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Prerelease:The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

To do:
Find original sources for the contemporary reports, cite them properly with reference tags, then incorporate the information into other sections as appropriate.
This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.


Development Timeline

  • 1998
    • November 21 - Ocarina of Time is released in Japan.
  • 1999
    • January - The developers brainstorm ideas for the game.
    • February 1 - Programming on the game begins.
    • May 24 - Nintendo announces that a Zelda sequel will be released by the end of the year.
    • August 4 - The first screenshots are unveiled.
    • August 27 - A playable demo of Majora's Mask debuts at Space World '99.
  • 2000
    • April 27 - The game is released in Japan.
    • October 26 - The game is released in North America.
    • November 17 - The game is released in Europe and Australia.

Planning and conception (1997 - mid-1999)

Ura Zelda

As early as 1997, it was reported that Nintendo were developing two Zelda titles for the N64: Ocarina of Time and a supplemental game (later known as Ura Zelda) to be released for the 64DD at a later date.[1] Following the release of Ocarina of Time in November 1998, many of the developers, such as directors Eiji Aonuma, Yoshiaki Koizumi, and Takumi Kawagoe, went their separate ways and began new projects.[2] According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Ura Zelda was to give himself an opportunity to incorporate several ideas that did not make it into Ocarina of Time, such as new areas and dungeons, due to time constraints "and other reasons."[3] He assigned Eiji Aonuma, the dungeon designer on Ocarina of Time,[4] the task of altering the Ocarina of Time dungeons for Ura Zelda.[5] However, Aonuma was uninterested in the project and was secretly planning out new Zelda dungeons on his own time.[5]

Shortly into the development of Ura Zelda, Aonuma asked Miyamoto if he could make a new Zelda game.[5] At the time, Miyamoto felt that the 3 year wait for Ocarina of Time was too long, so he told Aonuma that he could develop a new game as long as it could be finished in one year and thought that it would be possible if they created a new scenario using the assets of Ocarina of Time.[2] Aonuma agreed to the challenge and thus the development team of Majora's Mask began to form.[4] The game had Zelda Gaiden as its working title.[6] Ura Zelda ultimately became Ocarina of Time Master Quest, released for the GameCube in 2003.[4]

Forming the Team

When the development Majora's Mask began, they had about half of the Ocarina of Time team for the project.[2] Miyamoto was the sole producer of the project and had the final say in every decision, but he contributed very little after the opening planning meetings.[2] He merely tested the game toward the end of development and occasionally complained about certain things.[2] Aonuma became the supervising director.[2]

The team began planning the game in January 1999 and programming began on February 1.[2] After some months into development, they realized that they needed to recall more of the Ocarina of Time staff back to the team instead of hiring new people.[2] Miyamoto then called the original team members back and ended up with a team composed of about 70% of the Ocarina of Time staff.[2]

Miyamoto enlisted help from Koizumi, who was developing a "cops and robbers" themed board game where the objective was to catch a criminal in one week.[5][2] It was set in a compact game world that could be played over and over again.[5] Koizumi agreed to be on the Majora's Mask team as long as they could use the time passage system from Ocarina of Time to make a game where the same moments in time are played over and over, much like the board game project that he would have to leave behind.[5] Koizumi then became a director in charge of the game's scheduled events and playable characters.[2] His ideas of replaying moments in time in a compact world before time runs out would lay the groundwork for Majora's Mask.

Generally, I’d wait till July or August to start recalling people, once I saw that there was no other way. But, in this case, I realized how insurmountable our task was just a few months after starting, and so I asked him [Koizumi] to come back. The designs just got bigger and bigger. At first, we talked about switching up the dungeons [from Ocarina of Time], but we couldn’t have just left things at that. [...] we didn’t begin serious work on the game until we’d called them back to work on our project, so you could say we had them from the start. There was just a period beforehand where we experimented with things via trial and error.

— Shigeru Miyamoto[2]

Takumi Kawagoe was pulled away from a project to become the cutscene director, Mitsuhiro Takano was the script director, Kenta Usui was the dungeon director, and Yoichi Yamada was the director of system management.[2] In total, the project ended up with six directors for the foundation and game design with additional directors beyond that.[2]

By the time the team had fully formed, they had a staff of 30-50 people, which was a small team for a Zelda game and required everyone to work overtime.[2] Once the directors' visions were solidified after months of planning, they each split to work on their individual section.[2] Because so much of the staff was comprised of former Ocarina of Time team members, they were able to work independently with a common end-goal in mind.[2]

The game is filled with little winks from the development team, and one of the biggest inside jokes revolves around the festival tower that the carpenters are building in Clock Town's main plaza. The workers constantly wonder if they'll ever finish the job on time, and their musings are actually thinly-veiled reflections revealing the programmers' anxiety to finish developing the game according to schedule.

— English localizer Jason Leung[7]

Early Goals

From early to mid-1999, the staff formed and they planned out their goals for the game. While making Ocarina of Time, the developers learned that creating a large amount of content is difficult.[2] Because of this, one of their goals with Majora's Mask was to create a smaller game that could be played multiple times while still advancing the Zelda series with something new.[2] Miyamoto wanted the game to be dense so that the player would discover a greater depth to the game with each playthrough.[2] He believed that the full flavor of a creation gradually emerges with each viewing as all of the subtleties are uncovered.[2] In addition, he wanted to make a game where the same boss could be fought several times, which ended up being a feature in the final game.[2]

The three-day system was originally seven days as an idea that carried over from Koizumi's cops and robbers game.[5][2] They shortened the amount of days to three because it was too much for the players to remember a week's worth of events,[5] one year of development was not enough to make the whole week dense with content,[5] and it would allow players to see characters on their daily routine in more detail.[8] It took many ideas across several long and heated discussions for the developers to make the three-day scenario work.[9] For example, Aonuma stated that it may seem unreasonable to lose certain items when traveling back in time, but limitations like that are actually the result of many delicate modifications.[9]

Actually, in "Majora" the original plan was for it to be a one year time limit. However we found that it would be impossible to make a grand story like the previous game. Then we had the idea to try and compact the came. Within the condensed version it would become apparent that within the same place there would always be different happenings. So the possibility of reverting time came up. We now wanted a game of how much can you accomplish in just three days? And that is how the three day time restriction was settled.

— Eiji Aonuma[10]

Beyond the development of the replayable three-day system, they also wanted to expand on some of the features in Ocarina of Time, such as masks.[5] They also wanted to further develop and give more insight to the minor characters of Ocarina of Time.[8] They created the game without any kind of tutorial because it was made for those who had already played through Ocarina of Time.[5]

Concept Art


Three pieces of environment concept art by Takuya Imamura, the game's art director, were published in Hyrule Historia.

Hyrule Historia, p. 153
MM Prerelease-Environment Concept 2.jpg MM Prerelease-Environment Concept 5.jpg MM Prerelease-Environment Concept 6.jpg

The Triforce symbol is mostly absent from the released version of Majora's Mask, likely owing to the fact that the game doesn't take place in Hyrule. However, it can still be seen on several unused objects. Many of the designs have a decidedly psychedelic bent, which was also featured in in early screenshots. This art style seems to have been toned down for the final release. The spikes in the third image were visible in the first screenshot of Termina Field.


Hyrule Historia MM.jpg
Hyrule Historia MM Comp.jpg

In this game a lot of the characters have a a great deal of personality, such as Tingle....

When I asked the Art Director "I want you to make me a strange character that has a balloon on his back," he drew me Tingle. Of course, depending on what he does or what he says, a character can change a bit. At least for a game in a 3D world. That actually didn't happen much when making a 2D game.

Why is that?

Well, in the case of 3D there are life-size characters. Talking to them is one thing, but a single gesture they make can change your whole image of a character. In a 2D world the amount of graphics we can put in is small, and images will appear only as we exactly have programed them to. In a 3D game the feature is expanding the image. Of course, this means it will take up more time to make.

So is it your goal to balloon out the image of the game?

Yes. Though it would be an exaggeration to say that "Majora" came out as all of us staff members had planned. Some characters seemed to evolve without me even realizing it.

Is that okay?

It's okay as long as the we all have the same overall goal in mind. This time, the Producer Miyamoto (Shigeru) didn't object to much. Still, after releasing the game, there were many review meetings.

— Interview with Eiji Aonuma[10]


In Majora's Mask, we wanted Link to look like a child with a touch of grown-up expressions. In Ocarina of Time, he went through some bittersweet experiences as an adult. After all, Majora's Mask does take place right afterward. Right from the development phase, it was decided that Majora's Mask was going to have a dark atmosphere, so we wanted his expression to match. So we set out to depict a character that seemed rather mature for a child. We put a lot of shadows on him. [...] partially because of an overseas comic that I was a fan of at the time. But overall, I feel that it came across well in creating a dark and mysterious mood.

— Yusuke Nakano[6]

Transformation Masks

Skull Kid

Spaceworld Promo

Majora's Mask Spaceworld Art.jpg

This is probably the first illustration I created for it. [...] I created this illustration for the announcement to be made at the Nintendo-sponsored event Nintendo Space World '99. At that time, I took all the information I had and put it into the piece. [...] The design of the moon hadn't been finalized yet. The same goes for the clock tower in Clock Town, so I drew what I imagined it should look like. Additionally, the staff members wanted me to emphasize the many creepy masks that would appear in the game. The designs for Link's transformations and Skull Kid were more or less set, so I threw all of them into the illustration. Of course, many of the things you see are not in the game but from my imagination.

— Yusuke Nakano[6]
Art & Artifacts MM.jpg

This is likely to be an earlier rough draft of the above illustration.

(Source: Hyrule Historia)


There were so many [ideas for items] that I can't remember them all! There were, in some cases, an idea unlike anything else, but when trying to reflect it in the game there were some strange circumstances that made it impossible. Plus, once we merged it with the program there was always a possibility that they would become no good, or that even on paper it wasn't good. Because all of us were making it together we just kept shooting out ideas and writing them down. Some of the "Why don't we use this item?" ideas were inevitably scratched, and there were probably twice as many ideas for items than those that were actually put in the game.

— Eiji Aonuma[10]

May-June 1999

May 11

Ura-Zelda: Nintendo is still moving forward with the long-planned 64DD add-on adventure to Ocarina of Time, tentatively called Ura-Zelda in Japan. No date is set. A cartridge version for N64 owners without the DD is guaranteed.

— IGN[11]

May 21

IGN publishes rumor about new Zelda game on enhanced Ocarina of Time engine with new characters, quests, items, and world, unknown whether it will use expansion pak.[12]

May 24

At a press conference, Nintendo confirms that another N64 Zelda title will release before the end of 1999. By this time, Nintendo had announced that the 64DD would not be released in the USA. According to a Gamespot report published two days later, it is unclear whether this Zelda game will ship as a separate N64 cartridge or as an add-on to Ocarina of Time.[13]

May 27

IGN reports (via 64 Dream) that NCL publicist Yoshio Hongo says 64DD will be released very soon, despite skepticism from devs, says Nintendo has confirmed a 1999 release for Ura Zelda in Japan

Circa May 31

Koizumi finishes his design doc.[2]

June 16

IGN publishes a report which states that Ura Zelda has been renamed to Zelda: Gaiden, a "semi-sequel to Ocarina of Time". They add that the game will be playable at Spaceworld on August 27. It is a 64DD-based title scheduled for late ‘99 release.[14]

Early August 1999



On August 4, it was confirmed that the game would be released on cartridge rather than disk, and that a playable demo would be available for fans to enjoy at Spaceworld at the end of the month.[15]

Expansion Pak

Japanese magazine Famitsu Weekly revealed that Gaiden would be making use of the expansion pak accessory to allow for the display of more enemies and other graphical details, as well as a smooth, consistent framerate.[16][17]

Release Date

On August 18, it was announced that the game would no longer be debuting in 1999, and was instead expected to ship in Japan in spring of 2000.[17]

First Look

On August 4, the first three screenshots of Gaiden were released by Nintendo Power Source, a section of America Online run by Nintendo before it migrated to its own website.[15]

Termina Field, Link's Model, and HUD

Aug. '99 Final
MM prereleased 1999 Epona.jpg MM Epona in Termina final.png

Link is seen here in the Snowhead part of Termina Field. It immediately becomes obvious that the game had barely been changed from Ocarina of Time at this point - Link has the Fairy Bow on B, the buttons on the HUD are still unchanged, Link is using the original Young Link model, and Link is carrying the Deku Shield on his back (not as visible in this screenshot as in the following ones, though). The minimap is just a placeholder, but the graphics for these placeholders still exist in the final game.

While there is already a clock very similar to what is seen in the final game, it doesn't display the current hour, and instead of the day there is an ornate symbol that resembles the kanji 月. In Japanese, 月 can be used as shorthand for 月曜日 or "Monday", which suggests that the game was still running on a seven-day system at this point. This is supported by the fact that there is still coding for seven different days in the final game, with the First Day marked as Monday. Additionally, the leaked source code contains unused graphics for each of the seven days, using their kanji abbreviations (including 月 for Monday).

As for the area itself, it's very similar to the final except that the icicles in front no longer exist in the final version. However, the textures used in the prerelease screenshot make the mushroom-shaped platforms look more like trees and the ramp to Snowhead seems to have been grassy originally.

Clock Town, Skybox, and Fairy Ocarina

Aug. '99 Final
MM prereleased 1999 South Clock Town.jpg MM South Clock Town final.png

Judging from the camera angle, Link appears to be standing on a ledge or platform that no longer exists in the final version of South Clock Town. The skybox has not yet been changed from how it appeared in Ocarina of Time. The Kokiri Sword is seen on B, and Link has the Fairy Ocarina on C-Right.


To do:
Image of Eyegore from the final game.
Aug. '99 Final
MM prereleased 1999 Eyegore.jpg

The Eyegore appears to have gone through a major redesign during development. This seems to be the same "test dungeon" as below (see "#Unknown").

Follow-up Screenshots


Navi makes an appearance in these screenshots before being eventually replaced by Tatl.

Termina Field

Prototype Final
MM prereleased 1999 West Clock Town.jpg MM West Clock Town final.png

This appears to be Termina Field in front of the entrance to West Clock Town, but the walls use really weird "sun face" textures which might just be placeholders. This area also appears to have gone through a redesign with the outer perimeter of Clock Town being different, the ground having different textures and the fountain being much larger. What the wall in the background is supposed to be is a mystery.

Southern Swamp

Prototype Final
MM prereleased 1999 Tingle.jpg MM Tingle final.png

The path to Southern Swamp had an actual road earlier on instead of just being plain ground in the final. Tingle appears to be much larger in this screenshot as well. Some slight changes can be seen in the back, such as the lack of a Deku Flower.

Prototype Final
MM prereleased 1999 Southern Swamp.jpg MM Southern Swamp final.png

Link is seen on the boat in Southern Swamp. He has the Bow on B which would suggest Koume's shooting minigame, but Koume is nowhere to be seen and the camera is in third-person view. Even though it's barely visible, Link is actually holding out the Slingshot rather than the Bow (a behavior reproducible in Ocarina of Time if you hack the Bow to be usable as Child Link).

The design of the wooden pillars is remarkably different, and there seem to be no lilypads in the prototype screenshot.

Goron Village and Goron Link Actions

Prototype Final
MM prereleased 1999 Goron Village.jpg MM Goron Village final.png

Goron Link has the Megaton Hammer on B, possibly also a placeholder until the punch was implemented. The A button reads "Attack" in the prerelease screenshot, which never happens while rolling in the final. In addition, Goron Link leaves behind brown dirt as he rolls rather than snow. The area seems to use a completely different skybox and lightning at this point and the snowballs, the Goron Guard, and the Deku Scrub Salesman in the background are missing entirely.

Romani Ranch, Ingo, and Cremia

Prototype Final
MM-A0067-O0099-V0000-2.jpg MM Romani Ranch final.png

One of the greatest mysteries, Ingo is seen in Romani Ranch in this prerelease screenshot. Did he once work at Romani Ranch? In addition, Cremia is never seen standing in this spot in the final version and the barn next to the ranch house (which has slightly different textures) appears to be missing altogether.

Zora Link, Boomerang, Hookshot, and Waterfall Rapids

Prototype Final
MM-Item 11.jpg MM Zora Link final.png

Zora Link has the Hookshot on B, possibly a placeholder until the boomerangs were implemented, or an indication that the Hookshot's function was planned as a Zora Link ability. The Boomerang is equipped to C-Left albeit grayed out. The Waterfall Rapids also appear to have gone through a major redesign.

Stone Tower Temple

Prototype Final
MM prereleased 1999 Stone Temple.jpg MM Stone Temple final.png

Link is seen in front of Stone Tower Temple, an area which appears to have gone through a large redesign during development. Many textures have been changed, especially around the entrance, and there's a bridge instead of the block puzzle. The statues beside the entrance appear to have been removed altogether, as well as the smoke coming from the chimneys. Link has the Fairy Ocarina on B, strangely enough.


MM prereleased 1999 Gekko.jpg


Spaceworld '99 (Late August)

Demo and Trailer

MM prereleased 08-99 Logo.jpg
Spaceworld Demo
Details on the playable demo at Spaceworld '99.

A minute-long trailer was shown at the Spaceworld '99 convention. It showed off much of the gameplay that was available to play in the demo.


Release Date

Expected to release in Japan in March 2000.[18]



The following story outline appeared in the Spaceworld '99 guidebook, and was also published to the Spaceworld '99 section of Nintendo's official website.

Several months after returning peace to Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, the previous game, Link once again set forth on a new adventure.

One day, while deep in the woods, Link encountered a lone Skull Kid wearing a curious sinister mask. The Skull Kid snatched Epona, the beloved horse Link was riding, and fled beyond a door at the end of a twisted tunnel. Link gave chase and passed through the door, only to find... a curious world that seemed somehow familiar. The people living there seemed somehow familiar, too. But the one thing that was certainly different was the giant moon in the sky, plummeting slowly towards the earth.

"In a matter of days, the world will end..."

So said the people living there. But whether or not they stood around, time marched cruelly on.

"That curious mask-wearing Skull Kid. If you track him down, maybe you'll find some clue to fixing all of this."

In order to stop the moon from falling, and to return to his own world, Link embarks on a new adventure.

There is only a little time left until the world is destroyed. The remaining hours are marked by the merciless ticking of a giant clock tower. Can Link save the world in the time that remains to him?

(Source: GlitterBerri (Translation))

A similar summary appeared in IGN. The only major difference is that the reporter mentions that Link will be accompanied by "his trusted friend Navi".[18]


Intro cutscene from Spaceworld, Aug. '99 Final
MM prereleased 1999 Intro.jpg MM Intro final.png



The game will progress in real-time. There is a meter at the bottom/middle of the screen now that shows the position of the sun or moon at all times. It is believed that the time that passes during gameplay affects the outcome and story of the game much more than in Ocarina of Time.

— IGN[18]

The timer does not appear in some screenshots. In the final game, it is present in virtually every area.


MM prereleased 08-99 Running.jpg

At one point in the trailer, Link runs as though he does not have his sword and shield drawn. Curiously, the B Button text reads "Bubble" (シャボン), which should ordinarily only appear as Deku Link.


Hero's Shield and Kokiri Sword

Mm early clock tower.jpg

By now, new footage and screenshots stopped showing Link with his Deku Shield and Kokiri Sword from Ocarina of Time. However, the icon for the Kokiri Sword has not yet been updated.

I was the one who designed the shield for that game. In Ocarina of Time, child Link couldn't equip the Hylian Shield [sic]. I could have had him continue to use the Deku Shield in Majora's Mask, but it was a new title, so I wanted it to stand out. That's why I designed something new. I thought that if I put a bird on it, it would be reminiscent of the Hylian Shield, but since the world of the game was on the dark side, I decided to design it with a nocturnal bird, which is why I went with an owl motif.

— Yoshiki Haruhana[6]

Hammer and Boomerang

Many of the classic Ocarina of Time weapons and items are back, including the hammer, the bow and arrow, hookshot, the boomerang, the ocarina, the bombs, and the dagger -- only that young Link can now use all of them.

— IGN[18]

Hammer and Boomerang do not appear in the final game. Instead, their functions were merged with the abilities of the Goron and Zora forms, respectively.


The use of masks has been greatly expanded over Ocarina of Time. Link will be able to use the power of certain masks to change his appearance and give him special abilities. For example, one mask turns him into a Zora, enabling him to swim underwater. Another mask will turn him into a Goron, allowing Link to curl up into a ball and roll around. Yet another mask will turn Link into one of those annoying Deku Nut guys and allow him to fly with the use of a flower in a hang glider-like fashion.

— IGN[18]

Link Mask

To do:
  • Link Mask icon and comparison with the Fierce Diety Mask

Link is sometimes shown equipped with a mask bearing his likeness that doesn't appear in the final game. It's possible this was a mask that allowed Link to return to his human form, or an early idea for the Fierce Deity Mask, in which Link would transform into an Adult form. Curiously, seemingly none of the press reports from this period acknowledge the existence of this mask despite it being seen in the trailer and many screenshots. Instead, reporters only note Goron, Deku, and Zora as transformation masks.

May be related to a "Link mask" model that still exists in the game's code.

Concept art object_En_Zl4
Hyrule Historia Deku Link.jpg ZeldaMM-link'smask.png

Deku Mask

MM prereleased 08-99 Deku Pipes.jpg

These white pipes underwent a reskin for the final game.

MM Prerelease-08-99-Deku Mask.jpg

Deku Link has Deku Nuts on B despite not flying.


Tatl and Tael


An early design of Tatl and Tael. This is still present as an unused object in the final game.

