The ZRET (Zelda Reverse-Engineering Team) is a group led by the fan community. They’ve been hard at work for almost two years now trying to decompile the game into C code that could be read by PC. Now, ZRET has successfully reverse-engineered the Zelda 64 source code. The project has been based around the Gamecube’s Master Quest version. That’s because it has a handy debug menu that was helpful in their work. However, they do still plan to decompile other versions as well.
So what does this mean for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? Well, the same thing happened to Super Mario 64 in 2019, which according to VGC also took about two years to complete. This creates new potential for mods, hacks, and more. In the case of Super Mario 64, fans then went on to add support for higher resolution, and ray-tracing.
A fan group has successfully reverse-engineered 100% of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s game code, VGC has been told, opening the door for a potential PC port.https://t.co/0ObcQLjVHf pic.twitter.com/GhSnvXKw1F
— VGC (@VGC_News) November 27, 2021
ZRET’s work is legal as it does not involve any leaked assets or the use of Nintendo’s original assets (which are obviously copyrighted). While ZRET has successfully reverse-engineered all Zelda 64 source code, it still needs to go through a thorough review process. The team also has other work to do, such as the creation of documentation, cleaning up of the code itself, and some other loose ends.
“It’s been a wild ride. We’ve been able to create c code that, when compiled, reproduces the original game. We call this ‘matching’ decompilation.”
“Last night, Fig, who is a notable community member as well as a project lead, matched the last-remaining function in the project. This means that all compiled code in the game has been turned into human-readable C code.”
“We thought for a time that we may never be able to match every function completely, so this is an incredibly exciting accomplishment. Dozens of people helped work on this project, and together we were able to achieve something amazing.”
As you’re probably aware, Ocarina of Time recently joined the Switch Online library. Furthermore, some preservationists uncovered a partial beta version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and released it to the world for the sake of video game preservation earlier this year. Also earlier this summer, an ex-developer revealed that there was a Zelda 64 Portal tech demo, too.
ZRET says it has no intention to be a part of any projects attempting to adapt the code to new platforms in the future. Super Mario 64 got a PC port about nine months after it was decompiled, though that was not done by the same team that decompiled the game’s code. It’s quite a feat that ZRET has successfully reverse-engineered all Zelda 64 source code, and opens new doors for the modding community.