Nintendo

My Neighbor Totoro [SNES – Cancelled]

Around 1992 Tokuma Shoten Intermedia planned to develop or publish a tie-in Super Nintendo video game for the popular Studio Ghibli anime My Neighbor Totoro. At the time Studio Ghibli was part of Tokuma Shoten and the company published a few anime-related games such as Yadamon: Wonderland Dream and Eternal Filena. As far as we know the game was never officially announced by the company, but in 2019 Itoh Shigeyuki (former artists at Tokuma) shared on Twitter a couple of images from the game pitch they showed to Miyazaki.

As translated by Nina Matsumoto on Twitter:

“About 27 years ago, I drew these from scratch pixel by pixel to pitch a My Neighbor Totoro Super Famicom game to Hayao Miyazaki. (*for Tokuma Shoten Intermedia. The game got shelved). There were no decent scanners back then, so I had to stare at an art book and draw these one pixel at a time”

And a few more details “translated” by Google Translate:

“At that time, I felt a good bleed out when I saw it with a CRT while working, and it was more anime-like. Tokuma Shoten proposed a plan because he wanted to put it out, but unfortunately the director’s ok did not appear.

I couldn’t tell you the details of the reason for the store, but as you pointed out, he didn’t seem to like the game.

I guess it was more like an adventure game. I want to ignore the project and put out a racing game on a cat bus (laughs)

I think that there was a certain amount of odds, and I think that I had a plan for Manager Miyazaki, but in terms of adventure-oriented content, it might not have been as meaningful to turn it into a game.

Because it was for planning purposes, I think that I use more than 16 colors. However, the number of colors is considerably reduced.”

In the end after this undeveloped Super Famicom pitch there has never been an official My Neighbor Totoro video game.

Images: 

Tremors: The Video Game [Cancelled – GameCube, Xbox, PS2, PC]

Around 2001 – 2002 Rock Solid Studios were working on a tie-in video game based on the Tremors series, planned to be published by Conspiracy Entertainment for GameCube, Playstation 2 and Xbox. The project was officially announced in August 2002, but the team never shown any media from their game, before it was quietly cancelled and vanished forever.

As we can read on their old website and in following press-releases:

“Tremors is based on the successful Tremors movie franchise, created by Universal Pictures and Stampede Entertainment. The game is a third person action adventure set in the desert around the town of Gold Rock, where Graboids – gigantic landsharks threatens mankind as we know it.

Players will experience an immersive storyline, filled with surprises and challenges in combination with high-octane action. The game is scheduled for release during the fall of 2003.”

“A few years have passed since the first wave of monsters shook the grounds of Nevada. Burt Gummer has kept himself busy investigating Graboid activity and repelled the threats when needed, but business is going slow.

Strange disappearances are investigated by Gold Rocks sheriff, who makes a horrifying discovery – the Graboids are back. The investigations leads to a recently built plant and research center outside the town. The mystery unfolds and turns out to be more of a “normal bug-problem”.

At the same time, unknown of the two heroes above the ground, a heroine fights the source of the monsters from heart of the top-secret underground facility. Tremors is a game of monsters threatening mankind, corporate cover-ups, betrayal and three heroes that simply refuse to surrender against any threat.”

  • Based on the Tremors cult series of movies and the upcoming SciFi Channel TV-show.
  • Three characters – three agendas that ties into one, immersive story. Play as Burt Gummer from the movies.
  • Fight the Graboids, Shriekers and Assblasters – for a start. You’re up against evolving monsters.
  • State-of-the art enemy AI that plans and thinks. Monsters reacts after your actions.
  • Blow the monsters to pieces of goo with a wide range of weapons; revolvers, rifles, SMG’s and the classic Barrett .50.
  • Fluent and extensive movement with the help from +500 motion captured movements.
  • Powered by the RSSTech – one of the most powerful rendering systems ever.

In 2003 fansite UK Tremors posted an interview with Rock Solid Studios about their game:

UK: 1, So how long have you been working on the game? is there anything to see yet?.

CS: We are still quite early in development, many details are still confidential. Including planning and design, we have worked on this game since April/May 2002. Even though we cannot show anything officially yet, we are playing the game internally and there are both Graboids and Shriekers in the game at this point.

UK: 2, Will the game be based on any of the films or just the upcoming TV series?

CS: The game is an independent story, but with tie-ins to the TV series and the movies.

UK:3, Is there any details of the game that you can let us in on? E.g. storyline, structure, gameplay, multiplayer etc

CS: The game is a single-player action-adventure in line with the Resident Evil series of games, but cross-overs to games such as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. As players are partly dealing with monsters hunting on heat or vibrations, there will be different ways to move around in the environment.

