In the 90s the SNES produced some of gaming’s finest RPGS. Great classics such as Final Fantasy 4 and 6 kept American audiences entertained, while Japanese gamers had greats such as the original Star Ocean. Entertaining both audiences was the timeless classic Chrono Trigger. Now years later the rise of the internet has put fans together and given those interested the ability to search for in game beta. Notable finds have been made, such as the music from the fabled “Singing Mountain,” and the demo rom. Now thanks to gamers/fans/translators Glitterberri and Gekkahiro we can read in good ole English a translation of this video that has been floating around the web for some time now.
Play the vid and you can follow along with the following translation.
In this article we can see a comparison between Secret Of Evermore beta screens and their final counterparts. During the game’s development Square USA made some interesting changes and probably the original story was a bit different from the one that we know.
The character’s bar was much different in the beta. While the area is essentially identical, with only little background differences, the enemies in the beta version are not the same as the final. The strange blue creature was completely removed, and we encounter raptors only much later in the prehistoric level. Also, you get the sword in Antiqua, the second area of the game.
I don’t recall this area anywhere in the game. The green dinosaur on the left was removed in the final version.
Yet another enemy that was removed from the final game: the warrior with the pike at the center of the screenshot. Also, in the final version the machine is green (in the beta it looks to be black/grey) and there aren’t enemies in this area, maybe because the game’s story changed. The fake Fire Eyes (the girl at the center of the screen) didn’t exist or didn’t appear here in the beta version.
An area with almost no changes. In the beta version the dog is still the prehistoric one.
This is a really strange beta screenshot. We can see what it looks like to be an early and much different version of Ivory Tower (or Ebon Keep when it is populated again). In the final game, the King is not here. Maybe the story was different ?
Here are some more screenshots from a pre-release version of Secret Of Evermore. The “dog’s bar” at the bottom of the screen has the “dog’s face” on the left side, while in the final version it’s on the right side.
In these screenshots, we can see that this section of the market didn’t change at all. However, as in all pre-release and beta pics, the golden bar is different, and the dog is still the prehistoric one, while in the final version there are four different dogs.
This area is different from the final version. There are not as many black crystals and there is only one skull. Also, the location seems much more barren. Thanks to Robert Seddon, that has found some infos from a developer / tester of the game, we know that they changed the Mammoth Graveyard because there was an issue with AI getting caught on the tusks. You can read more of these beta-infos on this old news: SoE beta infos
We can see that in the beta versione there was no “heart” at the center of the spider.
Again, as in the beta screenshot, the fake “Fire Eyes” girl is not here, but at least the machine is green now.
There are a couple of other beta screens in the gallery below, but they are not much different from the final version.
Planning sessions for Final Fantasy VII began in 1994 after the release of Final Fantasy VI. At the time, the game was planned to be another 2D project for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi intended the story to take place in modern New York City in the year 1999. Several of the staff members were working in parallel on Chrono Trigger, and development for Final Fantasy VII was interrupted when the other project became important enough to require the help of Yoshinori Kitase and other designers.
A rumor taken from Gamefan vol. 3 March 1995 says that the Super Famicom (SNES) version of Final Fantasy VII was going to use a Donkey Kong Country-style SGI graphics and the game was suppose to be on a 64 Megabits cartridge ( 8 MB ).
FFVII early concept (with characters from FFVI) taken from Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimania books:
Some of the ideas originally considered for Final Fantasy VII ended up in Chrono Trigger instead. Other ideas, such as the New York setting and the sorceress character Edea, were kept unused until the later projects Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy VIII respectively. The original script of Final Fantasy VII, which was written by Sakaguchi, was completely different from the finished product. Tetsuya Nomura recalled how Sakaguchi “wanted to do something like a detective story“. The first part of the story involved a character named “Hot Blooded Detective Joe” who was in pursuit of the main characters. The main characters managed to blow up the city of Midgar, which had already been developed for the story.
Development of Final Fantasy VII resumed in late 1995, and required the efforts of approximately 120 artists and programmers, using PowerAnimator and Softimage|3D software and a budget of more than US$30 million. Final Fantasy VI’s co-director and scenario writer, Kitase, returned to direct and co-write Final Fantasy VII and was concerned the franchise might be left behind if it did not catch up to the 3D computer graphics used in other games at the time. Production began after the making of a short, experimental tech demo called “Final Fantasy SGI” for Silicon Graphics, Inc. Onyx workstations. The demo featured polygon-based 3D renderings of characters from Final Fantasy VI in a real time battle. [Infos from Wikipedia]
In these early beta screens from the game, we can see some interesting differences, especially in the design of the characters and in the graphic style (less definite than the final version). Ian has made us to notice some of these differences:
First what’s with the Names on top of the screen? I though they were just names but it appears those are on the status bar too.
Also Barret in the first few screens, is much taller than he should be.
Also Barret uses Hammerblow as a regular attack, maybe at one point in development he only used his gun for limit breaks.
When the close up on the character models is shown all Characters and summons lack eyes.
Red XIII is shown, but He wasn’t supposed to be a playable character at that point( It was originally just supposed to be Cloud, Barret and, Aeris) but he has a high-res model so maybe he was a boss or a summon.
And instead of having Portraits they have actually sprites.
Thanks to Ian for the contribution, to Celine for the Gamefan rumor and to Andy Harrington for some of the screenshots, some scans by DarkMirage, on X-Cult Forum. ProgrammingAce has posted some high-res quality FF7 concept arts on the GamerHistory Forum, you can check them all in here! Also, a beta analysis of FFVII is available here.
