Nintendo

Knights [GameBoy Color – Cancelled]

Prior to their acquisition by Sony and going on to create the Killzone seriesGuerrilla Games was a small development team based in Amsterdam, then known as Lost Boys Games; a subsidiary of Dutch multimedia conglomerate, Lost Boys. One of Lost Boys Games’ internal teams was dubbed ‘Formula‘. This group was dedicated to handheld games, responsible for producing titles such as Rhino Rumble, and Tiny Toon Adventures: Dizzy’s Candy Quest for GameBoy Color. One of their most interesting GBC projects, in development in around 1999-2000, was called Knights.

Knights was an action brawler with a style of gameplay comparable to a blend of Bomberman and Gauntlet, in which players would have had to fight against 3 other knights in 50 different arenas riddled with traps, enemies, and various NPC’s. This excerpt from an old IGN preview offers us further insight:

Each knight is colored differently, and the great challenge of the game is to strike down the knights in a predetermined order while protecting your own flank. Strike a defender before he becomes an official target, and the imperial judges will punish you with a penalty point.

Knights GameBoy Color Formula Lost Boys Games (1)

It’s interesting to note that Knights GBC was based around the gameplay of another cancelled Knights project that was planned by Digital Infinity for PC and Dreamcast, before they merged with Lost Boys in 1999. Later, the original Knights for PC and Dreamcast was changed from a multiplayer brawler to a single player action platformer and ported to Playstation 2, but that version was also canned. In 2003, Lost Boys Games was sold to Media Republic and renamed to Guerrilla Games. Their Knight projects were thus never finished, as they began to work on the first Killzone for PS2, and Shellshock: Nam ’67 for PS2, Xbox, and PC.

Only a few screenshots remain from Knights for GameBoy Color, as the title was soon cancelled for unknown reasons. We tried to get in contact with former Formula Games / Lost Boys developers, in an attempt to unearth more on  this unreleased game, but unfortunately, they were not available for comment. If you know someone that worked at Formula Games, let us know!

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Terranigma [Beta – SNES]

Terranigma, AKA Tenchi Sōzō in Japan, is an action RPG developed by Quintet and published by Enix / Nintendo for the Super Nintendo in 1995 / 1996. Unfortunately, the game was never released in the US, but managed to attain cult status in Japan and Europe, regarded by some RPG fans as one of the best role playing games on the system. Before the game was released, gaming magazines published some beta screenshots, in which we can see some interesting differences:

  • It was possible to climb towers using claws / bare hands, instead than chains (it’s possible to climb some walls with claws in the final game, but only much later in the game)
  • There was some sort of green plant around the HUD
  • Different rooms layouts
  • In the first tower, the second floor looked like the third floor from the final game

A video from the same beta version was also published in “brute press” (?) VHS Vol.24 July 1995 (【非売品】ブルートプレス Vol.24 1995年7月号). If you notice more differences, let us know in the comments below!

Thanks to Youloute, Pantalytron, Crediar and Celine for the contributions!

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Bonk: Brink of Extinction [Cancelled – XBLA, PSN, WiiWare]

Bonk: Brink of Extinction is an adventure platformer developed by Pi Studios that was planned to be released in 2010 for XBLA / PSN / WiiWare. It was set to be priced at 1000 points on the Nintendo Wii Shop Channel’s WiiWare platform, 800 points on XBLA, and $10 on PSN. In September 2009, before the title was officially announced, a Neogaf user inadvertently stumbled upon an official fact-sheet for the game on Hudson’s website:

A doomsday comet, surrounded by smaller chunks of debris, is on a collision course with Earth. A strange magnetic field around the comet seems to be driving most of the planet’s weak-willed creatures crazy, and smaller bits of debris are smashing into the jungle near Bonk’s home. Bonk must undertake a perilous journey that will take him to the very center of the planet to save the world.

The Return Of The Most Widely Requested Classic Platformer

  • Story Mode with Co-Op play. Play alone or have a friend join you at any time!
  • An entire new adventure with Bonk as he swims, bites, climbs, jumps, runs, and head-butts his way through jungles, deserts and volcanic caverns
  • Search for help along the way: power ups, check points, and extra health are the staple for every adventuring caveman.
  • Transformations are back and weirder than ever! Now Bonk can transform himself into eight different forms by eating meat or encountering Primordial Jelly. No enemy is safe from the boy with the super noggin!

