Zelda: Ocarina of Time Tech Demo had portals, 10 years before Valve did the same

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The research and development staff working on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had created a portal mechanic a decade before Valve’s leased system as used in Portal.

Talk to MinnMax, Giles Goddard of Chuhai Labs – who worked at Nintendo in the 1990s – explained that a demo prototype, designed to experiment with the capabilities of Nintendo 64 hardware, had portals that would allow Link to travel to different areas of the world. the map.

“You can have a portal where you can look, enter, and then be teleported to another part of the map,” Goddard said. “You would see through a door leading to another part of the map, walk through it, then walk through it back. ”

Rather than a “gun” device, the portals in this Zelda demo were accessed via crystals. “We had these spinning crystals that you picked up and moved, and if you spun them you could see through a different part of the map, depending on how you spun the crystal,” Goddard described.

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As the demo predated Ocarina, it featured a different link exploring portals. “I think that would have been the [Space World] demo Link, ”Goddard recalls.

Goddard explained that the technology was never incorporated into Ocarina of Time because Nintendo never saw the Mechanic. Due to the scale of production, the experimental system was simply not ready at the right time. “It’s very difficult to bring in later in the game,” said Goddard. “It’s very easy at first, but not later.

As to whether we’ll ever get to see these portals in action, Goddard said, “Some people at work said I should do something with this source. [code], but I don’t want to have […] kneeled by Nintendo or pursued by them. ”

When asked if this code could still be redeemed, Goddard replied, “It was up and running, on a PC, which is pretty amazing, actually”

This style of real-time portal technology would later form the backbone of Narbacular Drop, a 2005 indie game developed by Nuclear Monkey Software. Valve would eventually employ the entire studio staff and put them to work on Portal, released in 2007, nearly a decade after the release of Ocarina of Time. Prey from 2006 also featured very similar transparent portal technology.

For more of Zelda from the past few years, check out how one glitch makes Breath of the Wild a first-person game, and the fan-made mods that make BotW 4K / 60.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK news and entertainment editor.

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