Project FUUB was a peripheral device being developed by THQ Digital Warrington (Formerly Juice Games) at some point between 2006 and 2010 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii consoles. Acting like a set of four individual dice, which were to be bundled together as one purchase, the FUUB was predominantly aimed towards local group play. Each player would interact with one or more of the dice when playing one of the FUUB specific games designed for the device. The devices themselves were fitted with some physical sensors, though it’s not exactly clear what each device was actually able to monitor. We also believe that the FUUBs required a separate, external camera to track the their movement in 3d space, though this cannot be 100% confirmed.
Two games are known to have been designed for the FUUB, to varying degrees of completion. The first, titled “FUUB” was a simple, cartoonish Mario Party style game which you can see concept mockups for below. It’s not clear how far this game got into the development cycle, but it’s possible it never level the early conceptual stages due to the lack of actual gameplay or information available on it. Since it also shared a name with the device itself, it’s likely that the game was meant to come packaged alongside the FUUB device, much like Wii Sports did with the Wii.
A second game – tentatively titled “Quest for the Magic Stones” – was also being developed, which you can see footage of in the video below. A developer described the game as being aimed at “fans of the Harry Potter series” as it shared a mystical narrative theme, and was set in a magical dungeon. Several minigames were already implemented, including logic and physics puzzles, as well as a simplified take on the rhythm-based format of the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games.
Ultimately, the FUUB concept was scrapped as THQ were in the middle of realigning in their priorities, and as a result the studio’s focus was shifted away from physical releases, causing multiple projects to be scrapped. Two other projects – Split Shift Racing & Stormbirds – were also known projects that were also cancelled due to the change in direction.. The studio would go on to make Red Faction: Battlegrounds and Warhammer 40K: Killteam before being closed by THQ in 2011.
Silent Hill: Cold Heart was a pitch for a new Silent Hill game that eventually became Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. This pitch came to light when the developers Climax Studios held a competition to give away eight copies of the document to fans, who since have uploaded it to the Internet so that other fans can enjoy it. Cold Heart was planned in 2007 by Climax for the Wii and would have been published by Konami.
Cold Heart would have followed Jessica Chambers an athletic but emotionally vulnerable college student. The protagonist would have recently being talking to a psychiatrist after being plagued by horrific nightmares and being unable to sleep. These distressing circumstances lead to Jessica leaving her college town and going on a road trip to go back to visit her parents, on the way back Jessica becomes caught in a blizzard and so follows an ambulance that leads her to the town of Silent Hill. This is where the game would begin with Jessica stranded and needing somewhere to stay the evening: she explores the town, but now her nightmares start to become real.
The game would contain the usual elements of a Silent Hill game but would use features of the Wii such as the Wiimote to control where the player shines the flashlight. The Wiimote was to be used for a large number of controls in the game, in combat the player would swing the remote to enact the actions on the screen, it is also noted that the sound of hitting an enemy would play through the speaker on the remote. The remote would also be used for when puzzles needed to be solved, using push, pull and turning motions. Also for puzzles certain audio cues would be played through the remote that would hint on how to solve them. The remote was also going to be used for interactions with other characters, allowing you to point, nod or shake your head.
The “world’s first real psychological horror” is how Silent Hill: Cold Heart is described in the pitch, this is because of the ways in which the game would tailor itself to the individual, creating unique experiences for different players. These experiences that would change would be story events, dialogue, sound cues, monsters and even camera field of view. Profiling was one of the ways this would be done when certain questions were asked by Jessica’s psychiatrist, the players answer would be logged, also your response to events would also be tracked, thus building up a psychological profile for the player. Climax also wanted each player’s psych profile to be shared and compared to friends over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Climax also wanted to change the way that the player can use their inventory, rather than being able to collect many items, it would be restricted to what could only be worn or stored on the body of Jessica, or in a small backpack the player could use. This was because Climax wanted to have survival type elements to the game, with the player having to find new clothes to protect themselves from the blizzard that would rage through Silent Hill. The player would also have to eat food and drink water to maintain their health. These items would not just maintain the health of the player though, it would also maintain their body heat and stamina.
