Senjo no Demae Mochi (Battlefield: Home Delivery) is a cancelled “poetical pizza delivery game” that was in development by Microsoft Games Studio Japan around 2002 – 2003, planned to be released for the original Xbox. This weird project was conceived by Gabin Ito, who is mostly known for his works on Parappa the Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy and Cubivore.
The game was officially announced at Game Show 2002, with a live-presentation by Gabin Ito and designer / manga artist Katsuki Tanaka, who was hired as a character designer for the project. While not many details about Demae Mochi’s gameplay were shared, they described their project as a surreal pizza delivery game. It looked like a strange mix between Katamari Damacy, Crazy Taxi and Yume Nikki.
The game’s protagonist was a girl named “Fran-chan”, working as a delivery-girl at a pizzeria. By following the client’s orders, you had to move around the city to deliver pizza, while avoiding cars and meeting weird characters. When asked what kind of game he wanted to make with Senjo no Demae Mochi, Gabin Ito answered “a poem”.
Promotional footage was also shown at the Tokyo Game Show presentation: you can see a panda rolling around (but Ito told the press that “there will be no panda nor battlefield in the game”) and some acid-filtered gameplay parts with Fran-chan walking around followed by some kind of white foxes (?). For sure it looked like an original project, so it’s quite unfortunate it was never completed.
As we can read on Wikipedia, Geox is an Italian brand of shoe and clothing manufactured with waterproof / breathable fabrics. For some reasons a Geox promotional video game was in development for the original Xbox, as found by a collector on their dev-kit. From the prototype footage uploaded on Youtube it looks like a simple side-scrolling platformer, in which the protagonist drops down from a flying Geox shoe. Could this have been a surreal masterpiece? Probably not, but it’s still interesting to wonder why this project was even in development and what happened to it.
We don’t know which company was working on this canned Geox game, but on the same Xbox dev kit we can see another cancelled game titled “International Volleyball 2004”.
Around 2003 – 2005 Z-Axis (AKA Underground Development) was working on a new Iron Man video game tie-in for Activision, using the Marvel license. The project was planned to be released for Playstation 2 and Xbox, but in the end it was never completed and quietly vanished, forgotten by everyone.
As we can read on IGN, Z-Axis was hiring new devs for Iron Man around November 2003:
“Z-Axis, the hard-working folks who brought gamers Dave Mirra’s BMX Freestyle and Aggressive Inline (and if you go a little farther back, Fox Sports College Hoops and Thrasher: Skate and Destroy), is now officially working on two new games for Activision based on the Iron Man and X-Men Marvel licenses.
Activision has not officially announced either of these two titles, but we have learned that both are definitely action games. The X-Men game is all new, and should not be confused with the Raven-developed X-Men: Legends.”
In the end only Z-Axis’s “X-Men: The Official Game” game was released in 2006. We can assume the team had some issues in developing two Marvel games at the same time and Activision decided to cancel Iron Man. Some screenshots from an early Iron Man prototype are saved below, to remember the existence of this lost game.
In the game Larry would visit San Areolas Islands to seduce women and resolve simple puzzles. Some more details were shared online by a former HVS developer:
“Cancelled at about 70% complete, this adventure game (like its predecessor) would have certainly pushed the boundaries of both story, design and taste. The focus of this UI was the match the game’s island feel, with warm sunset skies for the main menu and bright, colorful blues and reef colors for the in-game experience. We used classic postcards as inspiration for how we wanted the user to feel while in the menus, while still injecting a bit of Larry’s sexual references within the design work itself. We had the UI about 80% finalized when the game was sadly cancelled, so what you see here was pretty much final.”
As far as we know Vivendi Universal canned the game, possibly to cut costs during a difficult time. Because of this High Voltage Software had to lay off some of their staff, as reported by Gamasutra and GameIndustry in January 2006:
“Chicago-based independent developer High Voltage has officially announced that the company has “right sized” its operations from 156 full time employees to 120, following a recent project cancellation.”