UK: 4, Is it still set to be released on all the major gaming systems? Do you have any kind of release date set at the moment?

CS: Still to be determined.

UK: 5, you must have seen the films a lot of times by now. Has Stampede/Universal supplied you with much information and help? 

CS: They have been much helpful.

UK: 6, For our readers, will this be a game they will be playing into the small hours? 

CS: Definitely. As there are many different ways of defeating the monsters, players will come back to try different solutions to various problems.”

In the end Rock Solid Studios closed down for bankruptcy before releasing any game and was later reboot as Avalanche Studios, finally finding success with the first Just Cause. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“During that period, another Stockholm-based video game development studio, Starbreeze Studios, announced that they would acquire Rock Solid. The agreement between the two companies was ultimately broken by Starbreeze, and the acquisition was stopped. In addition, Universal decided to cancel Tremors: The Game, which led Rock Solid to declare bankruptcy. With the failure and collapse of Rock Solid, Sundberg and Blomberg became unemployed and in debt. They eventually decided to start over in 2003, establishing Avalanche Studios with six other employees.”

A few 3D models from this lost game are preserved in the gallery below, to remember its existence.

Images: 

Radikal Bikers [Game Boy Color – Cancelled]

The original Radikal Bikers was a pizza-delivery racing game for Arcades, developed by Gaelco in 1998 and later converted to PlayStation in 1999. A Game Boy Color port was also in development by Bit Managers, but it the end it was never released. Some years ago a prototype of the cancelled GBC port was leaked online, so you can play it on your favorite emulator.

Gameplay is similar to the original arcade version, but using a top-down, isometric view. Players race in different cities trying to avoid cars to delivery pizza to their clients as soon as possible. As we can read from the original press-release:

“Jump on your scooter and take up the challenge. Through the busiest streets in the world you’ve got to avoid trucks, cars, police, obstacles and people in a pizza fuelled dash for glory. Take the challenge and race your way across Paris, London, New York and the true home of Pizza – Italy!

Featuring:

  • Classic Arkade Mode.
  • Radikal Mode.
  • 2 player dash for glory.
  • Numerous Characters and Scooters to suit your personal taste.
  • GET OUTTA MY WAY!
  • No speed limit. No seat belt. No air bag. No rules!”

A sequel to Radical Bikers was also in development by Gaelco, but also canned.

Images:

Videos:

 

Ralphadia (Taito) [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Ralphadia is a cancelled JRPG that was planned by Taito for the Nintendo Famicom / NES, around 1992. This is another forgotten NES game with not much information online: Akamid83 found a small preview for the game in an old promotional leaflet for in-development Famicom and shared a photo on Twitter.

Ralphadia-Taito-JRPG-NES-Famicom-Cancelled

Heimao, who notified us about the photo, wrote “It is said that it was a novel mechanism in which the enemy was placed 360 degrees around the player in the battle”. By looking at these tiny screenshots it seems Ralphadia had a strange overworld map, with a top-down perspective on the bottom of the screen and a side-scrolling scenario at the top.

There are also 2 screenshots showing cities, were the game kept its side-scrolling view. Combat was “first-person turn-based”, similar to Dragon Quest, but you may have been able to rotate the “first person” camera around to see more enemies all around your protagonists.

That’s it all for now: will we ever see something else from this lost Famicom RPG? As it often happens with these obscure, unreleased Japanese games from the ’90s, probably not. If you can read Japanese and see more interesting details written in the leaflet photo, let us know in the comments below! 

Space Opera: Great Gods [NES / Famicom – Cancelled]

Space Opera: Great Gods ( スペースオペラ 大いなる神々, Supesuopera Oinaru Kamigami) is a cancelled JRPG that was in development by Software Industrial (?) for the Famicom (NES). Only a few screenshots are available, showing off a classic RPG similar to Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, but played in sci-fi settings (similar to Phantasy Star). Some details about this lost game were shared online by a japanese website:

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction movies, where the hero is usually on a high-speed spaceship. Around summer 1990, a certain magazine hosted a game creator contest by Software Industrial. The tournament was set in three categories: fantasy art, scenario, and software. For each category they offered a grand prize of 1 million yen! Their plan was probably to find new ideas to create a new successful Famicom game.

One of these new ideas was announced in 1991: Space Opera, a sci-fi RPG with an automatic combat system. Using artificial intelligence and by gaining experience during battles, players would be able to improve their character’s AI to improve their fighting abilities. It seems you could also befriend monsters after battle, turning them into cards to be carried around and used in battles, just like in Pokemon.”

We don’t know what happened to Space Opera, nor Software Industrial as we cannot find anything about them online. If you know more about this lost Famicom game, please let us know!

Images: