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Plenty of games change before they release or just never see the light of day in the first place, but when you add in all the localization woes associated with it, no Nintendo series can feel as ethereal as Mother. Before there was the Game Boy Advance game we all know and love despite never having officially gotten, there was EarthBound 64 – a 3D polygonal RPG that would’ve told a similar story. At least that’s what we can piece together from the minimal footage and press on the title.

Today though, a few more seconds of footage have come into view from video recorded at Space World 1996 and featured in what appears to be a Japanese program called Game Catalogue II. One of the hosts excitedly points out the game before the focus shifts to Zelda (a then still in production Ocarina of Time), followed by a closer and more direct look at the Earthbound 64 footage.

As shown, the game was designated Mother 3 and even though the footage is mere seconds long there’s clearly some overlap with the game that would eventually hold that name. Things like a hovercraft vehicle, a live band performance, and pig themed enemies all occur in the finished GBA title and it just shows how dedicated the team was to telling the story as they wanted to that these elements remained for a decade of work. We also get a good look at what would presumably be the main character, what with their striped shirt and all, looking more similar to Ness and Ninten than the eventual lead boy Lucas.

Thanks to both YouTube channel kukun kun for uploaded this, and this Resetera thread for finding it and compiling its shots and scenes. Even these few snippets of footage feel like a grand find for what could’ve been a strange, funny, and heartrending game in its own right.

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.