The project became known as “Project Exile” and it was meant to be a Super Nintendo style RPG in the likes of Chrono Trigger. In June 2006 Studio Archcraft however took the decision to port the complete game over to the Nintendo DS instead of releasing it on the Game Boy Advance. In an interview (see screenshots below + another interview in here) developer Archcraft described the change of console as mostly a business decision. The Game Boy Advance was nearing the end of it’s life cycle and the Nintendo DS would provide them more freedom design-wise and more flexibility in memory/ screen space.
Although the Nintendo DS was capable of playing Game Boy Advance titles the company took the decision to completely port the title and abandon the Game Boy Advance version. Development must have been quite far judging the quite good looking screenshots of the game as well as a promotional/ gameplay video dated 2006 I found. I also retrieved a progress report stating a 70% completion dating back to June 2004.
Also found below are some screenshots dating June 2006 from Archcraft’s old website: all Game Boy Advance material but also the announcement of porting the game to the Nintendo DS. So June 2006 end of a promising game: Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled aka Project Exile for the Game Boy Advance.
It is not the first, but one of the more memorable failures in Keiji Inafune’s growing history of cancellations and shortcomings: “Kaio: King of Pirates” was announced for the 3DS in 2011, and was planned to not only be a launch title for Nintendo’s wildly popular handheld, but also to spawn an own multimedia franchise with anime, manga and toys. The project was the first game that Comcept, Keiji Inafune’s new studio, should develop after he left Capcom. Looking for an alternative way to achieve his visions and free himself from restrictions, he decided to found Comcept and Intercept, two new game development companies to work on his own ideas and titles.
Kaio: King of Pirates was the first game to be developed by Comcept and Intercept. Marvelous had acquired the rights to fund and thus publish the game. It was planned as the first part in a trilogy of games that would recount the infamous Romance of the Three Kingdoms tale, similar to other Japanese games like Dynasty Warriors. In this case, the scenario was that of pirates, ships and sea monsters, albeit with the twist of anthropomorphic characters. The main character Sangokushi is a penguin, and in the trailer one can spot numerous other animals such as lions, snakes, parrots, cats and even dragons. There is not much else to be found on the internet: the first and only trailer with English subtitles from 2011 is everything that is left of Kaio: King of Pirates.
Gameplay was planned to be quite like the Dynasty Warriors series, with the ability to pick up and play for longer sessions without problems. This is also one of the reasons why Keiji Inafune chose the 3DS as main platform, as opposed to mobile phones. The game was announced almost around the same time that the 3DS was unveiled, and was planned for release in 2012. Later, it was delayed to 2014, before being cancelled by Marvelous in the beginning of 2015. The company stated it had lost around 3.8 million dollars (or 461 million yen) in the 4-year-period of Kaio’s development.
Keiji Inafune has since turned to crowdfunding for his newer projects, but it seems the former Mega Man-talent cannot reach the glory of his past projects: Mighty No. 9, despite being a successful Kickstarter campaign, has received rather mixed and average reviews after release in 2016. Other Comcept games are Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z from 2014 for PS3, X360 and PC, as well as the Microsoft Studios-published ReCore, which also released in 2016 for PC and Xbox One. Let’s hope Inafune’s bad luck will end soon, because his next project Red Ash: The Indelible Legend is described as the spiritual successor to the Mega Man Legends titles. Despite causing some controversies in its Kickstarter campaign, which ran when Mighty No. 9 was still in development, the game is planned for a 2017 release on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
High Heat Major League Baseball was a series of baseball games published by the 3DO company. The game made its debut in 1999 and featuring the official licensed team and player names from all 30 MLB teams each year a new game was up for release. High Heat Baseball was acclaimed to be one of the best baseball games around; the game always had its focus more on genuine and realistic gameplay than on the quality of its graphics.
The 2004 edition however promised improved graphics and a new graphics engine, a new animation system and renewed motion captured player movements. The Gameboy Advanceversion was under development by Mobius Entertainment (later renamed Rockstar Leeds) and this edition would be the third version of the series on the handheld. For the Gamecube the game would make its first appearance and development was done by 3DO itself. 3DO announced the new installment of the game in December 2002 as they released the first images of the game and a release date was set for spring 2003, around the same date as the release of the Playstation 2, the Xbox and PC versions.
