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Conscripts [N64 - Cancelled]

Conscripts is a cancelled game that was in development by Software Creations for the Nintendo 64. There are not much info on the project and no images are left, as it was canned in early development, but we know that it was going to be an action / strategy game in which we had to guide to safety some soldiers, with helicopters and tanks, through various battlefield.

The idea was to have many little soldier characters on the screens (swarms of them) in a huge world, but they never got as far as creating the main 3D landscape. The gameplay could have been like a 3D Lemmings, but with a war theme. The Conscripts 64 team was composed by Marc Dawson (director), Weston Samuels (concept arts), Allan Findlay (3D engine) and Francis O’Brien (3D Artist).

Conscripts by Software Creations for N64

The game was cancelled along with many others Software Creations projects for the N64, as Space JellyForever Dragonz, Dead Ahead, Blade & Barrel and Creator, as they moved their resources onto other projects that were paid for by publishers. Even with various teams full of talented developers, probably Software Creations at that time had too many original prototypes in development and they had to cut some of them to switch resources to those project that had more chances to be profitable.

In the end, the only games developed by Software Creations that were released on the Nintendo 64 were Carmageddon, FIFA 99, Hexen, World Cup 98 and a couple of Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey: all their more interesting and original games (like Conscripts 64) were never released.

Thanks to Francis and Allan for their help in preserving some info about this lost game! 

Mario Takes America [CDI - Cancelled]

Mario Takes America [CDI - Cancelled]

Mario Takes America is a cancelled action platformer game that was in development from 1992 to 1994 at the Toronto-based Cigam Entertainment for the ill-fated Philips CD-I console. This was intended to be the third Mario game planned for the CDI, following Hotel Mario and the unreleased Mario Wacky Worlds. It would have formed a trilogy of Nintendo-licensed Mario games published by Philips, just like the infamous Zelda CDI trilogy: Zelda’s Adventure (by Viridis), Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Link: The Faces of Evil (by Animation Magic).

Mysteriously, while even the unfinished Wacky Worlds gained some exposure from savvy prototype hunters online, Mario Takes America was since forgotten by the wider world, fading into obscurity, and until recently, next to zero information has been available on it. However, thanks to an anonymous contributor, research by Interactive Dreams, LiamR and a former Cigam employee on the AssemblerGames Forum, we are able to preserve some more memories about this unreleased Mario project. 

Super Mario Strikers 2 [Beta / Concept - Wii]

Super Mario Strikers Charged (also known as Mario Strikers Charged Football in European and Australian territories) was released on the Nintendo Wii in 2007 and created by Next Level Games in partnership with Nintendo. It is the sequel to Super Mario Strikers on the Gamecube.

Before it gained the subtitle ‘Charged’ later in development (a reference to the game’s ‘skillshot’ charging mechanic), the game was initially going under the simple title of ‘Super Mario Strikers 2‘. The original title was scrapped before its first public showing at the “Wii Prove Our Promise” keynote in August 2006.

Super Mario Strikers 2 Beta

The original name and logo, before it became Mario Strikers Charged.

More art from early on in development on the game has been found by Unseen64, which offers insight into some of the smaller concepts played around with towards the start of the project.

At one stage, ‘ball launchers‘ were considered as an aesthetic addition to levels. These were machines that would have propelled multiple balls up towards characters during mega strikes. In the final game, these were dropped and only one ball model is shown when a player is able to activate one. Any additional balls earned during the attack’s initiation aren’t shown to the player (up to 6 can be gained at a time); this is a process which happens off screen. These small mechanisms weren’t implemented into the game, as they were viewed as an unnecessary detail that would have needlessly extended the animation sequence.

One of the concepts for the proposed 'ball launcher'.

One of the concepts for the proposed ‘ball launcher’.

Another visual idea that the artists at Next Level experimented with towards the start of development were mechs and other vehicles, which would have decorated the perimeter of certain stages during gameplay. In most of the concept art, these are commonly seen operated by Toads. They would have been dotted around the sides of pitches, acting as security guards and performing other miscellaneous tasks. One concept, for instance, sees one of the Toads operating a crane-like contraption and another in a large digger. 

Space Jelly [N64 - Cancelled]

Space Jelly, also known as Moon Jelly (and originally called “A Fist Full of Credits”), is a cancelled game that was in development for the Nintendo 64 by Software Creations. The game’s world and settings were created by the Pickford Brothers as an original game concept, with concept arts by Steve Hanson. Initially Space Jelly / Moon Jelly wasn’t really a platform-specific game, it was more about designing a main character, their world, backstory and art style, with the intention of creating a franchise which would lead to a series of games. Ste and John Pickford put together a reference book of characters, art, locations, while Richard Kay (Software Creations managing director) was trying to sell the concept to various publishers, before any actual game development began.

In 1995/1996 the Pickford Brothers left Software Creations and were no longer involved in Space Jelly, but Software Creations continued to work on the game, with Steve Hanson taking over as game designer. With only some concept arts and a design doc, it seems that Software Creations was not able to find a publisher for Space Jelly yet. In 1995 Nintendo of America announced that Software Creations entered in their “Dream Team” and as SC’s knowledge of the N64 hardware became more and more deep (SC also created the sound tools for the N64), they started to work on a Nintendo 64 prototype using the Space Jelly concept, with 3D models done by Deborah Graham.  In the gallery below you can see one Space Jelly character, Johnny Forbidden, modeled by Francis O’Brien in his spare time inbetween other Software Creations projects.

Space Jelly became a self-funded Nintendo 64 project, a 3D platformer / action game, with ingame graphics tailored to the strengths / weaknesses of the N64 hardware. As we can read from the comments by journalists that saw a video of Space Jelly when Software Creations was showing it at gaming expos, the graphics were great, like a colorful Tim Burton game, with animations done by ex Cosgrove Hall staff.

Sadly Space Jelly was later cancelled, along with many others Software Creations projects for the N64, as Forever Dragonz, Dead Ahead, Blade & Barrel and Creator. Even with various teams full of talented people, probably Software Creations at that time had too many original prototypes in development and they had to cut some of them to switch resources to those project that had more chances to be profitable. In the end, the only games developed by Software Creations that were released on the Nintendo 64 were Carmageddon, FIFA 99, Hexen, World Cup 98 and a couple of Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey: all their more interesting and original games were never released.

Thanks to Francis O’Brien and Ste Pickford for their contributions! Thanks to Celine for some of the scans!

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