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- This article gives an overview on unused or unreleased game information. See Hacks and Glitches for information and abilities gained by using cheating devices or by exploiting programming faults.
Beta Content is a sector of gaming that focuses on the unreleased, scrapped, or otherwise removed content of a game only obtainable through hacking, pre-release demos, or through other unlicensed means. In respect to the Zelda franchise, beta content ranges from enemy prototypes to early landscape blueprints, from entire projects to the original design of certain items. While beta content is most often content finally removed from the final publication of games, sometimes its influence can still be seen in the title in final builds; for example, in Ocarina of Time, the Forest Temple and Medallion were supposed to be the Wind Temple and Medallion. Although the forest design for the temple was chosen, the Medallion and insignias placed in Ganon's Tower and around the Forest Temple are still reminiscent of the windmill-like symbol relative to the beta Wind Temple.
A Link to the Past
- The Cannon Soldier, an unused enemy Soldier variation that still remains in a working state in the game's code.
Ocarina of Time
Because of its popularity, Ocarina of Time has been hacked many times to create mods or just to look into the game's assets. Along the way, much beta content was found hidden within the cartridge data. Early previews of the game also provide insight into unused content.
- A Sword Beam can be seen in screenshots and early trailers.
- The Arwing, the famed Starfox starship, makes an appearence in Ocarina of Time as a flying enemy. It was likely used to test the Z-targeting system as well as projectile weapon usage. This unusual enemy can only be loaded through the use of a cheating device.
- A beta model for Fado exists within the cartridge data.
- In early builds of the game, Medallions worked differently. Medallions can be seen equipped in various early screenshots. Several early screenshots depict Link with the Forest Medallion (then known as the Wind Medallion) equipped, as the Medallions were the original method of warping through Hyrule instead of using the Ocarina of Time. In a November 1997 interview by Famimaga 64, Shigeru Miyamoto explained that the Medallions, known as "Magic Medallions", were supposed to have been used in conjunction with Link's bow and arrow. There were to be six types of Magic Medallions, including fire, wind, darkness, and light, meaning that they might have been used instead of the Fire, Ice, and Light Arrows that turned out in the final, released version of the game. The Forest Medallion and Water Medallion were originally the "Wind Medallion" and "Ice Medallion", but their names and corresponding dungeons were changed during development. Two icons relating to these original medallions are still present in the game's code.
- Early screenshots show a Stalfos different from the current Stalfos design, which is more skeletal in appearance than the early design. 
- The model for the Unicorn Fountain, the elusive Fairy Fountain in Ocarina of Time, exists within the cartridge data. It boasts a unicorn instead of a Great Fairy.
- A Wind Temple and Ice Temple were originally planned. They were eventually replaced with the Forest Temple and Ice Cavern (or possibly The Water Temple), respectively.
- Zora's Fountain originally had an exit to Zora's River in early versions of the game.
- A different Jump Attack animation can be seen in early previews. This was replaced with the current animation in the final build.
- Also in early previews, Link can be seen doing front flips - this move does not exist in the final game. The animation still exists and can be hacked in, however.
- The game includes Nintendo 64DD-exclusive programming, remnants of an early period of development. Ocarina of Time was originally going to have an expansion disk released for the 64DD, but after the 64DD failed in Japan, the expansion disk was canceled. However, through the use of a cheating device, one can force the game to mark an existing save file as one intended for use with the (nonexistent) expansion disk. This file, once modified, cannot be unmarked or loaded.
- Link's Hylian Shield and Master Sword had a different design in earlier versions of the game.
- An Ocarina Pedestal, similar to the Medallion pedestals, was modeled but never used in the final game.. It can be found in an unused cutscene taking place in Zora's Fountain. 
- During the development of Ocarina of Time, the Great Fairies were not the same ones that appeared in the final version of the game, for they had more of a crystal appearance with long, white wings. Their crystalline appearance is similar to the appearance of the Great Fairies from The Wind Waker. The Beta Great Fairy, surprisingly, shares the same model file as the in-game Great Fairy.
- Gold-rimmed treasure chest models, similar to those used in Majora's Mask can be seen in some pre-release Deku Tree screenshots. 
- The later discovery of a Master Quest debug ROM (used for testing) reveals even older remnants, including character models and unused rooms not found in the final game. This includes test rooms and an older version of the Hyrule Castle courtyard.
- Link is was able to wear golden and white tunics. Their abilities are unknown. The white tunic is seen in Super Smash Bros. and subsequent games in the series, while the golden tunic is seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- A mask resembling Adult Link from Ocarina of Time was to make an appearance. It is speculated that its effects were to transform Young Link into Adult Link, but was replaced with the Fierce Deity's Mask.
- The Fairy Ocarina was replaced by the Ocarina of Time. The original ocarina can be seen in the screenshot with the Adult Link Mask.
- Also seen in this screenshot, one of the designs on the Hero's Shield was green instead of red.
- The Hylian Shield was meant to appear as both Young and Adult Link's shield, likely to be used instead of the Hero's Shield.
- Link's ocarina transformations were supposed to be separate items; these items can still be found and used in the game's coding.
