Nintendo

FGB [Game Boy Color – Cancelled]

FGB is a cancelled action RPG / hack ‘n slash in development between 1999 and 2001 by Plasma Works, planned to be published on the Game Boy Color. You could imagine it as a mix between Gauntlet, Robotron and Zelda, featuring coop multiplayer (using GB’s link cable), 128 Levels and 50 different Monsters to kill during your adventure.

In 2000 IGN wrote a preview of the game with their impressions:

“To add to the gameplay, you will be able to play through the game with different characters, each with their own abilities and attributes. Playing the game as one character will key different conversations than another character, so half the fun is discovering how each character handles the same situation.

The look of FGB is very old-school, but very appropriate. Instead of focusing on detail of characters, the artists instead made basic shapes to represent enemies and heroes. What’s more, the programmers have made an engine that can push an amazing number of sprites without flicker the Game Boy Color has a 10-sprite-per-line limitation, but through a bit of programming trickery Plasma Works was able to get around it. According to the company, up to 256 enemies, bullets and explosions can be on-screen at once in FGB. Not too shabby.

Plasma Works is currently looking for a publisher for the game”

In the end Plasma Works did not find a publisher interested in funding FGB’s development and the project was cancelled. A few years later, the team released their own prototype online, to be preserved by the community.

As we can read in the description file shared among the ROM:

“Hi there! You hold in your hard drive a great Game Boy Color game called FGB (the name doesn’t stand for anything). It is a weird and wonderful game that combines elements of an adventure/RPG like “Zelda” with those of an action/shooter like “Gauntlet“.

FGB was developed by Plasma Works over a period beginning December 17, 1999, and ending May 16, 2001. That’s about a year and a half, if you’re counting. Being a small, independent developer, we approached quite a few publishers over that time but were unable to come to an agreement. Game Boy Advance was just around the corner at this point and everyone was slobbering over it, so sadly we decided to terminate FGB and move on to other stuff.

So it was that the adventures of Captain Flour and his merry crew went unheard of and unplayed… until now. To ring in the New Year, we are releasing the final build of FGB to be freely distributed. The game is 100% complete in terms of programming and locations, and 50% complete in terms of quests, conversations, and upgrades – don’t worry, there’s still lots to do, and the game plays through to a definite ending that’s just shy of reaching the grand finale that was originally planned.”

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Flux (Eight Cylinder Studios) [GameCube, PC – Cancelled]

Flux is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by forgotten team Eight Cylinder Studios, planned to be published for Nintendo GameCube and PC (by Microsoft?). Eight Cylinder survived in the gaming market for just about 2 – 3 years, between 1998 and 2001.

As far as we know they never released any of their games. Few details about the existence of their Flux project can still be found online, on Mobygames’ profile for Franck De Girolami (Eight Cylinder founder) and in an old website for Dark Reigns 2, as Adam Marquis (now at Naugthy Dog) also worked at Eight Cylinder before joining Pandemic Studios. On Next Generation Magazine (issue 40, April 1998) they also published a short update about them:

“Eight  Cylinder Studios, remains hard at work on the tentatively titled  Flux, a 3D action / platform game, which according to one employee,  will be the first game to offer “varying planes of gravity.” As of press time, Eight Cylinder had not  announced a new publisher for Flux but was courting several larger, unnamed companies with strong distribution channels.”

next-generation-magazine-40-april-1998

We were also able to save a short description about the project and some concept tiny art from a (now offline) website of another former developer:

“FLUX Gamecube, Action Adventure, Eight Cylinder Studios / Microsoft (unreleased). A unique mechanic where the player rotates the world along 3-axis in order to move through it, and to control the action.  I envisioned architecture that was built at different orientations; out of it came irony, humor and contradiction: guard towers became bridges that spanned divides, water mills became waterfalls that caused floods, and slums turned sideways dumping all their ‘stuff’ into the world, into this I folded themed zones that carried the narrative, mechanic, and pacing of the game.  These are only the initial sketches – art bible and screendumps were destroyed

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We can assume the team was not able to find a publisher to keep funding their project and had to close down. If you know someone who worked at Eight Cylinder Studios and could help us to know more about what happened to Flux, please let us know

Gravity Zero Racing [Nintendo DS – Cancelled]

Gravity Zero Racing also known as Zero-G, is a cancelled futuristic racing game that was to be published by Midas Interactive: it was basically an F-Zero clone for Nintendo DS. The game was planned to be released sometime in 2008 (there’s even a product page on Amazon UK), but in the end it just vanished without any official statement. Some details about this lost project were published in the old Midas website:

“Get ready to step into the futuristic world of high octane Zero-G racing. Compete as an elite Zero-G pilot racing against fearless rivals from across the stratosphere. Losing is no longer an option; only winners will survive!

Every second counts as you take control of one of the most technologically advanced racing craft in the galaxy. Capable of reaching break neck speeds, you’ll need lightning reactions as you negotiate a myriad of hazardous race tracks packed with obstacles, mines, tunnels and insane G-force drops. Engage in ferocious dog fights in a race to the finish line, unleashing an arsenal of weaponry including EMP mines, and rockets. This is much more than just racing!

Once you have beaten the best you can take on the rest in the awesome Wi-Fi multiplayer mode. Challenge your friends or link up with players from across the globe to find out who will rein champion of the world. This is racing like you’ve never seen before!

  • Five game modes available including Practice, Quick race, Time Trial, Tournament and Multiplayer modes.