Adult Link

IGN64: Are you overseeing Zelda Gaiden?

Miyamoto: From time to time at important milestones, I have to take a look at it. But I'm always trying not to be involved with the politics very deeply so that I'm not, for example, writing specifications or setting deadlines.

IGN64: We played Gaiden a short while ago and it's very impressive. But we're curious, will Link grow up in Gaiden?

Miyamoto: I actually don't know, but I heard that the adult Link will probably appear this time too. Also, if you say that Gaiden on the show floor is really good stuff I can feel very comfortable because that means my staff members have already become better than me when it comes to game creation.

— Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, August 27, 1999[19]


Gaiden features completely new, big bosses. While the specifics of all the bosses in the game are still being kept secret, we do know of at least three: a Gohma-like creature, an oversized frog and a giant warrior.

— IGN[18]


Revisited - Termina Field

Prerelease Final
MM prereleased 1999 West Termina Field .jpg MM West Termina Field final.png

West Termina Field. The different fountains are very clearly visible here. The object for these is still in the final game, but unused.


MM prereleased 08-99 Inner Palace Garden Flying 2.jpg

Deku Link has a Deku Nut icon on B but no counter. The poisoned water around Deku Palace looks very different.

MM prereleased 08-99 Inner Palace Garden Flying 3.jpg
MM prereleased 08-99 Woodfall Temple.jpg

There are no Chuchus in the final Woodfall Temple. The only two rooms with this layout contain either Snappers, or the Dinofol miniboss.

MM prereleased 08-99 Woodfall Temple Flying.jpg


MM Prerelease-08-99-Goron Mask.jpg

The blacksmith's house, as well as a lot of the scenery here in Mountain Village, looks very different from the final.

MM prereleased 08-99 Goron Drums.jpg
MM prereleased 08-99 Goron Race.jpg


MM prereleased 08-99 Zora Race 2.jpg

Zora Link racing against both beavers at once doesn't happen in the final version.

MM prereleased 1999 Swimming.jpg


MM-Stone Tower.png

Stone Tower has a vastly different layout to what is seen in the final game. The square platform and the longer platform seen in the screenshot are both still present as unused objects in the final game.


MM prereleased Early Dungeon.gif

This dungeon, seen in the Spaceworld trailer, doesn't seem to exist in the final game altogether. It might just have been some sort of testing ground for different enemies, as the same area can be seen in other screenshots as well. The room seems to feature Stalchildren in different positions (sitting on crates, walking around, swinging from a branch) that are found in the final game in various areas such as Ikana Graveyard and the Oceanside Spider House.

MM Prerelease 08-99 Unknown Dungeon.png
MM Prerelease 08-99 Unknown Dungeon 2.png

An excerpt from the above showing the room Link just came from, featuring wooden crates and pots.

Reports (info yet to be sorted)

August 19

Gamespot's reports (via Famitsu Weekly)

  • Basic plot detailed.
  • Plays like OoT, but there is now a gauge in the lower middle of the screen. Nintendo has yet to reveal how this gauge will come into play. Gamespot speculates that it has to do with measuring time (ding ding!).
  • Masks will play a major role in the game, allowing Link to turn into other characters and alter his abilities.
  • Game will need Expansion Pak to display more enemies, better enemy AI, and more advanced special effects.
  • Expected to release in Japan in March 2000.

August 20

IGN's reports (via Famitsu Weekly).[20]

  • Miyamoto confirms in an interview that 64DD’s Ura Zelda and cartridge-based Gaiden are two separate projects.
  • Wanted to make a new game based on Zelda system, that took advantage of the memory pak.
  • Won’t be a game where “the locations of the dungeons are simply changed around”.
  • Miyamoto did note that "The 64DD 'Ura Zelda' is moving along on its own," but was not willing to divulge further details regarding the game.
  • “The 64DD adventure is said to enable gamers to revisit areas and dungeons of Ocarina of Time and experience new adventures in familiar surroundings”.
  • Currently no plans to unveil the 64DD-only Ura Zelda at Space World.

IGN reports, again (via same Famitsu Weekly interview).[21]

  • Gaiden takes place only a few months after The Ocarina of Time left off. The world as Link knows it temporarily seems fully restored and at peace, but something goes wrong.
  • The moon above the land is gradually falling from its place in the sky. "If left alone," says Miyamoto, "the world will come to an end in a matter of days. If the moon were to fall all the way down to the earth, that would be it for the people."
  • The game utilizes an improved version of the Ocarina of Time engine that utilizes the added RAM of the RAM Expansion for more detailed environments and a greater number of enemies on screen.
  • Link's physical appearance may change whenever he dons a mask now. In a style similar to that of Rare's Banjo-Kazooie, players will need to determine which character (or mask) to use in specific scenarios.
  • The number of masks has increased greatly. Players will be able to carry multiple masks, rather than exchanging them for different ones.
  • In Gaiden, child Link will be able to ride a young Epona. "Things that people wanted to do in the last game, we are trying our best to include them this time around," says Miyamoto.
  • The sun moves in real-time, as we reported yesterday. But there is more to it. Just as the sun moves, so does the moon above the earth, which is slowly falling downwards onto the planet. So players cannot waste time lounging around the environments and staring at the sun. Miyamoto comments, "This time, if you just sit around and look at the sun, the world is finished (from the moon crashing on the sun). It's that type of game."

