When it comes to video game leaks, 2020 has got to have been a record setting year. From Wii dev kits to Pokemon source code, full games to concept art for scrapped ones, the year’s seen non stop stories about leaks regarding to Nintendo titles, with everything under the sun seemingly have ended up online at roughly the same point.
But now things have really kicked up a notch, and the floodgates have truly been opened.
Since yesterday night, source code and prototypes for dozens of Nintendo games was released online. This includes the code for titles like Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island, the Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past and many more, along with all manner of cancelled games and unreleased prototypes.
Here’s a full list of everything that’s included, courtesy of Lady Bow on ResetEra:
The Leaked Content List
- Ensata DS Emulator
- Game Boy Advance BIOS
- Game Boy Color Boot ROM
- NetCard (a cancelled GBA peripheral)
- Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
- Super Castlevania 4
- Super Donkey (a Yoshi’s Island style Donkey Kong game that was in development at one point)
- Super Mario Kart (multiple versions)
- Yoshi’s Island (several versions)
ROMs/Master ROM Database
Every game ever released for the Famicom or NES in America and Japan
Source Code Leaks
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Super Mario 64
- Super Mario All Stars + World
- The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past
- The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening
- The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time
- The Wii’s Game Boy Emulator (for the Virtual Console)
- Various Test Programs for the SNES and Game Boy
- Wild Trax/Stunt Race FX
- Yoshi’s Island
- A tool to upload games to the Wii Shop Channel
- Bug reports for Link’s Awakening DX
- eTicket signing keys for an unknown system
- Early 1990s tape backups
- Game Boy Advance board documentation
- A Hamtaro Ham-Hams Unite! Debug build
- IOS Arm Toolchain patches
- iQue GBA stuff
- Private and public keys for arcade manufacturers
- SuperFX Test Program
- Wii private keys
Various documents relating to Nintendo game development and internal projects
As you can see, it’s quite the list. Almost every major Nintendo game you can think of from the SNES era is listed here, along with fos knows how much other stuff from other generations.
And given the list grows day by day, the stuff above is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, if games like Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time only got discovered today, who knows what else may be found down the line?
Metroid 64? Earthbound 64? Maybe even Super Mario 64 or some early version of URA Zelda?
Regardless, it’s insane, and it’s the kind of thing we’d have thought would never happen in a million years.
So it’s time we had a look at the interesting stuff. Starting with the cancelled games first discovered via this leak…
Aka Super Donkey, this weird Yoshi’s Island/Mario/Donkey Kong Country esque game that was seemingly in development for the SNES before the latter was made by Rare. Here’s a video showing it in action:
It’s certainly something to say the least. Mario looks like Rayman, the backgrounds and tilesets look like Yoshi’s Island and the gameplay mechanics…
Aren’t even all that clear. From what we can see it was meant to be a platformer where Mario could occasionally pick up weapons like cannons to use against enemies, but a core gameplay loop was clearly never established before this demo was made, and level design was certainly not something the company put a lot of focus on this prototype/tech demo.
Still, it’s certainly a creative looking title, and one that we’re sure would have been a classic had Nintendo actually finished developing it.
Yoshi’s Island Beta
Speaking of prototypes, there’s also a Yoshi’s Island beta in this leak too.
And while it looks more recognisable than Super Donkey does, it too has a few interesting differences in store for us. For one thing, the HUD looks completely different here.
Since the one in the beta takes up a huge portion of the screen, and is visible at all times. That’s a massive contrast to the minimalistic style the final game went with, and implies Nintendo originally wanted something a bit closer to the Super Mario Bros 3 version instead.
The map’s a lot more detailed too. Where the final version had a fairly simple map with static background images that Yoshi walked across, this one has a fully animated version complete with little sprites for enemies and background elements and a fully animated ocean scene in the background. Honestly, it looks a lot better if you ask us, and feels a lot more exciting than the static images from the finished game.
There’s also a test level we can get a look at here as well. It doesn’t have too much that’s all that interesting in it, but it’s a neat enough bit of history nonetheless, and gives us a nice look at how Nintendo originally developed this game.
