WonderSwan

Magic Formation WARS [WonderSwan Color – Cancelled]

When Bandai unveiled a GPS add-on for WonderSwan at Spring Tokyo Game Show 2001, Namco shown three games compatible with the new device. Magic Formation WARS (known in japanese as 魔放陣WARS) was an RPG that used the peripheral to determinate where battles were held and monsters formation. You could draw a spell on the map to cast a magic. The only other detail known was that the story was divided in scenarios. When the GPS for WonderSwan failed to be marketed it’s likely that Namco cancelled the project.

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Let’s Play Golf [WonderSwan Color – Cancelled]

At Spring TGS 2001 Namco announced three brand-new games for Bandai’s WonderSwan, all of which used the new add-on shown for the first time at that event (like Magic Formation WARS and Super GPS Pac-Man). One of these games was tentatively named Let’s Play Golf (やったつもりでゴルフ).

As the name suggest it is a golf simulation with the peculiarity to use the GPS add-on to create new courses based on your surrounding. Another interesting feature was the presence of an accelerometer inside the cartridge that enable the player to swing using motion controls. The game was never released for unknown reason though we can speculate that the cancellation of the GPS add-on hurt the project’s chance to be distributed.

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Final Fantasy 3 Remake [WonderSwan Color – Cancelled]

Bandai‘s Wonderswan was an handheld system released exclusively in Japan in 1999. This console was especially sought after because around December 1999 Bandai struck a deal with Squaresoft to bring their games to the console. The first projects announced were the remake of the first three Final Fantasy, a chocobo game, Romancing SaGa and a port of Seiken Densetsu 2 (known as Secret of Mana in the west).

However not all of these games would seen a release at retail as Seiken Densetsu 2 was never seen again. Final Fantasy III shared the same destiny although it was shown on the official Squaresoft site: Final Fantasy III Wonderswan archieved site

This cancellation was especially notable because the Final Fantasy remakes , which were bundled with the system, were the biggest sellers on Wonderswan Color. Later, after a brief rumor on a possible remake on PlayStation 2, Final Fantasy 3 was unveiled as new 3D remake for Nintendo DS that eventually sold around 2 million units worldwide. This 3D remake, very different from the 2D remake proposed for Wonderswan, would be made available on PSP, iOS and Android years after the original DS release.

In 2007 Hiromichi Tanaka explained why the Wonderswan remake was canned:

When we developed FF3, the volume of content in the game was so huge that the cartridge was completely full, and when new platforms emerged, there simply wasn’t enough storage space available for an update of FF3, because that would have required new graphics, music and other content. There was also a difficulty with how much manpower it would take to remake all of that content.

The strange thing is that Final Fantasy I and II remakes and Final Fantasy IV were all deployed on a 4MB cartridge and Wonderswan theoretical biggest cartridge size was 16MB in fact a few games (even Squaresoft own Front Mission) were stored on 8MB cartridge, with Konami’s Beatmania being the only game weighting 16MB so storage space limitation is unlikely to be the main culprit.

It’s very likely that the shaking Wonderswan market in 2001/2002 (the system was discontinued by Bandai in 2003) along with the costs in developing a 2D remake sealed the fate of this project.

Scan from Playmag issue 52.

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Mobilesuit Gundam MSPlatoon.com [WonderSwan Color – Cancelled]

In 2001 Bandai announced Mobilesuit Gundam MSPlatoon.com for WonderSwan Color. However the game concept, known during production as “the Net Gundam“, first concept was in 1997 when developers at Bandai started to think to create a Gundam game designed to work over the Internet. MSPlatoon.com was a strategy game that allowed gamers to play as a soldier for the Republic of Zion or the Earth Federation and engage fights in operation plans announced every week by server-side so to battle with other humans online. Over the time you could even become a leader of your chosen side.

The online component was guaranteed through the WonderGate, an add on that allowed the WonderSwan to access to NTT Docomo network, or through a special cartridge to connect with a PC (see image below). This interesting title, the first multiplayer online game for a dedicated handheld system, was planned to be released in autumn of the same year but seems the concept was far too ambitious so Bandai quietly cancelled the project.

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Super GPS Pac-Man [WonderSwan Color – Cancelled]

During Spring TGS 2001 Namco announced renewed support for Bandai’s little handheld. One of the game was a curious variant of Pac-Man tentatively named Super GPS Pac-Man (GPS超!!パックマン) that would have used the WonderGate, add on that allowed the WonderSwan to connect to DTT Docomo network, and the GPS add on so that your current location would have been used as a maze where Pac-Man could eat his loved pills, while moving objects like cars would be the enemies.

This bizarre project was never released for unknown reason, though the WonderGate success was limited and the GPS add on was never released so much of its appeal would have been lost without them.

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