racing game

Untitled Wave Race: Blue Storm Sequel [Wii – Pitch / Cancelled]

In 2009, Nintendo Software Technology, some of the developers behind Gamecube launch title Wave Race: Blue Storm, were attempting to get a new entry in the Wave Race series into production for Nintendo’s Wii console.


The project began midway into the year, in the aftermath of their previous Wii title, best known as ‘Project H.A.M.M.E.R.‘, which was shut down after a tumultuous development of 5 and a half years. ‘H.A.M.M.E.R.’, which had evolved into the more casually oriented ‘Wii Crush‘ by the end, was a costly misstep for both NST and Nintendo at large. Not only was the financial toll reaching into multiple millions of dollars, the company lost over half of its entire workforce during a staff exodus as a result of it, due to reportedly poor working conditions, and accusations of nationalism levelled against the management; among other reasons.

Understandably, the ordeal left NCL with trepidations about entrusting NST with another large scale project, but a small team of developers at the company remained optimistic that the subsidiary could still see a resurgence. They proposed creating a new game in the Wave Race franchise for the Nintendo Wii, which would have taken the series to new territory with the introduction of motion control.

The project was lead by experienced NST engineer, Yoon Joon Lee, and designer, Rich Vorodi. The two were previously a part of the last Wave Race game, Blue Storm, which released in 2001 at the launch of the Gamecube. Vorodi, in particular, had been involved in a variety of ways: he had a hand in the both physics and level design, as well as voicing the character, Ricky Winterborn. Partnering with engineer/programmer, Jonathan Bryant, they began to develop a test prototype to present their ideas to Nintendo’s higher ups.

At the heart of the concept was an experimental, new control scheme, which revolved entirely around the motion sensing tech of the Wii remote. Users would hold the controller in a horizontal position with both hands over its face, emulating the handlebars of a jet ski. Tilting left and right steered the direction of the watercraft, while twisting it forward and backwards controlled acceleration. The device would vibrate when the virtual handlebars were tilted to their furthest limits. There was consideration for utilising the Wii remote’s speaker to blare out engine noises, too, but it is unknown whether or not this feature was implemented into the prototype build.

Control concept images:

By connecting a Wii balance board peripheral, it was possible to add an extra dimension of control to the game. Applying pressure to either side of the board would enable the player to perform sharper turns to help negotiate more trickier courses. An alternative system to the lone Wii remote was on the table also – in the form of the Wii remote & nunchuck combo. This worked by holding the two on their side, facing each other; similar to the controls of the ‘Power Cruisingmini-game seen in Wii Sports Resort:

Wave Race Wii Pitch Patent Concept - Wii Remote & Nunchuck

It was theorised that adding these new, more physical control elements with “real world turning” and tilting would lend themselves well to Wave Race – helping to mould a more “realistic” experience for the player.

On August 27 2009, Nintendo of America filed a patent to protect the new control scheme that NST’s developers had created. The filing covered not only controls for jet ski games, but all vehicles controlled by handlebars. In the patent’s documents, for example, we can see that motorcycles were used as a primary example:

After a brief development of no more than 3 months, work on the prototype concluded, and the group presented their pitch to NCL’s board. One source related to the studio claimed it had generated considerable interest among members of NoA and NCL alike, but it was ultimately shot down regardless. After the demo was tested by those present, complaints apparently were levelled at the game’s motion controls; specifically, that they simply “didn’t feel right“. Nintendo therefore declined funding to the project, and full development did not proceed, ending work on it as a result. 

Initial D EX [DS – Cancelled]

Initial D EX was a street racing game being developed by SEGA Rosso in 2007/08. This would have been the seventh game for consoles in the Initial D series, and there was also a series of arcade games. Initial D is a popular manga and anime series about illegal street racing in Japan. It was only rumours that this game would be coming to the DS and many people thought that this was a bogus announcement. This was because only a few images appeared on the SEGA Rosso website before quickly being taken down.

initial D DS Cancelled

This is actually the only evidence that this game ever existed or was in development. There were various stills of the game with “DS” in the corner. It was never officially confirmed whether or not a DS game was actually ever in development.

This was not the death of Initial D on a Nintendo handheld though, as a free-2-play instalment dubbed Perfect Shift Online was released in 2014 for the 3DS. In December 2014, it was confirmed that this will also have a sequel as it was downloaded over 500,000 times and has proved very popular.

If you know anything else about the DS version of Initial D, let us know in the comments!

Thanks to Marco for the contribution!


Driver 5 [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, Wii]

Driver 5 is a cancelled racing game which was, for a short period of time, in the works at Sumo Digital, the developer of the Sonic & All-Stars Racing games. It would have been published by Ubisoft and released around early 2011 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

In January 2010, Ubisoft released a financial forecast for their next fiscal year, detailing a number of their scheduled releases. Among these were some vague plans to release an untitled fifth entry to the Driver series, although no other information was provided at the time. Behind the scenes, it was around this point that Driver 5 (a working title) was in pre-production at Sumo Digital, who had been contracted externally. Previously, Sumo had partnered with Ubisoft to produce Driver ’76 on the PSP, who they worked on alongside Ubisoft Reflections.

Concept art for Driver 5.

Concept art for Driver 5.

Christian Bravery of design studio, Lighting Lights, was brought on board to draft concept art for the Driver 5 project.

“It was interesting to be involved at the beginning and the end of this project and something I’d love to do more often.”

The lifespan of Sumo Digital’s Driver 5 was brief, as it never moved past pre-production. It was cancelled when Ubisoft elected not to partner with Sumo Digital on it, instead giving the project to Ubisoft Reflections. Reflections would then go on to create Driver: San Francisco.

By the looks of it, this original vision for the game would have incorporated destructible environments of some sort. The concepts show Tanner’s surroundings crumbling around him as he races away from his pursuers. Perhaps this was a small stepping stone towards Sonic & All Stars Racing: Transformed, which incorporated a similar concept of tracks that would dynamically change and fall apart as the race progressed.

F1 Racing Championship 2 [Cancelled – PS2 PC]

F1 Racing Championship 2 is a cancelled racing developed by Video System and supossed to be published by Ubisoft. In the background Players can recreate historical races whereby they must meet various racing targets in conditions and situations that actually occurred in the 2000 FIA Formula One World Championship season. New special effects include motion blur, camera vibrations and different contrast levels.

It was scheduled to be released in the four quarter of 2001 for Playstation 2 and PC, but it was cancelled for unknown reasons.

Information & Images are obtained of

Thanks to Jesus Enrique Sanches for the contribution!


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