  • The huge Tournament Mode features 7 levels each with 3 unique tracks.

  • Arsenal of lethal weaponry at your disposal including EMP mines and rockets

  • Wi-Fi multiplayer mode brings true global online racing to the DS.

  • Advanced racing physics incorporating the intuitive Nintendo DS control system.

  • Hugely popular racing genre with mass market all-age appeal.”

If you know someone who worked on Gravity Zero Racing and could share what happened to this project please let us know!

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Zorro [SNES – Cancelled]

In the mid ’90s US Gold was developing a SNES action game in which you would play as Zorro, the popular hero created in 1919 by writer Johnston McCulley. Some screenshots were published in gaming magazines at the time, but in the end Zorro for the Super Nintendo was never released. As it often happens with these cancelled 16-bit tie-in projects, we can speculate its gameplay was not much fun or changed idea on the profitability of the Zorro IP.  US Gold halted development on the game and switched resources to something else.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Redemption (Cranberry Source) [N64 – Cancelled]

Redemption is a cancelled action adventure in development by Cranberry Source, that may have been published by Philips Media Interactive for Nintendo 64. While it remains an obscure and forgotten project, from what we have gathered it could have been quite the original and revolutionary game for its time, merging many different genres and viewpoints together: FPS, third person isometric puzzle-platformer and open world exploration on vehicles.

Redemption was designed by Jon Ritman, founder of Cranberry Source and mostly known for his work on cult-classic 1980s computer games such as Head over Heels, plus Monster Max for Rare on the original Game Boy. Unfortunately the team never shown any screenshots from their unreleased N64 adventure, but few details are scattered around the web and in old magazines. On the Playstation Museum website we can read:

“Cranberry Source had a multi-product deal (three, in fact) with Philips Media Interactive. QAD was to be the first game released, Super Match Soccer (or Match Day 3 as it was known then) the second, and the third game had a provisional title of “Redemption”. QAD and SMS were developed at the London office, and Redemption was to be developed by staff at the Cranberry North office. Ultimately, Redemption never really got much further than the drawing board, but the initial designs focused around the kind of puzzle elements found in Jon Ritman’s previous games such as Head over Heels and Monster Max.”

In PC Zone magazine (Issue 41, August 1996) they published an interview with Cranberry Source, along with few details about Redemption:

PZ: What about Redemption?

JR: That’s our epic.. John then goes on to explain the basic concept behind Redemption. In summary, it’ll be a very large action-cum-puzzle-cum-exploration game, using several different viewpoints. Parts of it are Doom-like, parts of it hark back to the classic isometric platform/puzzle games of yore (such as Head Over Heels, another of John’s past glories), and parts of it take place outdoors. In vehicles. It’s quite ambitious, in other words.

JC: To rationalise how we’ve got all this different stuff in one game, we’ve come up with quite a weird scenario which involves a mad, serial killer surgeon who’s grafting bits onto you. All this stuff takes place in your own head, and each level is a different operation. It’s, er, a bit odd really.

JR: It is a bit odd, isn’t it?”

An interview with Ritman conducted by Blood in Autumn 1996 for Emulate! Magazine (issue 6) also mention Redemption:

What are Cranberry Source working on at the minute? Which machines are you concentrating on?

Three games each on PC, Playstation & Saturn –

Q.A.D. – A fly over a stunning landscape rescuing hostages game (2player)

The Net – A multiplayer soccer game

Redemption – An epic game, this would take me too long to describe!

[…] For HoH fans I suggest a look at Redemption (it won’t be released until the end of next year).”

It’s not clear if the game was originally conceived as a PC or Nintendo 64 project, but in N64 Magazine (Issue 12, February 1998) they mentioned Cranberry Source were developing it for Nintendo’s console:

“Our wrinklier readers will undoubtedly remember Head Over Heels, a 3D puzzly platform adventure that was one of the Spectrum’s best games back in the 1980s. Well bless our souls if it’s not about to rise again. Jon Ritman, the chap behind the Speccy original, set up a development company called Cranberry Source who, after a bit of PC-based action, have decided to turn their hands to the N64. And their first Nintendo game will be a 3D puzzly platformer adventure that incorporates the best elements of – yes – Head over Heels. Superb!”

A couple of months later, in April 1998 Jon Ritman and other developers of Cranberry Source were hired by Argonaut Games, possibly because the studio were really impressed by their work with Redemption for the N64. As we can read on IGN:

“The co-founder of Cranberry Source, Jon Ritman, and several other members have left the company to join the British independent developer Argonaut, best known for the original Star Fox and the Super FX chip.

According to IGN’s morning news service, GameAddict, Ritman and his team will be working on an action adventure due to release late next year. Prior to the switch, Ritman was working on an N64 semi-sequel to the classic Head Over Heels. It is not yet known how Cranberry Source will cope with the loss and what will happen to its projects in progress.

Argonaut’s Jez San commented on Ritman’s move: “Many of us at Argonaut have been long standing fans of Ritman’s work, especially of Batman, Match Day, and Head-Over-Heels. I feel he will develop some of his finest work at Argonaut and could help some of our existing games further refine their gameplay.” Although Argonaut has only announced one title so far (Buck Bumble), industry insiders have told IGN64.com that Argonaut is heavily investing in N64 development with numerous titles on the way.

It’s not clear if Argonaut also acquired the rights to develop Redemption, but in the end the project was never completed.

We hope one day to preserve more details or even images for this fascinating and unrealized project.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!