Nintendo

The Haunted Mansion [GBA – Cancelled]

The Haunted Mansion is a cancelled adventure game that was in development around 2002 – 2003 by Pocket Studios, planned to be published for GBA by TDK Mediactive, the same company which published The Haunted Mansion for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. The games were based on the homonym Disneyland ride and the home-console versions were released in the same year of the Haunted Mansion movie (also based on the Disney ride).

This canned Game Boy Advance version was quite impressive for its 3D graphic, something that was not common on the console. Players would explore the mansion Resident-Evil- Style, finding keys and avoiding enemies, plus some on-rails sections on a classic mine cart.

It seems the GBA version of Haunted Mansion was canned when TDK Mediactive was bought by Take-Two Interactive. As wrote by a former Pocket Studios developer on Youtube:

“I was a coder on this game. The main reason for its non release was the TDK the original publishers being bought out mid development by Take2. I’m certainly not in the know as to what went on between Take2 and Pocket but after the takeover it was clear the game wouldn’t get a release. Lets just say Pocket wanted to hit its milestones to get paid and fill the contract and Take2 tried to make that hard.

As for the game. Publishers were at the time were eager to have games that were more 3D-ish, especially lower end publishers with less than amazing franchises as it made the game stand out from the flat 2d, iso games that almost every release was. The simple fact is the GBA doesn’t do 3D well, but I think looking back nearly 20 years and saying the 3d is broken isnt really fair. Personally I think some of the art in this game is lovely. I still think this game is technically impressive… Did anyone notice the transparent ghosts???? If any other game does transparency on the GBA I’ve not heard of it.

TBH the gameplay sucks. The card game was absolutely pointless, and the free roaming made the game weirdly empty and slow. I think a number of the team wanted to do a more side on 3d platformer affair, but that was ruled out fairly early as death/weapons was something you couldn’t do with this Disney property.”

Some years ago a ROM of the game was leaked online, so at least we can marvel at its technical achievement.

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Yoshitsune Densetsu [SNES – Cancelled]

Yoshitsune Densetsu (義経伝説, Legend of Yoshitsune) is a cancelled action RPG that was in development around 1993, planned to be published by ASCII on the Super Famicom / SNES. The game told the fictionalized story of Minamoto no Yoshitsune a “military commander of the Minamoto clan of Japan, that after evading death made his way past Hokkaido and sailed to the mainland of Asia, re-surfacing as Genghis Khan“.

It seems Yoshitsune Densetsu would have been supervised by popular mangaka Shotaro Ishinomori (Cyborg 009, Skull Man), possibly for character design and story concept. The protagonists were four men and women who have slipped back in time from the present age to the Kamakura period. Although the story would differ depending on the selected character, the main plot would always lead Yoshitsune to become Genghis Khan.

Some images and previews for the game we published in old japanese magazine, shared on Twitter by gt198x.

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Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan [NES, Famicom – Cancelled]

Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan (熱血くにおくん図鑑, translated by Google as “Enthusiastic Kunio-Kun Encyclopedia”) is a cancelled game / software in the Kunio-kun series by Technos Japan, planned for the Nintendo NES / Famicom console. In the main games of the series you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city.

While in the west the series is mostly known for Renegade and River City Ransom on the NES, in Japan many more Kunio games were developed and published. In 1988 Super Dodge Ball (a sport-based Kunio-Kun spin off) was released on the Famicom and in 1993 this “Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan” seems to have been in the works too, but never officially announced.

Some footage from this cancelled Kunio-Kun “game” was shared on Twitter in March 2020 by Former Technos programmer Otake, as noticed by Heimao. By looking at it, Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan seems like some kind of “school simulation” or as suggested by its translated title, an “Encyclopedia” to show off all the characters from the series and their bio, by moving around the school. A couple of weeks later Otake deleted the footage from Twitter, apparently because someone else from Technos asked to remove it. A copy of the footage is saved below, to preserve the existence of this lost project.

Thanks to Heimao for the contribution!

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Western Lords [GBA, Nintendo DS, PC – Cancelled]

Western Lords is a cancelled Old-West RPG in development around 2004 by Blossomsoft for GBA, Nintendo DS and PC. In its initial version it looked like a classic 16-bit 2D RPG, but it seems it was later rebooted in 3D for Nintendo DS before being finally canned.

As we can read in some old messages in their (now closed) forum, the game was related to another unreleased game titled “Sagrada Guardians”:

“We’re currently working on a new game project titled Western Lords. Note, however: even though Sagrada Guardians was once titled Western Lords in the past (and then changed due to the theme issue), these games are not the same.

