highlights of the project. Still, hearing a good story more than once is never a bad thing. Even if you think you already know how this one plays out, you might be surprised by a few new tidbits from Miyamoto.
Hit the jump to learn why creating the first 3D Zelda was an adventure just as gigantic as Link’s quest to thwart Ganondorf.
Perhaps the most significant thing to take away from Ocarina of Time’s development is that a game doesn’t necessarily need to have a clear concept from the start. The first 3D Zelda was born through experimentation. Many fans might still be surprised to learn that it was originally going to be first person. Parts of it were even going to be on rails at one point. As inconceivable as these early concepts are today, they illustrate how almost nothing was set in stone when making Ocarina of Time. The developers kept trying different ideas until things began clicking into place.
Link’s transition from a child into an adult was one of these turning points. While it’s not as apparent today, the familiar plot twist of Link traveling seven years into the future had real world ties. It paralleled the seven year gap between A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. Children who grew up playing the SNES would have matured, making the theme of a child growing up all the more meaningful.
Adversity can challenge people to do great things, and this definitely was the case with Ocarina of Time. “There were no rules for us to follow,” is how Miyamoto put it to Kotaku. Turns out this quote is only partially true. Miyamoto and his team did have experience from Super Mario 64 to draw on. The article even goes as far to call it a prologue to the first 3D Zelda. For instance, Yoshioka Koizumi, who created Ocarina of Time’s familiar z-targeting system, scribbled down ideas for the game while working on Mario.
My favorite part of Kotaku’s article is the awesome story it opens with. In 1997 Miyamoto basically fled Nintendo HQ to make a speech at his old university. Somehow he ended up in a convenience store, where the clerk asked him why he wasn’t working on Zelda. It really puts the anticipation for Ocarina of Time in perspective that even a random store clerk was begging Miyamoto to finish the game. During such a strenuous development, the fact that countless people, including his own children, were waiting for the game to come out, must have kept Miyamoto going.
To read the full article head over to this page, and let us know in the comments what you think. Did you learn something new about Ocarina of Time from reading it, or was most of it review?