In May 2020 Shinesparkers published a series of links to the online portfolio of Sammy Hall, former Retro Studios contract artist who worked on concept art for a cancelled Boo game pitched by the company for Nintendo DS. Possibly known as the “Haunt” project, in this adventure players would take the role of a young Boo, freshly graduated in the Haunt university.
In these images you can see a Boo professor teaching his students about a magical cauldron and our Boo protagonist would have been chosen to be dipped into it for some reasons. We speculate that by being soaked in the cauldron, the young Boo would have somehow received new powers. Concept art shows this Boo in different poses, as if it could be stretched and moved around like in Kirby: Canvas Curse.
These drawings were noted as being used for Retro Studios’ Boo project between 2006 and 2007 (the same artist also worked on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Donkey Kong Country Returns), just a year after Nintendo released Canvas Curse. As we can read on their original page:
“Cancelled Boo project (2006 – 2007). Loads of Boo sketches in very very unfamiliar territory. Deep in debt at Haunt University. Powers & abilities. Broomies. Possession powers. Spiders spider boss variations. Tiny stuff for tiny handheld resolutions.”
We can also speculate the witches seen in these images are the “Broomies” (possibly the main enemies of the game, as seen in one of the drawings in which Boo fight against one of them like in a shoot ’em up) and Boo would had some kind of “Possession powers” to gather new powers & abilities.
After these images were found by fans and gaming journalists, the artist just deleted his whole ArtStation account. IGN was able to get in contact with him, asking about this Boo project and the cancelled Zelda – Sheik Wii game:
“Speaking to IGN, ex-Retro Studios concept artist Sammy Hall explained that both games were in pre-production when cancelled, and “I doubt many at Nintendo proper saw much of any of this stuff. I was mostly put into a room like Milton from Office Space and tasked to brainstorm between other projects.”
According to Hall, the ideas for both games came from ex-Retro leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Kynan Pearson, but were “cancelled the week they went to create their other studios.”
We’d like to preserve these fascinating Boo drawings in the gallery below, to remember the existence of this lost video game. If you saved more concept art from Retro Studios’ Boo project that are missing from this page, please let us know in the comments below or by email!
Thanks to AvenPlainstrider for the contribution!