Others

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.

Images:

Videos:

 

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.

Images: 

Tattoo Assassins [Arcade – Cancelled]

Tattoo Assassins is an unreleased arcade fighting game that was developed by the pinball division of Data East in 1994 and 1995 with the intent of competing with the increasingly popular Mortal Kombat series. The game took inspiration from Mortal Kombat II in many ways, from its digitized-actor art style to its control scheme, sound design, and emphasis on violence. The general ethos of the game seemed to be “like Mortal Kombat cranked to 11,” and it advertised both in-game (via an attract mode screen) and to game publications of the time that it would feature2,196 finishing moves.

The project was led by Joe Kaminkow of Data East Pinball and featured a story written by Bob Gale, who was also the screenwriter behind Back to the Future. The general premise of the game involved a mystical ink that, when used in tattoos on certain individuals, would allow the bearer to manifest the illustrated tattoo into the physical world. An evil villain named Koldan (the game’s final boss) steals all of the ink with the goal of enslaving mankind, and the nine playable combatants in the game all possess the power to wield the ink’s magic in combat. These nine combatants fall under Koldan’s control, but a spiritual leader named Mullah Abba finds a way to grant you (the player) control over the fighter of your choosing in order to kill the others and stop Koldan from achieving his goals.

In-game story text from the attract mode:

‘And so it came to pass, that Mullah Abba, spiritual leader of the order of colours, discovered the ancient secret of the mystic Ink of Ghize. The Ink of Ghize is an amorphous fluid organism can form into real objects for brief moments when applied to human bodies as tattoos. However, the ink is only compatible with those of a certain unusual genetic makeup, those known as hosts. The ink can cause bizarre mutations in those who prove unsuitable… Among the color guard, only Koldan was a suitable host. Thus believing himself superior to all mankind, Koldan stole the secret of the ink. His goal is to create an army of mutants and enslave the human race. Mullah Abba commanded the nine remaining color guards to find new hosts for the Ink of Ghize, one of whom might be powerful enough to defeat Koldan. Nine hosts were found. Each received magnificent chest and arm tattoos, plus a magical morph tattoo on their palm. Yet Koldans power had grown stronger. His consciousness possessed the assassins. He would use them to find the remaining ink for himself! But all was not lost, for Mullah Abba discovered the strange power of the mysterious tattooed woman, Lyla Blue. By using Lyla as a channel, Mullah Abba has the power to allow you to possess any one assassin. Choose! Now, you must defeat each of the other assassins. Use your tattoos as weapons. Earn new tattoos. Destroy the mutants. Find Koldan and defeat the mutants — If you can!

At the time of Tattoo Assassins’ development, fighting games were proving to be incredibly popular in arcades. The likes of Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat II, Primal Rage, and Killer Instinct were all smash hits during this early-90’s arcade renaissance, and Data East Pinball was hoping to cash in on that momentum and stand out from the crowd by amplifying what they likely felt was the driving force behind Mortal Kombat II’s success: shock value.

The game features thousands of finishing moves, but not really. That number was most likely derived from the fact that every character shared the same pool of mostly nonsensical and often shoddily animated fatalities. Each character would have a small number of unique finishers that utilized their distinct tattoos to murder their opponents, but otherwise the rest were all shared among the cast and performed by inputting simple button combinations.

It wasn’t just fatalities that Tattoo Assassins prided itself on, however. It also featured moves that allowed the player to fart a stream of gaseous clouds at their opponent, a finishing move that involved ejecting a roast turkey on a plate from the character’s anus which would then bounce off of the opponent before multiplying into other turkeys on plates, and Nudalities that would magic away the opponent’s clothes and leave them naked and shivering while attempting to shield their genitals from view. Other crude moves involved vomiting on the opponent or assaulting them with flaming farts. The inclusion of Nudalities was a particularly direct nod to Mortal Kombat II since unfounded rumors persisted of their existence in that game throughout its run in arcades.

The game’s cancellation came sometime in 1995 before going into full production as a result of management issues, struggles among the development team to make deadlines, and poor feedback from play testers. It was to be Data East Pinball’s first foray into arcade game development, breaking from their pinball-only roots, but ultimately it didn’t come together as well as they’d hoped. While it never saw a full release, there were a handful of prototype PCB’s and arcade cabinets manufactured for use at trade shows and location tests. Unfortunately, many of those cabinets were either destroyed or lost to time, and only a few original cabinets are known to exist today. Two cabinets are currently housed at the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA) in Scott Township, Pennsylvania. Additionally, the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, Illinois acquired another one of these exceedingly rare cabinets in November of 2017 and is one of the only arcades where you can get your hands on the real deal.

