Majora’s Mask exists because Aonuma didn’t want to make Ocarina’s Master Quest

GuestMarch 20th, 2013 by Guest

Did you know that Majora’s Mask was only released due to Eiji Aonuma’s lack of desire to create a mere expansion for Ocarina of Time which they referred to as “Ura Zelda?” This is the game that was eventually revised and released for the GameCube on a disc along with Ocarina of Time as a bonus for those who had pre-ordered The Wind Waker.

Yes, originally the plan was to get a second Zelda title out on the N64 within a year after the release of Ocarina of Time, and Mr. Miyamoto felt the easiest way to do was to simply remix Ocarina of Time a little bit and release that as an expansion. Eiji Aonuma, now handed the reigns to the Zelda series, really didn’t think that was exciting enough an offering to the fans, so he suggested that instead they simply reuse all the assets possible and create a brand new game.

Jump inside for more details!

According to a recent Did You Know Gaming? post, Eiji protested the the “Ura Zelda” expansion for Ocarina of Time, and after taking his rebellion into consideration, Shigeru Miyamoto challenged Aonuma to make a Zelda game within a year, and if he did only then would they cancel “Ura Zelda”.  To Nintendo’s surprise, Aonuma actually met the requirements and made a Zelda game within a year, and this game soon came to be the apocalyptic masterpiece we know and love today, Majora’s Mask.

“Ura Zelda” was planned to be released on the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive, an expansion for the Nintendo 64 console itself.  However, due to the failure of the disk drive, Nintendo never actually released this console add-on.  But for those of you who still want to play the “Ura Zelda” expansion, we kinda already have it.  On February 18, 2003, Nintendo released Master Quest for the Nintendo GameCube, so we ended up getting both “Ura Zelda” and the “new game using Ocarina of Time assets.” This was also later mirrored and placed on the Ocarina of Time 3D cartridge for the 3DS as well.

If you guys want to check out the rest of post, just click here.  In my opinion, I’m glad Mr. Aonuma fought for a brand new title rather than just a remix of Ocarina of Time. Plus, we got Majora’s Mask out of the whole experience, which is one of the most unique and classic Zelda titles ever!  But what do you guys think? Sound off in the comments below!

Source: Did You Know Gaming?

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  • Jam9t3

    Wow, it only took them one year to make such a fantastic game, it took much longer for Skyward Sword, but I still love this game better, they had so much imagination back then, are we ever going to see something as cool as Stone Tower Temple again? I hope so, they need to get these magnificent ideas again.

    • Kravik

      Funny how so few know that MM was rushed .. It only makes perfect sense ..

  • MusicGamer

    Holy shit, it took them just a year to make that awesome game? Aonuma must not have been one to back down from a challenge. Kudos to you, Aonuma-san! ^_^

    • Heck Yea!

      To me this proves that Aonuma is actually good for the zelda series rather than the Devil figure that Some fans paint him as! Ruining the Zelda series for you, Say Hello to Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twillight Princess (which btw sold the most out of any Zelda) Skyward Sword, the DS Zeldas, et.

      • Ano

        Omg Twilight princess did? That’s my fav Zelda game:)

        • RGT

          Twilight Princess is my least favorite. They could have done more with it. The bosses were too easy, the pace was slow, and it almost made me fall asleep. I’m saying it is a bad game, I just think they could have done better.

          • RGT

            *NOT* saying it is a bad game. Sorry about that.

          • Alex Barnier

            The first game that shows Links raw emotion and the first filled with adult like themes put you to sleep? ._. You must sleep well to find shit like Deathsword boring. Even if the fight was lacking.

          • Dragon Ball Zelda

            Emotion = The Wind Waker
            Adult-like themes = Majora’s Mask

          • Alix Bernier

            Nice name dude. But I don’t agree. the adult themes were pretty much covered in mm. Cataclysms, abductions, loss of family,love and death are pretty deep themes for a kids game. And it is a very emotion filled story too.

          • Yea

            To be honest I kind of have to agree, I mean its a good game in that the story was kind of cool and they had some good ideas, but I felt like it could have been implemented better with a simpler concept! I mean Majora’s Mask had Masks as its central concept (and gameplay Gimmick) Wind Waker had sailing and exploring new lands, and Skyward Sword had well swords!

