GameCube

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 4: GUNYIP! [Cancelled – GameCube, Xbox, PS2]

GUNYIP! Is a cancelled dogfighting shooter set in the TY the Tasmanian Tiger universe, focused on flight missions using TY’s mecha-airplane (the Gunyip, as seen in Ty 3). It was initially conceived for GameCube, Xbox and Playstation 2 as the official 4th chapter in the TY series but gameplay would have been similar to titles such as Crimson Sky, Ace Combat and Star Fox’s all-range mode. The game was in development by Krome Studios around 2005 – 2007, started after the release of Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan. While the team was pitching the idea to publishers they were hired to work on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and GUNYIP! had to be canned.

Most of what we know about this unreleased project was revealed by Krome Studios’ artist and TY co-creator Steve Stamatiadis on his Tumblr account:

“Here’s the promo trailer we put together to pitch Gunyip to publishers. It starts with stuff from TY 3 minigames, then has some early test capture footage then ends with some rendered stuff from the TY 3 trailer.”

“There was the whole first version of TY 4: Gunyip which got shelved to make way for Star Wars. There’s a whole book just of stuff from that.”

“Flashback to the unmade TY 4: Gunyip which was Star Wars AF. The Frills were Scout Frills (the best of the bucket heads!), there were all these Star Wars style flight suits and there was even a Wookiee like character called Po (he’s a Kakapo)

If you thought the 2D game was a departure you would have hated this version even more – it was a flight combat game. Where you flew around doing missions on Gunyips. Basically Ace Combat in the TY universe. The best bit was that it was all told as a story being recounted by Lenny. Also you got to play through the “story” mode 3 times as different factions unlocked and you got more of the full story. It was ambitious to say the least.

Also I do enjoy the irony that the game was dropped mid production so that we could work on an ACTUAL Star Wars game.”

“The original TY 4 was not going to be a 3D platformer – it was a story driven air combat game in the TY universe. It was put to rest when we had the chance to make a Star Wars game and it’s probably for the best. While the game was looking pretty hot I know now that TY fans would have lost their shit because it was different. You only need to look at the reaction to the Win 8 game with it being 2D – even though everything else is pretty much exactly the same.

Anyway apart from flying around in cool transforming Gunyips the game featured a story mode that let you play through as three different factions each with their own sets of Missions. There was TY and Bushrescue, Cass and his Cold Blood Empire and finally a new group the Metalskull pirates led by Ginger Knut the flying fox.”

TY the Tasmanian Tiger: Gunyip! – The Gunyips

The gunyips are the top level of air combat machines. Each faction would have it’s own unique design that the player would control when playing their missions. They were also designed to show your pilot character flying them. This was so players could have something ‘human’ to relate to and so that they could respond to the surrounding events much the same way TY sat in the back of the Fourbie and Crabmersible.

Bush Rescue: The Woomera class Gunyip.

Design wise the BR Gunyip has elements of both the plane version from TY 3 and both the unused designs for the Jet Bunyip. It had a variable geometry that would allow it to take different forms depending on it’s flight mode. And yes it was meant as a homage to Macross’ Gerwalk mode.

Cold Blood Empire: The Raptor

This one was designed to look like a bird of prey. I used the head of Cuddles (Fluffy’s mech from TY 3). The wing “feathers” would change shape based on its speed and the tail would look nice reacting to the physics of Gunyip flight.

It’s pilot is another Thorny Devil called Lizzy. She was going to be Fluffy’s replacement for this game. When you first saw her inthe game she would appear as Fluffy but as the game progressed you’d quickly learn that it was Just Boss Cass – who was now just a little bit more unhinged – seeing her as Fluffy.

Metal Skull Pirates: The Pteropus

A flying fox flown by Ginger Knut, who is also a flying fox. This is the first pass at the Pteropus and It’s a little more basic than the others but I really liked the feel of it being a big powerful motorbike with wings.

“This is Liz, she was going to be Fluffy’s replacement in TY: Gunyip! The way it was going to work was that you’d see her in cutscenes with Cass and she’d look exactly like Fluffy. But then we’d reveal that she actually looked like this and it was just Cass who had gone a little loopy from guilt seeing her as Fluffy. “

“Here’s the look of the Frills for TY: Gunyip! They were called Scout Frills because they are meant to look like my favorite Imperial troops, the Biker Scouts. I tried a few color variations but I was going to stick with the white version.”

“Po the Kakapo – I love the idea of flightless New Zealand birds piloting stuff in the TY universe (Duke the Kiwi) so the Metalskull pirates get Po – he’s sort of Chewbacca to Ginger’s Han Solo.

