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Aaron from Nintendo World Report shared this link with me today. The Cutting Room Floor is a wiki dedicated to documenting unused and prototype data from videogames. There is an incredible amount of information here from nearly any game imaginable, with documentation in varying stages of completion.
Among the neat things on the site is a leaked prototype of Metroid Prime 3! The build is dated from March 2, 2006, and contains a more or less fully functional Norion stage and Hyper Mode, suggesting the basics of the game had been ironed out more than a year before release. The prototype can actually be played using the Gamecube controller, but retains Wii Remote functionality. There is also an early version of the rewards system and a cool debug camera similar to the free camera in Super Mario 64:
But that's not all! The Cutting Room Floor has TONS of data on all the other Metroid games. Unused enemies, unused text from Metroid: Other M, debug rooms...you name it, it's there! Granted, some of this has been known for awhile, but there's so much, and the site is so thorough, that you're bound to find something you never knew existed. For instance, here's a cool version of Phantoon that wasn't used in Metroid: Other M:
UPDATE: We've also found a rumor that Metroid Prime might have used a heavily modified version of the Unreal II Engine. The folks at ASSEMbler Games got their hands on screen caps of a proprietary Prime level editor and came to this conclusion based on the look of the images and various file extensions. It's unconfirmed at this point, but a fun bit of speculation no less. They did confirm, however, that the art was made with Maya, so if you're interested in applying to Retro Studios as an animator, you better start polishing up your Maya demo reel!
Until next time...