          • Alex Barnier

            All very valid points. I’ll go sit in my corner now.

          • john

            Jolly good; Someone not full of pride.

          • Alex Barnier

            Nah, I have my fair share of pride, I just know when I’m wrong :P

  • Mich

    1 week old news, thanks ZeldaDungeon :)

    • Jam9t3

      If it’s one week old news then why did you sound so surprised in your comment below?

    • Luka

      It’s older than a week. I wrote this post to mainly focus on DYK Gaming, and I just added the story in for people who didn’t know.

    • bastian

      It is certainly true that at times we post news one, two, three days–and in extreme cases, about a week–late. Other times we post news as it’s happening. The point is that we provide the readers with as much news as quickly as possible, and we do so on average better than any other Zelda fan site. :D

  • JuicieJ

    I thought this was common knowledge among the Zelda fanbase. Meh, whatever.

    • Tehlul

      I wasn’t aware of it till now. I knew about them wanting to make master quest but didnt know it was supposed to be “common knowledge” that Majoras Mask replaced it. Especially sense it was made on GameCube anyway……prick.

      • JuicieJ

        The title of this post is, in all honesty, misleading/inaccurate. Ura Zelda was what Aonuma didn’t want to make. Master Quest was a watered-down version of Ura Zelda made as a pre-order bonus for The Wind Waker.

        • Kravik

          No way that is true..

        • bastian

          Except that Aonuma himself has referred to Master Quest and Ura Zelda as one in the same. It’s not misleading at all. Is it true that when they released the Master Quest it ended up being a bit different than what they had originally planned? Sure. But so is every single Zelda game. A Link to the Past was originally going to have a party system like a Final Fantasy game. That doesn’t mean that A Link to the Past isn’t A Link to the Past.

          • JuicieJ

            Fair point, but I’m sure the title caused some confusion nonetheless.

    • Kravik

      THANK YOU! .. So did I …

      Problem with most so called Zelda fans, is that they call themselves such having played like 3 Zelda titles and then think of them self as expert Zelda fanatics ..

      LOL ..

  • Pados

    well since the hard working part was done (all the assets and programing and designing stuff) they just needed a great story and that’s what we got, also it explains a lot why they are the exact same people on termina and ocarina’s hyrule

  • S. Mario

    What’s interesting is that Aonuma gave the Spirit Tracks development team almost the same challenge. Some more information about the Spirit Tracks development and why they made Majora’s Mask instead of immediately remaking OoT can be found here as well:

    By the way, you’re “click here” leads to another ZD post speculating about Majora’s Mask 3D.

    • Locke64

      darn, you beat me to linking to that interview (also hosted on our wiki:
      This is where that Did You Know Gaming info came from.

      Aonuma: Ultimately, other staff members handled The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest. Still, as someone who has been in charge of the dungeons, I just couldn’t get that excited over making a flip-side for them. I couldn’t see it turning into a new The Legend of Zelda, either. But we’d been told to make The Legend of Zelda. It isn’t as though we could just say, “I don’t want to”, and end it there. At that point, Miyamoto-san gave us a tradeoff: he said, if we could make a new The Legend of Zelda game in one year, then it wouldn’t have to be a “flip-side”.

  • TwilightPrince

    I got to know that thanks to Mr. Yuriofwind

  • Roth

    Half-true, I believe. My understanding was that the Disk Drive and the memory features it would enable were planned for putting Zelda on the N64 in the first place, but instead it was trimmed down to the cartridge-based OoT, and MM was made out of a bunch of leftover ideas instead of providing them as add-ons via “Ura Zelda.” The original Zelda 64 conception was massive, a combination of OoT’s and MM’s elements but far more fleshed out (the Termina cycle was originally a whole week!) and with the game permanently remembering Link’s actions upon the world (break/cut something, it’ll stay that way even if you leave and come back) among other features. Between OoT, Master Quest, and MM, we are still far short of what they initially intended to create. Aonuma probably wasn’t satisfied simply tossing a few more bits onto OoT, so I bet what we have to thank him for is saying, “We have so much we haven’t used, we can make another whole game out of this!”

