Unseen Articles

The Wonderful 101 [Beta / Concept – Wii U]

The Wonderful 101 is an action game for the Wii U, developed by Platinum Games in partnership with Nintendo and was directed by famed Japanese designer, Hideki Kamiya, of Okami and Devil May Cry notoriety. It was released in 2013 and has since developed a small cult following among Wii U owners.

The game follows the adventures of The Wonderful 100, a team of superheroes, as they fight to defend Earth from an alien menace known as the ‘GEATHJERK Federation‘. Despite being released almost a full year into the Wii U’s lifespan, the project had, in fact, been in the works for a few years prior. As revealed by the staff who worked on it over the course of its development, its direction underwent some considerable shifts along the way.

Video Game All Stars, Unite Up!

As disclosed by Hideki Kamiya at Gamescom 2013, The Wonderful 101 began life as an entirely different entity. Kamiya’s involvement with the project started a few years earlier, when the President and CEO of Platinum Games, Tatsuya Minami, tasked him with creating an action game with a cast of some of gaming’s biggest icons. It was set to feature Nintendo characters primarily, as well as guest stars from third party companies.

The project in this form dates all the way back to 2010, when it was planned to be developed not on Wii U, but on the Wii.

At that time it wasn’t necessarily based on any specific platform. But when we took it to Nintendo, the discussions went from there, and we decided to put it on Wii.” – Hideki Kamiya, on the first iteration of The Wonderful 101 project.

Although it has been never stated which characters from companies outside of Nintendo were planned, Kamiya did elaborate on the main cast of this original vision at 2013’s Penny Arcade Expo. During an interview with Siliconera, he mentioned that Link and Mario were among those featured. This suggests that the two might have been the basis for the ‘Unite Hand’ and ‘Unite Sword’ moves, based upon the traits of either character.

Initially, the idea was proposed by Mr. Minami, to create a game featuring Nintendo characters or other popular characters together in one game. With the idea of putting characters like Mario and Link into the same game, you end up with a situation where fans of Mario are forced to play as Link.

Moreover, during Platinum’s panel at the event, Kamiya described one piece of concept art for the project, involving other Mario characters. He gave the example of a portion where Peach, Luigi and Yoshi attempt to grab hold of one another to form a bridge, with Mario hopping across the top of them, allowing him to traverse a large bottomless pit. One artist, Kibbles, has put together a sketch for us to illustrate what this roughly might have looked like.

Wonderful 101 mario bridge concept

It appears that this idea might well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The director went on to to say that the people at Nintendo viewing this concept in particular was the point at which they decided the project could not be realised

Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition (Cancelled) [PSP/PS2/PC]

Overview:

After Tomb Raider: the Angel Of Darkness was considered a failure, Core Design, in 2004 came up with a new idea which was to do a complete remake of the first Tomb Raider game. Core Design developed their version of Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition for approximately 9 months until it was unfortunately cancelled early June 2006. It was then announced that Crystal Dynamics would be developing a new Anniversary game instead.

Origin:

Interview by PlanetLara 24th July 2007.

Richard: It was a strange time really, we’d just finished Free Running for PSP/PS2 and had developed a really good control system and camera, we started messing about with a Lara model on the PSP in the Free Running engine and the idea of 10th Anniversary was born. We suggested it to Eidos who allowed us to develop it, but when Core was sold to Rebellion it seemed like they didn’t want the franchise to go ‘out-of-house’ hence the cancellation of our project.

It is confirmed that PC/PS2 versions were in development however the existing leaked footage and in-game screenshots have been confirmed to be taken from the PSP version. The trailer which leaked from an unknown source seems to show various different builds of Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition, some later than others. It is confirmed that both Core Design and Crystal Dynamics were working on separate games (Core Design – Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition, Crystal – Tomb Raider Legend). Eidos (the game’s publisher at the time now Square Enix) requested that Core Design should alter their Lara Croft model so it looks similar to Crystal Dynamics’ Lara Croft model used in Tomb Raider: Legend. The Lara Croft model seen in early prototype versions of Tomb Raider Legend is very reminiscent of the one seen in Core Design’s Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition.

Official Statements:

Core Design (www.core-design.com) – 15th June 2006, 11:02:06.

Following speculation on the internet, we would like to offer the following clarification.

The video of Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition that appeared on certain sites was an unauthorised release of an internal presentation of a game that was being developed by Core Design until very recently. It was running on PSP and used a Core-developed engine. However, following a recent review this project has been officially cancelled by SCi.

Core is alive and well and working on some great new projects, and we are still planning to announce some exciting news very soon!

Eidos Press Release – June 16th, 2006

Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, confirms today that they are developing a special ’10th Anniversary Edition’ of Tomb Raider.
The new game is being developed by Crystal Dynamics, who recently launched Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend on Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, PC and PSP, with versions on Nintendo DS, GBA and GameCube later in 2006.
“Our ’10th Anniversary Edition’ of Tomb Raider, is a one-off title to celebrate both Lara and Tomb Raider, it will appeal not only to the loyal fans of the Tomb Raider series but will also attract a totally new audience.” Said Larry Sparks, Head of Brands Management at Eidos.
Tomb Raider originally launched in 1996 and is still one of the best selling videogame franchises of all time, with over 30 million copies sold.
The special ’10th Anniversary Edition’ of Tomb Raider will be available on PlayStation 2, PSP and PC.

