After years of various fakes and speculation, a genuine demo build of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was discovered to be silently residing on a forgotten GameCube demo disc titled “Monthly Nintendo ShopFront Demo December”. Said disc was sold on eBay just a few months earlier, and thanks to the generous owner of the disc, the data has been preserved and can now be experienced by all.
What is this demo disc for, where did it come from? These particular demo discs were distributed to Japanese game stores, being publicly displayed starting on December 1, 2002. This allowed customers to experience a demo of the game thirteen days prior to the title’s release in Japan. Because of this, there are large amounts of small differences and bugs littered throughout the game. After use, the discs were intended to be returned to Nintendo, however this disc and another copy are the only two which are publicly known to have survived as of October 2019.
The title screen of the demo appears with a night setting for the background instead of the final’s sunny background.
Earth Temple boss, Jalhalla, has an different trophy in the Trophy Gallery at Forest Haven. In the demo it shows us that he indeed used to have a face. In the final versions, he is only shown wearing a mask. Whilst fighting him in the demo, he wears the mask for a just like the final build of the game. This seems to suggest that the game’s developers revised Jalhalla but hadn’t yet changed the trophy until a later revision.
Forsaken Fortress contains early exterior whilst inside the the fortress. It is possible to peek back into the interior through a window.
- During the cutscene in which the player meets Fido and Laruto for the first time, there is a noticeable lack of sound effects. Fido completely lacks music, which suggests his track was completed far later in development. They’re also solid instead of ghostly transparent.
- On slot 2 in the demo disc, the save with Forsaken Fortress, there’s a glitch when Link get’s to the tower and retrieves his sword. In the final game he holds it up in the air with the animation paused. In the demo, he holds it up in the air, and the monster slashes at him continually with the sword until the dialogue box closes.
- All pearls are required to grab the Master Sword.
- Beedle’s ship plays a horn sound when close. This sound is audible at any time.
- King Lion talks to Link immediately after entering the Master Sword chamber, and not when near the sword.
Plugging a controller into slot 3 at any time and pressing the Z button will bring up a debug console. The console’s output list grows as Link visits different areas or when bugs occur. Holding L+R whilst in the debug console state will allow you to scroll up and down the console to view all of it’s outputs.
Plugging a controller into slot 4 and messing around with various different buttons at any point causes random text boxes to appear on the screen, which appears to be intended as a dialogue test.
After running file comparisons between the demo and the final versions of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, it was determined that there are many files which only exist in the demo. It was also found that most of the stage files have some sort of difference in them however it is unknown how large these differences are. If you find any differences which we haven’t already found, feel free to send Hard4Games a message about it, and it will be featured in a follow up video showcasing all of the known differences.
Included in the zip is a modified savestate which will allow you to view areas of the game much easier. The save can be injected via GC-Tool or hex editing. More information is included in the release notes file.
Hard4Games for their incredible video coverage of the demo.
LagoLunatic, MelonSpeedruns, CDi-Fails and CLG Linkus7 for assisting in finding differences.