Fun Fact: Ocarina of Time for the 3DS NOT Developed by Nintendo!

I’ve never expected Nintendo to co-develop Ocarina of Time’s remake with a third-party developer. The last time we had seen an outsider handle the Zelda franchise was with Capcom, who worked on an enhanced port of A Link to the Past, the Oracle series, Four Swords Adventures, and The Minish Cap. Since then, Nintendo’s own studios have been developing console and handheld Zelda games entirely on their own. It’s understandable to branch out now though since Skyward Sword must be driving them mad, and the 3DS remake of one of their greatest games of all time is not a simple task given the power of the handheld itself and the hype behind the title.

Anyway, now for the big surprise. You’ll never guess who is handling the remake. A relatively-unheard-of Japanese studio called Grezzo, who worked on only one game before this one; Line Attack Heroes for the WiiWare. While their resume is scarce, what’s encouraging about Grezzo is the history of its head honcho, Koichi Ishii. Famously known for creating and developing the Mana series for Square-Enix, he departed the company as he completed work on the World of Mana compilation back in 2007.

After recently learning of all this, I went back and rechecked the screenshots of Ocarina of Time 3DS….not surprisingly relating its look to PS2’s Dawn of Mana, one of Mr. Ishii’s last games before leaving Square-Enix. Compare OoT’s revamped Kokiri Forest’s screenshots and new models of Link to the following video. Eerily similar, eh?

I’m now looking forward to this remake even more knowing that it’s in the hands of Mr. Ishii. After all, he did make Secret of Mana for the SNES, arguably one of the best games of all time….one I never played to this very day. Additionally, having a game like Ocarina of Time under their belt will make Grezzo really popular. I have a feeling that Nintendo will outright buy the company if they’re really pleased with the how this remake turns out.

I’ve noticed a trend by Nintendo these days. I like the fact that they’re more accepting to hand off their franchises to other trustworthy developers. Kirby and Wario was given to Good-Feel, Pilotwings Resort and the Excite series handed to Monster Games, Donkey Kong to Retro Studios, Metroid to Team Ninja, and so on and so forth with the examples. The only one I haven’t seen thus far is an official Mario platformer entry…which won’t happen anytime soon. What I do want to hear of soon, however, is a new F-Zero entry. Please, Nintendo, give it back to Sega…they’ve made the best entry in the series for GameCube.

Thoughts? Do you even care to know who develops these games from behind-the-scenes or are you just happy with the basics?

7 thoughts on “Fun Fact: Ocarina of Time for the 3DS NOT Developed by Nintendo!”

  1. I’m not really concerned with a fact a different developer is helping, in these circumstances at least. Unlike the seasons games and Minish Cap, which were entirely new entries into the series, this is a remake of an existing game–so the scenario, landscape, and characters are all pre-determined. They’re just adding content and cleaning it up, which takes off a lot of the pressure.

    If anything, I think it’s a good thing. It frees up development resources at Nintendo that can be spent elsewhere (on a new IP or another game) and helps establish better ties with other capable developers. All companies need to get their feet wet sometime and it helps to have a firm relationship with a bigger company. I think that a lot of Nintendo’s outsourced projects have been successful, like the Metroid series (I love Prime, and yes, I think Other M is a great game and will defend my assertion), F-Zero GX, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Wario World (Treasure) and Wario Land Shake It (Good Feel), etc. There are some times when the results are rather underwhelming, like Star Fox Assault for GameCube, but for the most part I feel comfortable with it.

    So if only Nintendo would stop being so damn lazy and make another Mother/Earthbound game. Or a Mother remake/collection. Or both.

    1. Good point. I still think it’s a bit pressurizing to remake one of the best games of all time. Needs to be just right, which is the direction it’s currently going from all the positive press.

      Sadly though, a new Mother is just out of the question. From what I’ve been reading, even though it’s technically a Nintendo franchise, the company honors its creator, Mr. Itoi. He’s just not going to be making any other sequels or any other game for that matter anytime soon because that’s not his primary line of work. Nintendo’s not going to go behind his back and make a new one. In fact, he stated recently that he would like to play the next Mother himself, from the fans. In response, there is an official Mother 4 fan project in the works if you can believe it. Although I would really wish that they release a compilation of sorts. I’ve never played a Mother game in my life, but thanks to Smash Bros. I’m well aware of its lore and actually like Ness and Lucas.

  2. You know this is quite interesting. I find that Nintendo has been outsourcing a lot of projects in the last decade or so. I wonder if this is because they don’t want to increase their development costs as high as everyone else. Have they too increased their staff by over 10x? Are they simply working on simpler projects or less? In a generation where everyone has been expanding staff numbers, Nintendo has remained quiet. I’m just curious what their reasoning is, given their marketshare. We know the Wii and DS development costs are significantly lower than the other two players, but moving ahead I really wonder what their strategy will be.

    1. Yeah. It’s really weird to have them pick fleas when it comes to development when back in the day they used their internal teams for everything. All they have on their belt right now in terms of internal studios is Zelda, Mario, and the Wii Sports/Play franchises. It shows how comfortable they are now, but in the same time most of their developments aren’t stand alone anymore.

      Either they oversee production of the outsource or be a co-developer in the project. Personally, I like it because we’re seeing fresh new perspectives of age-old Nintendo franchises. When the outsourced 2nd or 3rd party developer has more freedom, I’d imagine more production values and creativity shown compared to Nintendo’s internal studios handling it all on their own. Need I mention Metroid and F-Zero? The Nintendo spirit remains, but the games themselves are unlike anything Nintendo makes on their own. Maybe Nintendo’s major talent these days is giving direction.

  3. Oh I’m not complaining here, just curious the reasoning behind it. I know almost every company outsources certain elements on their games. In this case I wonder what Nintendo’s internal teams are actually doing these days because they do have a heck of a lot of employees that apparently are all working on secret projects…or…

    1. Yeah…they could be focusing their resources on Zelda, the 3DS line-up, and whatever we don’t know for their next console. After all, despite the Wii’s success, as we all know the hardest thing it to remain on top of the mountain. They’re going to need to prove to fans and developers that the next Nintendo console will be just as good, if not better than, the Wii and its competition. And what better way to prove it than work on some functional games?

      1. They have to be doing something as their 3DS line-up isn’t that spectacular. Know what I mean? They have tons of support, but their first party line-up shows they still have loads of free resources. Not all of these people can be working on Zelda either. That I just don’t buy. Given the new hardware though, I’m really interested in seeing if Nintendo will push the boundaries further. I really want to get back involved with this company, but it’s extremely difficult to do under the current circumstances.

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