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).
Raven Blade was a game in development by Retro Studios for the Nintendo GameCube. It was due to be released world-wide but was later cancelled during development to free up resources for Metroid Prime. Slow development and the offer of developing the next Metroid game were the main reasons of cancellation. The models of Raven Blade backgrounds and creatures were good, but the textures were incomplete. Nintendo noticed their (tentative title) “Action-Adventure” project with a female main character and took the opportunity to ask Retro Studios to make Metroid Prime. Raven Blade, Action-Adventure, NFL Retro Football and Car Combat were all cancelled to work on the new game. – [info from Wikipedia]
Thunder Rally, aslo know as “Car Battle” or “Car Combat”, was going to be a.. car combat game, similar to Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8. This was one of the first Retro Studios projects, from when the GameCube was still know as “Dolphin”. Retro Studios was probably the first software house to start to work on GameCube games, as Nintendo “assembled” the Retro team in 1998 just for this purpose. Initially Retro had various projects in development, as this one, Raven Blade (Runeblade), Retro Football and an action adventure game that later was changed to Metroid Prime. Sadly the team was badly organized and there were no real progesses on any of those games. Nintendo then decided to take on the situation, lay off some of the developers and cancell most of the Retro Studios projects, to let them to concentrate only on Metroid Prime. Noone ever seen Thunder Rally again after Nintendo’s wrath.
Questo progetto appartiene al periodo buio dei Retro Studios, un periodo composto da licenziamenti, rumor poco confortanti, giochi cancellati, e tante altre pessime notizie che se sommate tra loro fornivano una panoramica piuttosto desolante, tanto che i dubbi sulla futura qualità di Metroid Prime erano tanti e legittimi. Fortunatamente Retro è riuscita a zittire tutti, fatto sta che questo TRC, assieme a Football 2002 e Raven Blade, rimane emblematico della pessima situazione in cui si trovava questa talentuosa società prima di mettersi a lavorare duramente. Il gioco doveva essere una specie di Twisted Metal / Vigilante 8, modalità multiplayer compresa.