Zelda 64 has been fully decompiled, potentially opening the door to mods and ports


A group of fans managed to reverse engineer 100% of the game code for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, VGC was told.

The community-led Zelda Reverse Engineering Team (ZRET) has been working for almost two years to reverse engineer the classic N64 into parsable C code, which can be read by modern computers, much like fans were able to fully convert Super Mario 64 in 2019, after a two-year effort.

The achievement marks an important milestone for the preservation of the classic Nintendo 64 game, and opens the door to modding, hacks and potentially even ports to other platforms such as PC (although it should be pointed out, nothing all this is not the responsibility of ZRET).

The type of reverse engineering that ZRET is doing is legal because the fans involved haven’t used any leaked content. Instead, they painstakingly recreated the game from scratch using modern coding languages. The project also does not use Nintendo’s original copyrighted assets, such as graphics or sound.

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ZRET told VGC: “It’s been a mad rush. We were able to create some C code that when compiled reproduces the original game. We call this “corresponding” decompilation.

“Last night, Fig, who is a notable member of the community as well as a project manager, was the last remaining function of the project. This means that all code compiled in the game has been turned into human readable C code.

“We thought for a while that we might never be able to fully match all the functions, so this is an incredibly exciting achievement. Dozens of people helped work on this project, and together we were able to achieve something amazing.

ZRET said the last part of its progress is currently on a development branch.

Before Ocarina of Time’s work is solidified, the project manager will need to submit his work through what is called a “pull request,” he told VGC. After that, the work should be carefully reviewed. Once done, it will merge this fetch request and the ZRET website graphic will show 100%.

But even though the game code has been fully decompiled, there is still a lot of work for the ZRET team to do, including creating the documentation, renaming and reorganizing the code and definitions, and supporting asset management in order to view or modify IT is simpler.

The group also plans to decompile other versions of Ocarina of Time in order to support the project. The core of ZRET’s work was based on the Nintendo GameCube Master Quest version of the game, as it offers debugging commands to aid it in its work.

“We have been working on decompiling the Master Quest Debug version of the game. However, Ocarina of Time has over a dozen other versions, which we also plan to decompile and support in the project,” a- he declared.

However, many consumers will be interested if – or more likely, when – decompiling will lead to a fully functional Zelda PC port, as it did with Super Mario 64 last year.

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ZRET’s Ocarina of Time decompression is not a port and it is adamant that she will not be involved in any potential work to adapt the game’s code to new platforms.

However, in the case of Super Mario 64’s decompilation efforts, the project led another group to create a fully functional PC port of the N64 game in nine months, capable of scaling to any screen resolution and to be easily modified by the community with new graphics and modern effects such as ray tracing.

Eventually, fans even ported this game to many other platforms including Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch.

Outside of potential PC ports, the Zelda: Ocarina of Time decompilation project could have huge implications for hacks, as well as for historical preservation and the discovery of new bugs that could be used by the speedrunning community.

In news unrelated to the reverse engineering project, earlier this year, a group of video game curators discovered and released a partial beta of Ocarina of Time, allowing fans to grab a significant amount of new information. on the preview, including new areas, redesigned elements, and other elements that never made it into the final release.

Content from the beta was eventually used by fans to recreate a first Space World demo from 1997, which was released this month and works through an emulator.


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