    • Locke64

      Going even further back, OoT’s initial conception was actually rather small. They didn’t realize the capacity of the cartridge, so the first vision was basically an expansion of Ganon’s Castle, as the entire game, like SM64. I didn’t think the time cycle was created until during MM’s development.

      Honestly I don’t think there was as much leftover content as you give them credit for. Take this quote for example:
      Aonuma: That’s right. It made us very, very happy (laughs). Even after its release, I felt that we’d really done something special; I felt very fulfilled. At the time, I think (Shigeru) Miyamoto-san had that same feeling, but apparently he also felt as though there was still quite a lot left to do.

      I think Aonuma wanted to make a brand-new game with brand-new content.

      • Roth

        When I say leftover content, I mean ideas that probably never left the drawing board. Obviously they would have still had to create things like the time system in MM when working on the game.

        How the original 64DD development meshes with the plan to put the game inside Ganon’s castle, I don’t know. They were obviously hoping to use the 64DD because they feared they wouldn’t have enough space on a mere cartridge, and the thought to put the adventure in one castle probably cropped up at whatever point they were faced with the idea of a cartridge-based title; but I’d have to do some research to find out which concept came first and how the two related in the development progression.

        Anyway, there’s a bunch of info collected here albeit sloppily written, translated from Italian apparently. I believe the site has street cred, though; various Iwata Asks and other interviews do reveal that they had to cut a lot of ideas from the final product. All I’m saying is many (but not all) of those ideas went into MM in the end.

        • WhiteSamurott

          Why don’t they do a Link’s Awakening sequel with the leftovers from that game. A little bit like Wind Waker or Phantom Hourglass, but for the Wii!!! I would LOVE that!!!

          • Roth

            Funny thing about that game is, it was pretty much built off of fooling around with the technology; they didn’t have any plans going into it at all, they were just having fun. And look how well it turned out!

  • Harley Trader

    Ura Zelda is not Master Quest

    • JamesBond007

      It’s clearly not in the original form, but it might be in the final form. Here is my theory.

      Nintendo divided the “original” Ura Zelda into two parts – “newer” Ura Zelda and Zelda Gaiden. Some ideas from original Ura Zelda were scrapped due to technical difficulties, and other were moved to Zelda Gaiden. Some original ideas from Gaiden, as well as mostly “new” content originally intended for Ura Zelda evolved into Majora’s Mask.

      In my opinion, at this point, “newer” Ura Zelda was still on 64DD, but it contained only harder dungeons (basically, it was Master Quest on 64DD). Nintendo was able to replicate this version by editing the original game, removing the requirement of 64DD altogether. They did that and released Ura Zelda in this form on the GameCube.
      One thing will be always true – for unhappy fans, real Ura Zelda is the 64DD version, not the GameCube’s Master Quest.

      • Locke64

        Ura Zelda and Zelda Gaiden were completely different projects, with different teams working on them. Ura became MQ; Gaiden became MM.

        • JamesBond007

          True, Ura is MQ and Gaiden is MM, but most people saying “Ura is not MQ” believes in this fact – Ura Zelda (in the early stages of development, before announcement of Zelda Gaiden) was supposed to have not only harder dungeons (like in Master Quest), but also entirely new content, such as characters, items, enemies and sidequests. If that was true, then in my opinion, Nintendo scrapped this part of Ura and reused the ideas in Majora’s Mask.

    • Locke64

      Ura Zelda is Master Quest.

      Iwata: That “Ura Zelda” (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest) was developed for the 64DD. Ultimately, we recorded it on a limited edition disc that went to people who reserved The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

  • JamesBond007

    There are few inaccuracies in this article.
    1. Collector’s Edition includes The Legend of Zelda, The Adventures of Link, Ocarina of Time (without Master Quest), Majora’s Mask and three bonus materials – Wind Waker Demo (you can select one of three available save files and play for 20 minutes), Wind Waker Trailer, and showcase of all Zelda game up to WW.
    2. Ocarina of Time Master Quest was released during Wind Waker’s preorders and with “Wind Waker Limited Edition”.
    2. 64DD (console add-on) was released, but only in Japan. If you are referring to Ura Zelda in the original 64DD form, not the 64DD itself, then you are right here.

