The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is out today, and to celebrate Rare's co-founder Tim Stamper has shared an image of a rare prototype of the first 3D Zelda game Ocarina of Time over on Twitter and Instagram.
As implied by the letter pictured below the prototype, Nintendo gifted this early build to Rare sometime prior to the game's release, with its contents including the Spaceworld '97 demo of Ocarina of Time. This is an early version of the game that was used to demo the game at the Kyoto event, which took place back in November 1997.
As an aside, it's worth noting that this demo has fortunately already been preserved elsewhere online, thanks to the archival efforts of Forest of Illusion who discovered data from the build on an unsuspecting F-Zero development cartridge. But nevertheless, it's fascinating to see another one out in the wild, and would be amazing to see actually running on OG hardware (just in case you're reading Tim!).
Along with the photo, Stamper wrote the following message:
"In honour of The Legend Of Zelda Tears Of The Kingdom coming out tomorrow, I wanted to pay homage to the first 3D Zelda game: Ocarina Of Time"
Shortly after Stamper posted the image, former Rare employee and everyone's favourite scientist Dr. David Doak gave some additional context about how the Midlands company came into possession of the prototype, revealing that Nintendo had tasked them with taking notes and offering some feedback.
He even shared an image of his notes from over 25 years ago, which amusingly contains some sweary references to the camera, complaints about the AI ("less sophisticated than Robotron"), and criticisms about the combat system.
Obviously, we knew Nintendo and Rare were close, with the latter company producing a string of hits for Nintendo machines like the NES, SNES, and N64. Regardless, it's still fascinating to see greater evidence of the trust that the Japanese company placed in the popular UK developer with it turning to Rare to offer feedback about one of its flagship releases.