There are a few puzzle examples also noted in the pitch document, such as the metal detector, the player would have to slowly move the Wiimote and use the audio cues of beeps from the remote to find hidden objects in the snow. “Sewer Fishing” is also another puzzle noted, this is where the player would have to try and collect a key while using rumble and audio cues to fish it out.
The main technical features that are mentioned in the document are that the game would have dynamic weather, mentioned are updated fog effects from Silent Hill: Origins, these would allow the fog to react to the different shapes of the environment. The variables of the weather would also change so that the player would have different intensity of the blizzard.
Climax also wanted the game to be seamless, to do this they were going to “stream” content ahead of the player by anticipating where the player would guide Jessica, this would mean that there would be little to no loading times in the game. They also wanted to push photo-realistic graphics on the Wii and were confident that they could “redefine” what people could expect from real-time graphics on the WII.
One other feature that was mentioned, pending talks with Nintendo, was the integration of players Mii, their local weather and news. Climax wanted to be able to quote this in the game so that it would “spook” the player. With the Mii integration they wanted to use certain aspects of the user created Mii such as hair colour and project them on to the main characters in the game.
Ultimately, Cold Heart was never realized but a few details were used in Silent Hills: Shattered Memories as the cold and harsh environment, the use of a psychological profile to change some situations and parts of the plot. This pitch is however a really interesting look into how a different version of one of the top rated survival horror games could have looked like. Shattered memories was released for Wii in 2008 which was essentially a reimagining of the very first Silent Hill game, and it reviewed fairly well, it does however leave questions of how well a different story and character would have done.
If you have any more information on this game or any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
The project began midway into the year, in the aftermath of their previous Wii title, best known as ‘Project H.A.M.M.E.R.‘, which was shut down after a tumultuous development of 5 and a half years. ‘H.A.M.M.E.R.’, which had evolved into the more casually oriented ‘Wii Crush‘ by the end, was a costly misstep for both NST and Nintendo at large. Not only was the financial toll reaching into multiple millions of dollars, the company lost over half of its entire workforce during a staff exodus as a result of it, due to reportedly poor working conditions, and accusations of nationalism levelled against the management; among other reasons.
Understandably, the ordeal left NCL with trepidations about entrusting NST with another large scale project, but a small team of developers at the company remained optimistic that the subsidiary could still see a resurgence. They proposed creating a new game in the Wave Race franchise for the Nintendo Wii, which would have taken the series to new territory with the introduction of motion control.
The project was lead by experienced NST engineer, Yoon Joon Lee, and designer, Rich Vorodi. The two were previously a part of the last Wave Race game, Blue Storm, which released in 2001 at the launch of the Gamecube. Vorodi, in particular, had been involved in a variety of ways: he had a hand in the both physics and level design, as well as voicing the character, Ricky Winterborn. Partnering with engineer/programmer, Jonathan Bryant, they began to develop a test prototype to present their ideas to Nintendo’s higher ups.
At the heart of the concept was an experimental, new control scheme, which revolved entirely around the motion sensing tech of the Wii remote. Users would hold the controller in a horizontal position with both hands over its face, emulating the handlebars of a jet ski. Tilting left and right steered the direction of the watercraft, while twisting it forward and backwards controlled acceleration. The device would vibrate when the virtual handlebars were tilted to their furthest limits. There was consideration for utilising the Wii remote’s speaker to blare out engine noises, too, but it is unknown whether or not this feature was implemented into the prototype build.
Control concept images:
By connecting a Wii balance board peripheral, it was possible to add an extra dimension of control to the game. Applying pressure to either side of the board would enable the player to perform sharper turns to help negotiate more trickier courses. An alternative system to the lone Wii remote was on the table also – in the form of the Wii remote & nunchuck combo. This worked by holding the two on their side, facing each other; similar to the controls of the ‘Power Cruising‘ mini-game seen in Wii Sports Resort:
It was theorised that adding these new, more physical control elements with “real world turning” and tilting would lend themselves well to Wave Race – helping to mould a more “realistic” experience for the player.
