Ocarina of Time was going to be the original ‘Portal’

Zelda 64 was one of the most anticipated games of the Nintendo 64 era, subject to many delays which eventually paid off in what we know today as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. During the wait for its 1998 release, there were plenty of teasers, trailers and game show demos to keep people excited for it. However, not everything shown to the public made it into the final public release of the game, which inspired projects like Zelda 64 Beta (by the team which later went on to make Ura Zelda). One such change was to include portals through which you could see other areas of the game, kind of like in Valve’s Portal, released almost 10 years later.

In this interview with Giles Goddard, who worked at Nintendo during the N64 era and made this tech demo in 1995, said that he also worked on a tech demo where you could throw a crystal at a wall and create a portal that allows you to see another part of the map.

The idea was scrapped for the game because he said that it would take too much memory. This is something that the Portal developers also mentioned in the game’s commentary, since you essentially have to render the stage again for each time you create a new portal. It’s something that could work on the N64 on a smaller scale, but not for a full game like Ocarina of Time without severely reducing polygon count or texture quality on the scene’s models.

It’s unlikely that we’ll get to see footage of the actual demo since it’s probably held by Nintendo in one of their old archives, and it’s unlikely that they’ll release it unless we get a major leak of old stuff like we got a while back.

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Giles Goddard said in an interview that he worked on a tech demo for Ocarina of Time where you could create portals like in Valve's 'Portal'.
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