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People are dissecting a newly unearthed Ocarina of Time beta build

Ocarina of Time beta build
(Image credit: Nintendo)

A group of Nintendo preservationists has unearthed a prototype and an early build of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Both early builds have been made public, and so of course Zelda enthusiasts are picking apart the files and finding all manner of work-in-progress and scrapped content.

Forest of Illusion says the Ocarina of Time prototype was from just three days before the game launched, and likewise contains only minor differences in audio, text, and gameplay. Still, the group was able to find over 500 (and counting) differences from the full version, which you can check out here.

The beta version reveals a much earlier Ocarina of Time build, with half-built assets and scrapped areas, items, and mechanics. That version, found hiding on an F-Zero X development cartridge, contains data intended for Nintendo's 1997 Spaceworld show, Forest of Illusion reckons. Here are some very early versions of some of Ocarina of Time's most recognizable locations, as well as some images of what appear to be scrapped areas, found by Twitter user @xdanielzd.

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And check out this early build of Kakariko Village, which is noticeably bigger than the final version. It's likely that Nintendo had originally planned for a bigger map, but had to scale things down for performance once all of the other assets were added.

It's cool enough to see these work-in-progress environments, but the beta build also gives us a look at some content that never made it into the final game, seen here for the first time. For example, it seems Ocarina of Time was originally going to give you a grass whistle to summon Epona like in Twilight Princess. Another data dump apparently reveals that there was going to be an item that lets you fly around as Navi. Weirder yet, there's a cache of items from the beta build that seems to confirm that Nintendo almost gave Ocarina of Time its own version of the blue shell. 

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As the discovery is still young, new stuff is being found by the minute, so we're likely to continue finding canned content and pre-release assets for some time.

If that's your thing, check out these recent Switch leaks that reveal some of Nintendo's early plans for the console.

I'm GamesRadar's green tea-fueled, late-night news hound. I'm perpetually in search of an MMO to recapture the feeling of playing Ultima Online in the early 2000s, and I'm still sorting out self-esteem issues from being relegated to second player duties growing up with two older brothers. On a related note, I'm irrationally defensive of Luigi and his mansion.