While Sagrada Guardians focus on ‘the cities made of gold’ theme, Western Lords will focus more on outlaws and cowboys in a merciless environment similar to Mexico. However, some story elements of Sagrada Guardians will be introduced via Western Lords.

Even if Sagrada Guardians and Western Lords shouldn’t be considered as the same series, they will be running in parallel to one another. Western Lords will have an entire new cast of characters, and should take place approximately one century before Sagrada Guardians on the same world. Take note that the environment will be darker unlike the fantastic ambiance of Sagrada Guardians. This will remind everyone how harsh the western era looked like (well, at least in literature!).

We hope to complete the game during this coming winter, exactly as we did with Oracle Adventure with the creative side. The game will possibly be sold for around $25 on PC. We’re also planning multi-languages, English and French as initial languages.

Also key members of Sagrada Guardians will be working on Western Lords. For instance, Xavier Dang will be the main composer and William Knight will be in charge of the dialogues. Min ‘keiii’ Kwon will possibly stay on as the artwork designer, though this is unconfirmed as of yet. “

The game was cancelled when the team was disbanded, as confirmed by the team leader on their old website:

“It was the very first project I created back around 2004. The Game Boy Advance and later the Nintendo DS were the main targeted platforms. Sadly, the team disbanded because of my inexperience and since then I’ve been honing my skills to become a one-man team. Fact is, the release of Eternal Eden in 2008 was some sort of Plan B to get Western Lords back on track. But then things escalated to Plan C, etc. I still intend to revive this project with a different style after 2016, if things go well.”

Blossomsoft also worked on other interesting cancelled games such as Mimic Book and GUNNARr (both for Nintendo DS). In 2016 an early prototype version of Western Lord GBA was found and preserved: you can download it from here.

In 2008 Blossomsoft released a different RPG titled “Eternal Eden” on PC as their first commercial project. As of 2020 it seems Western Lords was resurrected and it’s now planned to be released on Nintendo Switch in the future.

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Project Witches (Eternal Light) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC]

Project Witches (aka Eternal Light) is a cancelled coop-focused action game that was in development by Revistronic for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC. Gameplay would have probably been similar to Diablo or Gauntlet, with 4 players team up together to kill dozens of enemies and huge bosses. Eternal Light was officially announced in 2007, but then postponed for multiple times until it was considered vaporware among gamers.

As we can read on the original press-release and official website:

“Project WITCHES (Provisional Title) available w/w is a third-person action adventure game developed by Spanish developer, REVISTRONIC. In WITCHES players find themselves in terrifying dark surroundings in an epic struggle for survival in order to take freedom and peace to an oppressed medieval kingdom.

Across a landscape of devastation, players manage a squad of Witches, sultry warriors that still resist the dark will of the Evil Lord and his horde of awful creatures and lead the rebellion against his satanic power. Above all, it is a game where teamwork is vital: all modelling, levels and scenes are designed to promote cooperative play.”

Key  features

“Everything reeks of death, torture and destruction. The people have been enslaved. They are prisoners of a dark power that has established a reign of terror and devastation throughout the land. Your aim is to eliminate the evil creature that dwells in the depths of a sinister castle and to rescue the crushed inhabitants from their horrifying destiny. In order to survive in the face of this satanic power and its cruel armies, you must learn the art of combat and acquire terrible dark powers yourself.

Sultry girls against satanic monsters: Let yourself go in this dark medieval narrative and enjoy the contrast between sensual beauty and sinister horrors. Direct the beautiful but dangerous Gwen in a spectacular fight against hordes of repellent deformed creatures.

Feel the fear: Skies rent by terrifying storms, hair-raising shrieks, shadows in the fog, stealthy movements and menacing growls, the glint of monstrous eyes that watch from the shades. The oppressive certainty of death lying in wait for you.

Spectacular system of tactical combat: Combining spectacular combat with sequences of caution and stealth. The tactics you use will be decisive for your survival. You must rescue the captives and obtain their help. You will lead your team. You can be a great leader or sacrifice your comrades in the fight. Your decisions will shape your destiny.

Totally interactive environment: All game items can be used, creating a sensation of total immersion such as never before. You can use all kinds of objects to achieve your aims, even the amputated limbs of adversaries.”

There are a few gameplay videos from the game, but we don’t know how much was really completed before Revistronic closed down in 2011 for bankruptcy.

Thanks to Jean for the contribution!

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