“The layoffs are believed to have occurred last Friday, January 13th, and according to a source within the company, the cancelled project was one being undertaken for Vivendi Universal Games – which has published several of High Voltage’s recent titles.”
Some images from the game are preserved in the gallery below, to remember this lost project.
“Tremors is based on the successful Tremors movie franchise, created by Universal Pictures and Stampede Entertainment. The game is a third person action adventure set in the desert around the town of Gold Rock, where Graboids – gigantic landsharks threatens mankind as we know it.
Players will experience an immersive storyline, filled with surprises and challenges in combination with high-octane action. The game is scheduled for release during the fall of 2003.”
“A few years have passed since the first wave of monsters shook the grounds of Nevada. Burt Gummer has kept himself busy investigating Graboid activity and repelled the threats when needed, but business is going slow.
Strange disappearances are investigated by Gold Rocks sheriff, who makes a horrifying discovery – the Graboids are back. The investigations leads to a recently built plant and research center outside the town. The mystery unfolds and turns out to be more of a “normal bug-problem”.
At the same time, unknown of the two heroes above the ground, a heroine fights the source of the monsters from heart of the top-secret underground facility. Tremors is a game of monsters threatening mankind, corporate cover-ups, betrayal and three heroes that simply refuse to surrender against any threat.”
Based on the Tremors cult series of movies and the upcoming SciFi Channel TV-show.
Three characters – three agendas that ties into one, immersive story. Play as Burt Gummer from the movies.
Fight the Graboids, Shriekers and Assblasters – for a start. You’re up against evolving monsters.
State-of-the art enemy AI that plans and thinks. Monsters reacts after your actions.
Blow the monsters to pieces of goo with a wide range of weapons; revolvers, rifles, SMG’s and the classic Barrett .50.
Fluent and extensive movement with the help from +500 motion captured movements.
Powered by the RSSTech – one of the most powerful rendering systems ever.
In 2003 fansite UK Tremors posted an interview with Rock Solid Studios about their game:
“UK: 1, So how long have you been working on the game? is there anything to see yet?.
CS: We are still quite early in development, many details are still confidential. Including planning and design, we have worked on this game since April/May 2002. Even though we cannot show anything officially yet, we are playing the game internally and there are both Graboids and Shriekers in the game at this point.
UK: 2, Will the game be based on any of the films or just the upcoming TV series?
CS: The game is an independent story, but with tie-ins to the TV series and the movies.
UK:3, Is there any details of the game that you can let us in on? E.g. storyline, structure, gameplay, multiplayer etc
CS: The game is a single-player action-adventure in line with the Resident Evil series of games, but cross-overs to games such as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. As players are partly dealing with monsters hunting on heat or vibrations, there will be different ways to move around in the environment.
UK: 4, Is it still set to be released on all the major gaming systems? Do you have any kind of release date set at the moment?
CS: Still to be determined.
UK: 5, you must have seen the films a lot of times by now. Has Stampede/Universal supplied you with much information and help?
CS: They have been much helpful.
UK: 6, For our readers, will this be a game they will be playing into the small hours?
CS: Definitely. As there are many different ways of defeating the monsters, players will come back to try different solutions to various problems.”
In the end Rock Solid Studios closed down for bankruptcy before releasing any game and was later reboot as Avalanche Studios, finally finding success with the first Just Cause. As we can read on Wikipedia:
“During that period, another Stockholm-based video game development studio, Starbreeze Studios, announced that they would acquire Rock Solid. The agreement between the two companies was ultimately broken by Starbreeze, and the acquisition was stopped. In addition, Universal decided to cancel Tremors: The Game, which led Rock Solid to declare bankruptcy. With the failure and collapse of Rock Solid, Sundberg and Blomberg became unemployed and in debt. They eventually decided to start over in 2003, establishing Avalanche Studios with six other employees.”
A few 3D models from this lost game are preserved in the gallery below, to remember its existence.