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A former Nintendo programmer has revealed that an early tech demo for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time featured a portal mechanic similar to that of Valve‘s Portal games, which released a decade later.
Goddard was responsible for creating the infamous Zelda 64 tech demo that was shown at Nintendo’s Spaceworld event in 1995, where Link is seen fighting a metallic knight.
However, Goddard also explained that he worked on another tech demo that was never publicly seen, which involved the use of portals.
“Recently I found an old directory of source code that I had backed up, and it was the first map of the N64 Zelda, just with Hyrule Castle,” Goddard said. “So I was doing all these experiments.”
“You had a portal where you could look through, go in and you’d be teleported to a different part of the map. You’d see through the door to a different part of the map, walk through it, then walk back through it, if you see what I mean.
“It was very cool tech and I had it running and showed it to some guys at the office here and they said ‘oh, you’ve got to put this on the internet’, and I said ‘well, I can’t, really, it’s not my property, it’s Nintendo’s.”
When asked if this was designed to be part of the main Ocarina of Time, Goddard answered: “It was R&D for the game, basically. It was, what could we do with the hardware on the N64? It was basically a demo of actual portals that you could see through to other parts of the map.”
Goddard also jokes that when he saw Portal when it was released a decade later he remembered his own tech demo. “When I saw Portal I thought ‘oh, actually, I had that running on the N64, I should have released it then!'”.
According to Goddard, the main development team probably didn’t even see the tech demo, because it was too hard to introduce new tech while the game was in progress, which is why the feature didn’t appear in the final product.
Earlier this year, a group of video game preservationists discovered and released a partial beta version of Ocarina of Time, allowing fans to recover a significant amount of new information about the pre-release version including new areas, redesigned items and other elements that never made it into the final build.
The beta content is unrelated to the significant amount of classic Nintendo data leaked onto the internet last year.
The so-called Nintendo ‘Gigaleak’ saw early prototypes for games such as Yoshi’s Island, Star Fox, Super Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of Time shared online.