“So we had originally three temples which would capture the young Link, three temples for the adult Link and three in which he was to learn each spell – but instead we eliminated a temple of it. For the final game it was 3 plus 3 plus 2, or 8 temples to find.”
Zelda Director Eiji Aonuma has once again come forth with new information about the Zelda series, though this time his focus was Ocarina of Time.
In an interview with German website VideoGameZone, he explained that a temple was actually cut out of the game, and that Link was originally meant to learn three magic spells in the corresponding final three dungeons.
“There really is a difference between the temples which we wanted to integrate and those that exist in the final game. And that had something to do with magic. We thought of integrating some actions, some plot threads, and some puzzles that have something to do with magic abilities. We came to the conclusion that other, already existing, just regular items were a worthy replacement.”
If you want to read the rest of it you can go here, though be warned that it is a Google translation of a page originally written in German, so the grammar and sentence structure can be a bit messed up at times.