The Legend of Zelda's Temple of Time rebuilt in Unreal Engine 4

Visual artist re-creates digital treasure from 1998 N64 classic in high-def glory using Epic's most powerful game engine.

The Legend of Zelda's Temple of Time split between its 1998 version and Michael Eurek's high-def re-creation. Michael Eurek; screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

I can still remember the feeling of awe upon entering the inner chamber of the Temple of Time, guiding the adolescent Link through the colossal stone doors to gaze up at the Master Sword that would seal away his fate for seven years.

It's an iconic moment in the Nintendo classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Sixteen years later, despite its 64-bit polygonal restraints, that moment is still among the most powerful scenes in gaming history, evoking something as close to a feeling of surreal divinity in a video game as I can recall.

That's precisely why artist Michael Eurek decided to take that scene and re-create it with the tools of today, namely the most recent powerhouse game engine from Gears of War developer Epic. The Unreal Engine 4, which Epic announced in March, now on a $19 per month subscription, is one of the most advanced simulation and design tool kits in modern game design.

The re-created Master Sword inner chamber of the Temple of Time Michael Eurek

"Several months ago, it was suggested to me by a friend that a fun/challenging exercise would be to re-create an environment from an old game I like using modern techniques," Eurek explained on Vimeo. "I thought this was a great idea, so I have put together a re-creation and personal adaptation of The Temple of Time from The Legend of Zelda."

The footage capture is set to the music of Nathaniel Arnold and doesn't feature the sword-wielding protagonist, but it does guide you through the space with a few gorgeous close-ups of the stone wall textures and temple artifacts. Beyond Unreal Engine 4, Eurek's software kit included Maya, Z-brush, and Photoshop.

Check out the full video below:

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