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EarthBound 64

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This article is about the cancelled Nintendo 64 title. For the Game Boy Advance game of the same title, see Mother 3.
EarthBound 64
MOTHER3:豚王の最期 Mother 3: Fall of the Pig King
Title screen
System Nintendo 64
Genre RPG
Rating N/A
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Ape Inc. / HAL Laboratory, Inc.
Release dates

EarthBound 64 (Japanese: MOTHER3:豚王の最期 Mother 3: Fall of the Pig King), is a cancelled Nintendo 64 game that was planned as the third game in the Mother/EarthBound series. The game began development for the Nintendo 64DD with a projected release in 1999, but was switched to a normal Nintendo 64 Game Pak in the summer of 1998 when the Nintendo 64DD's future began to be doubted; however, due to the game's development potentially taking away resources from Nintendo's upcoming console, the GameCube, the game was ultimately cancelled in late 2000 before being brought back into development for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. At one point, the team considered bringing it to the Nintendo GameCube. [1]

During development, the game was stated to have 12 playable characters across 12 chapters. This was later reduced to 9 chapters during the switch from disk to cartridge. [2] The subtitle used in the Japanese game was changed several times during development, with one being "Forest of the Chimera" (森のキマイラ), but the most common one being "Fall of the Pig King".[3]


M3 Almost Mecha-Lion sprite.png
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A Ness look-alike character that was created specifically for the Space World 1996 showcase event, meant to "make the world of “MOTHER” easier to understand."[4]

Though the storyline of the game is, for the most part, the same as the Game Boy Advance release, several things were changed from the planned Nintendo 64 game. For one, in EarthBound 64, the length of the game's story was altered, with EarthBound 64 having 12 chapters spread over the course of ten years, each with their own main character, unlike the final game, which only has eight chapters spread over the course of three years. (During the switch from the 64DD add-on to the N64 console, the 12-chapter system was reduced to only 9 chapters.) The overall tone of the story was intended to be darker than the final product was. Particularly the final boss was intended to include no dialogue and to be more of a terrifying experience.

The story was intended to consider one place changing over time, and day by day seeing how the area changes, and consistently changing "town gossip" was an idea in place as a plot device. Each enemy was supposed to have its own perspective, no matter how minor.

As for the setting, Shigesato Itoi stated that "there’s a strange world that you can’t quite decipher between the middle ages or the old west, and in the end you realize the circumstances of what made it so strange. It was made in a way that you’d be thinking 'This is weird…' then make it through Chapter Eleven, and hit Chapter Twelve and scream. It’s terrible." [5] Unfortunately, the story was deemed too complex to be told on the Nintendo 64's hardware, given its limitations. The size and scope of the game's story had to be dramatically reduced in order to accommodate the Nintendo 64's hardware, before expanding to take advantage of the 64DD's hardware capabilities; it was shrunk to fit within the scope of a standard Nintendo 64 cartridge.

Little is known about the other chapters that were cut. Flint was meant to be playable for longer during the game, as evidenced by a battle shown in the trailer depicting a party of Flint, Kumatora and Lucas, along with Flint replacing Kumatora when the party grabs onto the Mother Porkship. A mine-cart scene was displayed in a trailer that included Lucas and Claus together in the Spectacular Cave, a location cut from the GBA version. [6] This took place during Chapter 1, when the twins are escaping the Sunshine Forest's fire and right before the twins wash up in the river, suggesting Claus was to be in your party for a longer period of time. In addition, the search for Hinawa was spread over a period of a day, beginning with the Sunshine Forest fire in Chapter 1 and ending with the campfire scene the next evening; the Game Boy Advance version instead has Hinawa's search taking place during a single evening. [7] [8] The Fierce Pork Trooper originally fought Wess and Duster at the end of Chapter 2 instead of a Clayman in the final version; the presence of "Unfounded Revenge" within the Chapter 2 section of Mother 3's sound player suggests that this was a late revision. The story of the game would have begun with the Tazmily villagers gazing at a massive pile of Kraken waste, which was completely cut along with the rest of the Kraken subplot in the Game Boy Advance version. [9] [10]

Character Differences

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Gameplay/Battle System

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New Pork City destroyed in EarthBound 64. Some have speculated that this location is actually Tazmily Village after the time-jump, reformed by Porky into a near-perfect replica of Onett.

