Very few games will ever leave a mark as massive as the one left behind by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which debuted a little more than 17 years ago. Still one of the most critically acclaimed games of all-time, Ocarina of Time definitively proved what 3D games were capable of, not only setting the standard for future Zelda games, but for all open-world adventure games to come. Everything from Grand Theft Auto to Assassin’s Creed owes Ocarina of Time ample gratitude.
But what inspired Ocarina of Time? And how was this groundbreaking game made? Here are a few things you may not know about gaming’s gold standard…
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was inspired by the black sheep of the Zelda series.
While Ocarina of Time is beloved, Zelda II is sharply divisive, with some fans defending the game, but many more not particularly enjoying it. With its RPG-style progression, unforgiving action, and side scrolling dungeons, Zelda II certainly feels different than any other game in the series.
Well, the weird-as-heck Zelda II actually served as Ocarina of Time‘s main inspiration early in development. During the SNES era, Zelda-creator Shigeru Miyamoto and another developer named Yoshiaki Koizumi made a polygonal version of Zelda II as an experiment. When working on the project, Koizumi grew to admire Zelda II‘s sword fighting system, in which you have to quickly duck, dodge, and parry your opponent’s attacks. A few years later, Koizumi became one of the first developers to join the Ocarina of Time team and he brought his love of Zelda II with him. A lot of the things you associate with Ocarina of Time — horse riding, the open Hyrule field, fiendish, puzzle-filled dungeons — weren’t originally in the plan. What Koizumi and the team really wanted to do was create a more complex, 3D version of the battle system from Zelda II. The end result was a Zelda game that was more action-based than past titles in the series.