Baketsu Daisakusen is a cancelled horse-racing RPG / simulation in development around 2001 by Nintendo for their Game Boy Advance. As other horse-racing game popular in Japan you could play it as a racing game or as a simulation in which you just bet on the results, while the game internal AI would predict which horse would win the race based on their stats and previous 5 runs. It seems Baketsu Daisakusen would also let you play online against other players, using the GBA’s cell-phone adapter.
In the end, Nintendo never released the game for unknown reasons. Only a few, tiny screenshots still exist today to remember its existence.
Radio Rayless（レディオレイリス）is a cancelled futuristic racing game that was in development in 2002 by Now Production, planned to be published for GBA. The game was shown in a few Nintendo leaflets along with many others GameCube and GameBoy Advance titles, but this one seems to have vanished forever.
For now the only (tiny) screenshot available online for Radio Rayless was posted on Twitter by Akamid83:
Demon Hunter is a cancelled action RPG in the vein of Diablo, that was in development for Game Boy Advance by Independent Arts Software in 2002. The team planned 8 huge areas to explore, each one divided into several procedurally generated sub-levels so you had a different layout every time you would play.
“Even though the game is designed with an ending in mind, players can continue to dungeon-hack through the areas after the quests have been complete, fighting increasingly difficult enemies the more advanced the players’ abilities become.
Like in most RPGs, players level-up their character as they battle through the different areas, earning experience points with every death. The game also features a fog-of-war type element used in real-time strategy games, limiting the player’s visibility so that he cannot see hazards that are coming from far ahead or behind certain objects.”
At the time Demon Hunter still did not have a publisher, so we can assume they never found one and the project was quietly cancelled, forgotten by everyone.
Hanasaki Gassen (in Japanese, literally translated as “Flower Blooming Competition”) is a cancelled real-time strategy game for GBA that was in development by Blue Planet Software (AKA Bulletproof Software), the same company that created the original Tetris for Game Boy and today act as the exclusive agent for The Tetris Company.
Unfortunately Nintendo never shown any image nor screenshots from this lost game. We tried to get in contact with former Blue Planet Software developers who worked on the game, but with no luck. The few details remaining to remember the existence of this cancelled project are a few online resumes.
“There were many factors that the AI needed to evaluate, and simulated annealing was used to allow the AI to learn strategies by playing itself overnight, adjusting its internal weights until the best strategy was found. The AI could thus adjust to changing game rules, and even discover new strategies! It was written in C++ with STL for the GBA.”
From this info and its japanese title we can speculate Hanasaki Gassen was going to be a flower-themed strategy game …with different type of flowers and seeds fighting against each other to conquer the garden? Its Artificial Intelligence could have been quite impressive and ambitious for a GBA game, with… enemies learning new strategies overnight while you were asleep? That sounds cool.
We hope one day we could save more details about Hanasaki Gassen and maybe some screenshots too. If you know someone who worked at Blue Planet Software, please let us know!
“In November 2002, rumors began spreading that GTA3 for GBA had been cancelled. Destination Software denied the claims, responding, “The game has not been canned. We’ll be making an announcement at the end of the week”. Sure enough, shortly after, news leaked that Crawfish had GTA3 for GBA in development. What’s more, was that the report claimed it was already well into development with an expected 2003 release. Insanely, a week after this report, Crawfish shut down, laying off all of its staff and putting the development in limbo.
According to former Crawfish head, Cameron Sheppard, “Crawfish had many titles finishing and a number of publishers not paying on time. These issues joined meant that the company couldn’t continue quite long enough”. That was, until Rockstar handed it over to Digital Eclipse. Over the next year, Destination Software still claimed they were publishing it, both after Crawfish shut down and after production begun at Digital Eclipse. Whether their claims were truthful or not, when they ultimately lost the license is unclear. However, they were not the publisher by the time Digital Eclipse’s version hit store shelves.
It’s possible that Destination Software was involved with publishing while Crawfish was the developer, but it’s also possible that they’d lost the license by the time Crawfish landed the project. A former Crawfish developer confirmed that “There was one before ours that also got canned“. It’s unclear whether Digital Eclipse was involved with both the Crawfish one and this cancelled one, or if that previous title had been the end of the line for Destination Software. Either way, it would seem that there’s still at least one pre-Crawfish GTA3 prototype out there, somewhere.
In July 2003, several former Crawfish developers began to share details on their unreleased GTA3. This wealth of information described elements which showed up in Digital Eclipse’s GTA Advance, and aspects which did not, such as the controls and multiplayer.”
Thanks to Brian we also saved information about the planned story:
“Former Crawfish developer, Dave Murphy explained, “My version was set a few months before the events of GTA3.”. Digital Eclipse’s version also took place prior to the events of GTA3. As for the characters, Murphy explained, “[the game] featured a mix of old characters from the PS2/PC version and new ones based on my colleagues.”. He reiterated, “Many of the characters were based on other members of [Crawfish] staff”. It’s clear that these characters didn’t persist in the Digital Eclipse version.
Murphy continued, “The main character wasn’t the same as the PS2 but he looked kind of similar. He is taken on by the mafia at the beginning of the game, like the original, but stays working for them throughout, as he chases a mafia deserter and a case full of money from the Callahan bridge to the Cedar Ridge Observatory.”. Interestingly, the story is different from Digital Eclipse’s.”
A multiplayer mode for GTA 3 GBA was also planned:
“Multiplayer never made it through to the final version. Although it was planned during the Crawfish development, even Crawfish expected it to be cut. Crawfish’s Dave Murphy explained, “Yes multiplayer was planned but we probably wouldn’t have got it in there, with the time the project running over.”. As for Murphy’s design, he revealed the following: “We decided on four different modes:
+ Liberty City Survivor: Standard death match similar to GTA 1&2 on PC. + City Circuit: Racing on pre-set routes round the three islands + Car Jack Crazy: Players race to collect a list of vehicles and return them to their garage. + Special delivery: All players fight over a package which must be taken to their base.”
In December 2016PtoPOnline published a video showing an early tech demo / prototype of this cancelled Crawfish version of GTA 3 for GBA, with just a few features and most of the game missing.