Nintendo

Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow [XBOX PS2 GC – Beta]

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (also know as Shadow Strike during its development) is a third-person stealth game in the Splinter Cell series, developed and published by Ubisoft Shanghai in 2004. Below you can see a video compiled by Silenceofthehills, with lots of early concept arts and beta screens. Text and video annotations in the video help explain the differences between the earlier planned renditions and the final version of various spots in each area.

As seen in the video, a fully missing level map is viewed under the first game‘s HUD. Since the first game had cut a level and used it as an extra in another version of the game, its quite possible that these shots are from a missing level. Its also possible that these are merely early renditions of a previous level, or even simply a test level considering the unaltered HUD.

Secondly, we can also see the previous incarnation of the PS2 and GameCube port before it had be delayed and taken under various graphical tweaks to ensure the artwork was nearer to par with the original versions of the game. This is also available in the GameInformer article scan as well, which also oddly contains a beta HUD akin to that of the online mode’s. This HUD was also apparently shared between all versions of the game.

Below is the direct quote on this from Gamespot itself, posted on February 4, 2004 by Justin Calvert.

“Ubisoft has today announced that while the Xbox, PC, GBA, and cell phone versions of Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow are still on track for release next month, the PS2 and GameCube versions will now launch at a later date. The only reason given for the delay is that the development team is committed to making sure that the other two console versions are as good as the Xbox version.”

Thanks to Silenceofthehills for the contribution!

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Monster Hunter Tri [Wii – Concept / Beta]

Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) is an action coop game that was developed by Capcom and released for the Wii in 2009 (Japan) and 2010 (USA and Europe). As we can read in Wikipedia, the game was originally planned to be a PlayStation 3 title, but due to high development costs for that console Capcom instead decided to develop it for the Wii. Thanks to Monster Hunter Wikia, we can see many concept artworks from the official Hunter Encyclopedia 3, that show early versions of the MH3 monsters and various unused enemies (that may be revived for a possible MH3G expansion).

Beta Royal Ludroth:

Final Royal Ludroth:

Beta Barioth:


Final Barioth:

Check the gallery below for more concepts!

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Pokemon Emerald [GBA – Beta / Unused]

Pokémon Emerald is an updated version of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, that was released in Japan in September 2004 and in America and Europe in 2005. Even if the game is just an “add-on” to Ruby and Sapphire, it’s possible to find some beta and unused content still hidden in its code. As noted by Bulbapedia:

  • There’s an unused map header into the ROM called “SPECIAL AREA”.It was probably used for the battle frontier back then.
  • All the music tracks found in FireRed and LeafGreen are present in Emerald too, but only few of them are used for special events.

Also, from an early Pokèmon Emerald screenshot by IGN you can clearly see that ROUTE 109 had glitched up tiles!)

In the ROM LucaPM found an unused Prof.B irch sprite, that was probably used for the beta intro sequence. HEX Offset : 557AF0 (varies between ROMS)

Unused sprite:

Final sprite:

Things to notice between the unused and the final sprite:

  • Different stance (of course)
  • Less outlined sprite
  • Shorter shirt
  • Different,bigger belt
  • Different designed and coloured pants
  • Different right leg
  • Slightly different haircut

As noted by Zero7, it’s possible that he was suppose to have his hands in his pockets, go into the now final sprite for throwing out the pokemon, then either stay in the final sprite or back to the unused sprite for the rest of the intro. 

VX Vampire XDV-7 [N64 – Tech Demo]

VX Vampire (aka Vampire XDV-7 or Ultra Copter 64) is a flight simulator that was planned to be ported to the Nintendo 64 by Paradigm Simulation / Entertainment. Previously Paradigm worked on realistic flight simulation for space, military and aviation clients, but  in 1994 it was contacted by Nintendo to aid in the creation of one of the Nintendo 64’s launch titles, Pilotwings 64. It seems that VX Vampire was originally one of Paradigm’s military simulators, that they though to convert to a more “arcadish” game to enter in the mass-entertainment market.

In 1995 Nintendo / Paradigm send some screens of Vampire XDV-7 to magazines (that you can see preserved in the gallery below), claiming that the Ultra 64 would have been able to achieve similar level of graphic details. In reality, VX Vampire was running on the Silicon Graphics Onyx Reality Engine, the same engine used for the Magic Edge Hornet Simulator Hardware, a technology much more advanced (and expensive) than a normal Nintendo 64.

When Paradigm had to finish Pilotwings 64 in time for the release of the N64 in june 1996, they probably had to shift resources to Nintendo’s project and the VX Vampire XDV-7 port went on-hold. In the end Pilotwings 64 was a critical and commercial success for the developer, causing the simulation and entertainment divisions of Paradigm to separate and focus on their respective products. The newly independent Paradigm Entertainment continued to develop for Nintendo’s 64-bit console. [Info from Wikipedia]

Some years later, Paradigm Entertainment announced Harrier 2000 / 2001 for the Nintendo 64, a new flight game that sadly was never released. It’s possible that their plan to port VX Vampire XDV-7 changed when they understood that it would have been too difficult to convert an Onyx simulator to an N64, so the project evolved into a new, different title: Harrier 2000.

Thanks to jorcyd and Celine for the contribution! Scans from Cd Consoles #4, Console Plus #49 and Edge #29

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