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Scrapped Ocarina of Time content found in F-Zero X development cartridge

Joint efforts from members of the OoT community restored data that is believed to be from the SpaceWorld 1997 stage of development.
Scrapped Ocarina of Time content found in F-Zero X development cartridge

You would not have clicked on this if you had no idea what Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was, and at this point, and who doesn’t? 

The game and company are synonymous with gaming history. Some might even call it their magnum opus and for good reason -- it’s still relevant 22 years after its release.

Content creators and speedrunners alike have kept the game alive for over two decades after millions of gamers have come and gone -- especially in the Internet era where attention spans are shorter and one-hit-wonder titles are more often than ever.

The community surrounding Ocarina of Time is alive and well, and the latest restoration of leaked beta content (and the hands that made it possible) prove it.

An avid team of Nintendo’s history preservationists pulled a handful of unseen leftover graphics and maps for the Nintendo 64 classic, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time after it was found on a prototype cartridge from F-Zero X

The overdump was brought to light by preservationist group, Forest of Illusion, who have been actively seeking Nintendo development cartridges since September of last year.

GINX TV had the privilege of speaking with one of the masterminds behind the project, @togemet2 to go into as much detail as possible behind this incredible find.

ocarina of time beta assets(Image: Forest of Illusion/Nintendo)

Talking to togomet2, we are able to define a dump as “data that is extracted from the cartridge itself using a set of specialized tools.” 

He later explained how this data can then be played back using either emulators or flash cartridges on real hardware rather than needing the original prototype cartridge.

While the decision to purchase the F-Zero X prototype cartridge was made entirely on the fact it was a part of their preservation project, the fact it contained beta assets from an early version of Ocarina of Time was one of those beautiful accidents of fate.

f zero x ocarina of time beta cartridge(Image: Forest of Illusion)

“We had no idea that there would be early Zelda data in the cartridge. At the time, we were just expecting it to be the final build of F-zero X and nothing else. It ended up being the final build, but just happened to have the old Zelda data on it which was half wiped”, togomet2 added.

As to how the F-Zero X prototype cartridge was obtained, Forest of Illusion confirms most of the cartridges are bought from auctions or collectors but this one was purchased directly from a former Nintendo employee.

Programmer and ROM Hacker Twitter user @xdanieldzd posted an extensive thread with his findings after Forest of Illusions released the overdump for download to their website

ocarina of time early kakariko village(Image: @xdanieldzd/Nintendo)

The gist of it is the dump is composed of early builds of the Temples and Overworld areas and scrapped sprites and designs of Link’s inventory.

An unfinished Kakariko Village, as shown above, demonstrates either a dumped version of the town or how early in development Ocarina of Time really was during the development of F-Zero X.

User ShimmerFairy ripped a sheet of early icons from the overdump, giving us a proper look at the world that could’ve been with different quantity counters, early Spiritual Stones and early Hookshot -- and even a blue shell cameo.

ocarina of time early icons menu(Image: ShimmerFairy/Nintendo)

A shorter pathway to Hyrule Castle, a variation of the Deku Tree trunk and a different Temple of Time layout are puzzle pieces easy to spot and fit in. 

There is, nonetheless, a tonne of unused/unrecognizable assets and maps in the dump that is hard to put a finger on where they came from or what their purpose was. 

One particular area that stands out from the renders is this wood-themed dungeon. Right underneath Daniel’s render, members of the community link it to early Forest Temple models shown on beta footage.

ocarina of time early forest temple(Image: @xdanieldzd/Nintendo)

ign beta ocarina of time(Image: IGN)

While many of the files help re-imagine old or scrapped areas, other information emerged including a credit change that was noticed by current SRM World Record-holder ZFG’s Twitch chat, @Fig02_ to be specific.

They noticed that in the pre-release build posted by Forest of Illusion, Masanori Sato’s name was removed alongside his credit for Package Design.

Masanori is known for his work on Mario Party and Mario sports titles as well as Star Fox 64. His package design credit was not removed from the original OoT manual yet the reason behind the removal from the release version is still unknown.

It's the sort of tidbit that can help flesh out the history of a development that doesn't come easy in gaming.

ocarina of time masanori sato credit(Image: Nintendo)

This might not be the last hidden gem in our old favourites and no one could have put it into better words than the catalysts of this marvellous find themselves, Forest of Illusion.