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There is seemingly no end to the amount of newly discovered prototypes within the latest data breach of Nintendo’s source code, popularly referred to as the Nintendo Gigaleak. Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, and Star Fox 64 are just a few titles that have had previously unseen and unused assets shared online, and now, the first game in the Animal Crossing series — the Japan-exclusive Animal Forest for Nintendo 64 — is also being thoroughly investigated.

An unused cat villager, referred to as “CAT13” within the files, has been uncovered and assembled in-game. As she doesn’t appear to have anything beyond this codename, fans have taken to nicknaming her “Catty.”

As for some more familiar faces, files have been found that may represent some of the earliest ever designs of recurring Animal Crossing characters Blathers and Wisp. Despite the fact that Blathers and his museum never appeared in Animal Forest (instead making his debut in the upgraded Animal Crossing GameCube port), one of the recovered graphic files resembles his face, suggesting that he was originally planned to appear in the N64 title.


The series’ adorable cub villager, Maple, may have had a not-so-conventionally-cute design early in development, going by the following texture. She almost had a big unibrow!

Finally, a promotional graphic for Animal Forest’s showing at Nintendo’s Space World event back in 2000 has also been found, depicting a customized version of the game’s title screen.

With Animal Crossing: New Horizons continuing to make waves this year, it’s been very interesting to get an inside look into the development of the franchise’s roots!

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Written by Reece Heather

A lifelong Nintendo fan and a longtime editor at Zelda Universe, Reece will forever be grateful that he somehow dodged the Naughty List of Christmas 1998, when Santa delivered the life-changing gift of a Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Mario Kart 64. When he's not playing games, Reece is usually reading Punisher comics, delving helplessly into the weirdest depths of anime and manga, or spending time with his cocker spaniel Gracie -- the goodest girl ever!