EarthBound 64 was planned not long after EarthBound itself was nearing release, with an in-game reference to the development team planning Mother 3 in Japan, localized as them planning EarthBound 2 in the English release. According to Starmen.Net co-founder Reid Young, the initial planning stages were for a Super NES release, using pre-rendered graphics akin to Donkey Kong Country [11], but this fact is unsubstantiated. Itoi stated in a 1992 interview, however, that "it was decided" that they were creating Mother 2's successor on the Super NES CD add-on. [12] But when the add-on was cancelled, development instead begun on the Super Famicom shortly after the Japanese release of Mother 2. However, the Super NES was quickly on its way to being replaced by the Nintendo 64, so development shifted to the Nintendo 64 in late 1995 after the Super NES version was halfway complete. Inspired by the Nintendo 64's planned launch title, Super Mario 64, the development team decided that EarthBound 64 would be a 3D game, rather than it being a 2D sprite-based game like the first two titles in the series. When the project moved to the Nintendo 64DD later that year, it allowed the team the freedom to implement the planned scope of the game in accommodation with the vast potential for the 64DD hardware, [13] with the planned cartridge size being 64 megabytes (or 512 megabits). [14] But when the 64DD add-on kept getting delayed, and its future as a commercial success began to be uncertain, the game was changed to a cartridge release in late 1998, with a planned use of the same size cartridge which contained The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and utilization of the Rumble Pak add-on for the Nintendo 64 controller.[15]

The main family cast from Space World 1999: Lucas, Flint, Claus, and Boney.

Early on, the team was overambitious with the product, and the team envisioned and implemented ideas, characters, and elements that were too massive for the Nintendo 64's hardware to contain. Halfway through development, the team had to drastically downscale their original vision, as the team could not achieve their large-scale ideas on the Nintendo 64DD (and later on Nintendo 64) and its limitations. Due to the difficulty of development, with the 3D aspect of the game being far more complex than the 2D sprite-based past games, the team, including Shigesato Itoi, were discouraged from making a fourth game in the Mother series. Other aspects of development were shortchanged as well, with Iwata stated in an interview regarding the development of Mother 3 for the Nintendo 64; "any normal project has a trial period where you make a sample product and get the green light based on the response. But MOTHER 3 was special in that we skipped the trial period and went straight to game production. Without that trial period, all we had was our experience and achievements from making MOTHER 2, without the benefit of starting off with a team of people who worked on MOTHER 2". These shortcuts were primarily due to financial concerns. Development also was impacted by the financial situation at HAL Laboratories, and their lack of ability to afford to train talent. [16] To relieve this problem, the team that worked on Pokémon Stadium was brought on to help with 3D elements. [17]

Initially, the development team was unskilled at 3D graphics, as they had only programmed 2D sprite-based games in the past; however, over time, the team's 3D programming steadily improved, with the team additionally studying physics books in order to accurately program the character's movements in a realistic manner. [18] During the switch from the 64DD to the N64, the team received help from outside sources for the game's development, providing better textures for the models and making them more refined and detailed overall. Development only progressed further when Pokémon Stadium's team was brought over to assist development early in 2000, improving both the visuals and performance of EarthBound 64.[19]

The game was officially unveiled at Space World 1996, where it showcased footage of multiple areas of the game along with screenshots of the environments and characters; the game's reception was highly positive. [20] During the year, the game was given the subtitle "Forest of the Chimera". In 1997, the game's subtitle was changed to "Forest of Strange Creatures", as someone had already trademarked the name "Chimera". [21] While the game was shown at Space World 1997, a playable demo was not provided: however, footage was shown from the game, including Lucas riding a cartoonishly-animated Pork Bean, the Claymen working at the Clayman Factory as slaves, and the Pigmask army marching through a desert. In May of 1998, the game was only shown in a sizzle reel for E3 1998, with all of the footage reused from the Space World 1997 showing. A magazine even claimed the game was "many times more impressive than Final Fantasy VII", based on the footage alone. [22] Only months later, EarthBound 64's development was transitioned over from the Nintendo 64DD add-on to the Nintendo 64 console. [23] [24]

In 1999, the game's subtitle was altered to its final name: "The Fall of the Pig King". A trailer and playable demo were featured at Nintendo Space World 1999, with a projected release date of March 22, 2000, with the game being estimated to be around 50-55% complete by various magazines and Space World demo reviewers. [25] The game received moderate to immense critical praise from every attendee and reviewer, with the game being lauded for its vibrant graphics, its in-depth soundtrack, its unique control scheme, its gameplay, and its visually-stunning in-game cutscenes. One reviewer particularly highlighted the mine-cart cutscene: "It moved so fast and looked so good that for a minute we forgot it was on the N64."[26] However, following more delays (during which the EarthBound fan community petitioned the game's North American release on the fan-site Starmen.Net) Shigesato Itoi announced that EarthBound 64 was cancelled on his website on August 21, 2000, with the first part of the announcement containing a personal letter to the EarthBound fans expecting the game[27]; the second part containing a roundtable discussion, during which Itoi, Iwata, and Miyamoto discussed EarthBound 64's development, history, and its cancellation; and the third and final part containing 20 screenshots and some music tracks from the final prototype build, which were available in both Mono and Stereo sound.

State of the product as of cancellation

In the roundtable interview, Satoru Iwata estimated the game was about 30% complete, while Shigeru Miyamoto believed it was approximately 60% complete from a programming perspective. Apparently a complete script was produced but not perfected. In the interview was estimated that it would have taken around one to two more years of work for the game to be properly released [28], with Itoi stating in an interview with Yomiuri News Stream that "they were told" that the game would have required one more year of work to be completed. [29] Even though EarthBound 64's development was steadily progressing at a healthy pace, it apparently went astray when Iwata was unable to be on sight to act as a director/"game-play manager". The game's continued development also ran the risk of taking away resources from the then-in-development Nintendo GameCube. In the roundtable discussion, Iwata noted that if they had created what was essential and skipped the polishing, that the game could have been completed in a short amount of time. He also stated that the team had drastically reduced their original vision for the game halfway through development; if the team had reduced their version earlier, then the game might have been completed and released in 2000, like originally planned. The programming team was also unwilling to sacrifice even the littlest detail in the final game, instead trying to implement everything they could from their vision into the Nintendo 64 hardware.

No content from the game was properly released beyond the small samples from the Space World convention and Itoi's website, as the team believed that putting out the unfinished and buggy product would let down the high expectations set for the game. In the same interview, Itoi said that "the first half of the game runs pretty normally", with a large-scale twist occurring in the middle of the game. [30] During the interview, Itoi considered turning the game into a film, novel, or stage play, but later on refused specific requests about creating the game for the Game Boy Advance, believing the handheld to not be adequate for realizing his vision for the game. [31] The whereabouts of the few copies produced are largely unknown. At least one is believed to be with Brownie Brown, and some others may be circulating, but without a concrete trail. Four blue-colored 64DD disks were rumored to contain the 64DD version of Mother 3, but were revealed to actually be copies of Mario Artist, Doshin the Giant, another copy of Doshin the Giant, and SimCity 64.[32]

According to an employee who worked on testing Mother 3, and who played the demo cart for EarthBound 64, "there is no mystery MOTHER game that was never released. You got MOTHER 3. When development was handed over to Brownie Brown, they were also given everything they needed to get the job done, including previous reference material. The GBA version is the final draft of a vision that took a long time to get out the door".[33]

The development for Mother 3 is continued over on the final version's development page...