August 23

IGN reports (via Famitsu Weekly).[22]

  • The fishing sequence present in Ocarina of Time will be enhanced. Miyamoto comments, "Rather than taking the fishing part of the last game to extremes, we want to do something new with it. Like 'Jabu Jabu' fishing." Miyamoto, unwilling to reveal all the details surrounding the enhanced fishing mini-game, did offer Famitsu this: "If you catch the 'Jabu Jabu,' it may cause things like stopping the fall of the moon." The fishing mini-game will offer a means of earning Rupies in Zelda Gaiden.
  • In Gaiden, real-time progress will play a much more integral role than it did in Ocarina of Time. As a moon above Link's planet slowly falls towards the earth, players will have to accomplish all of their tasks before time runs out. Lazy adventurers, though, will be happy to learn that time, it seems, is not without its price. "They say 'Time is money,'" elaborates Miyamoto. "You will be able to buy time using Rupies. There will be a merchant who sells time."
  • According to Miyamoto, Zelda Gaiden's engine is already finished. "I would say [the game is] about 50% complete," comments the designer. "All that is left is the second half of the data."

IGN reports (via Famitsu Weekly).[23]

  • "Zelda Gaiden and the upcoming Donkey Kong 64 will use the memory differently (than Turok 2 or Episode I Racer," game designer Shigeru Miyamoto told Famitsu Weekly. "Of course the graphics will look better, but the memory will be used for improving framerates."
  • Additionally, the enhanced memory will allow for more enemies on-screen (with a smooth framerate), smarter enemies and, according to Miyamoto, "the text will be more detailed."

IGN publishes 3 new screenshots (via Dengeki 64).

August 27-29

Space World '99 (August 27-29, exact date unknown): Nintendo Power Source interviews producer Miyamoto.

  • "Ura Zelda" (Master Quest) will use the 64DD to add content to OoT's cartridge, making dungeons different and relocating items. (Sounds Second Quest inspired?) However, "Zelda Gaiden" (MM) is a completely different game using OoT's system. Most of the staff is concentrating on Zelda Gaiden.
  • Miyamoto wanted the next game to come out sooner than a typical 3 years.
  • Miyamoto measures his involvement with Zelda Gaiden at about 20%.
  • Miyamoto decides the overall direction of the game, but nothing specific. He helps set development priorities and makes staff recommendations.
  • Miyamoto says that Zelda games will come out more frequently if Zelda Gaiden turns out to be fun to play.
  • Miyamoto had several ideas for OoT that didn't make it that he gave to the MM staff.
  • Miyamoto wants players to feel like they played something unexpected.
  • They are trying to make something new and improve the density of the world, fitting in as many events as they can in the 3 days. The memory expansion is needed to handle all of the simultaneous events in the world.
  • Miyamoto is aiming for just under 30 masks in the final game (Total ended up being 24).
  • There is a running man 4 times taller than the one in OoT (Captain Keeta?)

September 1999

September ??

Nintendo Power September Issue #124 gives a Space World '99 preview in the Pak Peeks section on page 158.

  • Zelda Gaiden made its world debut at Space World '99.
  • The word "gaiden" means sequel.
  • First 3 screenshots are shown.

September 22

IGN reports a bunch of stuff (via 64 Dream).[24]

  • The version of Gaiden shown at Spaceworld was roughly 20% complete, though Miyamoto commented that "the main engine was about 80% complete."
  • The game, according to Miyamoto, will take about the same amount of time to complete as Ocarina of Time did, though the story itself will progress in about half of the time.
  • The game will not support the GB Camera to create masks for Link.
  • Miyamoto: "Whether or not we release [Ura Zelda], we are still working on the game."
  • There will be no version of Gaiden for the 64DD. "We have made various changes to the engine, so it is only going to work on cartridge," said Miyamoto.
  • The title might support the GB Camera to create masks for Link. Miyamoto hinted of this possibility in a 64 Dream interview. If this does turn out to be true, gamers will be able to create their own masks in Talent Studio and implement them into Ura-Zelda.

October 1999

October ??

Nintendo Power October Issue #125 covers Space World '99 in the Pak Wrap section on page 138.

  • Three screenshots and one artwork shown.
  • "It was evident that the framerates and graphics had improved".
  • Basic plot detailed.
  • Story takes place months after the end of OoT.


Potion Shop

MM prereleased 10-99 Kotake 2.jpg

In the final game, Kotake is placed behind the left side of the table. The red and blue potions positions were swapped in the final game.

November 1999 - February 2000

November 4

IGN reports that Gaiden will get a holiday season, 2000 release in the US

December 14

IGN reports on TP, Gaiden (via Super PLAY):

  • Among the most notable items discussed was a new Zelda title -- the true follow-up to Ocarina of Time -- which Miyamoto states is already underway.
  • "The Zelda which will be based on a new system compared to Ocarina of Time, you have to wait five years for," said Miyamoto. "We are developing it for the Dolphin right now. But when we discussed it, we concluded that five years is an awfully long time. Those who played Ocarina of Time in college will have graduated when the Dolphin game is released! We think that's a long time. So we wanted to use the existing Ocarina of Time engine and the Expansion Pak to make a sequel to Nintendo 64 in the meanwhile."
  • Editor's note to readers: the translation, particularly the excerpt "the Zelda which will be based on a new system compared to Ocarina of Time," is fairly vague. We ask that you bear in mind that Mr. Miyamoto may in fact be saying that Nintendo is working on a completely different "system"-- meaning control setup and genre -- (from Ocarina of Time) for the Zelda franchise and it is this that will arrive in five years. He does not indicate whether or not another Zelda game featuring a similar genre and control system to Ocarina of Time will arrive for Dolphin first, but this could very well be the case.

December ??

N64 Magazine discusses a playthrough

January 3

  • Gamespot reports that the official name of Zelda Gaiden is Zelda: Mask of Mujula and that it will use the N64 Expansion Pak for added detail and enemy counts.

February 29

IGN reports (via NoJ PR chief Yoshio Hongo in The 64 Dream).

  • Nintendo's Ocarina of Time follow-up, Legend of Zelda: Mask of Mujula, was previously announced by Nintendo to arrive in Japan April 27th. Hongo-san confirmed the release date and explained that Nintendo is releasing the Mujula in late April so that Japanese players can enjoy the title during their Golden Week holiday, which begins the first week of May. According to Hongo-san, debugging is said to start at the end of February, so the game shouldn't have any problems making its scheduled April release date.
  • Commercials for Mask of Mujula will begin airing in Japan in April.

February ??

Magazine 64 has a little blurb on MM.


Termina Field

MM prereleased 01-00 Termina Field.jpg

Originally, one of the trees seen in front of the Astral Observatory was shaped like the tree used in the adult version of Kakariko Village in Ocarina of Time.

March 2000

March 6

  • IGN reports (via Nintendo Power Source) that Majora’s Mask is tentative English title, publishes new screenshots from Famitsu.
  • Gamespot reports that Majora's Mask is tentative English title and that one of the screenshots they previously posted shows an adult link mask on the bottom C slot, speculating that Adult Link plays a small role in the game. Miyamoto commented that he was not sure if adult Link is in the game or not. Game will release in Fall 2000.

March 28

  • IGN unveils Japanese box art, claims that “two versions of the game, one with and one without the 4MB Expansion Pak, will be shipping in that country.”

March 31

  • Magazine 64 publishes all they know on MM up till now, includes early info.
  • Japanese 1.0 version build date.


Mayor's Residence

MM prereleased 03-00 Mayor Residence.jpg

The receptionist from Mayor's Residence was the Treasure Chest Game owner. Interestingly, in the final game, both the receptionist and the Treasure Chest Game owner share the same object (object_bg), with index 0x0129.


Bomber's Notebook

Gorman's icon in the Bombers' Notebook seems to have been a model render on a white background. The final version shows an image of Gorman in an outdoor scene.

Prerelease[25] Final
MMBombersGormanPrerelease.jpg MMBombersGorman.png

April-August 2000

April 5

IGN shares some JP MM commercials.

April 6

NoA shares a bunch of screenshots.

April 13

IGN reports (via Famitsu)

  • The back flip and side jumps will return and feature the same controls. This time, there will be a long jump as well, during which you are unable to attack. Attacks with your sword are the same, with slashes, thrusts, jumping slash and the spinning attack all back for more.
  • Deku nuts Link is a bit shorter than boy Link, so he'll have trouble reaching certain places. He will have the ability to perform a Deku flower jump, which is where he stands on a special flower and then uses the flowers like a hang glider. Also, he will have a bubble projectile attack. Finally, Deku Link can skip over water for a maximum of five jumps.
  • The game will flow in real time, but the clock stops when you're talking to other characters or using the item menu screen. Also, while the adventure does progress in real time, in actuality, one hour of game time is a bit shorter than one hour of real time.
  • The time meter is quite simple, with 1st, 2nd and Last being displayed in the middle. This is the day that you are currently on. The sun or moon moves across the half-circle and when it has gone and come back, that is one day. There is a number above the sun/moon to tell you what time it is. Day is from 6am to 6pm.
  • While Ocarina of Time showed you a map in the bottom right corner of the area you were in, this time, you will have to find the maps of fields, towns, etc. in order for them to be displayed in Majora's Mask.
  • When you first start the game, there will be no magic gauge on your screen and you won't be able to do any magic. You must do something specific in order to receive magic ability from one of the great fairies.
  • The ocarina will play an important part in this game too. The controls are the same. When you start the game, you don't know any songs and have to learn them like you did in Ocarina of Time. When wearing the different masks, you'll play the instruments of that people, eg. Deku Link plays some kind of horn/bagpipe.
  • The scheduler (see the screenshot) is used to keep track of the different people in the land and to help them. You receive the scheduler from a group known as the Bombers after proving your worth to them.
  • Similar to Ocarina of Time, there will be a number of minigames as well. Mini games will cost money to play, and some familiar ones like the treasure box guessing game and archery ranges will return. Also, there appears to be a Deku Link minigame as well, where you must fly around using your Deku flower collecting rupees within a certain time limit.
  • Depending on the time of day, different enemies will appear, with the stronger ones coming out at night. There will be a noticeable difference in visibility during the dark, making it difficult to fight the monsters that appear.
  • In the last game, you could save anywhere you wanted to. This time, you will be limited in when and where you can save. This should help up the fear/nervousness factor, while at the same time heightening the frustration factor. In this game, you can only save in certain situations. If you do a certain thing (it's still a secret), you can turn back time, but only then can you save freely. In addition, there are instances where saving will cause you to lose certain items. This means you'll have to plan your saves wisely.
  • Mentions that there are new screenshots in their preview of the game.

April 27

Game released in Japan. Towards the end of development, Aonuma got angry when Miyamoto told him he could delay the game because they were already set on their goal.[5]

May 16

GIA plays a demo at E3.

May 26

GIA reports (via GameInformer) that Miyamoto does not intend to make the game "easier" before the U.S. release, but intends to take advantage of the time between the Japanese and U.S. release to tweak the gameplay. Miyamoto said that the game would undergo an "adjustment of information," which implies more than the usual localization process.

July ??

