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- This article is about the cancelled Nintendo 64 title. For the Game Boy Advance game of the same title, see Mother 3.
ＭＯＴＨＥＲ３:豚王の最期 Mother 3: Fall of the Pig King
|Developer||Ape Inc. / HAL Laboratory, Inc.|
EarthBound 64 (Japanese: ＭＯＴＨＥＲ３：豚王の最期 Mother 3: Fall of the Pig King) was intended as the third game in the Mother series, with a projected release on the Nintendo 64DD in 1999. The project's development switched to a normal Nintendo 64 cartridge when the Nintendo 64DD proved to be unsuccessful, but due to the inexperience of the development team with three-dimensional games, the game was ultimately cancelled before being brought back into development for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. At one point, the team considered bringing it to the GameCube.
During development, the game was stated to have 12 playable characters across 12 chapters. This was later reduced to 9 chapters during the switch from disk to cartridge. The subtitle used in the Japanese game was changed several times during development, with one being "Forest of the Chimera" (森のキマイラ), but the most common one being "Fall of the Pig King".
Though the storyline of the game is, for the most part, the same as the Game Boy Advance release, several things were changed from the planned Nintendo 64 game. For one, EarthBound 64 was intended to be placed some ten years after EarthBound, in 200X, rather than the unstated amount of time the final game occurs after its prequel. The length of the game's story, in time, also was altered, with EarthBound 64 having 12 chapters spread over the course of ten years, each with their own main character, unlike the final game, which only has eight chapters spread over the course of three years. The overall tone of the story was intended to be darker than the final product was. Particularly the final boss was intended to include no dialogue and to be more of a terrifying experience.
The story was intended to consider one place changing over time, and day by day seeing how the area changes, and consistently changing "town gossip" was an idea in place as a plot device. Each enemy was supposed to have its own perspective, no matter how minor.
As for the setting, Shigesato Itoi stated that "there’s a strange world that you can’t quite decipher between the middle ages or the old west, and in the end you realize the circumstances of what made it so strange. It was made in a way that you’d be thinking “This is weird…” then make it through Chapter Eleven, and hit Chapter Twelve and scream. It’s terrible." Unfortunately, the story was deemed too complex to be told on the N64 hardware given its limitations.
Little is known about the other chapters that were cut. Flint was meant to be playable for longer during the game, as evidenced by a battle shown in the trailer depicting a party of Flint, Kumatora and Lucas, along with Flint replacing Kumatora when the party grabs onto the Mother Porkship. A mine-cart scene was displayed in a trailer that included Lucas and Claus together in the Spectacular Cave, a location cut from the GBA version. This took place during Chapter 1, right before the twins wash up in the river, suggesting Claus was to be in your party for a longer period of time.
EarthBound 64 was planned not long after EarthBound itself was nearing release, with an in-game reference to the development team planning Mother 3 in Japan, localized as them planning EarthBound 2 in the English release. The initial planning stages were for a Super NES release, using pre-rendered graphics akin to Donkey Kong Country. But with the system quickly on its way to being replaced by the Nintendo 64, development shifted to the Nintendo 64DD instead. When the addon proved a failure, the game was changed to a cartridge release, with a planned use of the same size cartridge which contained The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and utilization of the Rumble Pak add-on for the Nintendo 64 controller. Due to the difficulty of development, with the 3D aspect of the game being far more complex than the 2D sprite-based past games, the team, including Shigesato Itoi, were discouraged from making a fourth game in the Mother series. Other aspects of development were shortchanged as well, as Iwata stated in an interview regarding the development of Mother 3 for N64, "any normal project has a trial period where you make a sample product and get the green light based on the response. But MOTHER 3 was special in that we skipped the trial period and went straight to game production. Without that trial period, all we had was our experience and achievements from making MOTHER 2, without the benefit of starting off with a team of people who worked on MOTHER 2". These shortcuts were primarily due to financial concerns. Development also was impacted by the financial situation at HAL Laboratories, and their lack of ability to afford to train talent". To maybe relieve this problem, the team that worked on Pokémon Stadium was brought on to help with 3D elements.
A trailer and playable demo were featured at Nintendo Space World 1999, with a projected release date of March 22, 2000. However, on August 21, 1999, Shigesato Itoi announced that EarthBound 64 was cancelled. Some time after the cancellation, Itoi uploaded screenshots and music from the game to his website.
State of the Product as of Cancellation
In an interview, Satoru Iwata estimated the game was about 30% complete, while Shigeru Miyamoto believed it was approximately 60 percent complete from a programming perspective. Apparently a complete script was produced but not perfected. Development apparently went astray when Iwata was unable to be on sight to act as a director/"game-play manager". No content from the game was properly released beyond the small samples from the Space World convention and Itoi's website, as the team believed that putting out the unfinished and buggy product would let down the high expectations set for the game. In the same interview, Itoi said that "the first half of the game runs pretty normally". The whereabouts of the few copies produced are largely unknown. At least one is believed to be with Brownie Brown, and some other may be circulating, but without a concrete trail.
According to an employee that worked on testing MOTHER 3, and played the demo cart for EarthBound 64, "there is no mystery MOTHER game that was never released. You got MOTHER 3. When development was handed over to Brownie Brown, they were also given everything they needed to get the job done, including previous reference material. The GBA version is the final draft of a vision that took a long time to get out the door".
Once the game was cancelled, Itoi was given the chance to turn the game into a novel or movie.
- In the New Pork City screenshot, the Onett billboard, burger shop, and Monotoli Building can be seen collapsing.
- Super Smash Bros. Melee borrows many elements from this game, including:
- The texture for the Onett sign, a chicken weather vane, and a ground texture were reused for Melee's Onett stage.
- Several trophies with reflections use the screenshot of Osohe Castle.
- Various sound samples from the EarthBound 64 soundtrack were reused in Melee's OST.
- Lucas was planned to be a fighter had this game been released on time.
- Three songs from EarthBound 64 were revealed, and each can be found in the GBA version of MOTHER 3 in some form:
- The theme used for the game's trailer is recreated very closely by "Big Shot's Theme".
- Several variations of the theme for "Tazmily Village" appear in the GBA game, such as "Monkey's Delivery Service".
- The game's only revealed battle theme was slightly altered into the final version's "Etude for Ghosts", an unused version of which sounds more like its N64 counterpart.
- PSI was called magic in some demo versions. Presumably before the protagonists encountered the Magypsies.
- Flint was magic-capable.
- Lucas had a unique battle ability named Call, which would summon friendly animals to aid in battle.
- Wess was originally going to be a fully player-controlled party member.
- Party members would become ghosts once unconscious, similar to the two games preceding it.
- Scoring a successful combo in battle would make the word, "Funktastic!" appear.
- A child in Japan named Hiroki won a contest and got his face inserted into the game via the Mario Artist program.
- The Clayman Factory was going to be underwater.
- The Space World 1999 trailer
- The music heard in the trailer
- Battle Theme 5/Etude for Ghosts
- Tazmily Village theme
- Early Space World 1996 footage
- More Space World 1996 footage
- E3 1998 footage
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|by Shigesato Itoi|