Nintendo has historically been hesitant to allow third-party developers to take the reigns of their most precious franchises, but footage of an unreleased Mario Kart game shows Nintendo did just that back in 2004.
A video uploaded by Steven Seventyeight shows what appears to be Mario Kart XXL for the Game Boy Advance, a never-before-seen entry in Nintendo's popular racing series. The footage shows Mario racing from a unique top-down perspective, with the camera at times zooming in, zooming out or rotating to the side of the player.
The gameplay demo looks to be an early prototype for the game, as it doesn't feature any additional racers or power-ups.
Steven Seventyeight writes in the about page of the video that the the game marked "the first time that they manage to rotate 2 different mode seven layers. This was never done before on Gameboy Advance system, however, Nintendo did only use the engine in later GBA games."
As Digital Trends reports, the game's name appears on a listing of pitched projects from Denaris Entertainment Software for the year 2004, three years after Nintendo's own Game Boy Advance Mario Kart game, Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
Lending authenticity to the video footage is that fact that Steven Seventyeight has uploaded videos of various other prototype games over the years, including prototype footage of Katakis 3D, a game developed by Denaris Entertainment Software founder Manfred Trenz.
In recent years, Nintendo has opened up to allowing third-party developers to use their proprieties. Retro Studios received critical acclaim for its work on the Metroid Prime series, and more recently, Donkey Kong Country and developer Koei Tecmo was allowed to create a Legend of Zelda version of its own Dynasty Warriors franchise.
Why exactly Mario Kart XXL never saw completion will likely remain a mystery, but it is still fascinating to see a long lost unfinished product from one of Mario's greatest spin-off series turn up more than a decade later.