Fluffy Destrofluffy – A callback to the boss from TY 1 except this time you have Harpoons and Tow Cables. I wanted to name a level the Battle of Mount Hotham – for obvious reasons.

Robot Destrofluffy – what it’s like underneath when you burn the fake fur off them.

Young Tiberius – I never quite worked out how this would fit in the game if it even could but I wanted to have a flashback element where you’d play as Tiberius the Thylacine hero in a 1920s steampunk TY world. Maybe some other time.”

In 2013 Krome released a different Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4 on PC, but maybe the idea of a flight-combat TY game could be resurrected in the future.

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Barnyard [Beta – GameCube, PS2, PC]

Barnyard is an action game based on the movie of the same name, developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment and published by THQ for GameCube, Wii, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, and PC. Footage of beta gameplay has been uploaded to the IGN youtube channel as a video titled “Barnyard GameCube Video – Clip Compilation 2”.

The main differences in this beta footage are:

  • animals could freely walk around the map
  • there was a life-counter (was completely removed in the final version)
  • players had “happiness level
  • the map was completely different
  • The mobile phone had a music player, battery energy, and an integrated camera that could take photos.
  • There was also a multiplayer mode for some of the minigames such as chicken coop (this minigame was heavily changed in the final version).

Besides IGN’s gameplay on Youtube there’s an official trailer where the Beta version was shown for the first time. It’s still not known if the version in this trailer was different from the one IGN previewed.

In 2021 more beta gameplay footage was found with other differences from the final version:

  • The NPCs still had an AI
  • currency was different
  • the models of the trees and of the fences were different
  • map still had some difference, but it’s pretty close to the final appearance
  • minigames with up-to 4 players multiplayer were still there.

This gameplay was found on a Spanish website named 3DJuegos. The released Barnyard seems to have been built from a canceled, unannounced game in which all NPCs could interact with each other, build relationships and more. This is why the beta version of the game had more advanced NPC AI, but it’s still not known why it was later removed.

Article by InfiniteC0re and @longhorn#5853

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Flesh & Wire (Running With Scissors) [Cancelled – PS2, Dreamcast, GameCube]

Flesh & Wire is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Running With Scissors (of Postal fame), announced in 1999 and planned to be published by Ripcord Games for Playstation 2, Dreamcast and GameCube. It would have been and over-the-top shooter where you could control an alien blob to explore the world and resolve environmental puzzles. As we can read on IGN:

“The game follows Angus, a sleazy, slimy cop who wakes up one morning with an alien amoebae-like creature noshing on his legs, and his city has been engulfed by a bio-ship by the name of the Nulloid. Rather than worry about what the heck the thing’s doing to his lower half, he comes to the realization that he can control the gelatinous blob, and uses this newfound power to move around and utilize special abilities, sloshing around the levels. He’ll also utilize massive amounts of firepower, so expect over-the-top violence […]”

In 2016 Running With Scissors CEO Vince Desi talked about Flesh and Wire in an interview posted on their official website:

Robin TGG: I had almost forgotten that you once worked on a title called “Flesh and Wire”. What was that game all about? And why was it canceled?

Vince RWS: Yeah that was after POSTAL got cancelled, we actually had 2 other original games in development, but financial reality simply didn’t allow us to continue. It was a sci-fi based game that had a blob as the main character, I really liked it, who knows maybe someday we’ll take another look at it.

The game was somehow similar in concept to a more violent “A Boy and His Blob”, as you could transform the blob into different forms, such as a ladder to reach high places, a bungee to get down and a shield to protect the protagonist from bullets. Some more details on its development can be read on the March 1999 issue of Game Developer magazine:

“According to Randy Briley, the soft-spoken art lead for the project, the development process for FLESH & WIRE (FW) has always been a little bit different. For starters, the publisher (Ripcord Games) has been very hands-off, letting the development team drive the development. This uncharacteristic display of trust has as much to do with RWS’s track record of getting products out the door on time as it does with Ripcord Games’ relative newness to the gaming scene. And although the style of game play has some basis in currently released titles (the game is some-thing of a cross between RESIDENT EVIL and THE THUNDERCATS), the look of the game is anything but conventional. From character design and animation to background generation, the unorthodox look derives from equally unorthodox production methods.

When RWS finally settled on the game spec, they realized that from a resource production standpoint, they had bitten off more than they could chew. In addition to the standard budget of special effects, GUI art, and several minutes of cut scenes, the spec called for over 200 static screens of game play with in betweens, and a set of enemy and player characters’ 300+unique animation sequences. With a production cycle of just under 18 months, no budget for outsourcing, and an extremely small art team, the task seemed pretty daunting. It was time to improvise.”