Both versions were finished and ready for release as things went wrong for 3DO in May 2003, the company faced big financial problems for quite a while now, mainly due to bad title sales, and the company now even had to file for bankruptcy and made the announcement that the team and it’s games were for sale and were finally acquired by Rockstar Games.
The Playstation 2, Xbox and PC versions just had had their release dates in March and would shortly after have been followed by the Gameboy Advance and Gamecube versions but with 3DO in serious trouble both titles were shelved for the time being and thus finally resulting into a non release for both platforms. At the 3DO bankruptcy auction in August of that year Microsoft bought all rights for the High Heat series from 3DO for an undisclosed sum. Microsoft however hasn’t developed a new title in the series so far and for now it’s even more questionable if they ever will with a baseball franchise of their own on the Xbox.
Below some screenshots of both titles; I could retrieve no promotional or gameplay footage of the cancelled versions.
Screenshots and Box cover Gameboy Advance – 12-2002:
Game Boy Gallery is a collection of Game & Watch mini games (Ball, Vermin, Flagman, Manhole, and Mario’s Cement Factory) released in Europe and Australia in 1995 for the original Game Boy. Aidan noticed that a 1994 UK ad for the Super Game Boy has beta footage of Ball, Vermin, Manhole, and Vermin’s mode select screen. The footage is only a couple of seconds (or, in Ball’s case, a couple of frames), but you can check a few screenshots here, with comparisons to the original G&Ws and the final version of Game Boy Gallery. Manhole’s character also changes his expression!
Created by Adriano Baglio (Virtual Spaghetti) and published by Shibuya Interactive, Blue Angelo was originally developed in 2004 for the Korean GamePark 32 console and well received by the public. Little information is available on Shibuya Interactive but the company appears to be no longer in existence. Unfortunately the GP32 sold poorly and prevented the game from gaining any real attention. While a Game Boy Advance version of Blue Angelo was planned for release after the European launch of the GP32, the Korean handheld was never released there and thus the Game Boy Advanced port was canceled.
Firmly embedded in sci-fi and fantasy, Blue Angelo’s storyline involves the idea that Earth is a planet created by a group of unknown creatures. While Earth is instinctively violent, humans have progressed to the point where a large number of the population has left the planet in order to pursue colonization in other parts of the galaxy. One of these planets, Lyra, has been afflicted by a variety of monsters and demons. The scientists on Lyra create a fighter of their own (controlled by the player) in an effort to eliminate any existing threats on the planet. Mysterious in nature, the fighter does not eat or drink and has a lifespan limited to the course of only one year. This creature is called “creature 331” or Blue Angelo. The subtitle of the game appears to have been “Angels from the Shrine,” but it remains uncertain exactly how this subtitle factors into the Blue Angelo storyline.
Blue Angelo for the Game Boy Advance was about eighty percent completed on Livello, a level editing program, before it was canceled. There are currently two playable versions of the of the GBA version available online: one offers only a demonstration of two monsters, while the second version is a more polished prototype. These small samples of the game are merely intended to provide an idea of the work in progress and show off gameplay elements. The GBA version of Blue Angelo utilized parallax scrolling of 4 or 5 layers while adding transparency special effects, which at the time was unprecedented for handheld consoles. It is unknown if the GP32 version used the same method.
The sidescrolling mechanics and button use for Blue Angelo appears to be fairly standard with the exception that the L button of the GBA port is designated as the “call the invocation lavos” button (according to available information on the game). While not exactly explained, this does sound like a summons button and would fit with the game’s world.
For many years, a reboot of Blue Angelo was considered. A failed Kickstarter campaign was launched for a PC version of an updated Blue Angelo game, emphasizing a complete redo of the game with improved graphics and providing each character with a unique feature. The game’s designers wanted to use the Unity Engine 2D to achieve organic 2D effects that are both easy to understand and simple to navigate. New stories and a unique universe apart from the GP32 and GBA versions of the game were also created for this renovation. It’s unknown how much of the story would carry over from the original game.
This Kickstarter was run by the publisher Vetasoft, a company founded in 2009 by the brothers Adriano and Massimia Baglio in Mons, Belgium. Vetasoft has established a reputation as a game developer for mobile devices, developing such games as Lucky Luke Shoot & Hit, Yakari Wild Ride, and Garfield’s Wild Ride. While the Kickstarter failed to reach its goal, it’s unknown if Vetasoft will continue pursuing the Blue Angelo reboot.
Article by Blake Lynch, thanks to Lanz for the contribution!