A fan-made PC port of the classic Nintendo 64 game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has nearly completed development and is slated for release by mid-February.
The fully functional PC port comes from Harbor Masters, a group of community developers who claim the game is around 90% complete (thanks, VGC). They plan to launch its first iteration by the middle of next month, before ironing out the wrinkles for a full release in early April.
In addition to bringing Ocarina of Time to PC, the project will let you play the game at multiple resolutions, including widescreen support, run at over 60 FPS, and include a scripting system. supporting additional mods, opening the door to future texture packs and more assets.
“Right now, all the logic in the game works pretty much perfectly,” one of the project’s lead developers, Kenix, told VGC. “We have a few items that are not properly packaged in the archive, most notably skyboxes, and there are still some graphical errors that we are working on. Audio is also not decompiled yet.
“I would give him around 90%. We were hoping to be done by mid-February and use about a month until April 1 to polish the game before release. We hope to have a public repository available at the end of February.
To circumvent Nintendo’s attorneys, the developers have been careful not to use the original copyrighted assets or code of Ocarina of Time. Instead, the game’s source code was reverse-engineered and rebuilt from the ground up to avoid reproducing Nintendo’s ownership. The developers hope this will rid them of copyright infringement.
“We bundled the assets into an external archive,” one of the project’s lead developers, Kenix, told VGC. “No asset is linked to the [executable file]. Our belief is that this will prevent a DMCA takedown from Nintendo.
Given this workaround, players will have to source the original Ocarina resources themselves. This will involve extracting assets from a game ROM and dropping them into the same directory as the PC port.
The team does not stop at Ocarina of Time, however. The Zelda Reverse Engineering team, the group that first reverse-engineered the game’s code, is in the process of decompiling Majora’s Mask, preparing it for Harbor Masters to port to PC next.
Analysis: looking forward
The developers of the port seem to have gone to serious lengths to keep everything on top of everything and avoid being slapped with a copyright infringement notice. But legal wrangling, particularly over video game copyright, is never clear cut, and the possibility remains that Nintendo doesn’t appreciate the group’s efforts.
Take-Two, the parent company of Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar, announced last year that it was suing a group of modders who had decompiled Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City. This group reverse-engineered and rebuilt the games in a way very similar to how Harbor Masters approaches Ocarina of Time.
Likewise, Nintendo has already shown that it distrusts community recreations of its classic titles. In 2020, the company took action against a PC port made by Super Mario 64 fansciting its unlawful use of copyrighted material, assets and fictitious representations.
When it comes to Ocarina of Time, a healthy dose of hesitant optimism is probably best. If Harbor Masters can navigate the complex and onerous world of copyright infringement, it will bring what is widely considered not only one of the best Zelda games on PC, but also one of the best video games ever. all the time. Nintendo Switch gamers can pick it up quite easily from the Nintendo Store, but PC gamers have been waiting for 24 years.