The history of canceled video games is truly fascinating
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If you get the chance, it’s worth reading Unseen64’s Video games you’ll never play, an encyclopedia filled with stories of canceled and unreleased video games. While some of the stories in the book are well known, such as the sad fate of Impact: Van Buren and the possible repurchase of Starfox 2, there are plenty more in the book that are just as intriguing, but much less well known. Let me tell you about a few of my favorites.
Video games you’ll never play is available through Amazon and Book Depository, and worth a visit if you have even a passing interest in video game history. For the rest of you, sit back and let me tell you about some sadly unfortunate games.
Cute platform games were all the rage in the 90s, with hits like Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot bank on the PlayStation. Conker’s Quest was Rare’s attempt to capitalize on the animal mascot trend. At E3 1997, he shared the stage with another platformer Rare Banjo Kazooie in a mascot battle.
Unfortunately, this meant that the two titles of Rare were being compared aggressively (to each other, as well as to the cute platformer OG Super Mario 64), and although the two games are similar, many reviewers liked Banjo better. The similarity and congestion of the market forced to rethink Conker’s Quest, and the game quietly disappeared from Rare’s marketing in the late ’90s.
It has of course been replaced by Conker’s Bad Fur Day, the crass, rude, adult-only platformer we know and love today, but it’s impressive how advanced the development is Conker’s Quest obtained. As you can see in the video above, there are huge chunks of footage and fully completed levels available for everyone to enjoy. The original game is far, far from Bad fur dayIt’s final form, and with its generic adventure playstyle, it’s not hard to see why a sharp pivot was in order.
Before CD Projekt Red developed the years 2007 The witcher and spawned a much-loved video game franchise, little-known Polish developer Metropolis Software has acquired the rights to Andrzej Sapkowski’s epic fantasy novels.
Starring Geralt in a very eye-catching purple number, the game was designed to be a linear action-adventure game with RPG elements, a branching choice system and upgrade powers, according to the developer. Adrian Chmielarz. (Chmielarz seems to be the first to invent the English translation of the term “Witcher” from the Polish “Wiedzmin”.)
Profitability issues, publisher doubts about TopWare, and a wide range of technical hurdles ultimately caused development to stop. Metropolis was ambitious, but with a team of no more than 15, that turned out to be their downfall. The witcher was supposed to be the company’s first 3D game, and it was a huge undertaking. While the first screenshots looked promising, unfortunately, the game quickly collapsed under its own weight.
As the company would eventually return to the project and produce a playable one-chapter prototype, various developments quickly overtook it and the demo began to gather dust. In 2002 CD Projekt Red stepped in to claim the rights to the franchise, and we know what happened next.
To add insult to injury, when Chmielarz rediscovered the game’s code on an old disc years later, he found that it had long deteriorated, meaning the only proof of existence of the game is now a handful of screenshots and old memories.
Mario takes America
The Philips CD-i truly is the console that never stops giving. Mario takes America was a game designed to present the history of America through the bright, cartoonish lens of the Mario series. Mario himself would lead the players on a modern tour of the United States with planned locations such as an auto plant in Detroit, New York City, and Fort Knox.
Live action footage was shot by developers Cigames, with the aim of overlaying Mario on top of these footage. The demos would have left Philips so unimpressed that they cut funding halfway through the development, leaving this dream unfortunately unheard of.
Beyond Philips’ disappointment with the project, the idea itself just doesn’t seem so grand. The Philips CD-i was a poorly received console, and it also sold poorly. Not to mention the fact that America’s history is hardly a tale for children, and that a character like Mario explains sounds oddly rude. Finding out more about this game was fascinating, if only because it confirms why Nintendo’s CD-i partnership was a terrible idea that continues to haunt them.
Sex ‘n’ Drug ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll
Sex ‘n’ Drug ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll was an ambitious and irreverent title in development at Sensible Software, a UK developer widely known for its sports games released in the late ’80s and’ 90s. SDRR was a labor of love for the developers, and thanks to a deal with Warner Bros. video game division, it looked like it was finally going to come to fruition.
SDRR would have followed aspiring rock star Nigel Staniforth Smythe on his journey through the British punk / rock scene of the 80s and, as the title suggests, would have featured a lot of sex and drug use. But that was only part of the reason why SDRR ended up biting the dust.
The mid-90s was a time of great change for video game developers as CGI became popular and development formats changed. A need to acquire new skills and adapt programming knowledge to the PC format meant that development on SDRR has become significantly retarded. In the meantime, Warner International Entertainment (which had provided Sensible Software with a multi-million dollar development contract) was bought out by GT Interactive, who didn’t like the direction or content of the racy, technology-powered adventure. drug.
What followed was a painful end, as development stopped and SDRR has been put on hold. Eventually, the game was “finished” in the form of a concept album, but the original vision for the game remains lost.
I like kart racers. Mario kart, Crash Team Racing and Diddy Kong Racing were among my favorites growing up. That’s why it hurts a little to hear that Banjo Kazoomie, a karting based on Banjo Kazooie, was canceled in 2004.
While the concept never became small, the game was intended to feature highly customizable, oversized vehicles and a cast filled with all of the franchise’s adorable characters. Apparently the game was only worked on for about two weeks before the staff were called back to work on Kameo for Xbox.
The idea of a Banjo Kazooie kart racer got a second life in the form of Banjo Karting, a game in development for the Xbox 360. This time the development team was able to produce a fully playable track and vehicle before it was also canned, as development needs shifted to the Kinect. . Maybe one day we’ll see a Banjo racer comes to fruition, but until then we can only look back and sigh.
Dinosaur planet was an original IP developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64, and featured a fox protagonist named Saber. Well, according to Shigeru Miyamoto, the fox had a striking resemblance to the fox of Star fox fame – then the entire game has been rewritten to be a Star Fox game. This is one of the craziest stories in the history of canceled games, in my books.
Star Fox Adventures became the new version of Dinosaur planet, and the original game was redesigned with characters from the Star fox world. Upon its release, fans complained that it didn’t look like a Star fox adventure, and their complaints were very justified – it was never meant to be Star fox in the first place.
Dinosaur planet seems to have been in development for at least a year before the decision was made to give the title a makeover as Star fox vehicle, so there are many pictures of the almost finished product. What could have been promising new intellectual property was hijacked in favor of a proven franchise, and while Star Fox Adventures turned out to be a good game, Dinosaur planet had great potential which, unfortunately, will never be realized.
You can read more about the Unseen64 collective and the vast history of canceled video games on the Unseen64 website.