Early beta screenshots of Paper Mario / Super Mario RPG 2 showed that Poochy was going to play some sort of role in the game. Another screenshot showed that Nep-Enuts were going to be in this game also. Also the early version of Forever Forest showed that it would be much smaller, with all the forest’s trees having sinister faces. Paper Mario was also originally going to be named Super Mario RPG 2, though due to complications involving Square Enix, the makers of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the name was changed to Super Mario Adventure and later Paper Mario. Also, it was originally in development for the failed Nintendo 64DD. However, it was released in cartridge. A screenshot had also shown a strange, beta Whale. [Info from Mariowiki]
Also, in an Iwata Asks interview, they shared a super early Mario RPG 64 concept:
Yeah, we really did. And most of all it was a Mario game! We couldn’t determine the route to take with visuals. At first, we broke into teams and worked in parallel on making about three sample models.
Oh, it’s from 15 years ago on March 5, 1997.
It’s made of 3D polygons, but I drew it to have an atmosphere like that of a picture book transplanted into a video game—with paper-thin 2D background and characters.
[Thanks to Henrique Resende for the contribute with some images!]
Quest 64 (aka Holy Magic Century in PAL regions and Eltale Monsters in Japan) is an RPG developed by the Japanese company Imagineer. It was originally published in 1998, while the Japanese version was released in 1999 and features an extended ending cutscene.
Quest 64 was announced under the title “Crystal Stories” in June 1997. Screenshots of this early beta build feature a capeless, knight-like version of the final protagonist Brian. In August 1997, the game reached the second stage of development and was renamed “Holy Magic Century Eltale” (or simply “Eltale” in Japan). This version was meant to be released on a 96Mbit cartridge (the final game had 128Mbit of data) in December 1997.
The graphics of this second build resembled the released game, but its story was different: As in the final game, it revolved around Spirit Handlers, which are magicians with the ability to control the elements. Unlike Quest 64, however, there were five elements and not four. Half a century before the events of the game, there was an evil Spirits Handler named Larva. He was a priest who served the pope of the Highland, but his spirit-handling skills became too strong and he was excommunicated. Larva then traveled through the world as the Black Spirits Handler and found accounts of the Evils, three kinds of sinister powers which were accidentally created during the first spirit handling experiments. They fed off the Seven Deadly Sins committed by humans, made them do more evil deeds and could even create monsters. Larva eventually freed the Evils and a fierce war ensued. It lasted until the Zeek crystal appeared and equipped three heroes with holy swords, giving the forces of good a deciding advantage. Although peace was restored, Larva managed to escape.
The second build featured three playable protagonists, each with their individual strengths and weaknesses:
Magician (named by the player) Description: A descendant of an ancient dynasty of sorcerers Age: 12 Height: 1,50m Weight: 42kg Skills/weapons: Magic, staff
Nina Description: A princess, also a descendant of the Spirit Handlers Age: 13 Height: 1,55m Weight: 38kg Skills/weapons: Defensive and healing magic, bow and arrows
Cozi Description: A strong and ruthless pirate Age: 15 Height: 1,70m Weight: 70kg Skills/weapons: Fists, sword
The unnamed magician was a descendant of one of the heroes who originally fought against Larva. Together with Nina and Cozi, he was to search for the three holy swords and stop the reemergence of evil. The final build omits most of these plot points and the magician Brian is the only protagonist. Nina probably turned into Princess Flora of Dondoran and Cozi might have become the pirate Kiliac on the Isle of Skye.
As the screenshots show, the early builds had a traditional level-up system as seen in other RPGs. The menu screen had additional options for the cursor, spells, sound effects and a help option. None of the images from the early builds indicate the “elementals” collected, which is otherwise shown in the bottom left corner in the final version. In one of the screens in the gallery below we can even see a removed bubble attack: its graphics were used for King Beigis’ “Large Cutter” look-alike, though no official attack name is known.
This information was taken from previews found in english N64 Magazine (issue 4, 1997), german Nintendo Fun Vision (issue August/September 1997) and german N64 Magazin (issue September 1997). Thanks to Hydrozor and Mario for the contributions!
