In 2005 the Katamari series was on a roll (pun intended), and speculations about the series hitting Nintendo consoles started to emerge. In March 2005Nintendo Power listed the game as in development for the DS. On the same month that year IGN approached Namco to ask about the possible title to which they simply replied “At this point we haven’t made any announcement for the future development of this franchise.”.
Unfortunately that was the last note regarding the title before disappearing.
Some say that this game ended up being dropped in favor of the PSP Katamari gameMe & My Katamari which was released on December 2005. Sadly, Nintendo consoles still haven’t managed to get a Katamari game of their own aside from the DSiWare spinoff Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy.
In 2016 the franchise came back from it’s 5 years hiatus with Tap My Katamari for iOS and Android so maybe the future might hold something for Nintendo platforms after all.
Rewind is a cancelled on-rails shoot ‘em up in the vein of StarFox that was in development in 2008 by Two Tribes for Nintendo DS. After their work on Worms: Open Warfare 2 DS for THQ in 2007, Two Tribes started to plan their next game and wanted to create an original Sci-Fi shumup for the same console. IGN reported the announcement of Rewind DS in July 2008, but even they did not have much info on the project:
“[…] ReWind, described as an on-rails shooter with a twist. What this twist is hasn’t been revealed yet, but Two Tribes says it is taking full advantage of the DS’ abilities. ReWind is set in a “carefully scripted game world” where players have one objective: blast everything.[…] It will use the DS microphone and feature a CD-quality soundtrack.”
By looking at the title, we can speculate that Rewind’s “twist” could have been a way to rewind time during the game or to go backwards during its on-rails levels. Unfortunately not much more was ever revealed about Rewind and it soon vanished among many other lost DS games: it’s possible that Two Tribes never found a publisher interested to support them for this project.
After releasing such a clever hidden gem as Toki Tori 2 in January 2014 Two Tribes had to close down for bankruptcybecause of low sales of the game. Their parent company Two Tribes Publishing B.V. formed another small team to develop their last game, under the working title “RE:Wind”, later published in September 2016 as Rive for PC, Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Rive is a side-scrolling shooter and not an on-rails shooter as Rewind DS was planned to be, but we can still speculate that the released game is an evolution of their original, unreleased concept for the portable console.
Update: thanks to Maik we found an interview on N4G featuring Martijn Reuvers (co-founder of Two Tribes) that confirm some of these details:
Martijn: When we started with RIVE, it was about 2005, so a long time ago. Its original name was “Rewind” and it was meant to be a small game reusing the level designs and artwork that we had. You would shoot a couple of enemies, rewind back in time, and then go to a point slightly before where you started. This way we can just reuse assets and every time you rewind, you’re replaying the same content, but it’s become a little more difficult. So, that was the original inspiration for RIVE. We actually started with the concept, but when we were play-testing it, we found out that it really sucked, so we dropped it. The energy orbs that drop in RIVE were meant to allow you to travel back in time with Rewind, but we don’t know what to do with them anymore, because the whole rewinding system is out of there. We still have a warp system in there, but it has nothing to do with time travel. It’s a very iterative process. We start with something, decide it doesn’t work, and move on from there.
In addition to RIVE being built from the remnants of Rewind, we played a lot of Gradius and Metal Slug back in the 90s, especially in arcades. Collin and I played a lot of those, and we always wanted to make a game like Gradius. So, when the company went bankrupt two years ago (2013), we had been making a lot of puzzle games and we wanted to make something with shooting and explosions. We said to ourselves, “Why not go back to that original design from 2005 and do something with that?” The real inspiration for this game is our passion for those types of games.
With a title probably inspired by the classic River Raid for Atari 2600, Raid Over the River is a cancelled shoot ‘em up that was in development in 2006 for Nintendo DS by the infamous Nibris studios, the team behind the cancelled survival horror “Sadness” for Wii. The interesting part about this lost DS game is that time travels and multi-dimensions would be featured in the story, letting developers to add a good number of original levels set in different time periods and places.
“The main character of the game is pilot David McBride, a 40-year-old veteran of Operation “Sand Storm”. He discovers, by a total chance, the plans of the “Molayarius“, a sect cultivating traditions of the Knights Templar of Grand Master Jacques de Molay crest. They aim to summon the demon Bafometonto the world. David aims to to destroy these plans, but he finds himself in a world and an epoch of danger as he is flung through time, is led and perhaps misled by the seductive but dangerous Anna, and is constantly under fire as he flies through 10 levels of shooting and flying action all around the world and across time.”
