Nintendo

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse [PC/XBOX/PS2/GC – Cancelled]

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a canceled beat them up/action game developed and published by The 3DO Company from 2000 to 2003, for PC, Playstation 2, Xbox and Gamecube.

As we can read on Gamespot, the game was a single-player action game centered on Abaddon, an archangel who must face off against the apocalyptic horsemen of the title, alongside Satan, and prevent the end of the world. Before players can take on the horsemen, they would have to find the three mortals known as “the chosen”, who were born with the power to fight the horsemen, to even the odds. However, while the three chosen are unaware of their abilities, the horsemen do know of them and the threat they pose. Players would be charged with finding and protecting the three chosen until they can be reunited and combine their powers to save the world. The chosen were Jesse Horner, a scantily clad 18-year-old prostitute; Jimmy Ray Flynt, a tattooed preacher turned serial killer; and Anderson Scott, a corrupt politician who actually unleashes the horsemen in the first place and only later realized he is one of the chosen. Players would take direct control of Abaddon, with the three chosen providing support based on their unique abilities. Jesse would be the party’s healer, Jimmy Ray’s mystic sight would reveal demons, and Senator Scott’s power of persuasion would take control of his enemies and force them to do his bidding.

It would appear that 3DO had broad ambitions for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, surrounding himself with multiple big names, such as Stan Winston as producer and comic artist Simon Bisley and illustrator David de Vries as game designers, in addition to many vocal talents like Tim Curry as Satan, Lance Henriksen as Abaddon and Traci Lords as Pestilence, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

The game would have more than 18 levels, ranging from the postapocalyptic world created by World War III to the depths of hell, featuring hand-to-hand fighting, swords, and projectile weapons, in addition to special abilities like a Matrix-like slow-motion effect and lots of gory effects, including dismemberment, dynamic exit wounds, and motion-captured finishing moves provided by Hollywood’s Smashcut Action Team to ensure that the game’s combat sequences appeared intricate and realistic. The gameplay would center on exploration and combat alternating between standard melee and ranged fights.

It was showed at E3 2003 where Gamespot wrote a preview:

“Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is similar in look and feel to Devil May Cry during its action elements. Abaddon’s starting weapons include a pair of powerful pistols and two large swords that can be used to hack off the limbs and heads of your opponents. In the E3 build, only basic combat moves were available, but 3DO representatives noted that acrobatic, wire-fighting moves will be included as advanced combos. Abaddon also has the ability to execute superhuman maneuvers, such as using his swords to deflect bullets back at the enemies who shot them. You’ll also collect the souls of the enemies you kill, adding to your power in a meter called “the wrath of God.” Borrowing a page from Mortal Kombat, you’ll even be able to perform some gory finishing moves on higher-level enemies such as bosses.

The game will include some slower-paced exploration elements that will allow you to interact with non-player characters to gain more background story and hints on the dangers lying ahead. You’ll also be able to pick up bonus items to help you in your quest. There will also be some horror elements mixed in during the exploration portions, like the shadowy creatures we glimpsed running along a hallway behind us. We even found a room with a particularly gruesome murder–a Catholic priest crucified against a wall decorated with a bloody pentagram.

Currently, the game appears to be in a somewhat rough state, with many of the combat maneuvers and finishing moves not yet complete and the graphics looking a bit rough around the edges. 3DO is still aiming for Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to be released at the end of this year for the PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, but the release could slip into 2004 if the game isn’t ready.”

Sadly, only a few days after it’s first and only official presentation, 3DO went bankrupt. As we can read on IGN, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’s rights were purchased by former creator and development director Michael Mendheim, helped by numerous investors who founded a company called Four Horsemen Entertainment L.L.C. We learned that, unlike others franchises bought by differents publishers after 3DO’s demise, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was neglected because it was in its then-early stages it may not have been large enough. Publishers may have also been unwilling to provide the time necessary to complete the title properly.

“Now that Four Horsemen is officially in new hands, what was initially intended as a title for current generation consoles has become an entire entertainment franchise. The new company will begin by releasing comic books and a graphic novel based on the property, and eventually release a completely revamped version of the video game for next-generation systems.