On August 27 2009, Nintendo of America filed a patent to protect the new control scheme that NST’s developers had created. The filing covered not only controls for jet ski games, but all vehicles controlled by handlebars. In the patent’s documents, for example, we can see that motorcycles were used as a primary example:
After a brief development of no more than 3 months, work on the prototype concluded, and the group presented their pitch to NCL’s board. One source related to the studio claimed it had generated considerable interest among members of NoA and NCL alike, but it was ultimately shot down regardless. After the demo was tested by those present, complaints apparently were levelled at the game’s motion controls; specifically, that they simply “didn’t feel right“. Nintendo therefore declined funding to the project, and full development did not proceed, ending work on it as a result.
Bonk: Brink of Extinction is an adventure platformer developed by Pi Studios that was planned to be released in 2010 for XBLA / PSN / WiiWare. It was set to be priced at 1000 points on the Nintendo Wii Shop Channel’s WiiWare platform, 800 points on XBLA, and $10 on PSN. In September 2009, before the title was officially announced, a Neogaf user inadvertently stumbled upon an official fact-sheet for the game on Hudson’s website:
A doomsday comet, surrounded by smaller chunks of debris, is on a collision course with Earth. A strange magnetic field around the comet seems to be driving most of the planet’s weak-willed creatures crazy, and smaller bits of debris are smashing into the jungle near Bonk’s home. Bonk must undertake a perilous journey that will take him to the very center of the planet to save the world.
The Return Of The Most Widely Requested Classic Platformer
Story Mode with Co-Op play. Play alone or have a friend join you at any time!
An entire new adventure with Bonk as he swims, bites, climbs, jumps, runs, and head-butts his way through jungles, deserts and volcanic caverns
Search for help along the way: power ups, check points, and extra health are the staple for every adventuring caveman.
Transformations are back and weirder than ever! Now Bonk can transform himself into eight different forms by eating meat or encountering Primordial Jelly. No enemy is safe from the boy with the super noggin!
Online play for the first time in the series!
Classic 2D platforming in a 3D world.
Tons of collectibles will have you searching the entire prehistoric world.
In two 2009 interviews with Nintendo life, and Diehard GameFAN, Andrew Plempel (Hudson Entertainment Producer) & Jeremy Statz (Pi Studios Lead Designer), disclosed a few more details about the game:
Bringing Back The Classic 90’s Adventure Game – Zblu Style
The original Zblu Cops comic series, a comedy about a group of incompetent yet reluctantly heroic group of law enforcers, grew a modest cult following in its country of origin throughout its run. However, with no official English translations of it ever released, its fanbase was never able to expand beyond there in any great numbers. Biodroid’s video game would have been its first foray into English-speaking markets with the team hoping for an international release.
The title entered development midway through 2008 with ambitions high, one former developer recounted, calling it “an attempt to revive the classic 90’s adventure game”. Biodroid’s initial pitch to comics publisher Glénat placed a high emphasis on accurately conveying the humour and goofiness of the comic, but was very much set on blazing its own trail. It would have seen players controlling 10 different members of the Zblu Cops, each with their own unique abilities used to solve puzzles and take down enemies. Two officers were rendered on screen at a time, but you could cycle through a wheel of other playable characters to alternate between them in real time; similar to the LEGO video games. It was to be fully playable in 2 player local co-op, as well.
Excerpt from the initial press release:
On a criminal trail which takes them underwater, through the jungle, down the sewers, up the tower-blocks, inside a volcano – and even into deep space – the Zblucops display all of their notorious dysfunctionality, bad taste and even worse humour… before emerging triumphant with a fist-full of medals.
This action/adventure game brings to Wii the kind of strong storytelling, humor and dialogue found in traditional adventure games.
Zblu Cops was presented in a cel-shaded art style; a play to authentically represent the hand-drawn look of the comics. Even more crucially, we were informed that Bill and Gobi, the writing duo responsible for the series, were actively involved with development on the project from its inception. Their contributions mostly included overseeing the art direction, in addition to having final say on any other aspects. We were told that the two were very laidback when it came to writing duties, allowing the developers plenty of creative freedom.