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The King of Cosplays [Neo Geo Pocket – Cancelled?]

The King of Cosplays is a cancelled RPG that may have been in development around 1999 – 2000 by Viccom, possibly to be published by SNK for their Neo Geo Pocket. This is quite the strange and previously unknown game, but our friend and Korean-gaming expert Sam Derboo found a short article about it in Korean Game Power magazine (July 2000 issue):

“The King of Cosplays supposedly in development 1999~2000 at Viccom, NGPC RPG where your characters get stronger the more convincingly cosplay as SNK characters”

Could Viccom and SNK really have been working on a Cosplay-RPG? While the concept sounds weird, we know there were quite some strange / original titles on Neo Geo Pocket, such as Dark Arms: Beast Buster, the “SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash” series, Biomotor Unitron and Ganbare Neo Poke-Kun. Also as noted by Sam, “Viccom is known to have cooperated with SNK on several levels (development support / training for Fight Fever, NeoGeo distribution in Korea including NGPC, ties to The Real Kim Kap-hwan) so it’s not completely incredible.

At the moment this scan is the only proof we have of the existence of The King of Cosplays. Could this have been a Game Power magazine inside-joke? While we may never know the truth, for sure it could have been quite the amazing niche RPG if ever released. If you’ll find something else about this mysterious NGPC game, please let us know.

Thanks to Sam Derboo for the contribution! 

DogTag (DiezelPower) [PC, Xbox, 360 – Cancelled]

DogTag is a cancelled shooter that was in development around 2005 by DiezelPower for PC, Xbox and Xbox 360, to be published by British company Digital Jesters. It was going to be a third-person squad based shooter, featuring cover mechanics and basic orders that could be given to teammates. It would encourage players to use the environment for defensive and offensive maneuvers, with blindfire, flanking and enemies that would counter tactics being used against them.

For the gaming press some of its elements drew comparisons to other cover-based shooters such as Kill.Switch and the then-upcoming Gears Of War, but DogTag had a slightly different gameplay style in mind. By mixing the fast action gameplay of traditional shooters and the slower, tactical combat of games like Full Spectrum Warrior, DiezelPower wanted to create a breed of game in which both these styles would come together. It would create a gritty, but arcade-like tactical shooter, in which players would have to think to defeat their opponents, but could also have fun in fast-paced shooting. Online co-op was also going to be a major feature.

The story would have certainly helped with that grittiness. Described as “controversialby publisher Digital Jesters, the plot focuses on one of the civil wars that frequently ravage a large number of nations in Africa. After a United States-backed group is forced to retreat from the conflict, the U.S. sends in a battalion of Marines to replace them. For reasons unknown, however, the colonel of this battalion revolts and leads a mutiny against his own country. The U.S. once again send in a small elite force tasked to bring the colonel back for questioning. Hell breaks loose when they arrive in Africa, as they are immediately met with heavy resistance from the rebelling American forces, starting a long fight that would pit U.S. soldiers against each other, something rarely seen in a video game.

The most obvious inspiration for the storyline would probably be Apocalypse Now, but it is also eerily similar to another controversial title that would come out in 2012: Spec Ops – The Line (which also featured streamlined tactical combat and a story about a U.S. force led by a mutineering officer and the special ops team sent it to capture him, with the setting changed to an evacuated Dubai stricken by a catastrophic sandstorm). But if the storyline in DogTag was intended to be as psychological or as critical of violence as it was in Spec Ops: The Line, it is unknown.

DogTag was to be released in 2006, and would have been a next-gen title at that point in time. Initially, it would only be released on PC and Xbox, but an Xbox 360 port was planned later on with added content. However, it seems the game was not meant to be.

Towards the end of 2005 publisher Digital Jesters became the center of controversy when it faced several accusations of wrongdoing from many of their business partners. These accusations included lack of payment for games developed by external studios, price changing and selling of games in territories not covered by their contracts, and doing business under different names in what seemed like an attempt to escape financial troubles. Despite a substantial investment that Digital Jesters claimed had left them “110 percent financially secure”, KaosKontrol (the company that owned DiezelPower) petitioned the UK High Court to force Digital Jesters into liquidation, in what is known as a winding-up order. Legal action was also threatened against the key people in the company directly and many of their publishing deals were cancelled. The Digital Jesters website disappeared not long after that.

KaosKontrol claimed that it still owned the rights to DogTag, that its development was not affected and was ready to seek out another publishing deal for their game. However, nothing else was heard about it. With the team presumably unable to find another publisher and left in financial trouble (and possibly accumulating legal fees) they had to close down some time afterwards. DiezelPower themselves seem to have survived in some form and are still around to this day, with their two most recent games, Nation Red and Versus Squad, being available on Steam.

Article by thecursebearer

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Reign Of Thunder (Day 1 Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

Reign Of Thunder is a cancelled mech arena combat game that was in development by Day 1 Studios around 2011 – 2012, planned to be released on PC as a Free to Play title. The team previously worked on the Mechwarrior series for Microsoft (with a cancelled Mechwarrior 3 pitch), so fans were quite interested in a new mech game by Day 1 Studios.

The game was going to support up to 16 online players, with fully customizable mechs to fight in deathmatch, team deathmatch and objective based modes. As we can read in their (now offline) official website:

“Reign of Thunder is a free-to-play fast paced multiplayer action oriented Mech combat game currently slated for the PC. The game features deep customization options allowing players to create and customize Mechs to match their play style, choosing from thousands of weapon, shield, and gadget combinations. Players can also join factions and form clans to support community engagement and team play.”