- Blue Fire can be obtained through the use of a cheating device. However, it has no description on the item subscreen and acts as a bug in a bottle when used. A Hyrule Loach can also be obtained, but it doesn't have any actions associated with it. Its description was never translated from the original Japanese text.
- Link was originally supposed to have the Deku Shield, as shown in early screen shots.
- The Boomerang, as a standalone item, was also to be in the game. The Boomerang functionality was replaced with Zora Link's arm boomerangs.
- The game was originally named Zelda: Gaiden, which translates into English as "Zelda: Side Story".
- In beta builds of the game, Link's model was identical to the one used for Young Link in Ocarina of Time. The model was later modified to reflect Link's physical growth.
- The Gorman Brothers, were originally one Ingo, as seen in early images.
- Major landscape remodels took place between beta testing and final release. Modified landforms include the Stone Tower (ex. beta bridge and gargoyles v. three stones), Termina (a more crystalline entrance to the mountains, a more colorful field, etc.)
- The Megaton Hammer was another item replaced. Before punching with Goron Link was introduced, Nintendo planned Goron Link to use the Megaton Hammer. The Hammer can be seen in early pictures.
The Wind Waker
- An older form of Link was sketched, but never modeled. Link was to physically grow during the course of the game (at a more subtle rate than in Ocarina of Time), but implementing this idea was too difficult, so it was scrapped.
- The Skull Hammer was confirmed to have a different name and design during the development phase.
- Link's clothes were to have the same color scheme as his clothes from the original The Legend of Zelda. This was only changed to the final color scheme late into development.
- As seen in the SpaceWorld 2001 trailer for the game, Link originally had a sneaking function, possibly created to be used in the stealth sequences of the Forsaken Fortress. This was replaced with hiding in barrels.
- In the same trailer, Link's voice from Majora's Mask was used as a placeholder voice, as the final voices had not been recorded yet.
- Ice Ring Isle and Fire Mountain were possibly going to be the locations of main dungeons. These two dungeons were scrapped due to time constraints.
- A Water Temple was possibly slated to be included on Greatfish Isle, but the dungeon was scrapped.
- The E3 2002 trailer showed a different layout for Dragon Roost Cavern.
- A mysterious item, marked only by Japanese text translating to "Water Boots", can be loaded and used through hacking. However, no model appears, and the animation for putting the boots on and off is the same for putting the Iron Boots on and off, leading to the possibility that the Water Boots were, in fact, Iron Boots with different functionalities, such as sinking into water (as evidenced by the item name). 
- Until surprisingly late into development, the A button was mapped to the sword, with B being the roll command.
- Enemy swords can be picked up and used in the final game. In earlier builds, however, the sword button icon changed to reflect the enemy weapon Link was using.
- Concept art of two islands that were never included in the game was included in Hyrule Historia. Stovepipe Island was intended to be a volcanic "island of steam and smoke", with a hot spring lake and magma valley, and Link would potentially enter through the volcano's crater. GC Island was intended to resemble a Nintendo GameCube; this concept was later used in the game's direct sequel—Phantom Hourglass—with Dee Ess Island.
The Minish Cap
- Torches can be lit in a beta version of the game.
- The Fire Rod was slated to be included, but this item was replaced by the Lantern. However, a reference to the Fire Rod can be seen in the figurine description for Wizzrobes.
- A fully-functioning Level Editor item can be loaded through hacking. Strangely, the Level Editor uses the icon for the Fire Rod. With the Level Editor, one can modify the various landscapes within the game; however, changes cannot be saved. It is unknown what the Level Editor was used for, as all game content is usually edited on a personal computer before compilation into a ROM.
- As seen in her concept art, Ilia was designed with pointy ears, like a Hylian.
- Beth's concept artwork showed her with a toy attached to her back.
- Armos Titan, an early design for a gigantic, metallic enemy in Twilight Princess. It possibly made an appearance in the Beta Forest.
- Beta Shadow Beast, modulation of a possible early Shadow Beast.
- Goron Golem, the massive conglomeration of Gorons, packed together as an alleged enemy.
- Meter Giant, removed from Twilight Princess, but most likely a placeholder used for measurements.
- Moblin, removed from the game, was seen during an early trailer in an equally unknown indoor area.
- Gohma, replaced by Armogohma, was to chase Link through a cave. This can be seen in the GDC 2005 trailer.
- Kargaroks, originally planned to be in the Twilight, but were replaced by Shadow Kargaroks.
- Sluggula, beta model for the Torch Slug.
Geography and Surroundings
- Hyrule Field contained many dead trees, which can be seen in the early trailers.
- Beta Forest, the alleged extra forest region in Twilight Princess, contained a giant ancient statue and an area full of cats, both viewable in the GDC 2005 trailer.
- A canoe can be seen in Ordon Village in the E3 2005 trailer.
- The twilight was originally black and white, rather than full-color with a muted color scheme. This grayscale Twilight Realm can be seen in early trailers.
- A wholly unused room with a Moblin in it was shown in the E3 2005 trailer. It doesn't resemble anything from the final game.
