While in development at Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe (KCEK), Castlevania was originally known as Dracula 3D. United States news media referred to the game by this title as well as Dracula 64. In September of 1997, the game was approximately 10% finished and was 20% complete in February of 1998. In October of 1998 the game was featured at the Tokyo Game Show; several levels were playable and the game was a hit with the crowd. Later that month, it was revealed that KCEK decided to drop two of the planned four characters from the game “in favor of focusing the programming team’s development efforts and moving completion of the game forward”. [info from Wikipedia]
Most of the images preserved in the gallery below are from an early Dracula 3D tech demo, showing the main characters that were planned to be in the game. The graphic of this tech demo is much more detailed and definited than the final version and 2 playable characters were removed.
Most of the features planned for Castlevania 64 were later added to its sequel, Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, that realizes some of the original game designers’ vision. For example, Cornell was present in early development media and press information for Castlevania 64, but was ultimately removed before the game’s release.
Dinosaur Planet was going to be Rare’s swan song on the Nintendo 64. However, the game was finally released in 2002 only on the Gamecube, and the title changed to Star Fox Adventures. According to many, in the porting Rare dropped some of the most interesting features, so we may never know if the Nintendo 64 version was better. Certainly much has been changed in the porting process: the main character, Saber, became Fox Mc Cloud, Crystal’s role was heavily cut (she should have been a fully playable character), and many scenes from the old Dinosaur Planet build are missing. Even more interesting are the pre-production artworks, which shown a more adult version of the characters, maybe because Saber was required to grow up during the adventure, or because there was a time traveling device like in Ocarina of Time.
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon was initially titled Ganbare Goemon 5, then Legend of the Mystical Ninja. The Japanese producers desired to break the series’s numerical naming convention to emphasize that Mystical Ninja was very different from its predecessors. Originally developed with a two-player mode, this feature was scrapped months before the Japanese release. Early development pictures showed Impact battling in a modern city against an handgun-wielding foe. Images depicted the battle against the Wartime Kabuki Robot Kashiwagi taking place over a forest and village. Konami also released several renders of Goemon making different poses and facial expressions for magazine previews. A 60-70% complete build of the game was featured at E3 in June 1997; this version still suffered from graphical clipping and camera issues. – [Info from Wikipedia]
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/] Goemon 64 – oltre a Castlevania e Hybrid Heaven, uno dei primissimi giochi annunciati dalla Konami per l’Ultra, fu questo Ganbare Goemon 64, seguito dei titoli omonimi per Super Nintendo. La software house japponese cercò si seguire le impronte di Mario 64, trasformando questa saga di platform bidimensionali in un vero e proprio adventure 3D, perdendo però molti degli elementi che distinguevano il gioco, come la modalità cooperativa a due giocatori. Le prime foto del gioco mostravano una grafica molto più definita della versione finale. L’hub su schermo era differente, il numero di vite erano segnalate con una faccia del personaggio in alto a destra. [/spoiler]
Jet Force Gemini is a sci-fi action adventure / third-person shooter developed by Rare that was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. The main characters, Juno and Vela, were originally designed as younger in the beta version and their 3D models were more cartoon-like with large heads. They were later changed to their more mature versions before the release of the game. However, a similar set of childish models can still be played with via an in-game cheat.
Jet Force Gemini does not support the 4MB Expansion Pak, although Rare had considered the possibility. This led to some confusion as the box cover for the original release stated that it did support the Expansion Pak. Nintendo provided a quick-fix to the mislabeled covers by providing stickers declaring its rumble pak compatibility and fixed later printings of the boxes. [Info from Wikipedia]
Also, some debug rooms and beta maps were found still hidden in the game thanks to ps3punk7890, Luigi 316 and SubDrag. An interesting note, one of these unused maps is a racing track from Diddy Kong Racing: it’s possible that they used this to test the racing missions in Jet Force Gemini in its early stages.
