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Little Big Planet [PS3 – Beta / Prototype]

Before LittleBigPlanet was called “LittleBigPlanet”, it was called “Craftworld”. It was a physics-based 2D side scrolling game and it’s main character was a little guy by the name of “Mr. Yellowhead” (he is an unlockable character in LBP). His arms were controllable with the right analogue stick and his legs were controllable with the left analogue stick. The main point of the prototype was to guide Mr. Yellowhead past a bunch of little and big obstacles by grabbing on to them and pushing and/or rolling them around, much like a puzzle game.

This was enough to make Sony interested in the game and after much work and a public beta, LittleBigPlanet was released worldwide by November 5, 2008.

As wrote on TheEscapist, it seems that Media Molecule had some plans to make the game a “full 3D” exploring platform:

Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans told Joystiq at Gamescom that an early build of LittleBigPlanet had “free depth and completely moving cameras, and the gameplay engine wasn’t layered fundamentally.” Levels could “travel into the screen,” so Sackboys were able to move more than just left and right.

Evans admitted that this level of freedom was “really hard” and “creatively unconstrained.” He says: “We found our level designers wasted tons of time in 3D land, so we iteratively reduced it; first of all, we reduced the scope, then we added the layers, and with each restriction we did, it improved the quality.”

In the screenshots below, we can see some interesting concept art of the various stages of the game.

Thanks to Robert Seddon for the contribution!

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Mystical Ninja Goemon 64 [Beta / Tech Demo]

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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]

Update! A Goemon 64 prototype could be leaked soon, but we need your help. If you love Goemon, read this article for more info!

italian_flag.jpg [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]

[Thanks a lot to Gilgalegrouik for some of these images!]

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Project Dream / Banjo Kazooie [N64 – Beta / Proto / Test Level]

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.[…]

Check our interview with Grant Kirkhope! Also, Coolboyman is helping Grant to restore the beta BK tunes to their former glory. Check the videos below, to find some of these beta songs!

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!

[Italian] Per maggiori informazioni: Banjo Kazooie – analisi Stop ’n’ Swop

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Below are some beta songs that the composer, Grant Kirk Hope, kindly uploaded.
http://www.grantkirkhope.com/betabanjokazooie.html 

Yoshi’s Island 64 (Yoshi’s Story) [N64 – Beta]

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The beta version of Yoshi’s Island 64 (later called Yoshi’s Story) has some graphic differences, various minor changes in the level design and a removed “underground” level. This beta level had a black background, water and giant mushrooms, as well as some enemies that are bigger than the ones in the final game. The soil was covered with moss and we can notice huge flying bubbles that Yoshi was able to move.

Jose Felipe Riveros Navarro noticed that in the second beta video there are early Shy Guys that are smaller than the final ones, a beta version of the jungle hut stage at 0:06 – 0:07 and at 0.11 a “?” block is moving in a different way than the final version. In some images from the Yoshi’s Story japanese commercial there are some differences too: changed background, the colors of the “tall tower” and the sun, the heart is a little different from the final one.

Also in and old Japanese commercial about Yoshi’s Story, you’ll notice Yoshi had a different, more girlish voice (behind the 0:15 mark:). Of course, since this was the first game where Yoshi had an actual voice, he might have sounded a whole lot differently today. Thanks to Yosher for the contribution!

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]La versione beta del secondo gioco di piattaforme dedicato a yoshi (yoshi’s island 64) rispetto alla versione finale (yoshi’s story) presenta alcune differenze soprattutto a livello grafico, niente di speciale, le immagini difatti si commentano da sole, oltre naturalmente ai due loghi ben diversi tra loro alcuni elementi grafici sono cambiati leggermente nella versione definitiva.

A livello strutturale, tralasciando piccoli cambiamenti nel design dei livelli inutili da menzionare, è ben più importante notare come un livello di gioco sia stato completamente cancellato, dai video e dalle immagini beta notiamo che il look di questo sia molto “underworld”, dando quindi un senso di irrealità e di fatato, lo sfondo è nero, a terra vi è dell’ acqua, vi sono funghi giganti, e anche alcuni nemici sono più grandi del normale, il terreno è composto da composizioni di terra dalla forma sferica ricoperte da muschio, sospese per aria troviamo delle bolle enormi, che yoshi può spostare.

Rilasciato nel ’98, yoshi’s story è stato ed è un gioco indimenticabile, irripetibile, purtroppo molti ai tempi lo snobbarono, forse aspettandosi un vero e proprio seguito di yoshi’s island per snes o un gioco più longevo e meno facile.[/spoiler]

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Carnivale [N64 – Cancelled]

Carnivale is an animated film which because of its particular style and its lack of success, had only a limited release in certain European countries in 2000. A game based on this film was in development by Vatical Entertainment for the Nintendo 64 and it was even shown with an incomplete build at E3 1999, but the project was later cancelled.

The game plot would have follow the story of the film: a group of kids stuck in an amusement park in another dimension, along with a strange woman that never ages. The graphic had the same style of the film, a simplified design that was well suited for the limited 3D capacity of the N64.

The 128-megabit Carnivale 64 was supposed to have 3 modes of play. The first option included a classic Adventure Mode, with 5 scenarios available (or at least that was the number of the areas completed before the cancellation), including a ghost train and a rat-infested sewer trip. The player was able to explore the weird amusement park with the help of many available power-ups, playing several mini-games with platform / shooter sections – among them “test your strength” machines, a duck shooting gallery with ascending and descending obstacles, and a Punch & Judy show. The player would have to collect a certain amount of coins to access new locations and mini-games.

For those looking for a more immediate fun, in the second mode we would have been able to directly play all the mini-games, probably after unlocking them in the adventure mode. A “Racing Mode” was planned too, in which to race against the computer or in 2-player mode with a friend, complete with Mario Kart-style weapons.

Sadly Carnivale’s development team, Terraglyph, was being reorganized at that time and many employees were fired and the game vanished without traces until May 2009, when a playable prototype was found by NesWorld. You can read an interesting article on the game in here!

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