Secret of Mana: Redux

First Areas

Locations

First Areas

February 28, 2021

World Map Legend

The first area (until the Upper Land) is called the Gaia Lowlands, though this name only appears in the Japanese release.  It’s by far the most detailed area on the world map.  The creators painstakingly tried to harmonize the world map’s details with the “active view” on the ground.

(left) Potos overhead view and (right) Potos active view

If World Map I is any indication, it seems that each area should’ve had this much detail.  We also have far more prerelease shots of the Gaia Lowlands than any other place. 

There were two closeup maps of this area published. The first represents how the area appeared on World Maps I and IIa, and the second from IIb:

A prerelease map of the Gaia Lowlands from Secret of Mana
Detail of the Gaia Lowlands from World Maps I/IIa
Family Computer Magazine (February 5, 1993)
A prerelease map of the Gaia Lowlands from Secret of Mana
Detail of the Gaia Lowlands from World Map IIb
Famitsu (May 28, 1993)
A prerelease map of the Gaia Lowlands from Secret of Mana
Detail of the Gaia Lowlands from World Map III
Famitsu (November 1993)

Overhead shots from the IIa era:

Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)

Some prerelease videos included flyovers of the IIb map:

Flammie flying over a prerelease version of the Secret of Mana world map
Youtube: Cabbusses’s Retro Obscurities
Flammie flying over a prerelease version of the Secret of Mana world map
Youtube: Cabbusses’s Retro Obscurities

The area around Potos was similar to the final, though the waterfall had more details:

Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)

Early versions of the waterfall and the Mana Sword area:

Famitsu (May 21, 1993)
Famitsu (March 5, 1993)
Famitsu (May 21, 1993)
Famitsu (March 5, 1993)

This shows all three characters in the water near Potos.  If you hack the game and force the characters into the water, they’re not programmed to go underneath bridges, and attempting to do so glitches their graphics.

Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: December 25, 1992)

Right before the final scenery was added:

Dengeki Super Famicom (April 23, 1993)

A shot of Potos in the IIa era:

An early version of Potos village
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)

This demonstration of Flammie shows the overhead view at the time:

An early version of Potos village
Famitsu (March 19, 1993)

Note the odd looking large tree in the middle.  These show up a lot in prerelease maps:

A prerelease shot of Potos Village in Secret of Mana
A promotional demonstration of text box magic
The Super Famicom (March 5, 1993)

This man’s dialogue is the same as the kid by the pub in the final. The area they’re walking on is presumably where the Mantis Ant will be.

The item shop belonged to Neko at this point:

Neko in a prerelease Potos shot in Secret of Mana
Hippon Super! (February 1993)

Some different NPCs at this stage:

An early version of Potos village
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: December 25, 1992)

I wouldn’t read too much into all three characters being here as the game was still in the prototyping phase.  The dialogue in the next picture is presumably a placeholder, “My mom told me that I shouldn’t talk to people I don’t know! So, I won’t tell you anything!”

An early version of Potos village
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: January 8, 1993)

The line in the next picture is sadly missing from the SNES release, but it was also likely a placeholder: “Me, today’s my birthday, you know! Gimme somethin’!”

An early version of Potos village
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: December 25, 1992)

The entrance to town:

An early version of Potos village
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: January 8, 1993)

Early screens with different graphics:

Famitsu (May 28, 1993)

Here’s all three characters fighting the Mantis Ant and Kilroy in the first boss arena, certainly part of a test scheme:

Mantis Ant test
Youtube: OKeijiDragon
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)
Hippon Super! (March 3, 1993)
Family Computer Magazine (February 5, 1993)

In the Japanese version, Kettle Kin was known as Death Machine and had a chainsaw. He was also tried out in the Mantis Ant cave:

Family Computer Magazine (February 19, 1993)

The area by the Water Palace changed quite a bit, but this may be more cosmetic than anything.

A comparison of two stages of development for the Water Palace
(left) prerelease and (right) Final
Overhead view of a prerelease Water Palace area
Scoop Guide
(Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)

I think this is part of the boxed-in island:

The Super Famicom (February 5, 1993)
Flammie flying over a prerelease version of the world map
Youtube: Cabbusses’s Retro Obscurities
Flammie flying over a prerelease version of the world map
Youtube: Cabbusses’s Retro Obscurities

Note that the area between Neko’s and Potos is unfinished (the grass path goes to a dead end at the bottom).  If you look at the zoomed in I/IIa map above, you’ll see a huge amount of content was deleted before IIb, and something simpler was created for III.

Early shots of the Water Palace show a different, perhaps unfinished palette, unfinished fire graphics, and more torches, along with early versions of Jema and Luka:

Seiken Densetsu 2 Manual
Seiken Densetsu 2 Manual

An early version of the pathway to the altar room:

Famitsu (April 16, 1993)

This shot of Jema is possibly in a lost section of the Palace:

Prerelease version of the Water Palace
Seiken Densetsu 2 Manual

The Goblin Village was playable:

Prerelease version of the goblin village
Family Computer Magazine (February 5, 1993)
Prerelease version of the goblin village
The Super Famicom (February 5, 1993)
Prerelease version of the goblin village
Hippon Super! (March 3, 1993)

When it was adapted for a cutscene, most detail was removed and the rest was left unfinished:

The goblin village as it appears in Secret of Mana

The goblin village actually exists on the world map in the final game. However, if you land there, you’ll be placed well south of this position:

Flammie flying over the goblin village
South of Neko’s

If you step out of bounds where the goblin sequence occurs, you start to go somewhere and hit a mound of tree pixels. Everything else about this map lines up except for this section:

The consensus is that this is the prerelease area around Neko’s, more detailed than the final:

A prerelease screenshot of Secret of Mana
Seiken Densetsu 2 Manual

Just south, presumably on the way to the goblin village:

A prerelease screenshot of Secret of Mana
Youtube: OKeijiDragon
A prerelease screenshot of Secret of Mana
Seiken Densetsu 2 Manual

Localization Notes

  • The screenshot of the Goblin Village is labelled 南国. This literally means “southern country,” but it’s usually used in Japanese to imply the warm tropics. This is perhaps an artifact of some long lost conception of the world, or an implication that the Gaia Lowlands are famous as a “southern” climate.