Secret of Mana Redux

Pandora

Locations

Pandora

February 28, 2021

World Map Legend

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…

The architecture is for Pandora is the same as other towns in the Gaia Lowlands. The ruins have a neo-gothic vibe that matches those in Northtown.

Fantasy Anime provides some in-game maps:

Development

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.

Family Computer Magazine (May 28, 1993)

A Pandora build from IIb:

Hippon Super!
(July 1993)

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, 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. In the final game, 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 characters set out on their own and meet up, but only Randi’s story is depicted in Secret of Mana.

The graphics set here is the same earlier one that you can see in some Potos shots.

Famitsu (May 28, 1993)
Famitsu (May 28, 1993)
Famitsu (May 28, 1993)

A Disneyesque castle that was intended to be Primm’s house:

Famitsu (March 5, 1993)
Dengeki Super Famicom
(May 14, 1993)

This is the same armor shop as the final, just much larger:

Prerelease Pandora shop
Famitsu (May 28, 1993)
Prerelease Pandora shop
Hippon Super! (July 1993)

This is early Pandora.  Note the snazzy tower at the top of the roof:

The ruins themselves changed. There was a different idea for their overhead view along with the rest of Pandora. The enemies were also different, but this probably during prototyping.

Prerelease Pandora ruins
Youtube: Cabbusses’s Retro Obscurities
Prerelease Pandora ruins
Youtube: Cabbusses’s Retro Obscurities

In the final, there’s no path on each side of the entrance, and the ledges are only decorations.

Hippon Super!
(February 1993)

This shot shows a different second floor. There’s a door here in the final:

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

Missing area:

Hippon Super! (January 1993)

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 in the back, indicating a lost second floor:

Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: January 8, 1993)

Note the glove graphic; you’ll see many variations of it in prerelease shots. 

This is the Northtown 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.

Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)
Fighting the Vampire in the prerelease Pandora ruins
Source: Youtube: OKeijiDragon

Leaving Pandora in the IIa era:

Early version of the path from Pandora to Kippo and Gaia's Navel
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)

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:

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

Except where noted, all of the following come from FCM’s 4/30/93 Scoop Guide:

Further north:

BahamutArk put it all together and got this:

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.

Prerelease Kippo:

A prerelease shot of Kippo Village
Scoop Guide (Family Computer Magazine: April 30, 1993)

The Item Shop on its own island:

A prerelease shot of Kippo Village
The Super Famicom (March 5, 1993)