Have you ever wondered what it's like to be Navi? Link's spritely fairy companion in the Zelda video games?
Data from a 1997 Ocarina of Time beta uncovered earlier this week on a Nintendo 64 development cartridge for F-Zero X proves that the game's developers considered letting players fly around as Navi. The beta includes a number of different features like this that obviously didn't make it into the final game. But maybe Nintendo should consider bringing some of them back for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2?
It works as part of a medallion system in the Ocarina of Time beta. Magical medallions allow Link to use different magic spells. Data-miner MrCheeze listed these medals on Twitter. Some of them are straightforward, like the light, dark, wind, fire, and ice medals that let Link control those elements.
The most interesting one, however, is the Soul Medal that would've let players turn into Navi, Link's infamously annoying companion in Ocarina of Time, and fly around.
Navi ultimately just ended up as a tutorial-spouting companion in the final game, but the idea that players would've been able to turn into Navi and fly around is an intriguing callback to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and could've had a drastic impact on how some of the game's dungeons and puzzles played out.
We don't know why these medallions were removed, but MrCheeze has a theory: "This is the same effect as a spell in Zelda II, but way more complicated to implement in a 3D game," MrCheeze said on Twitter. "I doubt they got very far with implementing it."
He claims the special effects for it were used for Naryu's Love instead. While Nintendo wasn't able to fully realize this mechanic in 1997, the Rune abilities in the first Breath of the Wild come close to doing just that. As such, it would be exciting if Nintendo tried implementing an ability similar to the cut Soul Medallion in Breath of the Wild 2.
We've already theorized what it'd be like to fly around on a Loftwing from Skyward Sword, but turning into a fairy could still be a useful smaller-scale ability in Breath of the Wild 2. Players could possibly control or summon a fairy that they can send to scout ahead of themselves more directly without getting spotted, like companion birds in modern Assassin's Creed games.
If Link's going to transform into a fairy outright, that opens up some new possibilities for Shrine puzzles. Breath of the Wild 2 could let players squeeze through tight spaces or reach higher ledges without using up the stamina to climb if they transform into a fairy.
This would not only fully realize this cut Ocarina of Time ability, but pay tribute to the fairy spell in Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. Breath of the Wild 2 needs to expand Link's moveset in exciting new ways in order to stay fresh, and Nintendo could possibly get some fantastic ideas by looking at what they weren't able to fully realize in other The Legend of Zelda games.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is in development for Nintendo Switch.