February 28, 2021
Pandora is the most populated area in the Gaia Lowlands, and the only kingdom. It has the same rustic feel as other locations in the area. It’s home to Purim and Phanna, as well as an ineffectual king who can’t solve his witch problem. The most notable landmark in Pandora is its Ruins, though it’s never explained what these are the ruins of…
This overhead shot of Pandora during the IIa era shows the same spinning object on the map that’s by Northtown. Whatever it was supposed to be was cut before the game’s release, but it was here and also in Southtown.
The following shots are likely tests for Purim. There’s a also distant possibility that Secret of Mana was intended to be like Trials of Mana later was, where you would start with one of the characters, and meet up with the others along the way. In this speculative case, these shots could be a solo Purim opening, and there are similar shots of solo Popoie in a different, unknown area. If you’re not captured by the goblins near Neko’s and meet Purim for the first time in Pandora, she has an unfinished dialogue sequence that may have been adapted from a solo exposition.
The graphics set here is the same early, more detailed one that you can see in some Potos shots.
A Disneyesque castle that I assume is Pandora:
Compare to the final:
This is the same armor shop as the final, just much larger:
I’m guessing that this is early Pandora. Note the snazzy tower at the top of the roof:
The Pandora Ruins themselves changed. The enemies were different, but this may have been during prototyping:
This shot shows a different second floor for the Pandora Ruins. There’s a door here in the final:
The next shot was a very popular promotional photo, appearing in a lot of articles and ads. The stage room had a seal that appears throughout the Ruins. There were also stairs behind the stage, indicating a lost second floor:
Note the lost Glove graphic; you’ll see many variations of it. It was not used in the final release. Here’s a shot of the Vampire appearing in a room with the Pandoran tileset. It’s possible you were supposed to fight him here, but given that the Northtown Ruins are so similar, he may have just been shifted to later in the game.
Leaving Pandora in the IIa era:
Further west, these shots align with the overhead map at the time. Given its simple nature, this was probably just a placeholder until the final scenario was developed.
If I had to guess, I’d say this was a sign pointing you west to Kippo and north to Gaia’s Navel:
Kippo was moved north in III. The original way was covered over with tree pixels.
However, in the final game, Kippo is still due west of Pandora on the world map. This area was not redrawn on the map despite completely changing on the ground. If you land on Kippo, it magically moves you far to the north.
Kippo Village in the prerelease:
Seems like the Item Shop had its own island at one point: