Sega

Sacred Pools [Sega Saturn, PC – Cancelled]

Sacred Pools is a cancelled interactive movie / FMV game that was in development by Code Monkeys and Segasoft in 1995 / 1996, for Sega Saturn and PC. It seems the project was shown in video form at E3 1996 along with other classic Saturn titles, such as Nights, Panzer Dragoon 2, Virtual On and many more, but in the end Sacred Pools was never released. A few details were published by various gaming magazines at the time, as in Ultra Game Players #74 (January 1997), Mean Machines Sega Magazine #45 (July 1996), PC Player #07 (July 1996), and Sega Saturn Magazine UK #10 (August 1996).

The game had a quite negative feedback from the press and that could be one of the reasons of its cancellation:

“Just when you thought the interactive movie was dead.. along comes Sacred Pools. This is another Segasoft venture, and one which they say revolutionises adventure gaming by mixing computer graphics with video footage. At present only the video footage was on show, and it’s the usual mix of Dr. Who effects and actors without dignity. And we thought they’d learned their lesson with Double Switch.”

As far as we know, Sacred Pools was meant to be one of the first adult-only titles for the Sega Saturn, in the form of “erotic thriller” with explicit (?) sex and violent scenes, but we don’t know exactly what the team wanted to shown in the game. Sacred Pools was just one of many unreleased games planned by Segasoft, such as G.I. Ant, Heat Warz, Ragged Earth and Skies.

A few more details were shared in the Assembler Games Forum by an anonymous user who seems to own a playable beta of the game:

“SEGASOFT paid over $3mil to develop the game. The company is called Codemonkeys now. Not sure if they had a different name back then. But Segasoft pretty much entirely funded the company during that period. […] My knowledge is limited. They spent a bunch of money developing this game that was supposed to be “revolutionary”. The game missed milestones and went way over budget. I have never played that far through the game but what i’ve seen is that it is basically a FMV game where you can sort of move around the world. You have choices of which direction to go and what to do, but they are limited and (obviously) on tracks.”

If you have more images or details about this lost game, let us know! We hope to be able to preserve some footage from the game in the future.

Images:

Knights (Digital Infinity) [Dreamcast, PC – Cancelled]

Before merging with Lost Boys Games and Orange Games to became the now popular Guerrilla Games and creating the Killzone series, Digital Infinity was a rather obscure indie team based in Netherlands. In late ’90s DI were working on an interesting online multiplayer brawler / party game titled Knights, planned to be released for Dreamcast and PC, following a gameplay similar to such games as Ooga Booga, Power Stone 2 and Heavy Metal: Geomatrix.

As reported by IGN in late 1999 Dutch publisher Project 2 Interactive gained the license to publish new Dreamcast games, announcing the never released Knights and another project under the name “Big Bang”, later released as Bang! Gunship Elite in December 2000. In another interesting article by Control Online (in Dutch) we can read that in March 2000 issue of PC Zone magazine (No. 30, Dutch version) they published a good preview of Knights, revealing more details about the game’s humorous backstory:

“In the magical kingdom of Whyrule the king is too old to keep ruling the country. To find a new king they decide to organize a big tournament among knights and the winner will then rule the kingdom. You’re ready for a career change, so put on your best mail-coat out of the closet and departure towards the castle.”

Initially Knights was started as a classic 3D platform adventure similar to Mario 64 and Spyro the Dragon, but soon the team had to switch plans when it became clear they would not have enough time, experience and resources to develop such kind of game. Digital Infinity were still a young team, with inexperienced developers and designers, who had to create their own 3D engine and assets without having a proper design doc to follow. After the platform game concept was tossed away they were able to create an early multiplayer demo, taking inspiration from the online capabilities of the Dreamcast and the increasing popularity of online gaming on PC.

This version of Knights was meant to be some kind of team-based multiplayer brawler with many interesting mechanics: levels were composed of different flying islands interconnected by slides, where players could move around and fight against the opposite team using different knights with different abilities, while also playing with the environment to their advantages, for example by riding a water-scooter in a small lake in one of the islands. By looking at the few screenshots we were able to gather, it seems that Knights could have been a fun multiplayer experience on the Dreamcast, with many interesting ideas.

IGN were able to see more of the game at ECTS 1999:

“Their first title, Knights (so close..) is an online deathmatch title of sorts, with an interesting twist. It is more of an interactive game of “kill the man with the ball,” and will also allow players to build their own DM levels. Project 2 plans on launching the title some time next year, and including online components a plenty.”

Unfortunately development was proceeding slowly and in the meantime Project 2 Interactive closed down for bankruptcy: even if the first couple of milestones were delivered, without Project 2 Digital Infinity regain the Knights rights and tried to find a new publisher.

