Ocarina of Time Was Almost Another Zelda II: The Adventure of Link In 3D

By Ishaan . June 27, 2011 . 3:07pm

Back when Nintendo were developing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64, they were doing so within the tight constraints of its limited memory capacity. No one was quite sure just how vast a game the hardware would be capable of supporting, but Nintendo’s developers were relying on previous experience with Super Mario 64 and Star Fox 64 to help guide them along.


Preferring to start out more conservatively in light of this issue, when development began, Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s initial plan was to have the entire game set inside Ganon’s castle, similar to Super Mario 64, to help conserve memory.


“I thought about putting in all kinds of adventures into the different rooms, like making a dark meadow or an ocean — like in Princess Peach’s Castle in Super Mario 64,” Miyamoto told Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, in the final Iwata Asks feature on Ocarina of Time 3D. Miyamoto wasn’t sure the N64 would be capable of supporting a large landscape like Ocarina’s Hyrule Field.


Miyamoto says that by extension, the game may have turned out like a 3D version of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. As long as they were able to create Link in 3D and realize the scope of the story, Miyamoto didn’t mind limiting the actual areas to different rooms in Ganon’s castle.


In fact, prior to this, Nintendo had experimented with creating a polygonal version of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for the Super Famicom system, partly as an experiment to realize a sword-fighting system that was ultimately fleshed out in Ocarina. This game, however, never ended up seeing the light of day.


The boss fight with Phantom Ganon at the end of the Forest Temple, Miyamoto revealed, was a concept left over from the idea of basing Ocarina of Time entirely inside Ganon’s castle. Ultimately, the concept of Hyrule Field and the ability to ride a horse resulted in the game’s development taking a more ambitious turn.

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  • I’m hoping they will eventually make another Adventures of Link style game one day. More action RPGs are always welcome, in my book.

  • Ganon’s castle looked gorgeous in 3D, especially the  room where he was playing the music. It was just amazing and highly detailed while being vibrant. If they could have delivered that quality to the entire castle, then I wouldnt have minded being limited to the castle.  

  • ManaKnight

    I actually want another Zelda II: Adventures of Link type game.  While many may not have liked it, it was my first Zelda game and in some ways my favorite.  I don’t remember any game being like it.  I’d buy a game similar to it right away.  However, I sort of rather have a new 2D Zelda like it, because I enjoyed the platforming a ton.

    • Totally agreed. Zelda II is my favorite in the series, and another game like it would be amazing.

    • kupomogli

      Zelda 2 is my favorite, right after that Link’s Awakening.  My least favorite is actually Majora’s Mask and next to that A Link to the Past, neither of which I like at all.

  • This makes the Forest Temple that much more elusive now!! Awesome info

  • Tom_Phoenix

    Hold on a sec. What does any of the above have to do with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link? Zelda II wasn’t like that at all.

    Not that it matters, since it seems that the final game turned out for the better either way.

  • Oh dood I so want another Zelda II!  As frustrating as that game got I loved the gameplay and would of liked to see that expanded.  I hope if they remake it or make another they keep that sidescrolling action.

    Alternatively, they can go with what Falcom and Square-Enix does and remake I and II together.

    About the whole game being a castle… Legend of Castlevania would be interesting, but perhaps make it so Ganon took over an entire island for more variety in environments…

  • YsyDoesIt

    Simply the thought of having another Zelda II makes me shudder.  Don’t get me wrong; Zelda II is a fantastic game. And I realize that nowhere was it mentioned that it would have been 2D.  I just fail fantastically at Zelda II–I’d be regulated to watching my friend beat it! 

    Otherwise, the idea of Link being entrapped within an enormous castle belonging to Ganon with a variety of environs found within said castle is intriguing.  It makes me think of how vibrant and varied the dungeons of OoT, and how well that could be translated.

  • Jirin

    Zelda II is an underrated game.  Although I admit, it’s freaking frustrating when you’re a young kid playing it.  I didn’t enjoy it until I came back to it in college.  It was the first game to have that kind of dungeon design, and call me nuts, I loved the high-low shield dynamic.  That game forced you to twitch-react more than any other platformer.

  • necrosex

    a new Zelda 2 game PLEASE!
    2d not 3d.

  • I can see that working out really well back in the day. I liked that concept with Super Mario 64 so I would have liked the same concept for a Zelda game, though I’m glad the game went into the direction it did.

  • Apache_Chief

    If they had stuck with that idea, it would have been the best Castlevania game on the N64.

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