The Oocca: Engineers of Hyrule
Posted on April 07 2013 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
(This article was originally written by Ben Spyrou, and released three years ago. It has been reformatted for Classics Month. Much of the writing does conflict with Hyrule Historia, which did not exist at the time of the original posting. However, it still provides some interesting food for thought to those that like to think ‘outside the box’)
The Oocca are indeed one of the most intriguing races throughout the land of Hyrule. They appear as small birds, yet they have somehow built an entire city above the clouds, and are said to be the closest race to the gods. Signs of their ancient race are left scattered on the earth, which begs the question: how have they had such a great cultural impact on Hyrule? Furthermore, why are they only present in Twilight Princess? This article shall delve into the mysteries of the Oocca, from their history and creations, to the impact of magic on their technology, as well as why they are not present in other Zelda titlesSome light is shed on their past throughout Twilight Princess, but various loose ends remain. They are a highly developed race in terms of technology, having built massive cannons, crafted a rod that can bring life to inanimate objects, and even built an entire cityabove the clouds, held up by powerful propellers.
These small creatures seem to be at the pinnacle of technology during the times of Twilight Princess. Though all of these feats are apparent to the player, it is still unclear as to why these small birds are so highly developed, and how they have had such a great impact on Hylian architecture. Though they are indeed intelligent and mechanical creatures, their technological achievements are eventually overshadowed by the influence of magic in the land of Hyrule.
The origins of the Oocca are revealed by the young scholar, Shad, in Twilight Princess. After continuing his father’s research for many years, Shad believes he has identified the Oocca as one of the oldest races in Hyrule, even pre-dating the Hylians.
“The common opinion is that Hyrule was created by the Hylia people, the race closest to the gods, but truth be told, there’s also a theory saying that in ancient times there was a race even closer to the gods than the Hylia people, and THEY created it. And they, simultaneously with the birth of the Hylia people, created a new capital, a capital that floated in the heavens”. – Shad, Twilight Princess (Literal Japanese Translation)
Shad claims that the Oocca were in fact partly responsible for the creation of Hyrule itself. For this to be true, then the Oocca must have been one of the first races to inhabit the land of Hyrule after the Goddesses forged the world. This in turn confirms that the Oocca were very close to the gods, as Shad states. As the Oocca helped shape Hyrule into the proud nation that it is, they likely left marks of their presence all over the land. Rusl, Link’s friend from Ordon Village, confirms this.
“The ancestors of the Hylians created the temple… Signs of their civilization—ancient, but very sophisticated—are everywhere.” – Rusl, Twilight Princess
The term ancestor here seems to imply that the Oocca simply inhabited the earth prior to the Hylians, not that they are their literal ancestors. However, he also claims that they created the temple hidden deep within the Sacred Grove; the Temple of Time. This revelation is not too shocking, as the Oocca were known to be close to the gods. The temple is one of the many marks they left behind before moving to the sky. The Ancient Sages are more commonly known for the construction of the Temple of Time, but as one ventures through the dungeon, it becomes clear that the Oocca aided in its creation.
At first, as its name suggests, the Temple of Time simply looks like a church. However, by using the Master Sword, Link manages to uncover a secret path the leads deeper into the temple. This dungeon section is riddled with traps, puzzles and monsters. After conquering these obstacles, Link comes across the mysterious Dominion Rod.
With this item, Link was able to control particular statues within the dungeon in order to work his way towards the boss chamber. After claiming the mirror shard he was searching for, Link is met by Ooccoo, an Oocca who has aided him in various dungeons. She tells him that the Dominion Rod is in fact a holy artifact of the Oocca. As the Oocca do not appear to be dexterous, it makes sense that they use a magical rod to craft their various creations. The fact that the rod was hidden deep within the Temple of Time further confirms that the Oocca aided in the construction of the Temple of Time. Just as the Sages keep the Master Sword safe within the Temple, the Oocca kept their sacred item, the Dominion Rod, within the temple as well. Ooccoo was not the only character interested in the Dominion Rod. When Link meets with the old and mysterious Impaz in Hidden Village, more of the rod’s mysteries are unveiled.
“Ohhh! That rod, by any chance, is it called Copy Rod!? According to the legends of my clan, in the past there was an epoch when the royal family still maintained cultural exchange with the sky. A rod containing a mysterious power was handed down from the people of the sky. That rod was called the Copy Rod. When the royal family sent a message to the sky, they only permitted an approved messenger to the sky to carry that rod.” – Impaz, Twilight Princess (Literal Japanese Translation)
Impaz reveals that the Dominion Rod belongs to one who is chosen to be the messenger of the sky. Link, who is already acting as the Hero of Hyrule, is the Oocca’s prophesized messenger. Impaz also suggests that the Oocca were maintaining cultural exchange with the Hylians. This solidifies the idea that the Oocca aided the cultural expansion of the Hylians, which explains the various Oocca-like structures around the world of Hyrule.
As the Oocca have clearly had an impact on Hyrulian culture, it is safe to assume that the Temple of Time is not their only major creation on the earth. Consider the Tower of the Gods, featured in The Wind Waker. The Tower features very similar designs to the Temple of Time dungeon, as well as th
e same atmosphere. Both require the commandment and movement of unique statues to progress through the level, as well as similar laser defenses, including Beamos and walls that generate laser beams. Both dungeons also have a Darknut mini-boss, feature various Armos Knight’s as guards, and have large bells and scales.
Left: A statue from the Tower of the Gods in the The Wind Waker, which Link controls with the Command Melody.