With some luck they were able to gather Swing! Entertainment’s interest, a new publisher that doubled the studio budget and wanted to release Knights on more platforms, such as the Playstation 2. Meanwhile Digital Infinity also became part of Lost Boys Games, the studio grown with more developers, designers and artists. After the Dreamcast failed to sell enough units and with Sega discontinuing the console on March 2001, the team decided to finally cancel the Dreamcast version of Knights, focusing on the PS2 version and reworking the game again to make it the 3D platform-adventure they initially wanted to do. In the end the Playstation 2 version of Knights was also canned when Lost Boys Games were sold to Media Republic and renamed Guerrilla Games, starting to work on their Killzone series for Sony and Shellshock: Nam ’67 for PS2, Xbox, and PC. A Game Boy Color version of Knights was also under development by Formula Games / Lost Boys, but as it happened for the 3D version the game was never released.

We tried to get in contact with former former Digital Infinity / Lost Boys developers, in an attempt to unearth more on Knights, but unfortunately, they were not available for comment. If you know someone that worked on Knights, please let us know!

Images:

Metal Lancer [Genesis / Mega Drive – Cancelled]

Metal Lancer is a cancelled first-person space shooter that was being developed by Yuji Naka for Mega Drive / Genesis in 1990. It’s the last project on which the the legendary japanese programmer worked on before Sonic The Hedgehog (1991). As we can read from a 2016 Denfaminicogamer interview with Naka, the game’s main character was a girl who controlled a space robot. Metal Lancer would also have featured complex scaling effects similar to what the SNES could accomplish with Mode 7

metal-lancer-mega-drive-yuji-naka

Unfortunately, Naka doesn’t say in the interview why he dropped the project, though we can speculate that either he simply found the game too complex to develop on a Mega Drive or Sega just wanted him to work a more promising title like Sonic.

Thanks to Youloute for the contribution and Michele Zanetti for the japanese translation! 

Space Race [Cancelled Pitch – MegaDrive / Genesis]

Space Race was a game being pitched by Warren Spector to Origin for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive either on cart form or for the Sega CD. According to pitch documents, Spector was looking for concept approval so they could then create the script. Space Race could have also been developed for PC as well and would have required 4 Megs of RAM and a 320 x 200 VGA. The PC version would have been based on Wing-3 technology and had the possibility of modem/network play.

The game is described as a 3D racing game with a difference and was likened to Road Rash and Super Monaco Grand Prix, but taking that intense racing action into outer space, with the player at the helm of a futuristic space-racing ship. The basic plot for the game would have been based in the distant future mankind has met a myriad of alien races in the solar system, and they together have created a championship of space racing that would pit the very best from each planet against each other.

Some of the design elements promised within the pitch document were that the ships would be customisable so depending on your race style or the course, you, the player would be able to make alterations to your ship to suit.

Some of the tracks are also described, there would be tracks that would have a road type surface, but more interestingly there were tracks that would be wide open and would have no horizontal or vertical constraints and as long as the player touched the appropriate checkpoints they would continue in the race. There would also be enclosed winding tunnels with walls made of energy that if the player touched them their ship would take damage but nothing is described as to what this would affect.

A few race types are mentioned, there could be straight up races where no contact between vehicles would be allowed, but there were also planned demolition derbies where it would be last vehicle standing. When the player wins or ranks in a race, they would earn points for their standing in the Space Race championship and money so they could upgrade their vehicle.

All of the items described may seem like it could be quite hard to implement on the Sega Genesis but Warren Spector said “Technologically, I don’t think there’s anything challenging in here, and the design would be a piece of cake, one of the simplest we’ve ever done.” The proposed budget for developing the game was $200,000 for the Sega Genesis but would have been higher for a PC version.

Also pitched was that the drivers and ships could be licensable allowing for more revenue to be made from the game if it was a success. Spector believed that the only game that was being developed at this time that was close to Space Race was CyberRace for the PC and that looked like it was going to be a hit. CyberRace can still be played using DOSBox emulation, but the game came out with middling reviews and was described as “Stylish but not very good”.

This could be one of the reasons that Space Race was not taken any further than this pitch, but as all of the information that can be found about this game is in this document, it is hard to obtain anymore details. If you do have any more details please feel free to contact us.

Many thanks to Joe Martin for the document.

Images:

Frog Dude [Genesis / MegaDrive – Cancelled]

Frog Dude is a cancelled platformer that was in development by Twilight for Genesis / Mega Drive in 1993. The game was never officially announced but, in 2014, Gamesthatwerent contacted Andy Swann, the lead programmer of Frog Dude, which shared a short playable demo of the game.

The main character was a strange man who used a mace to attack and could transform himself into a long-tongued frog. There is nothing to interact with, no enemies to fight, and no sound effects or music. However, at least a nice cutscene welcomes players at the beginning of the prototype.

According to Gamesthatwerent, the project was shelved before it could even be touted at publishers:

Andy’s agent, John Cook, had come in and said that the Frog Dude title was “workman-like” and suggested they didn’t bother with finishing it.

Read more about this game and download the proto on Gamesthatwerent.

Images:

Video:

 

Page 1 of 6612345...102030...Last »