Features That Should Be Included in a Zelda: Ocarina of Time Switch Port

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time artwork

Features That Should Be Included in a Zelda: Ocarina of Time Switch Port

Though it may be hard to believe, this year marks 7 years since the launch of the Nintendo Switch and the release of Breath of the Wild. In that time, Nintendo’s remarkable handheld console has gone on to become the home of one of the most impressive libraries of Zelda games while also surpassing the Nintendo DS as the best-selling console of all-time in Japan. Worldwide, it now sits in third place of the best-selling consoles of all-time, and the rumors of a Switch successor continue to appear with surprising regularity. Which makes it all the more surprising that fans have yet to receive an update to Ocarina of Time on Switch.

The debut 3D game in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time still holds the record for the highest review aggregate score of any game ever while also being the template on which all 3D Zelda games were built until the release of Breath of the Wild. The Switch already has some excellent ports of both Link’s Awakening (a remake) and Skyward Sword (a remaster), which makesa strong case for Nintendo to significantly update what is arguably the most important game in the series and bring it to either the Nintendo Switch or its eventual successor. If and/or when that does happen, there are some features that are absolute must-haves in an Ocarina of Time port on the console.

Remaster or Remake

Ocarina of Time fan-made remake

©Gameplay screenshot – Original

This one almost goes without saying, but if and when Ocarina of Time comes to the Nintendo Switch as a standalone title, it will absolutely deserve the full remake treatment. Or, at the very least, a remaster. The original Nintendo 64 version of the title is already available on Switch via the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack subscription tier as one of several games in the Nintendo 64 classic game library. Bringing the title in that state as a standalone digital or physical release would essentially be a missed opportunity to reimagine one of the most important games in the history of the medium. A recent fan remake of Ocarina of Time running on Unreal Engine 5 has been making the rounds, showing the potential in a ground-up reimagining of the fan-favorite Zelda title.

Even if the game doesn’t receive a remake (which, there’s argument for it not to), a remaster along the lines of the excellent Ocarina of Time 3D port on the 3DS would be a welcome adjustment to the original. The character models and environments of the 3DS version received a nice update to their details and textures while retaining the same iconic look of the original, and it’s safe to say that a Switch port of the title could accomplish the same, only better. In terms of preserving the spirit of the original, and Ocarina of Time remaster would be preferable to a full-on remake, but that remaster would also need to ship with several Switch specific improvements…

Touch-Screen Functionality

Breath of the Wild gameplay

©Gameplay screenshot – Original

Speaking of Switch-specific improvements, whether Ocarina of Time receives a remaster or a remake (and even whether it launches on the Switch or Nintendo’s next console), the port of the classic title would need to make use of the Switch’s touch screen functionality. Interestingly, Breath of the Wild was originally set to include touch-screen functionality at launch, but the developers would remove the feature prior to its release. Both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks make novel use of the Nintendo DS’ touch screen capability, and it’s not hard to imagine that an Ocarina of Time remaster could similarly find clever ways to implement the Switch’s touch screen.

Even if it’s not a complete overhaul of the control scheme or a particular mechanic within Ocarina of Time, it would still be a step in the right direction toward accessibility to offer players the option of touch screen controls. Notably, Skyward Sword‘s port to the Switch includes two different control schemes — one replication the motion controls of the original Wii release and a brand-new scheme using the right analog stick to specifically control Link’s sword arm. Offering a variety of control options in an Ocarina of Time port seems like a no-brainer, and it could also see the development team come up with some clever ways to make use of the Switch’s touch screen.

Online Connectivity and Multiplayer Component

Breath of the Wild multiplayer mod

©Gameplay screenshot – Original

It’s been a very long time since a Zelda title has featured a multiplayer component, and it’s arguably time for the series to consider taking a step in that direction again. Nintendo’s spotty history with online connectivity and functionality aside, the few games in the series that include an online component do so with cooperation in mind. Zelda games are largely solo experiences, but the new direction for Zelda on display in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom has potential for the series to take its online capability and tendency toward cooperation even further. What if instead of starting with the next mainline Zelda, a new cooperative online mode makes its first appearance in a remake or remaster of Ocarina of Time?