  • linkasourous

    Maybe this is why the game is so short, just 4 dungeons. He had to do it in just a year.

    • Mikau94

      You have to remember that there are areas before each dungeon that can easily take as long or longer than the dungeon. Collecting Lulu’s eggs and making my way though Ikana Canyon took longer than their dungeon counterpart the first time through.

      • Kravik

        MM was really about exploring.. So sad the latest titles ignore that part completely ..

    • Mal

      There were only 4 dungeons because the game had a ridiculous amount of other things to complete. Majora’s Mask might even take longer than Ocarina of Time if you wanna do and collect everything.

  • Big Jay

    Okay, screw it, im gonna be the one to say it… Is it possible all that is wrong with the Zelda series is Aonuma’s fault?

    Let me explain. NES/SNES/N64 were my childhood consoles and Zelda was by far me and my friends’ favorite series, followed by Final Fantasy and the Soul Blazer trilogy.

    Altp-Oot was the most magical time in gaming, in my opinion. Me and my friends speny so many nights staying up at sleepovers with those awesome titles.

    I grew up idolizing Miyamoto, but only heard Aonuma’s name once i found zeldadungeon a couple years ago n now i know why: he came in as i was leaving.

    Majoras Mask was way too different to be Zelda for me, and turned me off becausr i felt the series was going in a direction different than what i liked. I now learn aonuma wad at the helm of that diffrrence. When I first saw Windwaker, I got so excited, ran out and bought it, and for the first time ever, returned a Zelda game!!!! because despite all that was great about it, the sailing ruined the experience for me, which i now learn was aonuma’s implemented mechanic. TP was like a wannabe OOT but with something missing…

    Seriously guys, since he took over it’s become linear, lost that exploration feel, etc. All that us great about Zelda seems left from Miyamoto and all the problems seem to stem from Aonuma’s involvement. Anyone agree?

    • Berite

      Just because you don’t like those games, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the franchise.

    • My

      Also just because they game points you in the direction to go doesn’t eliminate exploration guy. Aonuma also directed OoT, or did you miss that? Anybody who says TP is a copy of OOT is a loser. Windwaker probably gave the most exploration too. Open your eyes kid.

      • Big Jay

        Wow, where do i even begin. First off, since i clearly listed NES as one of my childhood consoles, Im obviously not a kid, and probably older than u so show some respect, KID.

        2nd, WW had the most exploration? That empty ocean filled with islands with a single treasure chest encouraged more exploration than aLttp’s content-packed screens? Give me a break.

        Also, kid, calling people “losers” for their opinions on videogames is pretty sad, and if you honestly can’t see that TP is a return to form where Nintendo tried to recapture OOTs essence, then, you’re, well… probably a kid. Go do your homework Johnny and stop playing so much Zelda!

        • WhiteSamurott

          I’ve been playin’ TP this week and I was trying to glitch the game, to get the Master Sword early. O
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    • Billy Bob

      Right lets blame a developer for changing the direction of the series because it doesnt fit my paticular taste, instead of maybe possibly taking some degree of fault because my expectaions are out of whack! Oh Anouma ruined the Zelda series for making it more adressed to the casual rather than the Hardcore Elitists I happen to circle jerk to!

    • Tatl

      MM was SUPOSSED to feel different

  • Nikki

    I’m glad that both were made! Majora’s Mask and OOT Master Quest. I didn’t know anything about Ura Zelda until I read this article.

  • Meddy Awardey

    And that is why I will always think that Aonuma > Miyamoto. And the worst part is, I bet Miyamoto wasn’t satisfied with Majora’s Mask.

  • Link-of-Lylat

    Laziness for the win!

    • linkasourous

      Lazy rule: if you cant reach it you dont need it

  • ePik Min

    I might be wrong, but I realized after playing OoT3D that the 3DS has everything you need to finally recreate Ura Zelda. It basically has all the features of a N64 equipped with a 64DD and even more (internet connection, support for DLCs and game patches, massive storage…)

    But I suppose that if Nintendo had planned to make Ura Zelda on the 3DS, we would already know it…

  • ZeldaGuy

    I actually knew that before I read this. I saw it in a documentary of Ocarina of Time on YouTube.