[…] rotoscoping could be done largely in-house with little or no overhead, the production time compared to hand animation was much faster, and although it required the talents of a skilled animator to implement, it provided a cheap, efficient method to complete the animations on schedule. The team went down to a local gymnasium and interviewed several martial arts students. Then, working closely with the art lead (a martial arts expert himself), the actors were mocked up to look like the characters in the game. Several sets of motion shots were taken, using two synchronized digital cameras set 90 degrees apart (front and side). After digitizing these images and importing them into Softimage, the result was a sequence of images. The Animator then animated the characters by hand, using the images as a guide. […]

Compared to the mammoth task of generating over 200 hundred in-game background scenes, the character animation problem looked simple. With only a handful of 3D artists on staff, the team had to make some tough decisions. As the project evolved through its initial stages, it became clear that the art direction was evolving towards the techno-grunge look typified by such industry standards as The Crow and City of Lost Children. The level of detail the team wanted would require hours of tedious texture and modeling work using classical CG methods. Given the size of the team and the allotted time, this simply would not be possible. Rather than cut the design or ask for more time, the team resolved to find a solution that would allow them to maintain the scope of the project while holding true to the artistic vision. They Took a gamble, and decided to build the entire game using miniatures.

“Near the end of the planning phase of the project, RWS presented the publisher with a proof of concept for the process. For the first test, the team put together a town from a model railroad set and digitized it into the POSTAL engine. In short, the result was a huge success.

Put simply, the sets for the game were built with “anything we could get our hands on,” says RandyBriley. Basically, the team would just bring stuff in: PVC piping, copper tubing, old VCR’s, and so on, and the pieces were glued together and painted using a hot glue gun and standard modeling paints. Most of the back-drops for the game were created using Styrofoam panels, which proved easy to get hold of and standardize.  “Once we got an assembly line going with a certain panel (background piece), we could crank each one out in a matter of a few hours.”

By far however, the biggest advantage of the process is the lack of any requirement for CG expertise on the part of the artists. Consider that with a single trained 3D artist to guide the process, the bulk of the artists can be classically trained with little or no industry expertise. This means that production costs go down for any given piece of work or, you get a lot more resources for a lot less money.”

As said by Vince, in the end they were not able to keep up development for 3 different projects at the same time, so Flesh & Wire had to be canned. We hope someday to be able to see some more images from this strange and original video game.

Thanks to Josef for the contribution!

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Iceman (Datura) [GameCube, Xbox, PS2 – Cancelled]

Iceman is a cancelled puzzle game that was in development for GameCube, Xbox and Playstation 2 by forgotten studio Datura, formed in 2003 by former Infogrames developers. Up to 4 players could compete together in small arenas, but it’s not exactly clear how it would be played. By looking at available screenshots it seems you could collect crystals and possibly moving blocks / parts of the scenario.

Unfortunately Datura never found a publisher interested in Iceman: in the end they had to close down and cancel development of their game.

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Buciyo 5 (The Bumbling 5) [GameCube – Cancelled]

In only about 4 years of existence, United Game Artists managed to become one of the most original and beloved Sega teams ever existed, especially for Dreamcast fans. Originally founded as Sega AM9 and led by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, they had a portfolio of released games composed of just 2 new Dreamcast titles and a sequel (Space Channel 5 – 1999, Rez – 2001, Space Channel 5 Part 2 – 2002). UGA were for sure a talented and inventive studio.

Blending catchy music with beautiful, sometimes abstract 3D visuals, both Space Channel 5 and Rez are now considered cult classics and often used as examples to show how games can really be art. Synesthesia, the phenomenon felt when multiple senses are activated after the stimulation of a different one, was an inspiration and a game design objective for the United Game Artists team, mixing graphic, audio and gameplay so as to suscitate an abundance of feelings and sensations.

It’s easy to imagine how new games from UGA would have been acclaimed by their fans, but unfortunately things didn’t go as planned. After Sega discontinued the Dreamcast in March 2001, United Game Artists and the other Sega teams started working on the competitor’s consoles, creating new titles and porting their old classic or unfinished games to Xbox, Playstation 2 and Gamecube. In the following months some members of UGA worked on ports of Rez and Space Channel 5 for PS2, while the rest of the team started developing  two new projects: Rez 2 and Buciyo 5.

Buciyo 5 (somehow translated as The Bumbling 5) was the new, original project by UGA planned to be a Gamecube exclusive, but not much was ever revealed about it. Sega quietly announced the game in January 2003 as a “New Project by United Game Artists” along with other titles such as F-Zero GX by Amusement Vision and Skies of Arcadia Legends by Overworks. At the time Jake Kazdal was the only American working directly at UGA on Space Channel 5 and Rez as an artist, animator and designer, and he was one of the few members of the original group behind Buciyo 5.

