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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Was Almost an FPS

Illustration for article titled emThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/em Was Almost an FPS

During the game's development, Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto had this crazy idea: How about a Zelda game where players cannot see Link?

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In the latest Iwata Asks on Nintendo.com, Yoshiaki Koizumi recalled, "First, I talked with Miyamoto-san about how we should make The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo 64 system, and he asked, 'How about making it so that Link will not show up?'"

According to Koizumi, Miyamoto wanted to make a "first-person game"—something that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata clarified as an FPS.

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"In the beginning," Koizumi continued, "he [Miyamoto] had the image that you are at first walking around in first-person, and when an enemy appeared, the screen would switch, Link would appear, and the battle would unfold from a side perspective."

Part of this idea appears to be grounded in the difficulty it was to render characters and backgrounds in 3D on the Nintendo 64. Ultimately, the game was developed and released, featuring Link from a third person point-of-view.

"I was making the model for Link, so I couldn't stand to see my Link not appear," said Koizumi. "Link is cool, so I wanted to always be able to see him."

Nintendo did create FPS tests for internal demos, but abandoned the P.O.V. after deciding it wasn't visually interesting.

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Illustration for article titled emThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/em Was Almost an FPS

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D : The Game that Changed Destinies [Iwata Asks via MTV]

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DISCUSSION

I know everybody loves the idea of a steampunk Zelda, but it really wouldn't work, and here's why: Steampunk would be wildly out of place with the environments that make up the Zelda series.

There would be no Hyrule Field in a steampunk Hyrule. Fields are inefficient and they clash with the super-industrialized, "steam and brass" style. The "field" would instead be an area of open space, perhaps from some recently demolished buildings; it wouldn't be lush, beautiful grassland.

Gone would be the sense of exploration, the sense that nobody has been there in ages, perhaps ever. The rush of industrialization would mean that most natural resources are either being exploited or already exhausted. You wouldn't have temples, you'd have factories, or ruined factories. In a fully-developed steampunk society, the land of Hyrule would be miserable, because if you think about it most people in steampunk societies would be miserable. Those airships don't make, fuel, and repair themselves.

But, one could argue, a steampunk society could be perfect for an evil regime, where Ganon has already won and Link is part of a resistance movement to restore the land to greatness again. In terms of story and plot, I would agree. But playing as Link in a well-established steampunk society would mean rooting around in a bunch of old ruins and factories, and there would be little to distinguish between separate locales. It wouldn't be Zelda at all; it would just be a game where you overthrow a tyrant through a rebellion, and would have little or nothing to do with Zelda at all.

The Legend of Zelda as a series is formulaic for a reason: the formula works. Spirit Tracks was the closest Zelda ever got to steampunk and it got wildly mixed reactions. Skyward Sword looks to be more of the classic Zelda, and I applaud it. We don't need to change the very essence of Zelda just because we want to play something different. We can just play another game.