Obviously, the ability to have multiple Links running around Hyrule or inside of dungeons presents potential for chaos, but there’s a way to introduce online cooperative play to classic Zelda in a way that makes perfect sense. Similar to FromSoftware’s Souls games, an Ocarina of Time remake or remaster could incorporate a helpful message system within dungeons, where players can use consumable items to leave helpful hints and messages for other players about puzzles or combat encounters. Even better, the system could go so far as to incorporate Dark Souls-style cooperative assistance during boss battles (which could also receive their own enhancements to difficulty in a remake).

Additional Dungeons or Expansion to Existing Ones

Ocarina of Time gameplay

©Nintendo Co., Ltd. – Original

The original Ocarina of Time is essentially a perfect game, which its incredibly impressive review aggregate score continues to support to this day. That said, the design and scope of 3D games has undergone significant enhancement since the time of Ocarina‘s development when the technology was still relatively new. An Ocarina of Time remake presents an opportunity for Nintendo EAD to completely reimagine the game’s iconic dungeons in a whole new light, possibly even adding some new locations for players to traverse in the process. A good analogue to consider is Capcom’s approach to the Resident Evil 2 remake, which retains all the core locations from the original game but updates them just enough to both cater to and toy with players’ memory and nostalgia.

As far as new dungeons go, the addition of one or even two new temples in the Adult Link era of the game, along with some new Sages to go with them, would be a great way to inject some freshness into a game that is a quarter-century old. In particular, there’s a strong case to be made to transform the final assault on Hyrule Castle into a sprawling, labyrinthine dungeon that dwarfs the size and scope of the location in the original, transforming the game’s climax into an even more epic experience.

Gyroscopic Aiming

Ocarina of Time gameplay

©Gameplay screenshot – Original

The Switch’s ability to facilitate gyroscopic aiming using the JoyCon controllers is something that greatly benefits playing shooters on the console. Some of the best shooters available on the Switch make use of this feature to have players do the majority of the aiming with the anlog sticks like they would normally, then have gyro-aiming kick in to facilitate fine-tuning and lining up precise shots. An Ocarina of Time port to the Switch would absolutely need to make use of this feature in the parts where Link switches to a first-person perspective to aim his Bow or Hookshot.

The aiming of these items in the original Ocarina of Time works just fine, but incorporating gyroscopic aiming to make these movements more accurate could only be a good thing. And, like the potential for touch screen controls, the inclusion of gyro aiming could and should be something completely optional. The incorporation of gyro aiming could potentially go a long way toward making some of the shooting gallery mini-games much, much easier.

Multiple Versions of the Main Quest

Ocarina of Time title screen

©Gameplay screenshot – Original

The final thing that an Ocarina of Time remake or remaster on the Switch needs to include is multiple versions of the main quest. Ocarina of Time already has a Master Quest in which all item locations and dungeon layouts are the mirror of their original, and this Master Quest was previously only available in the West as part of the Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition disc for the GameCube. Taking on a second, altered version of the main quest is a long-standing tradition of the Zelda series dating back to the original, and a port of Ocarina of Time could take things one step further by featuring multiple modifiers to the main quest once players beat it.

Things like increasing enemy damage output, special boss or dungeon runs, a version of the quest where players start with all items but have low health, etc. would each be unique ways to experience the game that provide new challenge to longtime fans. Once players beat the main quest on normal settings, having multiple variations available for subsequent playthroughs gives incentive for players to continue their time in the game and extends replay value. And, with the inclusion of an online mode, having a friend join in for the tougher challenges of alternate quests could be an excellent time and help make a new version of Ocarina of Time a must-have for series fans.

To top