In a video below recorded by Ace.Dark you can see a “beta” fight against a pyramid who seems to be immune to most status’ and just says things like “Not a probrem” “That’s too bad” “i’m sorry” “please call staff”. It is a place holder and very incomplete. As Robert Seddon has explained, it’s a remnant of the debugging process: you sometimes get this fight if something goes wrong with the game (hence ‘ENCOUNT[er] ERROR’). There’s a similar fight against ‘test’ pyramids accessible from the debug rooms (with a unique background in a demo and the original Japanese release, for some reason taken out in later versions).
In another video from TheLittleCuteThing’s Youtube Channel there are various differences found in the FF7 Beta 1.9 (the last beta disc printed before the final offical print of FF7 for japan and america): “text on the CGI intro, The Final Fantasy logo says 1996 instead of 1997, The guards that ambush you are for some reason wearing black outfits instead of red, You start out with Aeris and Barret in your party, instead of being alone, CGI`s are ALOT smoother to load on this part, Not all grainey and choppy, You dont talk to jess or anyone to open the doors, You go straight to them, The summon intro was slightly different and you dont get summons this early in the final, the boss is no longer a red scorpion, You have 3 minutes to escape the reactor instead of the massive 12 that you normally have.” Thanks to Zyniker for the link!
Also, Brad linked us to The FF7 Citadel, in which we can read some interesting articles about various unused items and models that are hidden in the game’s code, as the “Letter to a Daughter” and the “Letter to a Wife” that were related to a traveling salesman in Gongaga, from a removed sub-quest. There’s a sound track named “COMICAL.mid” that was never used in the final game, that was probably related to a removed humorous scene. A weird “red guy” (a placeholder / test character) can also be found in there.
Shademp, BrutalAl, and GlitterBerri comments on the differences between Final Fantasy VII prerelease screenshots and the final version of the game can be found in this page!
As we can read on Kotaku, in a Weekly Famitsu magazine from May 2012 there are some preliminary plot notes with some ideas that were never used in the game. One such plot note covers details about meeting the character Yuffie Kisaragi:
*Initial Plot* About Yuffie (Prep) From the opening and forward, wanted posters for Yuffie can be seen in town here and there. Yuffie is a fugitive. Her age and what she looks like is different for each poster.
(How to make her join) Random encounter. Or, she will attack Cloud when he is sleeping in an inn. Either event can happen anywhere.
(Any time) From this point, Yuffie can be recruited at any time. The Wutai event requires Yuffie and therefore, she must be recruited in order to complete the Wutai event. What Yuffie looks like (and her level) is determined when she first joins. (This is based on the last wanted poster that was viewed) Therefore, by selectively choosing which wanted poster you look at last, you can recruit the Yuffie that suits your liking. *end*
Final Fantasy 9 (IX) is a RPG developed and published by Square for the PlayStation in 2000. During the development, the design for the characters was different from the one in the final version, as you can notice from the images in the gallery below. As we can read on Wikipedia, the game was developed in Hawaii as a compromise to developers living in the United States.
In the game’s conceptual stage, the developers made it clear that the title would not necessarily be Final Fantasy IX, as its break from the realism of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII may have alienated audiences. This led fans to speculate that it would be released as a “gaiden” to the main series. By late 1999, however, Square had confirmed that the game would indeed be published as Final Fantasy IX, and by early 2000, the game was nearly finished.
If you can write a description for the design differences in these concept arts, please leave a reply or send us a message! We would like to make this article more complete.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is an action RPG developed by Square Enix and Japanese studio Jupiter and released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance. The idea for an intermediary title was developed after director Tetsuya Nomura and his team had already begun to develop ideas for the second Kingdom Hearts game, which he had intended to be set a year after the original. Originally titled Kingdom Hearts: Lost Memories, Nomura changed the name to match the overall outline of the story, while still reflecting the theme of memories. [Info from Wikipedia]
Thanks to Umiyuri Papaeyra, we can notice various beta differences in the screenshots below:
First screenshot: Axel VS Sora
No boss fight takes place in the Unknown Rooms (the vestibule that appears before a world door).
Axel’s on the wrong side of the screen as well.
The pillars in the room are square while in the final game they are thick, round, and widely spaced.
There’s also a door visible in the wall that doesn’t exist in any of the Unknown Rooms in the final game.
Second screenshot: Sora in the Guarded Trove room in Wonderland
The door is less adorned than it is in the final game.
Third screenshot: Axel meeting with an Organisation member
The room with the χ-shaped table never appears in the final game.
Axel’s sprite looks kinda odd here, but I don’t know if it’s different, since the resolution of the scan is bad.
Fifth screenshot: Sora and Vexen
The marble ‘plant pot pillar’ here shows a leafy plant; in the final game they’re finely-crafted marble roses in large square pots.
The pillars from the first screen are finally visible as short ones; in the final game they reach to the ceiling.
The Unknown Rooms in the final game are a lot longer than shown here, and start with a set of steps coming up that don’t appear in this screen.
The door is much more visible here. Once again, the only door in the Unknown Room leads into the next world.
Sixth screenshot: Sora running around Olympus Coliseum
The world’s graphics are very different from the real game, showing a different ‘skirting board’ and ‘ledge’ pattern.
White Mushrooms only appear in a room when a special Map Card is used, and they’ll be the only enemies there.
Seventh screenshot: Cloud’s summon
Cloud’s cards in this screen are coloured grey; in the final game all the Summon Cards are classed as Magic Cards and are blue.
The Enemy Cards in the final game show the enemy’s faces.
Eighth screenshot: Fighting Darkside
Same as the previous screenshot, the Enemy Cards here don’t show Darkside’s face, when they should be.
The graphics on the Thunder and Fire cards are different to the final graphics.
Thanks a lot to Umiyuri Papaeyra for the contribution!
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