The Mother/Earthbound franchise is a strange and wonderful piece of gaming history. The trilogy failed to achieve mass commercial success in its time, but all three games are now beloved cult classics. However, as many dedicated fans know, Mother 3 was almost a completely different game. Series creator Shigesato Itoi originally planned to follow up EarthBound on SNES with a Nintendo 64DD game. Nintendo planned to release it in the West as EarthBound 64. Itoi put enough work into this early version that it even appeared at some trade shows. Eventually, it was scrapped, then rebooted as a very different Game Boy Advance game.
We’ve seen very little of the canceled prototype, but new footage is now making the rounds. Nintendo brought a build of Mother 3 to SpaceWorld 1996. All these years later, a video recording from the convention is now available. YouTube user “kukun kun” posted a montage of SpaceWorld footage, including a brief clip of the scrapped Mother project. The rare footage was then clipped into a much shorter video by OKeijiDragon, and you can view it below!
Rare canceled EarthBound 64 footage
The new footage shows off a band singing and dancing, a rain forest, hover cars, and menacing pig statues. The above video also includes a slowed-down look at the footage, so you can try to pick out more details. It’s old, grainy, and short, but dammit, it’s canceled Mother 3 footage! That’s a rare find these days!
It’s sad that Itoi’s original vision of Mother 3 never came to be. A troubled development cycle and the commercial failure of the Nintendo 64DD squashed its chances of ever seeing the light of day. But eventually, Itoi re-imagined the project for Game Boy Advance. It turned out quite different, but it still ended up as an RPG masterpiece.