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The Open-World N64 Game You Likely Never Played

The Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation opened up a new dimension in gaming. Thanks to 3D polygons, game developers could craft large, open worlds. Granted, open-world games existed before the invention of the digital polygon, but the open-world format really caught on after that. While some open-world games have persisted in public memory, others faded away into the digital fog.


One open-world N64 game in particular failed to leave a mark on most gamers, despite its pedigree and unrestricted design. It was one of many titles that went through development hell, which is usually enough to solidify a video game in the collective gamer subconscious (albeit for negative reasons). This particular open-world N64 project is so obscure, mentioning it to the average player will likely result in a resounding "Who? What?"

If you want to learn more about this mysterious N64 offering, continue reading.

Body Harvest

DMA Design should ring a bell for some gamers. Even if that name doesn't sound familiar, its current name should: Rockstar North. The company responsible for Grand Theft Auto once made an open-world title for the N64. No, not the canceled N64 port of GTA. This open-world game is called Body Harvest, and GTA might not exist as it does today if it weren't for the title.


Body Harvest takes place in the futuristic year of 2016. For the previous 100 years, in 25 year intervals, alien bugs invaded Earth. Players travel back to different times and locations, squash the bugs, and liberate humanity. Moreover, any and all vehicles are yours for the commandeering (sound familiar?), and you need them to save as many humans as you can and destroy the boss of each open level.

The game was supposed to hit store shelves in 1996 as an N64 launch title. Nintendo was set to publish Body Harvest, but after the company realized the game would clash with its family friendly image, it demanded numerous changes and dropped publishing duties. Two years and one publisher change later, Body Harvest was finally released by DMA, and audiences forgot about it. However, if modern GTA is any indication, Body Harvest left an eternal mark on Rockstar North's game design sensibilities.