For the subject's image gallery, see Gallery:EarthBound 64

Promotional Art and Materials
Marukatsu Shonen.png
A Japanese magazine named Marukatsu Shonen covered EarthBound 64 in a 1997 issue before the magazine was cancelled. Other magazines, such as Nintendo Power, also covered EarthBound 64 until the game's cancellation in August 2000.
E64 M3 Times.png
From August 1997 to August 1999, a Japanese magazine named Dengeki 64 Magazine covered EarthBound 64 in newspaper-like sections, dubbed the Mother 3 Times, which depicted fictitious events within the game as if it were being transcribed by a legitimate news team. The feature also provided interviews and insights into EarthBound 64's development, as well as fictional advertisements for various products. The majority of EarthBound 64's promotional material is located in these features.
The Mother 3/EarthBound 64 section from the Space World 1999 booklet, featuring promotional model art for Lucas, Claus, Flint, and Boney.
E64 Mother 3 Logo.jpg
The first iteration of the Mother 3/EarthBound 64 logo, designed after the Japanese Mother 2 logo.
The second (and final) iteration of the Mother 3/EarthBound 64 logo from 1997. This design would carry over into the GBA version's logo as well.
The Space World 1997 version of the EarthBound 64 logo, with the "Forest of Strange Creatures" subtitle being present underneath it.
The Space World 1999 version of the EarthBound 64 logo, featuring the final subtitle "Fall of the Pig King".
Title Screens
The title screen for the November 1997 prototype build of EarthBound 64. The subtitle underneath reads "Forest of Strange Creatures".
E64 SW Trailer title.png
A possible title screen for the Space World 1999 version of EarthBound 64, which is from the event's trailer for the game.
The title screen for the August 2000 prototype build of EarthBound 64 before it was cancelled.


  • In the reformed-Tazmily/New Pork City screenshot, the Onett billboard, burger shop, and Monotoli Building can be seen collapsing.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee borrows many elements from this game, including:
    • The texture for the Onett sign, a chicken weather vane, and a ground texture were reused for Melee's Onett stage.
    • Several trophies with reflections use the screenshot of Osohe Castle.[34]
    • Various sound samples from the EarthBound 64 soundtrack were reused in Melee's OST. [citation needed]
    • Lucas was planned to be a fighter had this game been released on time.[35]
  • Three songs from EarthBound 64 were revealed, and each can be found in the GBA version of Mother 3 in some form.
    • The theme used for the game's trailer is recreated very closely by "Big Shot's Theme".
    • Several variations of the theme for "Tazmily Village" appear in the GBA game, such as "Monkey's Delivery Service".
    • The game's only revealed battle theme was slightly altered into the final version's "Etude for Ghosts", an unused version of which sounds more like its N64 counterpart.
  • PSI was called magic in some demo versions. Presumably before the protagonists encountered the Magypsies.[36]
    • Flint was magic-capable.
  • Lucas had a unique battle ability named Call, which would summon friendly animals to aid in battle. [37]
  • Wess was originally going to be a fully player-controlled party member.
  • Party members would become ghosts once unconscious, similar to the two games preceding it.
  • Scoring a successful combo in battle would make the word, "Funktastic!" appear.[38]
  • A child in Japan named Hiroki won a contest and got his face inserted into the game via the Mario Artist program.
  • The animal waste that was discovered at the Great Scale Village could be a possible foreshadow to the eventual appearance of the Kraken, as it is speculated that the waste came from the creature.
  • A possible explanation for Iwata's quote of "reducing their vision earlier" is that they should have switched from the Nintendo 64DD disk format to the regular cartridge format much earlier than they did.



  7. Space World 1999
  9. The EarthBound 64 section in the Space World 1999 booklet
  10. MOTHER 3 Times Volume 10

EarthBound and MOTHER
by Shigesato Itoi
Ninten Ness Lucas Mr. Saturn
EarthBound Beginnings (Mother) EarthBound (Mother 2) Mother 3 Mother 1+2

Unreleased titles
Flint Ness
EarthBound 64
(EarthBound 64)
Untitled EarthBound game (Nintendo GameCube)
(Nintendo GameCube)