Jake was featured in an article published in January 2014 by Edge Magazine: “After completing Rez, Kazdal worked on a GameCube adventure for a year, a prototype that was never released”. Still without knowing much more about Buciyo 5, in 2016 when we were working on our book we got in contact with Jake, who helped us to preserve some more memories about this UGA’s lost masterpiece. He told us that:

“After Rez shipped, the rest of the Rez team went into a sort of discovery mode on what they would do with a Rez 2, and if that was even going to happen, they wanted to wait a bit and see how sales were. I was a big fan of my first director at Sega, Takashi Yuda, who was the creator and director of Space Channel 5. I had worked under him for my first year at Sega in Tokyo on that project and was just a big fan of his game design theory and style in general.  He was starting a small team to prototype an idea for an action / adventure on Gamecube, so I asked to join him for a time, while the Rez team figured out what they wanted to do for the next project.”

According to the information we managed to gather, we imagine Buciyo 5 (which roughly translates to “The Bumbling 5”) as a mix between Mega Man, Metal Gear Solid, Pikmin and Ape Escape 3. Sounds interesting? It sure does.

Players would have been able to choose between 5 red robots, visually somewhat in the vein of Mega Man in terms of cute robotic characters with human-like faces. Each robot had a different peculiarity: voice, eyes, nose, ears, and brain. This would have allowed different gameplay mechanics and approaches to the game’s levels, as explained by Jake:

“So one [robot] could mimic voices exactly, one could see really well, one could smell really well, one could hear really well, and one was a genius. You would use these 5 together to infiltrate enemy bases and take on the enemies as carefully as possible. They also had plungers on their heads, and you could jump on an enemy head-first, and flip him around with your plunger head! Or jump onto the ceiling and hold still as enemies walked underneath you, etc. It was pretty slapstick, and really cute, had a jamming soundtrack and was Yuda-san’s brainchild that we cranked on for a while”.

The Buciyo 5 team first created a concept video to internally pitch the game to Sega HQ – and it was a success: the project was greenlighted and they started working on a prototype. Once Rez 2 was officially abandoned – as the first one didn’t sell enough to warrant a sequel – more developers switched to Buciyo 5 and in about a year they were able to create an awesome playable demo, showcasing all the main features of the game and its unique style. Jake remembers:

“[…] working late nights, putting together a badass gameplay demo that was beautiful, super interesting and quirky, and designed by a bunch of *really* intelligent, talented game designers who really believed in the project. “ […] “It was at this time that I decided to move away from animation and really start focusing on environmental art, and Yuda-san had worked on all these Genesis era classics like Castle of Illusion and others, and I was stoked to be able to study with someone of that pedigree. We looked at a lot of classic Disney films for lighting and composition reference, and I fell in love with pre-production and concept painting during this project.”

Unfortunately, as it often happens with the most original and interesting games, marketing decisions were going to kill off the project. Mike Fischer, VP at Sega America at the time, went to Japan to evaluate new Sega games for the American market and was not interested in a quirky, cute adventure game, like Buciyo 5 definitely was. Sega Japan said they would have stopped financing the project if the American branch wouldn’t publish it in that area. So the plug was pulled: Buciyo 5 became another unseen game we’ll never play.

Of course United Game Artists were crushed when their last dream game was canned too. Rez 2 never made it past the pitch video phase, but Jake remembers “It was *sick*. Yokota-san, the art director of Rez, (and Rez 2, and Panzer Dragoon Saga) is a genius and it was an evolution of Area 5 from Rez. Insanity.” It seems that, at the time, there was no place for such avant-garde, experimental games at Sega.

Not long after Buciyo 5 was cancelled, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Katsumi Yokota, Ryuichi Hattori, Jake Kazdal and other key staff left the studio, and United Game Artists quickly ceased to be. Those that remained at Sega, merged with Sonic Team (and ended up working on the stylish DS games Feel The Magic: XY/XX and The Rub Rabbits!), and many of them are still there.

In October 2003 Mizuguchi founded Q Entertainment along with Yokota and other former Sega developers to keep working on interesting music game hybrids and creating projects such as Lumines, Meteos, Every Extend Extra and Child of Eden. In 2009 Jake Kazdal founded his indie studio 17-BIT (formerly Haunted Temple Studios), releasing cult-following games such as Skulls of the Shogun and Galak-Z: The Dimensional. United Games Artists will always be remembered for having continued – till the end – to create original games following their own creativity: today their unique style is still kept alive by UGA’s former members.

This article was originally published in our book “Video Games You Will Never Play