- A single test room still exists in the data; it is an early version of the Darkhammer miniboss room. Apart from early textures, object placement reveals that the area was once a much larger, hexagonal room, instead of the narrow corridor in the final version. Possibly changed to make the fight more difficult.
- In early trailers of Twilight Princess, a beta fishing hole, much unlike the current Fishing Hole in Hena's pond, was demonstrated. Since Link can be seen wearing his Ordon outfit, it is assumed that this fishing zone was possibly near Ordon Village. Further proof of this is that in the first playable demo of Twilight Princess, Link can use the canoe to explore the village.
- A Magic Meter can be seen in some of the early screenshots and even on the back of the Wii version's boxart. It was presumably used for the Magic Armor and the removed Fire Arrows. Unused text left in the game reveals that another function would be to transform Link into wolf form and vice versa.
- Items such as black rupees, black Chu Jelly, bottled Blue Fire, Fire Arrows, Ice Arrows, Dark Arrows and Surf Leaf were slated to be included but never were. Fire arrows possibly used the Magic Meter. The surf leaf was probably the leaf used for snowboarding from Snowpeak Top. The Japanese internal name for the surfing item was "Shield Surfing", indicating that Link would snowboard on his shield.
- Green and Black Chu Jelly were originally designed to be normally accessible types of Chu Jelly. However, their programming was left unfinished. The Green Jelly can only be found in the Wii release. Though technically an unused item, it can be found by normal means; the jelly is produced by allowing a Blue and Yellow Chu to merge. The Green Jelly does nothing when consumed (it was probably meant to fill the Magic Meter), and its details are completely missing. The Black Jelly, on the other hand, can be found in both releases, though it can only be accessed by cheating or hacking. The Black Jelly has intact details and descriptions; it is essentially complete. When consumed. Link takes one heart of damage.
- Midna had orange-blue hair, which was later replaced with her current orange-yellow style. This can be seen in early screenshots and the E3 2005 trailer.
- The game originally had a different transformation cutscene when Link first enters the twilight. This can be seen in the E3 2005 trailer.
- Link originally could perform a spinning back slash, as seen in the E3 2005 trailer.
- Link originally had a different voice actor (Link's voice actor from Ocarina of Time). Probably a placeholder voice, like how Wind Waker once used Majora's Mask voices.
- It is likely that Midna once had the ability to tattle on enemies, the same way as Navi, Tatl, Tingle, and Fi. An early video shows a prompt to press Z for a hint when Link targets an enemy.
- In earlier builds, the Hyrule Castle spirit soldiers were more abundant in the sewers. The final release has fewer soldiers.
- An icon and design of a beta Ordon Shield can be seen within the game files. Colin and Talo can be seen with the beta model of the shield.
- The Hylian Shield, as seen in the E3 2010 trailer, had the design of the Hylian Shield from Twilight Princess.
- Moldarach originally had a smoother design, as seen in E3 2010 and pictures. Its boss arena was also fought in an area that looked like the Great Tree.
- The Whip was originally designed with a skull and was dubbed the "Skull Whip". Other characteristcs include a different icon and tip.
- The Loftwings had a more cartoonish design, as seen with Eagus's unfinished Loftwing.
- The Black Stone, an unused asset, was potentially a counterpart of the White Stone or Sealing Spike.
Beta Octoroks from Ocarina of Time
Link lighting Torches in an early version of The Minish Cap
A Moblin from the beta Twilight Princess
A Meter Giant from the beta Twilight Princess
A Magic Meter in the beta Twilight Princess
Midna's orange-blue hair in a piece of concept art
- Unseen64, ZeldaWiki's affiliate in analysis, interpretation, documentation, and discussion of known beta content.
- The Cutting Room Floor
- ↑ "You may remember that in a lot of preview images you could have medallions in your inventory, like the forest medallion for example. Well did you know that these medallions actually did what the Ocarina did in the final version? When Zelda started out, the Ocarina was not planned for the game. Using medallions provided you with the ability to warp and other things. I think Ocarina was introduced to game maybe 75% through development. In the end, I am glad they added the ocarina to the game, as it would not have been as good using medallions." — Ask Sam Interviews: The Unseen Zelda (Part 2); retrieved Aug. 1 2011, Zelda Power
- ↑ "This is a wind magic medallion. There are six types of magic, including fire, wind, darkness, and light. I'm thinking about mixing the different types of magic (Miyamoto forces a smile). Truthfully, you can use magic in conjunction with Link's bow and arrow. Since you can use magic missiles, it's important that you can use magic on arrows." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Miyamoto answers 100 questions about OoT)
- ↑ "Yes. The six types of magic are divided by color, the wind magic being green." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Miyamoto answers 100 questions about OoT)
- ↑ "These two icons left inside the rom of Ocarina can be translated as Wind Medallion and Ice Medallion, and they are most likely the leftovers of two temples removed from the final game and probably scheduled for Zelda Ura." — Project Zelda 3D: The Development of Zelda 64; retrieved May 14 2011, Unseen 64
- ↑ The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, The Cutting Room Floor
- ↑ Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess [RZDP01], Gecko Codes