One Nintendo 64 game that never saw the light of day, in the end, was EarthBound 64 – also known as Mother 3. The project started out life as a Super Nintendo release before being moved across to the Nintendo 64 and was eventually axed in August 2000. It ended up arriving on the Game Boy Advance in 2006 and since then, all hopes of a 3D Mother game have been lost.
Taking a moment to reflect on the game we'll probably never play, entirely new footage has apparently surfaced online, showcasing just seconds of EarthBound 64 on display at Space World in 1996. The credit goes to the YouTube channel kukun kun, which has previously posted various other classic video game clips. See for yourself below:
As brief as it is, we get a look at what appears to be a band playing in a bar, Ness making his way through a forest and the entire gang speeding through the desert. This is followed by footage of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. If you can't quite keep up, here are some still images from the above video:
In an interview dating back to the time of this Nintendo 64 game's cancellation and then translated in 2013, Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata discussed the extent of development. Iwata said 30% of the final product had been completed, while Miyamoto said about 60% of the game's assets, scenario preparation and other development processes were ready to go.
Would you like to have played this game? Would you like to see another EarthBound game one day release? Imagine what could have been in the comments below.
Nice. EarthBound 64 CONFIRMED?!? (JK)
Aw she's a cutie. 🤤
Would love a session of Eartbound64 with her.
Dear god, it's... beautiful!!
C’mon Ninty, give us a new Earthbound/Mother, F-Zero and Ice Climbers. These series are loooooooooong overdue for an installment, I know you can do it! 😭🙏🏽
They need to finish this and release it on an N64 mini
Man...Imagine what it would be like being there, when the N64 was still alive and kicking. There's something very mystical about the games in development then.
Neat! Always cool seeing stuff like this.
I hope EB sees some kind of revival or remake on Switch. Mostly so I don’t have to hook up my SNES Classic to play it 😛
To this day there is no game that I have been more upset about being cancelled than Earthbound 64. I am still salty about how that game got cancelled to be honest, it looks like it could have been one of the great RPG's of it's era and a truly unique game. I know they put a lot of this into the GBA game but it isn't the same, the N64 version was a lot more appealing to me.
I tried to play Mother 3 (GBA) fan translation a while back on PC but the delay on the emulator I was using broke the rhythm based combat. Would like the one day play that game on a collection released by Nintendo, but that’s never going to happen. Of course there was Earthbound Beginnings so...
@RickD It isn't so much the kinds of games that are abundant today rather how extreme the differences are between how they first debut and how they are upon release.
These days, companies are expected to knock first impressions out of the park when games are announced, so there's a lot less room for something looser to be shown. Meanwhile, you look at all these videos of Mario 64 being super different when it was announced in 1995, and you kinda wish you could play that version but you can't.
It reminds me of some Saturn and Dreamcast RPGs.
I actually saw the footage I believe on IGN or some website hosting clips seen here back in the day. My guess is those previews were there, they weren’t properly archived. The original Earthbound site before becoming Starmen.net might have had it too I believe or at least links to it.
@RyanSilberman in my opinion it's not just the changed media landscape. In the mid 90s they were on a precipice of game design: 3D polygons were changing everything about gaming, and these studios were pioneers figuring out the best way to boldly step into the future. Some genres were no-brainers (racing, FPS), others had simple enough solutions (e.g. fighting games - just make the graphics 3D and maybe add a sidestep button) but with Mario 64 and Zelda OOT, Nintendo were true alchemists. To reach a point where these low-poly, low-res worlds could draw you in; to make your character not feel like a Lara-Croft-style tank or an isometric-RPG-style distant ant or an on-rails bandicoot... That must have taken an incomprehensible amount of prototypes, secrecy, hard work and manic inspiration.
It's not the fault of developers these days that "bigger, better, prettier" is all that's required for top-tier AAA. It's because the wild frontier has been conquered already. But back then, it was mind-boggling just to try to imagine what was going to come out of projects like this.
I love this YouTube channel. I can't believe that someone actually took the time to record seemingly every single episode of every single game related TV program in Japan back in the 90's (and I think they're starting to get to 2000's era shows), and are now uploading it all to YouTube.
They have years worth of content, and it seems like they upload 2 or 3 videos every day. Even though I don't much understand what's going on (with everything being in Japanese), I just like watching through some of these videos from time to time.
The GBA game is soooooooo good that I kinda wish they'd finish and release the N64 version just so I could play it in that form too.
Maybe they could include it with an N64 Classic Edition as the +1 game--now THAT would be a system seller!
@N64-ROX Well, I would say that the new "wild frontier" in gaming is virtual reality, and I think it represents as big a jump as 3D was back in the too. In fact, I'd argue it's an even bigger jump than going from 2D to 3D. VR really is the next big paradigm shift in gaming. I just wish Nintendo would properly get on board at some point and actually create a brand new next-gen VR headset and the cutting-edge first party VR games to go with it. It could honestly feel like the N64 era all over again in many ways imo (in terms of being a total revolution in how we play and experience video games). Well, it already is anyway, even if Nintendo isn't fully on board yet; VR is the new future of gaming, and it is happening right now. . . .
I shed a tear - I would love to have a collection of them all. E3 would be the perfect place to reveal Mother 3 on Switch, just sayin’.
Nintendo says they listen to their fans, or are listening; it’s about that time isn’t it?
@ChromaticDracula For now this is about as good as you're gonna get:
Follow the links.
Seriously, just play it this way and don't hold your breath waiting on Nintendo to get is **** sorted on this one.
Remember waiting for this to release. N64 was starved for RPGs at a time when they were very popular thanks to FFVII. Looking back at some of the pics, it seems similar to the gba game so I'm not sure why it never came out.
@impurekind I too am super excited for VR. But there are currently a few main problems with it - the first being that the barrier for entry is too high. High quality VR like the Oculus or Vive still costs a fortune, plus you need a beefcake gaming PC, plus you pretty much need a dedicated "VR room" for room scale stuff. Plus it's socially isolating (not much fun to break out at a party) but with companies like Facebook on the case they'll probably find an angle for that eventually.
The other issue, more relevant to this topic is that VR hasn't had its "Mario 64 moment". Someone needs to make a game for VR which makes people go "I could live in this. I wish all games could be like this."
Of course I believe that no-one would be better at producing something like this than Nintendo themselves. That first chunk of issues must be a scary barrier for them to consider. But the fact that they've dipped their toe in the water now with Labo (and VR'ed up Zelda! ) makes me optimistic for the future of VR.
Or to twist this even more on-topic: imagine Nintendo announces at E3 that they're working on a VR Zelda, but it will be out in 5 years and they have no screenshots to share. Now that would be a wild, speculative 5 years to be a gamer.
@N64-ROX So well put
Man, that early 3D era did no age well. After 20+ years of dinking and dunking around, I think I should try to finally finish Earthbound. I've still never seen the ending and probably only ever made it just over half way though.
@RyanSilberman Never looked at it that way, until I read your comment. When it comes to the Nintendo games of that era, I think the long droughts between AAA releases helped development feel mystical. And, as others have stated, that was a revolutionary time in game development. You couple the long droughts, with a release like Star Fox 64 (and the Rumble Pack), and it does feel mystical. Nintendo’s reputation for secrecy helped too.
I think another example was Nintendo’s use of words when announcing their games. Calling Banjo and Kazooie, Project Dream is the perfect example.
I really wish this and the Sonic X-Treme's true furthest point in development would get found, just like the Pokémon GS Demo... (Which still hasn't been released in English, despite there being people working on it...then again, it DID take 20 years to get Thracia 776 translated...)
I remember those still imagines in an issue of Nintendo Power that year.
For those that haven't played Mother 3, I highly suggest you do so and then support Nintendo if they ever decide to grace us with an official version. I bought a reproduction GBA cart to play it as it was intended. That said, I still feel the disappointment of losing the N64 version.
@impurekind I totally agree that VR is the next frontier. As an Oculus Quest early adopter, that frontier is being explored now. It's an exiting time to be a VR enthusiast.
@N64-ROX I totally agree with your perspective of how radical a change the N64 and 3D gaming were at the time. It was truly amazing coming from 2D sprites to Mario 64. Something that can't truly be appreciated if you aren't old enough. The N64 remains one of my all time favorite consoles. Many of its titles still hold up very well.
I would check out Oculus Quest if you want high quality VR at a decent price. It's an all-in-one system that eliminates the problems of cost, wires, dedicated space, etc. It's given me that same sort of wow feeling that the N64 did all those years ago.
If Nintendo does jump into VR, I think simply converting N64 games to VR would be pretty amazing. There's so much Nintendo could bring to VR. As soon as we get a Switch with a 4k screen that's light weight, I see no reason why Nintendo wouldn't jump into VR.
This reminds me that I still need to track down a way to play Mother 3. I've played the other two games in the series and quite enjoyed them, though I admittedly used a guide for Mother/Earthbound Beginnings.
I'd like to see a modern game in this series fully in 3D, but I know that's wishful thinking.
it's sad that will probably won't see the game in the west anytime soon. i'll probably just buy the original version and patch a fan translation to it.
@HexagonSun thanks mate! N64 games in VR would be a dream come true.
I still think I'll pass on the Oculus Quest though - I've had enough fleeting fun with the Samsung Gear VR to know that the next step for me is saving up for the real deal top of the range option... And a house with a room for it!
More mother earthbound, fzero and Metroid please!
@impurekind VR is not the next big thing or the future. Not until people that wear glasses can more easily play and people that get nauseous easily can play.
It's basically the latest niche fad for now.
@N64-ROX I hear you, though the Quest is on a whole different level than Gear VR. I've let friends who own PSVR and HTC Vive play it and they were both very much impresed. It has very competent ports of PC VR games and the ability to do 6dof roomscale VR anywhere. If you find a demo unit out in the wild, I'd encourage you to give it a try. I'm not speaking from a technical level, but the difference between Quest and PC/PSVR feels like the difference between Switch and PS4. A noticeable but insignificant graphical downgrade that doesn't affect gameplay or immersion.
@carlos82 Dear god imagine how many they would sell!?!?
@Severian You should try typing the link into web.archive.org.
How awesome it would have been if they had finished this game.
This makes me so sad that the game never actually came to fruition. Looks so amazing.
I miss the 90's... what a time to be alive.
Amaza, maza, maza... Kareto, zrza, zrza, zrza... Somatochi, jerta, jerta, jerta...
LOL and I thougth the Japanese was difficult
@HexagonSun that's good to hear, I have a Gear VR which I never use and the PSVR which I play all the time. I've been looking at the Quest and considering it but was concerned about any potential graphical downgrades and more so its tracking abilities. I need to find one out in the wild to have a go of
@carlos82 The Quest has significantly better resolution than PSVR. PSVR displays at 960x1080 per eye. The Oculus Quest displays at 1440x1600 per eye. That's higher than the Rift and Vive. It makes a huge difference in feeling truly immersed. Personally, I think Quest displays games way better than PSVR despite the graphical gap.
The inside out tracking is actually really good. You set a guardian space in any room. This takes about 30 seconds, or so. Whenever you get too close to an edge the virtual fence comes into view.
The Oculus Touch controllers are awesome. Everything is tracked through four fisheye cameras on the headset. It all just works.
Being untethered feels great and works a lot better for games that have you turning 360 degrees.
Everyone I've shown it to, so far, has been amazed. It's definitely the VR headset I've been waiting for. I hope you get a chance to try it out.
@hihelloitsme I don't really care to argue about it but you are sooo far beyond wrong that it's not even funny:
1. A headset like the Oculus Quest already has a spacer included specifically so people with glasses can comfortably where them. The Valve Index allows you to manually adjust the distance of the headset from your face, which means you can wear it as close as possible to your eyes while still allowing for glasses. And many modern VR headsets even let you get the lenses changed for prescription versions so it's literally the same as looking through your normal glasses.
2. There are already countless games and experiences in VR that you can play without inducing any motion sickness whatsoever: Beat Saber, Superhot, Robo Recall, Moss, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Tetris Effect, Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator, Dead and Buried, Chronos, Space Pirate Trainer, Five Nights at Freddy's VR, Face Your Fears, Wolves in the Walls, The Blu, Dear Angelica, Allumette, EmuVR, any virtual cinema apps, etc. And the geniuses creating these headsets are also always working on and improving the ways to reduce any motion sickness in the games that can cause it, using both hardware and software-based solutions.
And that's just me addressing your two main points. The belief you have that VR is "not the next big thing or the future" and that is is just "the latest niche fad for now" is coming from a place of pure and utter ignorance--no offense intended, just honesty. VR is here now, it's already utterly amazing and genuinely compelling, and it's only going to get better and better going forward-- and it absolutely is the future of gaming (although that does not mean other forms of gaming will just disappear, much like 2D gaming is still around even in the 3D era, and how consoles are still around even though mobile gaming is huge, etc).
PS. If you are doing so, please don't count Labo VR as any true indicator of where VR is actually at, as that is pretty much the crappiest and lowest-end version of VR you can get just now, as innovative and novel as some of the Toy-Con creations for it are, and it's nowhere close to showing off VR in its best light. Real VR is already far, far beyond Labo VR, and the difference between Labo VR and something like the Valve Index or even the Oculus Quest is basically night and day.
@N64-ROX Well, the Oculus Quest is $400, which isn't that much more than the Switch, and that's a completely standalone VR headset with 6 degrees of movement and control on both the headset and dual Touch controllers that doesn't require any PC at all. And being completely standalone, meaning it doesn't have any wires or the like, you can basically play it anywhere you want. Anyone who's played it will probably tell you how compelling and exciting it is, even in this first gen of VR.
Although VR is technically isolating because you fully immerse yourself in these virtual worlds (which is actually one of its biggest USPs), it can still be social, both by playing with other people online (just like any modern online console/PC/mobile games--except with even more of a sense of actually properly interacting with these other people in the same virtual place) or even as an activity at a party where you pass it around and give each other a go while the others watch the action streamed to a TV or smartphones and discuss it and/or laugh at that person playing and generally show interest in what they are doing and stuff. I literally did this at my work the other day with a bunch of the kids--I do youth work--and we all had a blast.
VR kind of has and has not had its "Mario 64" moment: For many people who've played some of the best VR games, they've already had many "Mario 64" moments--I know I absolutely have--where they have been utterly blown away and knew from that moment on that VR was and is the future of gaming and entertainment, much like they knew when they played Mario 64 for the first time that they were experiencing the future of gaming. I do wish Nintendo would fully get into VR though, because I totally agree with you that Nintendo could do some really amazing stuff with VR if it went for it 100%. And seeing them at least giving it a little test with Labo VR, dipping their toe in the water as you said, is hopefully showing us a glimpse of that future where Nintendo and VR eventually go hand in hand.
I would absolutely love to see a proper full Zelda VR, and of course the Nintendo-made and ideally cutting-edge VR headset to go with it.
This is about as close as we can get for now (and, indeed, brings right back on the topic of Nintendo and VR):
@impurekind yeah I get what you're saying about that Mario 64 moment, certainly for the wider audience who are perhaps on the fence about VR. For me it has already happened with Astro Bot which is genuinely one of the very best platform games I've ever played and easily one of the top 10 games this generation. Aside from that I think Blood and Truth has given us a glimpse of what VR can really do with a much bigger budget and perhaps with am upgraded PSVR on the PS5 we'll start to get more of these with higher resolutions, wireless play and hopefully room space.
that band is DCMC, "Ness" is actually a prototype Lucas design and the "entire gang" is actually beta-Lucas being chased by Pigmasks. I'd expect NintendoLife to do more research.
@carlos82 @N64-ROX I just went through the Apollo 11 VR experience for example, and I literally cried because of how powerful and compelling it was. And this was running in a first gen Oculus Rift with its really low resolution and God rays. I can only imagine how utterly stunning and overwhelming it would be running on something like the Valve Index with a resolution nearly twice that of the Rift (including more sub-pixels to reduce the screen door effect even further), an extra 20-30 degrees filed of view (letting you see even more of the virtual scene wrapped around you), a jump from 90Hz to 120Hz or even 144Hz (which apparently makes everything look and feel even more real), and its apparently amazing off-ear 3D spacial sound (and the sound is already pretty slick on Rift). And what the hell would it be like in the Pimax 8K X, with it's 4K per eye and 200 degree field of view!
Seriously, if we can already have experiences this powerful and compelling in first gen VR then it boggles my mind to imagine the kinds of games and experiences we'll have in VR in even a couple of generations.
And now I'm going to TRY to see if I can bear to "play" Five Nights at Freddy's VR for even a couple of seconds--I honestly can't even spend more than a few seconds in most horror games in VR--apparently it is one of the most terrifying VR games yet just because of how it works:
@Hordak I'd bet had Earthbound 64 been released, people would look back at it fondly, not say it didn't age well.
This footage has a lot in common with the one showed in Spaceworld 99, which makes you wonder, how they wasted time 3 years, to show the same thing, with other protagonists.
@impurekind @HexagonSun thanks for the tips regarding the Oculus Quest. Granted I've never tried better than the Gear VR and I'm sure the Quest is on another level, but I read a lot and most VR content today still seems to be "experience" content, or at best a third-person adventure similar to Labo BOTW where it's basically like an immersive 3DS. Or segmented room-scale stuff where you have to teleport to really go anywhere. It definitely seems to still be an atmosphere of experimentation and ambitions being reigned in by obstacles such as safety and comfort.
What excites me about current VR is stuff like Skyrim VR, Dirt Rally, and Alien Isolation. First-person, actually-lose-yourself immersion. But those games weren't originally designed for VR, and they can be intimidating...
I wouldn't want to triple-jump in VR. But just like Nintendo invented the auto-jump for Ocarina Of Time, and the seamless Z-targeting, I believe they (and perhaps only they) can figure out a way to let us run around in a VR fantasy world, go on a real adventure, and have it feel good the entire time.
@N64-ROX I partly agree with you in that Nintendo probably will be one of the companies to finally create these top quality first party VR titles that are also genuinely compelling and fully polished AAA games in their own right. But I also think in this day and age that so many other developers are now able to create products that can be just as compelling and polished as Nintendo's games, and doubly so in VR where Nintendo's efforts to date have actually been quite a bit below what some of the other top VR developers have put out, that we shouldn't look to Nintendo for all the best gaming has to offer.
I mean, honestly, Nintendo's VR implementation in the likes of Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild and Smash Bros is about as lackluster and low-end as it gets when putting games into VR, and the other stuff it's done is fun but more because of the novel Labo VR Toy-Cons that it doing anything even remotely exciting in terms of the actual VR games it's created thus far. There are many, many VR games out there that shame what Nintendo thinks is a worthy effort with for its own first party VR "games" in this respect, and it makes Nintendo's implementation look like zero-gen stuff that largely misses most of what actually make truly compelling VR in the first place and kinda barely even does enough to qualify as proper VR rather than just that 3DS-like implementation you mentioned.
So, while I absolutely cannot wait until Nintendo takes VR seriously and truly commits to the medium--I can only imagine the possibilities--I think it would be wrong to overlook/dismiss some of the genuinely amazing games and experiences that other VR developers have been putting out already and that are coming in the near future: Chronos, Superhot, Resident Evil 7 VR, Wolves in the Walls, Dear Angelica, Allumette, Beat Saber, Doom VFR, Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE, Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Rec Room, Apollo 11, Tetris Effect, Blood & Truth, Five Nights at Freddy's VR, Population: One, Defector, Stormland, Lone Echo II, No Man's Sky VR, etc.
I actually think it will be quite some time before Nintendo even matches some of the efforts of other developers in VR thus far, never mind betters them. I mean, even hackers are currently doing far better with Nintendo's own games in VR than Nintendo itself is:
I think playing some of the best VR games on something like the upcoming Valve Index (or even the Pimax VR systems) is going to blow away much of the stuff Nintendo has done on the Switch, because VR really is that big a differentiator imo, and the better the VR tech gets the better the games experiences in VR get too (even ones already released).
And the gap between playing on traditional video game systems and being totally immersed in VR is just going to keep widening.
I'm all in for a new F-Zero and Ice Climbers, but Mother series is a complete trilogy and that's something very rare to have these days, with endless sequels and reboots. Shigesato Itoi himself said there are no plans for Mother 4 all the way back in 2006.
That's it, down payment on the VR room!
I'm not an Earthbound fan at all but this game looks like it could of been really good.
@Luffymcduck then why did Earthbound 64 get cancelled if that’s the case?... Honestly, a series can be how ever long you wanna make it. Idc how many times I hear “it’s a complete trilogy, the story is over.” There can ALWAYS be more room for a story to be told, even Star Wars has proven that. And at the very least, a remaster/remake would suffice just fine.
Man I was so hyped for this game when it was announced, I bought a Gameboy camera because Nintendo Power said we'd be able to take pictures of our face and plaster them on the Earthbound characters.
@impurekind wow look at that literally nobody agreed with you.
@hihelloitsme No one agreed with what?
Earthbound 64 became Mother 3 for GBA eventually.
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