Some more details were shared in an interview by Neowin:

“Ever since we shipped MechAssault 2 we’ve been eager to return to the Mech genre and really take advantage of current generation hardware.  Recently a window of opportunity to do this presented itself so we’ve jumped into this game with incredible enthusiasm.  It’s been something we’ve talked about doing for a while and now we’re finally able to bring this opportunity to life.

One of our goals for Reign of Thunder was to create a property we could have ownership of.  The other universes are well developed, but the next step for Day 1 Studios as an organization was to create something we own and have control over.  Reign of Thunder was the next logical step in our business plans. Additionally, we wanted to take the game in a creative direction that just would fit some of the licensed products.

At the moment the bulk of the gameplay experience revolves around online competition.  There is a training mode to allow players a chance to familiarize themselves with how their Mech controls and get to know the maps.  At the moment all of our efforts are being directed towards the online competitive experience.”

Reign of Thunder was announced in February 2012, but just a year later Day 1 Studios were bought out by Wargaming, renamed to “Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore” and the game was put aside to focus the team on World of Tanks console ports.

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Technic Beat [Beta – PS2, Arcade]

Technic Beat is a music rhythm game developed by Arika for Arcade and Playstation 2, as a sequel to their title Technictix. Sossigu64 found some beta screenshots and videos on the old Arika website, using WebArchive. Here’s a list of the main differences found in these images / footage:

  • The tension gauge is different from both the arcade and playstation releases.
  • The intro is a lot shorter and very similar to Technictix’s intro.
  • Hassy (platypus) and Willie (giant stuffed bear) in the video are too fast. Both characters are considered slow characters and their speed is on the level of Bot (robot) and Cart (human glasses man, kinda resembles Klug from puyo puyo and Jeff from earthbound.).
  • The sets for each “session” are identical from Technictix but have a bit more going on (more visual effects) and the sets look a lot more cleaner (better refined)
  • Concept art found on the Omake page for Technic Beat also shows concept art for Technictix.

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Blackstar (Spacetime Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

Blackstar is a cancelled Sci-Fi MMORPG that was in development around 2005 by Spacetime Studios, planned to be published on PC by NCSoft ( Lineage, City of Heroes, WildStar, Guild Wars). The team was composed of experienced developers who worked on such projects as Wing Commander, Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online, but unfortunately they were not able to complete the game after NCSoft dropped their support in 2008.

As we can read on Spacetime Studios’ website:

“Spacetime Studios’ Blackstar MMO concept featured a unique combination of space flight, real-time shooting and role-oriented (RPG-style) combat. In Blackstar, players piloted heavily-customizable starfighters through evocative space environments, battling a universe of exciting foes with a combination of weapons, defenses, and other abilities that improve through experience and gameplay.”

A new breed of game, Blackstar resurrects the dream of online space combat with real-time spaceflight featuring fast and nimble fighter-craft loaded with devastating sci-fi weapons.

You aren’t limited to the canopy: get out of your ship and hit the deck for fast paced ground combat on the surface of alien worlds and aboard enemy ships.

Fly your spaceship to exotic locations: blasting through cunning enemies and dreadful space creatures. Leave your ship and take up the quest, exploring mysterious planets, derelict space stations, and force your way onto enemy ships.

Live as one of four races: ranging from heroic humans and beautiful aliens to warrior robots and undead horrors in an epic science-fantasy universe where advanced technology clashes with ancient demonic power.

Combine spell-casting with real time shooting as you blast through enemies, collect loot, and gain levels in a variety of unique alien environments.

Join up with your friends in maneuverable fleet formations to take on capital ships and enemy starbases in epic large scale battles.

Play as a member of one of two galaxy-spanning factions: the hopeful and technologically advanced United Colonies or the dangerous, prophecy-guided Scorn Empire.

Choose your role in the fight from a variety of powerful classes: From deadly Assassins operating behind the enemy lines, to powerful Crusaders who shrug off damage and unleash volleys of blistering fire, pick the role that matches your style of play.

Participate in a rich story as the forces of futuristic technology and mind-twisting magic clash in a battle to decide the fate of the galaxy.

Declare war against other players and destroy them in action packed player-vs-player combat that serves all levels of skill from the freshest cadet to the deadliest ace.”

Some more details can be found in old interviews by TenTon Hammer and Engaged:

“Our team has a great history… Cinco and Anthony (Sommers) have worked together since QA/ CS waaaaaay back in the old Origin days, Jake (Rodgers) and I both worked at Digital Anvil many years ago, and all four of us worked together on various aspects of Star Wars: Galaxies and SWG: Jump to Lightspeed. That’s just the founders… our team has an amazing amount of experience building, shipping, and running MMO’s as well. Collectively we have shipped three MMO’s under our belts (Ultima Online, Shadowbane, and SWG) as well as a vast multitude of single-player titles.”

Space flight and space combat will be an integral part of our game… it is what we are passionate about and what we know best. It is safe to say that the game will take place primarily in outer space. At the same time, we feel that a strong avatar component is essential as well.”

“Take the best of Wing Commander and Descent. Add some kick-ass ground combat. Play a lot of PvP to polish the hell out of it until it hits the right balance of easy to play/difficult to master. We are unconstrained by the existing fiction of a licensed product and free to attempt the artistic purity that can truly define a franchise. There’s nothing like it and we don’t see anything on the horizon.”

In 2011 Spacetime Studios were able to regain control of the Blackstar IP and its concepts became the inspiration to create Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles, a quite different MMO for mobile phones.

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