  • ChuckNorrisLoZ

    So glad they did make it. MM is my favorite game!

  • Tatl

    the coolest part is that in Majora’s Mask, they made a 3 day time limit that you can make shorter

    • Kravik

      I am quite sure they explained the 3 days cycle as a direct result of the game being rushed ..
      Reflecting that fact, in game! ..

      Forgot the source of that, though.. :|

      • Tatl

        they were going to make it a week, but, as you can see, they didn’t.

      • Tatl

        it was going to be a week

  • Tatl

    twilight princess IS suppossed to take place after MM, so don’t say it’s a ripoff of OoT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OH MY FREAKING GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nathanial Rumphol-Janc

    Um, incorrect. Ura Zelda isn’t Master Quest.

  • oozy the wolf

    i wish characters were more origanel

  • Vink

    Nintendo should make a game in one year reusing the SS or TP characters instead of remaking WW. Majoras Mask took one year and it is better (don’t hate, it’s my opinion) than SS which took 5 years to make (I do like SS, controls are great, great story but very linear)

    • AliatusAquilan

      Majora’s Mask reused a lot of the assets though. Skyward Sword on the other hand was a brand new game right from scratch using features never before seen in any game really. To use time as a comparison is just plain idiotic. Majora’s Mask is also linear is it not? Sure it has a lot of side quests and different things you can do but that doesn’t make it non-linear.

  • bs8814

    How do we really know that Ura Zelda was Master Quest? It could have been one if Nintendo’s many projects that were scrapped. I mean Master Quest isnt that big and expansion and the way Ura Zelda is described would make me assume that it would be like a new game…

    • Kravik

      THANKS! ..

      I always think of SS as the long lost “Ura Zelda!” .. It would not have worked half as good on the N64 though..

      I am also quite sure we have seen or will see the lost Oracle game..

      Have a hard time imagining they just scraped it.

      • bs8814

        Often at times Nintendo has content from scrapped games in some of their most famous games, if you watch “Did you know gaming?” on YouTube you will see a lot of it.

    • bastian

      Because Zelda team has referred to the Master Quest as Ura Zelda. :D

  • TriForceOfDarkness

    If anybody is interested in URA zelda, I would check out Zethn64’s work. He is making his own version of what URA zelda might have been like. It’s some cool stuff.

  • BecauseUnsourcedTriviaIsKewl

    *hits jump*
    “According to a recent Did You Know Gaming? post…”
    Darn it, I thought we were better than this.

  • Kravik

    I think of SS every time I read about Ura Zelda ..

  • Kravik

    BTW: Error in the article .. “protested the the “Ura Zelda” .. ”

    One too many ‘the’ there?! :)

  • Ratchet25

    DYKG, watching Yuriofwind since 2013

  • Iamawsome

    MQ isn’t Ura Zelda. It’s just some parts if it.

  • Fantym

    Really cool, but we still want Ura Zelda, not going to force anyone but hey, I’d like to play it.

  • I am awsome

    MQ wasn’t Ura Zelda. Originally Ura Zelda was going to feature bonus mini games, bonus characters and locations, explain secrets like how the running man always beats you even if you use cheats, a gold tunic, a white/silver tunic, possibly a black tunic (I’m not sure about this though), there may have been a fight with an R-Wing from Lylat Wars (Star Fox 64), new dungeons and alternate dungeon maps. The only thing that MQ had was the alternate dungeon maps.

    • I am awsome

      You were also meant to be able to get the Triforce at a place called the Unicorn Fountain and while there you would get the Sword Beam.

  • PsychoFi

    Uh…You guys DO know you’re using Did You Know Gaming as a sole legitimate source…right…..? Wait. Wait, really? …

  • The Will

    no offence, but pretty much anyone who enjoys Zelda enough to check this site regularly probably already knows this…..

  • guy

    Never actually released the N64DD? Nah, it came out in Japan, with titles like Mario Artist and F-Zero X Expansion Kit.

  • Mike Sauer

    Imagine what the Zelda world would be like if Majora’s Mask never happened…….

    …And yet he still didn’t find Navi after all of it.