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