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How Nintendo made Ocarina 3D easier, harder, the same, and different

There are few games that have undergone as much scrutiny since their release as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When approaching the task of remaking the title, developer Grezzo knew it had a duty not just to the 3DS' new audience, but to the N64 original's longtime fans. To that end, Grezzo's team has shared all in the latest of edition of Nintendo CEO's celebrated “Iwata Asks” feature. Like a constant contradiction, the Ocarina 3D team made big changes, kept the tiniest details intact, led players by the hand, and made the game tougher than ever. How is all that possible?

Iwata sums up the development process thus: Grezzo “wanted to update the game, but when [they] did, certain elements fell apart.” This meant that to provide players with a faithful experience, certain hopefully-unnoticed changes had to be made: programmer Shun Moriya gives the example of a change to Link's proportions required by a quirk in his Deku Stick stance, which players had learned to exploit.


Above: The new Water Temple, improved and sissified for all you babies


Above: Ganon's lumbering movements proved a challenge to translate to the smoother 3DS

This wasn't the only oddity kept intact: Moriya reveals that whenever possible, bugs were imported into the new game instead of patching up the code. Meanwhile, while segments such as the (unfairly) detested Water Temple were tweaked to help players reach the end – not to mention the addition of new, ever-more-patronizing hints for Navi to drop – the additional Master Quest had the difficulty bumped up to make the so-called Zelda “hardcore” really earn the title.

The panel interview is interesting for its exploration of the challenge inherent in adapting arguably the most beloved game of its age, a task the team were well aware of: Moriya muses that some players, including members of Grezzo's staff, demanded that the title live up not just to the standard set by the original but the “idealized borderline” formed by 13 years of fond memories. “It took some work and you had to go out of your way, but you preserved the spirit of the original,” praises Iwata – which, as the interview explores, was a tricky proposition indeed. Take a look and see if you agree...

Jun 28, 2011

11 comments

  • MrSprinklez - June 29, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    @Killersalami: Yeah, I definitely noticed that. Talk about a spoiler. And it's right in the commercial. Loving the updated version so far. Just got the Forest Medallion myself.
  • TheWebSwinger - June 29, 2011 2:05 a.m.

    Psh, how is the Water Temple unfairly detested? Having to wade at molasses speed through sludge-y water while still trying to figure out the dungeon itself objectively sucks. Other than that, cool article/insights.
  • Katie9992 - June 29, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    Reading stuff like this makes me really want a 3DS. Still, I've already played through OoT, but now it's just so pretty... 0_0
  • Robx - June 29, 2011 12:39 a.m.

    Cartridge, disc and download; 3DS, because you already have the games 3 times!
  • egregious - June 29, 2011 12:33 a.m.

    Nintendo took one of the best games of the '90s and made it better. Loving OoT3D so far.
  • WalmartSuperstar - June 29, 2011 12:02 a.m.

    Don't have a 3DS, but I play one along with OoT at work and think its an absolutely gorgeous game. Continue with not caring.
  • gamebrain8505 - June 29, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    ^Are you aware of the fact every Zelda happens at a near-random moment in the Hyrule timeline?
  • Linktoreality - June 29, 2011 6:07 a.m.

    Just finished it last night, and I gotta say- OoT3D is even better than the N64 version ever was. Love it!
  • Killersalami - June 29, 2011 2:34 a.m.

    Has anyone noticed that the commercial shows how to beat Ganondorf?
  • Z-man427 - June 29, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    The targeting still blows, but it's not a game breaker
  • dphoenix192 - June 29, 2011 12:32 a.m.

    I only wish that they let me start with master quest from the beginning.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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