Banjo-Kazooie was originally known by the project name Dream for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The project starred a boy named Edison, who owned a wooden sword and got into trouble with a group of pirates lead by Captain Blackeye. Dream was also scheduled to include a rabbit that looked like a man, a dopey dog and a bear that became Banjo. A screenshot from the Project Dream phase, shows Edison in a pirate town, but we do not know if it is a concept art or a Nintendo 64 tech demo. Finally, Project Dream was shown at the 1997 E3 as Banjo-Kazooie. [info from wikipedia]
From Grant Kirkhope’s website we can read many interesting facts about Dream’s development and download some unused / beta songs:
I started at Rare in October 1995 and when I got there “Dream” was already going. The core team from “Donkey Kong Country” had given DK to another team to carry on with and was working on this game which was going to be Rare’s greatest SNES title. It was very secret and Tim Stamper was leading the team, nobody outside the team knew anything about it. […]
I was shown the demo of the game running on the SNES and was blown away; it looked beautiful and was obviously going to be a big step up from “Donkey Kong Country”. […]
Pretty soon after I joined the game it was decided that it was too big for the SNES and was converted over to the N64, plus we were going to be using the extra “bulky drive” add on, that Nintendo told us they had in development. […]
The game was a huge RPG, which I loved as I was a huge “Zelda” fan, and I tried to write some really strong themes for all the characters. The demos that I’ve put on the site are all using proper samples as opposed to the N64 versions which were obviously not as good quality due to memory restrictions.[…]
I think the final nail in the coffin for “Dream” came from another one of Rare’s teams. The “Killer Instinct” team had started “Conker” and it looked and played fantastically. In “Dream” we had this elaborate floor system that meant we could stretch the polygons into any shape to create some really great looking landscapes that really hadn’t been tried before, unfortunately the N64 just didn’t have the power to run it at a decent frame rate and we were struggling to make it work. The “Conker” team had gone more the tried and trusted route as used in “Mario 64” and had left us behind. I remember Tim trooping us all across the courtyard to look at “Conker” and our hearts all sank as “Conker” was really good.[…]
So we went back to our barn and tried their method, “Dream” started to run great. Then Tim was unhappy with the whole boy/hero thing and said we should change it to an animal. A bear was our first creature and “Banjo” the bear was born. So now we had “Banjo” running around in an RPG, I really can’t remember when we added the back pack and “Kazooie” but it was around this time. Again Tim still didn’t think it was all good enough and after seeing how good “Mario 64” was and with Rare’s platforming heritage it was decided to scrap “Dream” and do a platformer with ” Banjo” as the main character.[…]
In the gallery below you can see various screens and videos from the beta version of the game, with removed enemies and levels. One of the most famous beta areas is the “Giant’s Lair”, that should have been the world’s HUB before Gruntilda’s Lair. The “Mount Fire Eyes” is instead a beta level, that is talked about in the final game, as an easter egg. You can check the video below created by VIDEOmakerNezuke to read more info on the Banjo beta.
Some more info on Banjo Kazooie Beta listed by Mew Mew:
there were originally 16 levels planned for the game
some of the cut levels were reused in banjo tooie (as witchy world, glitter gulch mine and mount fire eyes)
it seems that mount fire eyes turned into the lava side in hailfire peaks
clankers cavern also went through a few changes in its devlopment for example there is a video which shows clanker the whale as a real whale not made of metal with the fungi forest music from donkey kong 64
clankers cavern is rumoured to have been a part of fungus forest (similar too donkey kong 64), as the level is very close to the underwater entrance to the click clock woods puzzle podium, which is covered in moss or fungus (this was believed to be where the orginal entrance or puzzle was for fungus forest)
This description of the game is still a work in progress, if you would like to write a better article on the development of the game, let us know!
Thanks to Princess Toadstol, Saga Darvulia, cheat-master30 Anon and BM for the contributions!