The first Hogs of War is a turn-based strategy game developed by Infogrames Sheffield House (Gremlin Interactive), released for the PlayStation in 2000. While the game received average reviews at the time, it soon became a cult-hit and many years later (2008) Infogrames officially announced a sequel for Wii, PlayStation 2 and PC, titled Hogs of War 2. A Nintendo DS version was also announced, but we can assume it would have been much different from the others.
“Hogs of War II was started as a concept by the Infogrames Sheffield House team, but never materialized. Was cancelled at Gremlin by Infogrames, passed by Sumo Digital and then cancelled again by Atari (Infogrames) after Blitz Games (Oliver Twins) had started a DS version I think.”
Some images from this cancelled sequel are preserved below, to remember its existence. At the moment we don’t have any screenshot from the lost Nintendo DS version.
DK Project: The Last City Of Heaven is a cancelled adventure game that was in development around 2005 by a small French company known as DarkSkyne, composed of former Ubisoft and Eden Games employees. The game was set in a cyberpunk open-world, playable in both first and third person view. The team was trying to create something similar to a mix of GTA, Deus Ex and Mafia, featuring bio-modifications to unlock special skills to manipulate gravity, perform “bullet time” and much more. As we can read on IGN:
“DK Project: The Last City of Heaven is an open-city game set in Skyne City in the year 2030. The story is one of revenge and ambition, as a 20-year-old girl (Nina Stovakov) who has discovered the murder of her father joins the local mafia to take command of her life. You can use bio-implants to increase the capacities of the heroin, letting her jump higher, move faster, and fight with more power. The game also features multiplayer play, and runs on its own unique 3D engine.”
It was meant to have an open-ended gameplay, with a non-linear single-player campaign with multiple-paths like in Fable, Fallout or InFamous. You could behave in a good or evil way, and NPC would react differently according to your behaviour. To explore Skyne City you could steal many different vehicles, while talking to every character you may meet around to build up your own street-gang. Nina was also planned to have her own life-cycle, possibly growing old and being in need of food to stay alive. You could also buy your own house or even build it from scratch. As you can imagine, this kind of sandbox open world game was probably too ambitious for a small team.
In October 2005 DarkSkyne shared a teaser trailer for The Last City Of Heaven to show their project to potential publishers and in 2007 french press such as Jeuxvideo.com hyped up the game to their readers. The team managed to get funds and support from Nvidia and Intel, but unfortunately it was not enough to keep them alive.
In 2010 DarkSkyne closed down for liquidation, alongside Eden World Group, the holding behind DK Project. Work on The Last City Of Heaven was stopped, probably with only an early prototype completed before its cancellation. Some screenshots, videos and concept art are preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost game.
As we can read in the Kunio-Kun Wiki, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari for the NES / Famicom is the third entry in the Kunio-kun series, published in the west as River City Ransom / Street Gangs. The game is more RPGish and open-ended than other beat ’em ups, with a non-linear city to freely explore while fighting against enemies to level-up your characters. In the main Kunio series you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city.
The game was released for the Wii Virtual Console in 2007 and a sequel titled “Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2” was announced in 2011 by Miracle Kidz (a team of former Technos developers), planned to be released for Wii and PC. Unfortunately the team decided to officially cancel the project in 2012, to switch resources on different projects.
“Miracle Kidz’s teaser site for Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2 (the canceled Wiiware sequel to River City Ransom) is still up after all these years, although it only contains character bios and a link to purchase the planning document from their site.
Sueshiro and Okita, the two planned protagonists from DNM2, actually appeared in a fan-video from 2008 by AC-Promenade supporting the launch of Miracle Kidz’s website. Shame that the game become vaporware and Miracle Kidz has since been disbanded.”
If you can do a translation / summary of the details found in those japanese Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2 design doc pages (saved in the gallery below), please leave a message below!
Cartel is a cancelled FPS game that was in development in 2002 / 2003 by Cat Daddy Games (mostly known for their Carnival Games series), planned to be released on PC and possibly on Playstation 2 and Xbox. As you can assume from its title, you would have played as a DEA special agent against the drug cartel. The team wanted to offer a simple gameplay mixing first / third person shooter with light strategy mechanics.