Other interesting things found within this prototype (or others made available here) are various enemies and characters cut from the finished game. For instance, graphics for a weird blue Burt like creature was found here, along with ones for a smaller icicle/snowman like monster with a spike on its head:
As well as graphics for common Mario enemies that were going to be featured here. Like Dry Bones:
And Rocky Wrench:
There’s also a rather interesting enemy that looks like a Lakitu riding a plane. This could be a Roketon from Super Mario Land making a rather unexpected comeback:
We also have sprites from the final boss battle as well. These show an early version of giant Bowser (who looks much more like his adult self), and bombs that you were originally going to throw back to do damage:
As well as entire mini games cut out from the finished product. Such as this one, where a Yoshi helicopter has to take eggs from a Bandit controlled train and drop them into one driven by Baby Mario:
Interesting mini game #3 (Door #9)
Yoshi flies to steal various items from Bandit on its minecart, depositing them in Baby Mario's cart following behind. Bandit has a predetermined score & must be beaten by the time they hit the end of the track.#yibeta #yoshisisland #gamedev pic.twitter.com/TTUi0mG1YK
— potatoTeto | #2 Yukari stan (@potatoTeto) July 24, 2020
It’s a neat little game, and one that probably would have been quite fun in the final game.
Super Mario World
Moving on from prototypes, we also get a bit of an inside look at some of the ideas planned for Super Mario World. For instance, here are some early graphics for Bowser, showing that he was originally going to appear outside of the Clown Car in some fashion:
As well as this elderly Yoshi that was presumably going to be an NPC:
There are also some interesting enemy graphics here too. For instance, it seems like Blarggs (the lava dinosaurs found in Vanilla Dome) were going to be shark like creatures at some point during development:
While enemies like Boss Bass and Sledge Bro were all planned to be in the game at some point as well:
Mario changed quite a bit in development too. At one point. he was going to get the Raccoon Leaf as a powerup:
Whereas at another one, it seems like he was going to wear a helmet while in Cape Mario form:
There was also apparently going to be a flower like Toad creature in the game too, which would (according to Mario Wiki) be used as a replacement for traditional Piranha Plants after clearing the Special World:
The beta was certainly a very different title from the final one there, that’s for sure!
Super Mario Kart
But hey, enough about the platformers for now. Let’s look at a few racing games, like Super Mario Kart.
Since Super Mario Kart got an early prototype leaked too. As you can see, this one is very early in development:
There's also this slightly broken Super Mario Kart build with no drifting (?) and unused tracks, including a unique title theme
Versions of games like Mario All-Stars and Mario RPG have also been found and are being researched into rn pic.twitter.com/YMHaiLjXmd
— Akfamilyhome @ Origami King (@Akfamilyhome) July 24, 2020
So early in fact the drifting system hasn’t been implemented yet, and the tracks themselves aren’t properly shown at all. Presumably this version was created right at the start of the game’s development, long before any real progress was made on the track design or the mechanics were finalised.
However, there is one notable difference here.
The music. Yep, the title music is entirely different here, and sounds nothing like the one from the final game.
So that’s something at least.
The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past
Moving to the Zelda series now, a few early sprites have also been found for Link in this game. Like these, which show a gameplay style far closer to Zelda. 2 than the first game:
Presumed "ZELDA 3" scratchpad sprites from recent Nintendo leak. More research to be done. pic.twitter.com/SkTWASV9kx
— Brian (@Protodude) July 24, 2020
Which makes us wonder exactly how the series might have played out like this. After all, can you imagine an alternate universe where Zelda 2 was the template for future games?
Where people’s ideas of a classic Zelda title weren’t top down games with a 3/4 view and RPG style gameplay, but 2D platformers/Metroidvanias with a focus on swordplay and combat?
Everything would have been completely different, and games like the Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Breath of Wild may have never came to be at all.
Super Mario 64
Still, enough about speculation, back to reality.
Since in recent days, code and assets for Super Mario 64 have been found in the leak too, complete with a certain character everyone’s waited years to see.
Yep, Luigi. After years of speculation and comments by Nintendo that Luigi was planned for the game, his model, textures and voice clips have finally been found! Take a look:
Luigi assembly completed! pic.twitter.com/zLaemxVow3
— Bapanada (@Padabana) July 25, 2020
Yeah, it’s the green guy alright. And he looks exactly as you’d expect him to in Super Mario 64.
So kudos everywhere. After years of searching, we can now finally say L is Real, at least in terms of content from the game’s beta. Bet no one saw that one coming!
Regardless, that’s it for the time being. We hope you enjoyed this look at some of the interesting content planned for various Nintendo games, and we look forward to seeing your comments about it over on the Gaming Latest forums and our Discord server today!
- UPDATE: Super Mario 64 and OoT Source Leaked, Massive Nintendo Data Leak…Source Code to Yoshi’s Island, A Link to the Past, F-Zero, Super Mario RPG (ResetEra)
- Brian/Protodude’s post about Zelda 3 content
- Kapuccino ᗷᒪᗰ / ACAB’s Twitter thread about the leaks
- Akfamilyhome’s Twitter thread about the leaks
- Super Donkey Gameplay Footage (via YouTube)