Update (Tue 28th Jul, 2020 14:45 BST): To provide some extra clarification about the recent Nintendo 64 leaks, we reached out to the YouTube channel Modern Vintage Gamer.
How significant is this N64 leak - can much be achieved with all of the data that's been discovered?
MVG: Nintendo has always been a private company when it came to information that wasn't part of any official press announcement. This N64 leak is obviously a way for many to learn more about the games and the history behind them. This leak also verifies some rumors - for example Luigi's assets discovery, URA Zelda and others.
Gaming Historians and preservationists have interest in prototype binaries, audio soundtracks and assets discoveries - these findings have all been documented. The leak answers many questions and it also gives the public a look at how the development process worked. The problem with this leak is that it's illegal. Nintendo never released this information, but for some, the curiosity to turn stones over is too great.
From a significance standpoint - I think anyone who's a fan of Nintendo - especially the N64 era is probably keeping an eye on what has been uncovered. However in general, leaks like this won't help the emulation community as they are required to not be in any contact with any Nintendo source code that is private and legally protected.
What's going on with the Luigi assets that have been discovered - is he actually in the game?
MVG: Luigi's model assets are included as a folder as a part of the code, but there's no reference of that model to any game code. It's said that Luigi was part of the initial storyboard and design process but was removed. So no, he isn't in the game. What you've seen on the internet are reconstructions by fans that have experience with 3d models and in some cases using the Super Mario 64 recompilation project to replace Mario's model with Luigi. It's fascinating that his model has surfaced. but nothing really beyond that.
Is there anything else we should know about this leak?
MVG: Things are moving fast. On my Twitter timeline I keep seeing new discoveries occurring. I expect that we keep hearing more discoveries over the coming weeks. I also expect Nintendo to respond in some fashion, either by going after the leakers or serving DMCA takedown requests if they feel it hurts their brand in any way.
Thanks to MVG for answering our questions. For more information about the Nintendo 64 leak, check out his own video about it.
Original article (Sun 26th Jul, 2020 07:15 BST): A day after prototypes and source code for SNES games were spilled online, leakers have reportedly moved onto N64 titles.
Perhaps the highlight is a supposed early build of Super Mario 64 - titled, "Ultra 64 Mario Brothers". It has files referencing Luigi and there appears to have been no time wasted getting them up and running in-game. In an interview dating back to 1996, Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed Luigi was originally planned for Super Mario 64 as a second playable character (thanks, VGC).
There's also the game's original artwork, box art, character models and more:
If that wasn't already exciting enough, the data leak also allegedly contains source code and files for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Some references to the expansion "Ura Zelda" have also supposedly been uncovered. It never saw the light of day, because of the failure of the 64DD peripheral (via Zelda fandom). Here are some of the shots that have surfaced so far:
There's an original uncompressed sound file for the famous Star Fox 64 line, too:
In addition to this, the leak is believed to contain source code data for other Nintendo 64 games like Mario Kart 64, Wave Race 64, Yoshi's Story, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Dr. Mario 64, and even the original Animal Crossing (Animal Forest).
It's all apparently linked to the leak we first reported on in May this year, which contained source code for the Wii, GameCube, a Pokémon game, the iQue, and much more. To view all the SNES-related leaks, see our previous post.
If we see or hear anything else exciting about this leak, we'll be sure to let you know.