In an old interview published on HomeLAN we can read more about their hopes for the project:
“HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?
Harley Howe – We wanted to do a thriller. It has a big twist just about the time you think you’ve figured out what is going on and you’re about finished, you’re not.
HomeLAN – What sort of settings and locations will be seen in the game?
Harley Howe – Our team over the last few years has built content for several AAA titles that were released under other company’s logos. We really know our stuff here and one of the big separating factors of our game will be the unique environments. What we see in most of the existing games out there now is a lot of the same old thing rehashed over and over. You got your warehouse level, your barracks level, your factory…etc. We wanted to bring a new look and feel to the environments in Cartel. Our game will offer plenty of new and exciting environmental eye candy for the player. We promise you will almost smell the stench on some of them.
HomeLAN – What kinds of weapons will be featured in Cartel?
Harley Howe – Ok, the guy doing the weapons is always yapping about ‘my bothers a seal, my brothers a seal” so we most definitely have some nice weaponry. We feel that weapons are one of the single most important components of a 1st person shooter. One big point here to make is the style of the Cartel story lends itself well to new weaponry. As we are doing with the levels we also wanted to take advantage of some of the newer technologies out there and give the player some neat effects to the weapons that they have never seen before. My 12 year old son will run around and play a game just to pick up all the different guns to see the way that each of them shoot, err wait that’s me, anyway good weapons will be in abundance.
HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the game’ s multiplayer features?
Harley Howe – I can tell you that if it did not have multiplayer I personally wouldn’t play it myself. Today you have to have good multiplayer or the game has a very limited appeal. Attention to the layout of the multiplayer levels will be done in great detail. A good level can make or break it. We also have had multiplayer built in to our engine from day one so it’s not something that will be approached as an afterthought.”
In early 2003 they released a tech demo for Cartel, but the same year the team was acquired by 2K Games and the game vanished. Only in 2005 Cat Daddy officially announced the project was suspended. We can assume when 2K bought the team, their parent company decided to switch their resources on less ambitious games.
“The game starts with the user assuming the role of a lowly Ensign Seventh Class on the S.P.S. Feinstein, a starship of the Stellar Patrol. Overbearing superior Ensign First Class Blather assigns the player to mop decks, not exactly the glorious adventures promised by the recruiters on Gallium. But a sudden series of explosions aboard the ship sends the player scrambling for an escape pod, which eventually crash-lands on a nearby planet. There are signs of civilization, but curiously no traces of the beings that once lived there. Eventually encountering a helpful but childlike robot named Floyd, the player must unravel the mysteries of the single deserted structure on the planet, Resida, and find a way to get back home.”
3 years later the company was bought by Activision and in the mid ‘90s they tried to create a sequel titled: Planetfall 2: Floyd’s Next Thing. The project was started at least a couple of times, but it was always cancelled in the end.
Two trailers were released promoting the two versions of the sequel: the first one looked a bit like Myst, with per-rendered graphics, while the second version of the game was in full, real-time 3D.
“Don’t get your hopes up: this is a very early prototype from the cancelled sequel to Infocom’s classic text adventure. It’s barely playable, though it does provide an interesting look at how the game would have played with a realtime 3D engine. The prototype does introduce a puzzle (at least the only one I could find) and features voice acting as well as a pretty cool soundtrack tune. Judging by the puzzle, you were able to give orders to your robot companions similarly to how Infocom’s classic text adventures worked.
[…] back in 2007, an alleged ex-employee from Activision was auctioning this CD on eBay. He couldn’t verify the contents of the disc, but many enthusiasts including myself still pledged hoping it was legit. My top bid was $40 (hey, it was a pretty decent sum at the time) but the CD was sold at a whooping $90. I wasn’t going to give up, so I contacted the seller who in turn put me in touch with the buyer. Turns out he was a nice guy who exchanged the same ISO I’m uploading right now for a physical soundtrack of Scratches and a signed copy of the game. It was a fairly good deal. This prototype brings back great memories.
It’s been almost ten years since that transaction happened, and I think the time has come to properly preserve this rare piece of software history. Enjoy!”