The game did enjoy a good amount of coverage prior to its cancellation in the media, however. It was featured in a four-page preview in the April 1995 issue of EGM2 and reportedly even received a full review in Next Generation Magazine.

The ROM for the game’s unfinished state was eventually dumped and circulated online, and it can be played via arcade emulators such as MAME today. One version of the game that you may come across matches that found in the few remaining official cabinets, and it was near-complete despite suffering from unfinished sound design and some minor glitches throughout.

Article by Nolan Snoap

Images:

Videos:

 

Blood Tactics (Artefacts Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

Blood Tactics is a cancelled fantasy RTS that was in development by Artefacts Studios in the mid – late ‘00s. The team is mostly known for their work on such titles as Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders and Space Hulk Tactics, but it seems they were also planning this obscure project. Unfortunately Artefacts never officially announced Blood Tactics so the only proofs of its existence are a few images from an alpha demo, probably developed to pitch the project to various publishers.

Images: 

BaiJiu Racer (Spicy Horse) [PC – Cancelled]

BaiJiu Racer is a cancelled online kart-racer that was in development for PC in 2008 by cult-following game designer American McGee and his team Spicy Horse. After working on their episodic American McGee’s Grimm game series and with support from ICE Entertainment, Spicy Horse pitched Baiju Racer as a competitor for Crazyracing Kartrider, an online racing game that was quite popular at the time in the Asian market.

As wrote by American McGee on his blog:

“Announcing “BaiJiu Racer” – An MMO-lite racing game concept with China as the core theme. The concept has been in focused pre-production for the past three months here at Spicy Horse. Working with our Chinese publishing partner ICEE we’ve crafted a solid Game Design Document, Technical Design Document, Art Bible, Visual Target Demo, and Development Plan. Together these materials constitute a compelling pitch for a title we think will be a strong competitor in the worldwide, lite-MMO, online racing category (think “Kart Racer”).

A lot of teams dream of a “Mario Kart” or “KartRider” killer – and we think our concept goes a long way towards being a viable contender. For one, it’s the first Chinese cart racing game developed with an authentic and original Chinese art style, set in real-world locations, and featuring some of the funkiest racing vehicle designs the world has ever seen (inspiration coming from actual Chinese vehicles). We’re focusing on semi-realistic (and fun) physics-based racing dynamics, going light on the power-ups, and throwing in a lot of visual action.”

Gameplay would have been mostly skill-based, with just a few Mario Kart style power-ups:

  • Distinctive art style featuring a timeless portrayal of everyday Chinese people and locations
  • Core gameplay focused on skill-based racing, avoiding fun-killing power-ups
  • Strong narrative backbone and emotional drama – “everyone can be a hero”
  • Unique and interesting vehicle designs based on real-life Chinese vehicles
  • Track locations that reveal a China few foreigners have seen

Baijiu Racer would have been free to download and play on PC, with heavy emphasis on cosmetic paid content. For this reason playable characters were designed with an “ugly” style, to incentivize players to buy cosmetic stuff. As wrote by American McGee in 2010:

“Online games dependent on microtransactions and purchase of items must create and maintain a compelling library of buyable content. Generally this content is geared towards improving player’s abilities in-game, either upgrading performance of a vehicle, allowing access to a bigger weapon, or resupplying ammo/fuel for those weapons and vehicles. Purchases can also be purely cosmetic, improving Player’s outfit, hair style, or physique. It is agreed that in a fair and balanced PvP environment purchased items should not upgrade or influence a Player’s ability to win. This means purchased items are purely cosmetic.

Solution: Our brains have evolved to be powerful facial characteristic readers. We are walking face “value scanners”. A game geared towards the creation and maintenance of facial “value” taps into this most basic skill of the human brain. Facial beauty is a function of ratios and relational harmonies. A character creation system with built-in flaws limits Player to creating only ugly faces.

Typical facial creation systems assume Player will build a face at the start of the game and then leave it until the end. By linking the facial manipulation mechanic into the store we create a constant driver to spend time/money on making a player character more and more attractive. The promise of all those marketing campaigns becomes a reality.

Races (crashes specifically) will deliver damage to Player Character’s face, clothing and body. This way we create an instantly recognizable value system within the game which can be monetized through make-up, insurance, surgery and more.”

While ICEE was announced as the publisher of the game in China, as far as we know Baiju Racer was never released in any way, as confirmed by a former Spicy Horse developer’s resume.

Images:

Video: