Mother 3/Earthbound 64 (lost build of unfinished Nintendo 64/64DD video game; 1999)
EarthBound 64 (also known as MOTHER 3 in Japan, but not to be confused with the GBA game of the same name) was a cancelled sequel to the 1994/1995 Super Famicom/SNES game MOTHER 2/EarthBound (respectively). The story follows Lucas, Claus, and Flint, a family of three who lost their mother/wife, Hinawa.
Initial Development and Cancellation
The game had a lengthy and troubled development cycle, starting on the Super Famicom shortly after the release of EarthBound in 1994, but later moving to the 64DD. After the 64DD was canceled, development was moved to the N64. Two more problems emerged from this, however: Shigesato Itoi and his crew had little to no experience with 3D titles, and without the aid of the 64DD, the game had many constraints such as time and memory. Eventually, the title was pushed back until it was finally canceled in 2000. At the time of the game's cancellation, Satoru Iwata estimated the game's completion at 30%, while Shigeru Miyamoto estimated it at 60%, which was clarified to mean the game was about 60% coded but only about 30% playable.
A playable demo was available at Spaceworld 1999, which was the closest thing the game had to any public release. Players praised the rhythm combat system, graphics, and music. The series' rolling HP/PP meter was confirmed to make a comeback.
Despite its cancellation, this was not the end for MOTHER 3. A few years later, after a MOTHER 1+2 commercial, it was announced that MOTHER 3 was in the works, and the final game was later released in 2006. Rather than the 3D graphics used in the Nintendo 64 version, MOTHER 3 returned the series to its 2D sprite-based roots. The basic plot and many of the characters overlapped between the two versions, but there were some redesigns and changes, one of the biggest ones being that Claus was no longer a playable character. Shigesato Itoi also stated in an interview that the story was originally going to be much darker and would "betray the player."
Unfortunately, even the final release of MOTHER 3 was never released outside of Japan, although the game has been translated into English and many other languages by fans.
Original Version Availability
Brendan Sechter, a playtester who worked on the GBA version of MOTHER 3, confirmed in an interview that a prototype of Earthbound 64 exists. He was able to play most of the first chapter of the game, but the game crashed afterwards. Sechter believes the prototype is either still in the possession of Brownie Brown or has been transferred to Hal Laboratories or Nintendo. Although there are occasional rumors of fans owning prototype copies, there has been no credible evidence of this so far, and the game's composer Shogo Sakai has denied composing some music purportedly from the prototype that has been posted to YouTube.
- Translated cancellation interview with Shigesato Itoi, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Satoru Iwata. Retrieved 12 Aug '16.
- Article about the 1999 Spaceworld demo. Retrieved 14 Aug '16.
- Translated interview with Shigesato Itoi after the release of MOTHER 3 Retrieved 12 Aug '16.
- Interview with Brendan Sechter Retrieved 12 Aug '16.
- Article about the purported prototype music on YouTube Retrieved 12 Aug '16.