Mendheim has confirmed that the key players are back on board: Simon Bisley is creating the artwork, and Hollywood effects legend Stan Winston is handling toy and movie rights. The star voice talent slated for the first iteration of the game, including Tim Curry and Traci Lords, are also apparently still committed to the project.

While few details about the new version of the game are available yet, Mendheim did hint at horseback-based combat and an ambitious multiplayer mode involving epic battles of angels versus demons in which the player takes the role of one of the four horsemen.”

However, as far as we know, only comic books would be released, instead of the movie and the various iterations offered for video game concepts.

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X10 (Warthog Games) [Cancelled – Xbox, PS2, GameCube]

X10 is a cancelled first-person shooter for the Playstation 2, Gamecube, and Xbox developed by the defunct Warthog Games. Known mostly for licensed games, Warthog Games was founded in 1997 and worked with such properties as Harry Potter, Looney Toons, Star Trek, and Animaniacs. Like many licensed video games, the British developers’ output was rarely met with critical praise as their work achieved an average of 59 on Metacritic. X10 was to be a deviation to this formula, as it was not based on any previous IPs.

X10 was announced on July 9th, 2002 on the website IGN along with the publisher, Conspiracy Entertainment. This article also gave a brief summary of what the game was intended to be like:

“X10 situates players in the role of a soldier who, following strict orders, must explore a world of the same name. The planet presents gamers with many challenges, including environmental difficulties, political problems, military factions and of course dangerous enemies and predators.”

Conspiracy Entertainment senior vice president Peter Bergstrom also noted the lack of new Intellectual Properties in the video game industry, and their excitement for the project:

“We are very pleased to team up with an outstanding partner like Warthog to develop a new game and a new game IP for today’s increasingly discerning consumers.”

Little was shown off of the game during its reveal, besides concept art, a screenshot, and an Easter 2004 release date. More information about the game was revealed during an interview with Worth Playing.com. The Project leader on X10, Hal Sandbach, discussed many details about the game, including an explanation of the games’ title:

“Without giving too much away, the player and the rest of their squad are sent to investigate why there is a lack of communications from a particular research station. Twelve such research stations exist, although the player only gets to see one. The one the player is sent to is the tenth, hence x10.”

As for gameplay, X10 would have featured open-ended levels set on an alien planet and facing off against space marines, settlers, X10’s indigenous population, and the mysterious Hollow (which despite being important enough to be named dropped in the Worth Playing interview, the Hollow were not mentioned in any other pre-release materials). The game also would’ve mainly been set in varied environments on the planet, with Hal Sandbach specifically stating how  “we want to get away from the corridor-based games as much as we can.”

To traverse these large environments, the game would’ve featured several different vehicles. Sandbach even teased that the games’ opening was to be set inside a vehicle. X10 would have also implemented a complex physics system for each of the in-game vehicles that was being developed using the teams’ previous work with physics-modules. The Worth Playing interview teases that the game planned on using boats, buggies, air vehicles, and even trains.

The game was also to feature light survival mechanics, with players’ carrying capacity would be limited so they would have to choose what items to take with them throughout the levels. This goes in tandem with the weapon selection for X10 and while not much is known about the full loadout, Hal Sandbach did divulge some details. The game was intended to have a mix of traditional FPS weapons like sniper rifles, and more unique weapons, although nothing in particular was revealed.

After the Worth Playing interview, X10 was not discussed much by either Warthog or Conspiracy. A November 2002 interview with website NoFrag.com took place but no substantial new information was revealed, and the game was not heard from again after 2002. In 2004, Warthog was acquired by Tiger Telematics to develop games for the then upcoming Gizmondo handheld. Now under the umbrella of Gizmondo Europe, they were developing several games for the Gizmondo including Momma Can I Mow the Lawn?.

After the failure and bankruptcy of Gizmondo, many staff members from Warthog came together to form Embryonic Studios, which was purchased by TT Games to become TT Fusion. The team still exists and are working on the LEGO Franchise and their handheld counterparts to this day.

Article by Alex Cutler
Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Gaishin Senki: Millennium Sword [SNES – Cancelled]

Gaishin Senki: Millennium Sword (鎧神戦記ミレニアムソード) is a cancelled strategy RPG that was planned by Magifact to be released on Super Famicom / SNES around 1995. Screenshots were published at the time in a promo leaflet and by looking at these it seems the game was set in a strange post-apocalypse earth, with flying ships as in Captain Harlock, huge mechanical knights as in Magic Knight Rayearth and cthulhu alike demons. It sounds quite epic, isn’t it?

Artwork created for the game was shared on Twitter by the author and a former Magifact developer even shared his memories working on the project (translated by Google):

“I’m one of the former developers. Thank you very much for that section. I still remember that the boss took the trouble to bring the completed painting to the development room. I’m very sorry that I couldn’t complete the game, but I’m very happy to see the wonderful illustrations again ^_^ .”

We don’t know why Gaishin Senki: Millennium Sword was never released, but we hope one day someone could find a playable prototype, as it’s weird settings looked really cool.

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Zorro (IREM) [SNES – Cancelled]

Zorro for the SNES by IREM Corporation was a game being developed around 1994. Nothing was ever mentioned of this game’s development or existence. An ex-IREM employee briefly uploaded a clip of this game on youtube in March 2021. However, it was quickly deleted by the user. Thankfully a youtube user, ShiryuGL, was able to download and share the video with others.

Upon further research the user who originally posted the Zorro gameplay turned out to be Yoshinobu Oyaman. After making contact with Mr.Oyaman, he was able to confirm that this Zorro game was actually based on the early conceptualization of the Mask of Zorro 1998 movie. The game was to include both an older and younger version of Zorro (similar to the film) and gameplay was based off of Konami’s Sunset Riders.

Ultimately the project was cancelled due to IREM disbanding their console concepts in 1994 to focus on coin-op arcades. Yoshinobu also stated that this game was very hard to develop due to it being the first action game being developed by IREM.

Interview translated using google translate: 

Evil Pixel: Hello I’m writing about unreleased games. I was informed that you worked at IREM and I wanted to know more about this Super Nintendo Zorro game. No one seems to know anything about it. I hope you can help me get more information for documentation purposes. Thank you for your time.

Yoshinobu Oyaman: Hello, ZORRO was made when I was at IREM. I’m a developer with ARCADE and SFC, and I was a Game Designer for SFC. IREM has released HOOK on ARCADE which they liked, so the game was developed under the copyright of The Mask of Zorro. Unfortunately, the development of IREM was disbanded in 1994, so it was unfinished and unreleased. The content of the game was aimed at the feeling of KONAMI’s Sunset Riders. I couldn’t get any information just from the information that two Zorro (the first Zorro and the young Zorro) would appear in the developing movie, so I made an action game using a sword and a whip while watching Zorro’s comics.

Evil Pixel: Thank you for that information. Do you know if a game prototype cartridge exists? If so, do you have a photo of the cartridge?

Yoshinobu Oyaman: (Yoshinobu proceeds to show me the prototype cartridge in his possession).

Evil Pixel: thank you very much. This is the last question. Was the game complete or was it half complete? Also, did the game have any interesting features? It looks amazing

Yoshinobu Oyaman: Unfinished. It was hard because it was the first ACTION GAME in the third work after I made R-TYPE. After this, I changed jobs to BANPRESTO and made Super Gussun Oyoyo.

Evil Pixel: Are you the only one who has a copy of the zorro cartridge?

Yoshinobu Oyaman: I had a former Zorro programmer burn it into a ROM. As expected, I cannot make a copy

Article by Evil Pixel

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Mortimer in the Big City (Imagitec) [Cancelled – SNES, Mega Drive]

Mortimer in the Big City is a cancelled action adventure that was in early development by Imagitec Design for Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive / Genesis. The project is mostly forgotten today, but a short article about it was published in 1992 on Hobby Consolas magazine (issue 10), with a few details on it’s gameplay (translated with Google):

“Mortimer, who is the “protagonist”, must do everything possible to rescue his girlfriend Maria Mouse from the clutches of Rufus the Rat. There are six levels to explore in which you can find everything: from animals of all kinds to an infinite number of objects, platforms, some humans, puzzles, traps and, above all, bomb-proof action and exasperating gameplay.”

At the time Imagitec developed some fun games such as The Humans and Viking Child, so we can just wonder if Mortimer in the Big City could have been another interesting project. The only Mortimer image published in Hobby Consolas is a concept art, and we don’t know if they ever created a playable prototype before its cancellation.