Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Ocarina of Time's 25th Anniversary

This blog rarely acknowledges the anniversaries of the individual Zelda games, other than the first, but Ocarina of Time always has been an exception, since the game is one of the biggest milestones in the Zelda series. For its 10th and 20th anniversaries we've looked at the game's accomplishments and legacy, so this time let's talk about the future of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

There lately have been rumors floating around that we might get something for Zelda other than Tears of the Kingdom in the year 2023, which led to some speculation about a potential remake of Ocarina of Time, which could be shadow-dropped in the same way as Metroid Prime Remastered. However, this would likely not become a proper remake, but rather a remaster of the Nintendo 3DS version, which was released in 2011.

The timing is also questionable, because Ocarina of Time is always tied to its direct sequel, Majora's Mask. Whatever they are to do with Ocarina of Time now, you would expect Majora's Mask to receive the same treatment later on. But the Nintendo Switch won't be forever, where we will see a successor at some point in the next couple of years. And then it will be preferable to get remakes of both Nintendo 64 Zelda games for that system, with much prettier graphics.

In any case, both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask will see new remakes eventually. With the release of Skyward Sword HD in 2021, they have remastered or remade each classic 3D Zelda game at least once, where now it can begin all over again. Whether this will happen anytime soon or not, remains to be seen. (If we were to get one more remake on the Nintendo Switch, I personally would prefer Oracle of Ages & Seasons to follow up on Link's Awakening.)

A remake of Ocarina of Time should include all the improvements of the Nintendo 3DS version, naturally, but also come with more detailed maps, similar to what they have done for Majora's Mask 3D. Generally, it probably wouldn't hurt to modernize the interface and other aspects of the game a bit, while staying true to the original, like it was done with the remake for Link's Awakening.

But one nitpick I always had about the game, which finally should be fixed with a remake, is how you need the Fairy Bow at one point inside the Water Temple to get a key, right at the end of the winding tunnel full of vortexes. If this weren't the case, then you would be able to play the Forest, Fire, and Water Temples in any order, highlighting how open and non-linear Ocarina of Time already was, long before Breath of the Wild...

bumping into a firewall at the entrance of the Fire Temple

One thing that Nintendo also could do now, in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the game, is to add Master Quest to the Nintendo Switch Online library. Outside of Ocarina of Time 3D, this has never been re-released, even though it's technically only a modified ROM, where they potentially could have put this on the Wii Virtual Console. Maybe this would have left a sour taste, because you would have needed to buy the game twice to experience both versions. But that's not an issue any longer with the new subscription model, where you have access to all Nintendo 64 games as long as you're subscribed to the NSO Expansion Pack. So, this would be great timing to get the classic Master Quest back.

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