In 2016 an interview with Gavin Rummery was published. It provided some details as to how the game started and speculation about why it was cancelled:

Gavin Rummery (Studio Head)

He put the pieces together in his head and pitched Eidos/SCi (SCi having taken over Eidos in 2005). They loved it, so a team of Tomb Raider veterans at Core set about remaking the original game in the new engine. It was going well, Rummery recalls—both looking and playing great. But Crystal Dynamics didn’t want Core back in the picture, and the American studio built a rival demo.

“They convinced whatever the politics in SCi was like that it made more sense to just keep it all in one studio,” says Rummery. “Keep the franchise in one place. And so ours was killed, and you’d have never heard if it hadn’t been leaked by someone.”

In 2016 Steve Pritchard responded to Gavin’s claims with the following:

Steve Pritchard (Producer)

No worries. It was a tricky time in the studio when Crystal were doing Anniversary – a lot of hard work had gone into that idea and to have it taken away and handed to Crystal was a painful thing.

Crystal Dynamics are in no way at fault for this – Eidos had become SCi at this point and that whole Eidos/Core/Tomb raider multi-brand was something that hung a little heavily around a few necks. Someone, somewhere, realised that handing a TR title back to the now-not-Core guys would have seemed like a strange commercial move, and with CD having a lot of cool tech all ready to go, it was a straightforward choice for them.

Yeah, it was a massive, massive kick in the nuts for those of us who had done a lot in a very short space of time to get Anniversary running, but from a business perspective it was understandable.

Gav was right to be angry about the way the whole thing unfolded and he’s also right in saying that SCi were up for it – Ian Livingston grinned a smile a mile wide when I described the concept as a “director’s remastering” of the original, with additional content filling out the whole TR1 game. So yes, it was a winner and yes, at the time it looked like me might claw it back. But someone, somewhere realised the media issues that might arise from the old Core lads doing another Lara game . . . and that was where the split began, not with CD.

I put more hours into the Core version of Anniversary than anyone else on the team – production tend to do that – and as we had such a small team most of what is seen in the leaked video was stuff I pulled together across a couple of evening shifts, the thing cut together by Gaz Tongue later. We were all gutted when the project went away. Projects do, all the time, but this one really felt like the last chance to grab back a bit of TR.

The last presentation to the SCi board had Gav and I demoing the Playstation version AND the PSP version, both of which had co-op gameplay in it. They were rough around the edges, still some way from alpha, but if you knew the original game well you could see where we had added real fan service, extra content and just cool stuff that expanded on the original narrative. It felt good to show off, it was received well, but that last presentation had us re-introduced to Toby Gard and some of the CD team who were there to see it. Two days later we got the news that they were going to do the Anniversary project, using their engine and tech from TR Legend. And that was that.

Horrible end to the story but I find it really difficult to lay the blame at Crystal’s door. SCi made the decision, and they really weren’t very good at decisions. They are not there for good reasons.

Not too long after that the studio was sold to Rebellion, Gav moved on and I ended up running the show for the next 18 months to two years. By then Core were a bit battered and bruised and being asked to shift their skills to “quick and dirty” work that was almost outsourcing saw all the talent start to pour away to other companies. “Corebellion” fought on for a while but the writing was on the all by then.

Images:

Left 4 Dead 2 Beta Analysis

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Left 4 Dead 2 was built from the ground up and used material and ideas from the development of the original Left 4 Dead. Left 4 D ead 2 remained largely the same over the course of its development with very few changes made until the game’s release. In a nut shell, most of the concepts that weren’t incorporated into the original Left 4 Dead were incorporated into Left 4 Dead 2.

Disclaimer: What is documented in this analysis is quoted from left4dead.wikia.com. Most of the images are from IGN.com and the beta & leftover item images are from www.Left4dead.wikia.com

[Article by DCodes 7, corrections by Nate Edwards]

The Survivors:

The survivors changed (somewhat) over the course of Left 4 Dead 2’s development, but didn’t change as much as the survivors from Left 4 Dead 1 had. Left 4 Dead 2’s survivors changed solely in terms of color scheme and back-story.

For example, the developers changed coach’s shirt from a yellow & turquoise color scheme in the beta to a purple & yellow color scheme in the final.


Rochelle also received a color change as well. In the beta her shirt was a bright orange T-Shirt, whereas in the final version, her shirt was a pink Depeche Mode T-shirt. 

Perfect Dark Beta Analysis: the removed Face Mapping

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As many of you may already know, RARE planned to insert an interesting feature into Perfect Dark: thanks to the Gameboy Camera, you would have been able to photograph your face and your friend’s faces to use them as the face of PD characters in the single player campaign (as enemies) or in the multiplayer mode.

Unfortunately, due to the numerous acts of gun-shooting in American schools, RARE decided to remove this option from the game, to don’t create controversy. A game in which you could have been able to kill a character that had the face of your real friend, would probably have been too much for its time. Here are some screenshots of the removed Face-Mapping mode, perfectly working in the beta version.

Beta Face Mapping

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Using the N64 Transfer Pack with the Gameboy Camera attached onto the back of the N64 controller, this message would have appeared on the screen. 

Perfect Dark Beta Analysis: Beta Multiplayer

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And now we can move on to the beta multiplayer of Perfect Dark.

Beta Multiplayer

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One of the most interesting rumors for the Multiplayer mode of Perfect Dark N64 is the one about plans for the game to have an online mode too. During the initial planning there were some ideas to develope Perfect Dark for the 64DD and to use the built-in modem of the add-on for the Multiplayer mode. However, due to many problems the 64 DD was delayed for months and  years, and eventually this peripheral was never released outside of Japan. It seems that Rare even though about a special cartridge with an internal modem (as used already by another game, released in japan. See the picture above), but as you can imagine the online structure would have been difficult to develope and soon the idea was scrapped.

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