Something to look forward to: Ask someone what the best Zelda game ever made is, and most people will say either Breath of the Wild or Ocarina of Time. Luckily for those who pick the Nintendo 64 classic, a fan-made port is arriving on the PC in a few weeks.
Videogameschronicle reports that a group of community developers called Harbour Masters has been working on the Zelda port, which is now 90% complete and could arrive as soon as mid-February.
The port builds on the work of the Zelda Reverse Engineering Team whose two-year project saw it decompile the Ocarina of Time’s code. A similar method was used to create the Super Mario 64 PC port from 2020.
“We’ve been hoping to be complete by the middle of February and use a month or so until April 1st to refine the game before release,” said Harbour Masters developer ‘Kenix,’ adding that work on the PC port started almost as soon as Ocarina of Time was completely reverse engineered.
Kenix said that the Zelda port uses Fast3D, the same rendering backend written for the Mario 64 port, allowing widescreen support at launch and the addition of other modern features further down the line, including 60fps.
The port also includes a scripting system that organizes and loads assets in a similar way as modern games, making mod support much easier, so we can expect to see the likes of ray tracing and updated graphics modded to the game à la Mario 64.
Nintendo, of course, has a long-standing reputation for coming down hard on non-official fan projects like these, but Harbour Masters believe they are safe in this respect: the decompile code isn’t identical to Nintendo’s original code and wasn’t created using leaked propriety documents. As for using the game’s copyrightable assets, which is what resulted in the Mario 64 executable being hit with DMCAs, Kenix explains:
“[…] we packed assets into an external archive. No assets are linked into the exe. Our belief is that this will prevent a DMCA takedown from Nintendo as SM64 linked all of the assets into the exe file.”
PCGamer notes that to legally play this Ocarina of Time port, users will need to dump all those assets from their own copy of the game, but a version with all-original player-created assets will likely arrive at a later date.
The Zelda Reverse Engineering Team is also working on decompiling Majora’s Mask. Kenix said that once that’s completed, they expect to be able to create a PC port even faster.
Check out more information on this Discord server.