Nintendo Power July Issue #134 covers MM on pg. 52-56

  • Images shown: Main artwork, 3 Link artworks, Deku Link artwork, Goron Link artwork, Zora Link artwork, Skull kid artwork, Odolwa artwork, Cremia and Romani artwork, Zora band artworks, 35 screenshots, and one IRL photo.
  • Called "The most innovative adventure game of all time".
  • MM is a mystery instead of an epic quest like OoT. Think of Link as the detective.
  • Lots of details about the plot and gameplay of the entire game.
  • Between now and release on November 24, only the final English translation needs to be completed by Jason Leung.
  • Nintendo Power interviews Aonuma, Miyamoto, and Tezuka (From E3 May 2000).
  • After seeing Toy Story 2, Miyamoto realized that MM was similar in that it expanded on minor characters.
  • Miyamoto compares MM's world to a small garden.

July 31

US version 1.0 build date.

August 24

Nintendo Online Magazine interviews Main/Supervising Director Aonuma.

  • Aonuma created the dungeon-related story and worked on the activities in Clock Town.
  • At some point, they felt that they could tell a grander story with a more compact game. As the game became more compact, they realized that there would be different happenings in the same place, so the idea of reverting time came up.
  • Aonuma: There were probably twice as many ideas for items than those that made it into the game.
  • Aonuma asked the Art Director, "I want you to make me a strange character that has a balloon on his back" and he drew Tingle as a result.
  • Feedback on OoT influenced MM.
  • The simultaneous, continuous activity of the characters was the reason the Memory Expansion Pack was needed.

March 2015

March 13

Miiverse Miiting interview with an unnamed developer (implied to be Aonuma)[26]

  • Aonuma said, "The mask salesman is the absolute shadiest person. There's nobody quite so fishy as someone who goes around saying he sells happiness! So we call him the Happy Mask Salesman."
  • Deku Mask was made from the Deku Butler's Son.
  • "By adding spiky thorns to the beautiful land pure shape that is a heart, we tried to strongly convey the mask's sinister nature".
  • Early on, develops thought it would be interesting if the light that reflected off the shield created a pattern that looks like a face, so they modeled that face after one of the masks on Happy Mask Salesman's backpack.
  • Mujura's name comes from the game's art director, Takaya Imamura. He combined "mura" from his name and "ju" from the film "Jumanji" to make "Mujura".

Homeless Info


  • Aonuma was thinking about a scene for the Dekus, so he thought about it at home and he had a nightmare about Dekus, causing him to wake up screaming. At work the next day, Kawagoe, the cutscene director, had finished making a cutscene for the Dekus, and it was exactly like Aonuma's nightmare.

Gamers like the fact that we use a familiar engine, don't you think? I believe that the gamers won't feel as if they are playing on the old engine. As a matter of fact, when it comes to game design, we have come up with many new ideas. And in the future too, once we have established a 3D action game engine, we may use it again. It is possible that even for Dolphin we may use a similar type game engine from now.

— Shigeru Miyamoto[9]


  • Aonuma was in charge of the entire overworld. Aonuma tried to make a fantasy atmosphere, while Koizumi tried to create realistic lives for the characters. When Aonuma saw how serious Koizumi's Clock Town was, he decided to make the overworld more light-hearted

Their goal is to present something mysterious rather than scary

— Shigeru Miyamoto[8]

Miscellaneous Screenshots

Spaceworld Trailer

October 1999

December 1999


  1. Zelda DD Action in '98 - IGN.com, November 24, 1997
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table - 1101.com, May 17, 2000
  3. Zelda DD: The Other Adventure - IGN.com, November 17, 1998
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Iwata Asks: Nintendo DS - Nintendo.com, December 3, 2009
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D - Nintendo.com, February 13, 2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts (2017), p. 414-415
  7. Jason Leung (Author of English Screen Text) Diary "Behind the Mask" - Nintendo.com, 2000
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Majora's Mask E3 Miyamoto and Aonuma Interview - Nintendo.com, May 2000 Mirror
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Interview: Miyamoto & Aonuma - IGN64.com, June 5, 2000
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 N.O.M. interview with the Director of Majora's Mask, Eiji Aonuma - Nintendo.co.jp, August 24, 2000 (translation by Zethar)
  11. Nintendo Sequel Rumblings - IGN.com, May 11, 1999
  12. Ed's Rumor Report - IGN.com, May 21, 1999
  13. Zelda Sequel Confirmed - Gamespot.com, May 26, 1999
  14. Zelda Sequel Invades Spaceworld - IGN.com, June 16, 1999
  15. 15.0 15.1 First Screenshots of Zelda Gaiden! - IGN.com, August 4, 1999
  16. Gaiden to Pak Mighty Punch - IGN.com, August 18, 1999
  17. 17.0 17.1 Expansion Pak for Zelda Gaiden - Gamespot.com, August 18, 1999
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 First Zelda Gaiden Details Exposed - IGN.com, August 19, 1999
  19. Mr. Miyamoto Speaks - IGN.com, August 27, 1999
  20. Gaiden and Ura Zelda Split - IGN.com, August 20, 1999
  21. More Details on Zelda Gaiden Surface - IGN.com, August 20, 1999
  22. Believe it or Not... - IGN.com, August 23, 1999
  23. Expanding on the Pak - IGN.com, August 23, 1999
  24. More Zelda Details Surface - IGN.com, September 22, 1999
  25. Insert Title Here - Nintendo.co.jp, circa March 2000
  26. https://archiverse.guide/post/AYMHAAACAAADVHjGDkmRww

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