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football

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. 

Road to Sunday [PS2 – Cancelled]

Road to Sunday is a cancelled football game that was in development by 989 Sports (the Sony America Sports Studio) in 2004 / 2005 for the Playstation 2. The game had an interesting career mode, in which the player would have been able to follow a deep story mode, in which to learn more about the causes of a misterious murder, to pay back the cash owed to a criminal boss and to win on the football field at the same time.

As we can read in the Gamespot preview, there were many ways to rise more money in the game:

This is where another NAFA–the North American Fighting Association–comes into play. By entering members of your football team into these underground fights, you can hope to earn the cash you owe the boss by the end of the season. Gambling also plays a part in your bottom line, as you’ll be able to play games like Texas Hold ‘Em and Blackjack, or even hit up the local sports bookie and place bets on that particular week’s games.

Sadly the game was officially cancelled in july 2005, when Ron Eagle, public relations manager for SCEA Sports at the time, explained to Gamespot that:

The game has been officially canceled. It basically did not measure up to our first-party quality standards. In the course of development, it was not meeting our standards for where a product should be in its development cycle. It was purely an internal decision.

Thanks to Userdante for the contribution!

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Retro Studios Football [GC – Tech Demo / Cancelled]

Retro Studios struggled in its early years, dealing with several cancelled projects and lay-offs. In 2000, Nintendo offered the company the license to the long-dormant Metroid franchise which proved to be a turning point for the company. [Infos from Wikipedia]

One of the GameCube games that were cancelled to concentrate  the team on the development of Metroid Prime, was this NFL Retro Football, that was basically a traditional football game with impressive graphic and animations for its time (and a rumored create-a-player mode).

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