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Zelda's Oracle Games On Game Boy Color Almost Featured Paid Dungeons

Before "Oracle of Seasons" and "Oracle of Ages" charmed critics and sold millions of copies, they went through multiple iterations in the production process. Developer Flagship set out to create six "Zelda" entries slated for release on Nintendo's Game Boy Color starting with a remake of the game that started it all: "The Legend of Zelda."


After coordinating with Shigeru Miyamoto, the plan shifted to producing a trio of titles — one for each piece of the Triforce. The developers decided to have the entries influence one another, allowing player actions in one to carry over to the remaining installments using a password or Game Link Cable. Eventually, the team chose to cut one of the games due to the complexity of its vision and adapted the remaining storylines into the "Oracle" experiences fans now know and love.

While "Seasons" and "Ages" boast lots of standout features, many players have singled out the dungeons for praise. According to Miyamoto, this aspect of the titles also nearly went in a different direction.

The Oracle developers considered an episodic format for the dungeons

In 2013, Nintendo brought the "Oracle" duo to the Nintendo 3DS via its Virtual Console. That same year, Miyamoto discussed the company's thoughts on episodic content as part of an interview with Polygon. He revealed that Nintendo had played around with the format over a decade prior.


"When we first released 'The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages' and 'Oracle of Seasons' on Game Boy Color many years ago, the original idea for those games was for them to be more episodic in content and the development actually started with the notion of potentially trying to sell dungeons individually," Miyamoto explained. "At the time that we were working on the 'Oracle' games, we felt that it just wasn't right to deliver the game in that fashion."

Miyamoto didn't share how Nintendo would have rolled out these paid dungeons when the games released in 2001, but he felt the 2011 launch of the Nintendo eShop made an episodic approach more feasible. It seems that particular ship has sailed for the "Oracle" titles, though the company hasn't left them to gather dust either. In addition to the 3DS release, they made the growing list of Nintendo Switch Online offerings in 2023.