New Features

  • Online play for the first time in the series!
  • Classic 2D platforming in a 3D world.
  • Tons of collectibles will have you searching the entire prehistoric world.

In two 2009 interviews with Nintendo life, and Diehard GameFAN, Andrew Plempel (Hudson Entertainment Producer) & Jeremy Statz (Pi Studios Lead Designer),  disclosed a few more details about the game: 

Skies of Arcadia 2 [Cancelled – GameCube, PS2]

The original Skies of Arcadia was released in late 2000 / early 2001 on Dreamcast, and soon became a cult hit among JRPG fans. The game was developed by Overworks, a SEGA team composed of numerous legendary developers and designers, including Rieko Kodama, Shuntarō Tanaka, and Noriyoshi Ohba; who worked on past RPGs, such as the Phantasy Star series, Magic Knight Rayearth, Wonder Boy in Monster Land and the Sakura Taisen series. Hype was high and the final game was really one of the best japanese RPGs released in the ‘00, but unfortunately, it seems that Skies of Arcadia did not sell enough on Dreamcast (does anyone have official sales numbers?), maybe because of the low user base and the console early departure in early 2001.

skies of arcadia 2 cancelled

Sega was still confident about their sky-pirates project: they developed an enchanted PS2 and GameCube ports with added featured, to try to sell more copies and earn back some of the money spent to create the game. The GameCube version was released in December 2002 under the title “Skies of Arcadia Legends” but PS2 port was canned for some reasons, throwing away one of the biggest user base for RPG fanatics. As most Nintendo console, GameCube was not an easy console to sell third parties titles and with a lower percentage of people interested in turn based role playing games, Skies of Arcadia Legend bombed even harder than the Dreamcast version.

Before losing all faith in the game, Sega and Overworks were planning a sequel to Skies of Arcadia, as confirmed by interviews with developers from the original team. In June 2001 IGN asked to Noriyoshi Ohba about Skies of Arcadia 2 and he replied:

We’re considering a sequel to “Eternal Arcadia.” Regarding which platform, we’re still evaluating it.

In September 2002, before Skies of Arcadia Legends was published, Rieko Kodama told to Gamespy that work on the sequel was not yet started, but they really wanted to do it in the future:

I would love to make a sequel, but were really not working on it yet. […] We don’t know what platform we would make a sequel for, but GameCube has priority since Legend is coming out for it.

In march 2004 Ohba announced that they started some planning on the second episode:

The Skies of Arcadia sequel is in the planning stages at the moment.

In late 2004, Rieko talked again about Skies of Arcadia 2 in an interview with german Man!ac magazine (issue 1 / 2005) in which she said:

MAN!AC: There were rumors about a sequel (to Skies of Arcadia) or a “Gaiden” episode. Can you tell us something about that

Rieko : We had plans, but the other team members are currently working on other projects such as “Sakura Taisen” – this means SoA2 is currently on hold. Anyway I would be very glad about a new episode with the sky pirates.

In 2003 Overworks was absorbed into SEGA WOW and only a year later the team was split again because of another Sega company restructure: people that worked on Skies of Arcadia were scattered around on different games. As far as we were able to gather, not much was ever did for Skies of Arcadia 2 but at least a few ideas and concepts seem to have been brainstormed by the team, still hoping to release a sequel on GameCube or Playstation 2. In 2006 Nintendo and Sony released their new consoles (Wii, PS3) and whichever plans Sega had for a new Skies RPG on GameCube or PS2 will never see the light of day.

skies of arcadia valkyrie

Even without a sequel, love for Skies of Arcadia is still strong at Sega. Vyse, Aika and Fina, three of the main SoA protagonists, were added as bonus characters in Valkyria Chronicles, released in 2008 on PS3. Vyse is also a playable character in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, released in 2012 for different consoles / PC and one of the game’s tracks, Rogues’ Landing, is based on Skies of Arcadia’s world.

Thanks to Mario for the contribution! 

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