Ocarina Of Time Had A Portal Mechanic In Early Tech Demo
An ex-Nintendo programmer recently discussed a tech demo for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, revealing that it once featured a portal mechanic, not unlike the one found in Valve’s own game that released nearly a decade later.
Giles Goddard explained to MinnMax that, in 1995, during Nintendo’s Spaceworld event, he had to put together a tech demo. This led to Zelda 64, showcasing what the hardware was capable of, but there was an unseen bonus demo with the portal mechanic.
“Recently, I found an old directory of source code that I had lacked up,” Goddard said, “It was the first map of the N64 Zelda, just with Hyrule Castle. So I was doing these experiments. You had a portal where you could look through, go in, and you’d be teleported to a different part of the map
“It was very cool tech and I had it running and showed it to some guys at the office here and they said ‘oh, you’ve got to put this on the internet,’ and I Said ‘well, I can’t, really. It’s not my property, it’s Nintendo’s.'”
Goddard went on to explain that it was research and development to showcase what could actually be accomplished with the hardware of Nintendo’s latest console and that, due to this, it would’ve been too hard to implement into the game while it was already in progress. Nonetheless, it achieved what was so groundbreaking in 2007 back in 1995, beating Valve to the punch by over ten years.
He commented on as much, “When I saw Portal, I thought ‘oh, actually, I had that running on the N64. I should have released it then!'” It certainly was ahead of the time, and it would’ve been intriguing to see a game with far fewer polygons and pixels sporting its own portal mechanic, although how that would tie into Zelda’s mythos is unclear. Perhaps his ocarina summons them, maybe they just existed in dungeons, or it could be that Zelda just popped down to Aperture Science’s research facility.
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