“The action begins in Peru, where archaeologists uncover a strange artifact that can be used to travel through time. According to Deutsch-Everett theory, which is all about the temporalist’s paradigm, it says here, it’s impossible to travel within your own timeline. Because that would be ridiculous. However, you can visit future or past Earths from other dimensions, obviously. As a result of this discovery, the Temporal Advanced Research Projects Agency is established to send intrepid types to these different dimensions and seek out any potential threats. You play TARPA pilot Carrie Colins, 29, and it’s your job to deal with some scouts from another dimension who pop up on Earth at the start of the game.”
It seems that even Nibris were divided in different dimensions where the game had two different storylines.
Story, Arcade, Dogfight and Survival modes over six campaigns in different time periods and dimensions were planned, with levels set in ancient Greece, Europe during World War II, Soviet Russia during the Cold War, present day USA, Germany in 2018 and Japan during a far away future. Nibris planned to have different vehicles for each time period and dimension, such as old bi-planes, sci-fi jet planes and dragons. Power-ups and special items would have also been available to the players to improve their fire power and each vehicle had many different movements options, to rotate, nose dive and dodging hits. Coop multiplayer was also planned to be added to the game.
DS specific features would also been implemented into Raid Over the River, being able to use voice command and the touch screen to launch special attacks. Unfortunately Raid Over the River was never completed: just like it happened with Sadness, Nibris were not able to secure a publisher for their project and they had to stop working on it before to finally close down in late 2010.
GUNNARr is a cancelled side-scrolling action RPG that was in development by BlossomSoft for Nintendo DS in late ‘00s. This was just one of the many games that the team was working on at the same time, along with Western Lords (GBA, PC), Sagrada Guardians (DS) and Mimic Book (DS), unfortunately neither of them was ever completed. GUNNARr was meant to have some kind of innovative gameplay mechanic, but not much was ever revealed about it.
A few general details were posted by Elder (the game producer) in 2007 on their old forum:
“Spelled ‘GUNNARr’, the particular meaning of this title is kept a mystery. The project is slowly coming into focus, intended to follow Mimic Book’s release. The game is an alternate for ‘Oracle Adventure’, a fantastic sidescroller adventure/RPG game intended for Nintendo DS. Furthermore the key-concept of this game also hides what I think is a fairly ingenious feature, but well, like Mimic Book, it’s preferable to wait before divulging anything. The story takes part in a post-apocalyptic and vacant fantasy world, vaguely inspired by some Norse legends. Here you can view some abstract mockups, therefore some aspects are subject to be modified later, and naturally, the innovative key-element of this game isn’t shown on these images. But, at least you know that a 2D adventure game is underway during spare time at this moment.”
In 2008 the GUNNARr was already put on hold, as we can read from an interview by RPG Land:
“Joseph: Judging from your forum posts, you’re working on five projects (Project Eden, Mimic Book, GUNNARr, Sagrada Guardians, and Western Lords). What can you tell us individually about each of these games? Elder: “During the recent years many game concepts crossed my mind, and I still aspire to complete each of them. I started with Western Lords/Sagrada Guardians in 2004, but I couldn’t complete it due to inexperience and tight budget. Besides, it was a GIGANTIC project. But it’s thanks to this project that I could develop various facets of my skills. Mimic Book and GUNNARr were two other game concepts I started to elaborate later. And both games were splendid even though they were less ambitious than Western Lords in term of development and budget, BUT I never expected that my determination would suddenly start to diminish considerably after many personal events in my life such deaths, love pain and aging. I started to realize that life wasn’t eternal, and time wasn’t infinite for me. Therefore I had to find realistic solutions to reach my goals, and finally, I started to work on Project Eden, which is 95% completed. I should note that Mimic Book and GUNNARr are both very special, and I will develop them once my budget get better. I have Nintendo platforms in mind for them.”
In December 2008 BlossomSoft released their first commercial game “Eternal Eden” on PC and the team is still making games, working on Eternal Eden 2 and a 3D reboot of the first title.
Initial D EX was a street racing game being developed by SEGA Rosso in 2007/08. This would have been the seventh game for consoles in the Initial D series, and there was also a series of arcade games. Initial D is a popular manga and anime series about illegal street racing in Japan. It was only rumours that this game would be coming to the DS and many people thought that this was a bogus announcement. This was because only a few images appeared on the SEGA Rosso website before quickly being taken down.
This is actually the only evidence that this game ever existed or was in development. There were various stills of the game with “DS” in the corner. It was never officially confirmed whether or not a DS game was actually ever in development.
This was not the death of Initial D on a Nintendo handheld though, as a free-2-play instalment dubbed Perfect Shift Online was released in 2014 for the 3DS. In December 2014, it was confirmed that this will also have a sequel as it was downloaded over 500,000 times and has proved very popular.
If you know anything else about the DS version of Initial D, let us know in the comments!