Right: A statue from the Temple of Time dungeon in Twilight Princess. Link controls it with the Dominion Rod.
This seems to be too much of a coincidence. The Tower of the Gods must also have been created by the Oocca. We have seen they communicate with the Sages of Hyrule, and on occasion the Hylians, so it wouldn’t be outrageous to think they helped the Goddesses by creating the Tower of the Gods. After all, they are known to be the closest race to the Gods. The Goddesses, knowing Ganon’s wrath would swallow the world, flooded Hyrule, causing a large sea to cover the land where the Hylians once prospered. The Tower of The Gods was kept safe by the Goddesses, in the event that a new Hero would rise. As the Oocca also prophesied about a hero, the messenger of the sky, the notion of creating a large tower to aid the Goddesses would have seemed suitable, as they share a similar view with the Goddesses’, to whom they have a great connection. The Tower of the Gods and the Temple of Time dungeon are both indeed complex structures. However what is even more structurally amazing is their home in the clouds.
The Oocca’s home, the City in the Sky, is indeed a wondrous place, as it is comprised of various buildings hovering by the power of propellers. Such a sophisticated design is amazing, and this is just one of the ways that these little creatures impress us. There are cannons situated throughout the city, similar to that used to enter their sacred home. Such designs would require a great amount of time, intelligence and organization, all of which the Oocca have at their disposal. The City in the Sky is made of white stone, and contains various large buildings, with elegant internal patterns. Patterns of similar design also appear within the Temple of Time, and as is obvious, the Temple of Time is made of white stone. It should also be noted that there are similar sound effects in the tunes of the respective dungeons.
Wall patterns in the City in the Sky and the Temple of Time respectively.
The design in the Oocca’s home is more rugged and messy, but both have extremely similar structures. The Temple of Time and the City in the Sky also feature similar round patterns that resemble an eye.
However, if the Oocca inhabit the City in the Sky during Twilight Princes, then why have they been absent in the other Zelda tales? One might argue that because they live in the Sky, we wouldn’t see them unless we ventured there. However, in The Minish Cap, Link does travel the cloud tops, but the Oocca are nowhere to be seen. Instead, a mystical race known as the Wind Tribe inhabit the sky.
The Wind Tribe once lived in the Wind Ruins on the earth’s surface, but they moved to the sky using their powerful magic. They resemble humans, yet they seem to have a vast array of magical abilities that tie in with the wind element. The Oocca on the other hand are small chicken-like creatures that showed no skill with magic; they relied on a technological and functional approach to tasks. This being the case, they are clearly not ancestors of the Oocca. If the Wind Tribe are living in the sky in The Minish Cap, then where are the Oocca? We know the Oocca were one of the first races created by the Goddesses, and they have occupied the sky at one point, yet The Minish Cap shows they no longer live there. It is possible that the age of The Minish Cap is one where the Oocca have died out, or moved on, no longer being needed by the surface dwellers or the Goddesses. What is interesting is that there are some structures and details in the Wind Tribes home, the Palace of Winds, that are similar to the Oocca’s work.
Looking at the Palace of Winds, we can see that the structure has sections that act like islands, just like the City in the Sky. The buildings in the Palace of Winds seem to be more arcane than the respective creations of the Oocca, yet they still feature a similar layout and similar symbolism, such as the wind signs. These structures are more pyramidal and lack any form of propeller or floating device, indicating they have altered the functionality of the city so that it relies more on magic. Both structures also make use of extendible bridges to access other platforms. This shows that the Wind Tribe could have moved into the City in the Sky after the Oocca disappeared, changing it to suit their needs. This idea is amplified by the fact that there are still structural mechanisms within the Palace, showing technology still exists there.
Left: Wind symbols in the Palace of Winds.
Right: Wind symbols in the City in the Sky.
This seems to indicate that the Wind Tribe inhabited what used to be the Oocca’s home. After all, if two races were living in the sky, it would be hard not to notice one another. This also implies that The Minish Cap may not be the first game in the Zelda timeline. The possibility that the Wind Tribe really did alter the City in the Sky to suit their needs is an excellent example of how magic is so dominant in the land of Hyrule. The Oocca, a greatly technological race created a highly structural city in the clouds, and after their passing, a tribe heavily based on magic configures that city to be based on sorcery. The Oocca based their culture on their amazing architectural abilities, using little to no magic.
They built large structures with intricate designs and great structural integrity. The Dominion Rod is the only magical device that was created by the Oocca, and its main use is to control statues for mechanical purposes. This technological inkling was lived short. As the Oocca disappeared from existence, the arcane forces of Hyrule and its inhabitants grew. The Wind Tribe is one of these magically inclined races. Inhabiting the Oocca’s old home, they reconstructed the old buildings, making the city rely completely on magic with their control over the wind and skies. The Palace of Winds features warp portals, as well as various magical based enemies. This signifies the strength of the magic within and around the palace.
The Oocca have definitely surprised players with their unique architectural abilities and influence on Hyrulian lore. They built a dungeon to accompany the Temple of Time so they could keep the Dominion Rod safe, and they aided the Goddesses by building the Tower of the Gods. This shows their strong connections to the Sages and the Goddesses, as well as their amazing architectural minds. However, they are absent in all the Zelda tales except for Twilight Princess, and we see a new race inhabiting the sky in The Minish Cap; The Wind Tribe. The Wind Tribe occupied the city, and transformed i
t to be suspended by magic alone, showing how dominant magic is in the land of Hyrule. The architecture of the Oocca was passed down to the Hylian’s, but in the long run, it could not overcome the ever growing influence of magic in Hyrule.