We dont have many informations on DT 64 (also known as “Bloodmaster”): the game was supposed to be an Card RPG with an interesting connection-mode between the 64DD and the Game Boy. The game was in development by Marigul and Media Factory and probably it would have been published by Nintendo. The player had to collect a series of cards to use them in combat as in Magic The Gatering.
DT 64 was shown at the Space World 1999 in a non-playable form: there was just a logo and some text , with the GameBoy Link Cable, that would have been used to connect the two Nintendo consoles. The GameBoy could have been used as a controller for the 64DD game, to check the card statistics and share data with a presumed Bloodmaster GB version. The two games, one for the 64DD and one for the GB, would had exchanged data to integrate parts of the story and unlock new levels / cards. Players would have been able to play online with the 64DD Randnet Network, to trade cards and complete their collection.
In a scan from a Japanese magazine, we can read (thanks to Ultrama82 for the translation!): “A controller with a brain.” Even if the translation is not accurate because an ideogram is hide by the reflection of the light, making it unrecognizable, the concept is certainly intriguing. Sadly DT64 was cancelled and it vanished without any more screens or info.
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Non si hanno molte informazioni su questo DT 64 (conosciuto anche con il sottotitolo di “Bloodmaster”): il gioco avrebbe dovuto essere un CARD RPG con interazione fra 64DD e GameBoy, sviluppato da Marigul e Media Factory. Il giocatore avrebbe dovuto collezionare una serie di carte ed utilizzarle nei combattimenti, un po’ come succede in Magic The Gatering.
DT 64 è stato presentato allo Space World del 1999 in forma non giocabile, attraverso una vetrina che mostrava il Link Cable, capace di unire le due console Nintendo. La console portatile avrebbe potuto essere utilizzata come controller del gioco, per osservare sul piccolo schermo le statistiche raccolte ed interagire con una presunta versione GB di Bloodmaster. Le due versioni, quella per 64DD e quella per GB, scambiavano fra loro i dati, per integrare parti della storia e nuove situazioni. Gli utenti sarebbero stati in grado di estrarre i dati della propria partita, collegarsi online con la rete Randnet del 64DD e scambiare le carte raccolte in DT 64 con gli altri giocatori in rete, per completare la collezione.
Nella terza immagine, dalle scritte in giapponese si legge: “Un controller con un cervello”. La traduzione è probabilmente errata perchè in un ideogramma c’è il riflesso della luce, che lo rende irriconoscibile, ma il concetto è sicuramente intrigante: quali idee avevano in mente per il gioco? Quali funzioni avrebbe permesso di realizzare il GameBoy come “controller intelligente”?
Traduzione dal giapponese di Ultraman82 [/spoiler]
Konami was one of the first software houses to announce full support for the Nintendo 64, after the happy and profitable experience with the SNES. In addition to Castlevania 64, one of the first games announced for the console was Hybrid Heaven, a strange cross-game between Turn-based RPG, action, adventure and fighting, that promised an open ended gameplay.
In the early images and videos released, the project had an incredible graphic for its time, much more definited than the one in the final version. When Hybrid Heaven was finally released after many delays, players found themselves in front of a very different game, graphically poor and with a linear gameplay.
Probably the early media released were just Concept Renders and when Konami started to create the game on the real N64 hardware, they found out that it was impossible to reach such level of details. We dont know exactly how many parts were removed (some places and characters seen in the concept renders were not in the final game), but we can speculate that the developers had to heavily cut the project, because their original concept was too ambitious for its time.
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]La Konami fu una delle primissime Software House ad annunciare il pieno supporto alla nuova macchina a 64 Bit di casa Nintendo, dopo le felici e redditizie esperienze con lo SNES. Oltre al precedente Castlevania 64, uno dei primi giochi annunciati fu questo Hybrid Heaven, strano incrocio fra RPG a turni, azione, esplorazione e picchiaduro. Dalle primissime immagini il titolo faceva graficamente paura e sembrava avere tutte le potenzialità per divenire l’ennesima Killer Application per l’N64. Eppure, quando il gioco finalmente venne completato dopo anni di ritardi, i giocatori si trovarono davanti un prodotto molto diverso, graficamente povero e dalla giocabilità fin troppo lineare. Del progetto originale probabilmente si era salvato ben poco.[/spoiler]