Sega

The Lord of the Rings (EA) [Genesis / Mega Drive – Cancelled]

Around 1992-1994 Electronic Arts was working on a Sega Mega Drive / Genesis video game based on The Lord of the Rings series, but in the end the project was cancelled for unknown reasons. The title was listed in a few EA promotional leaflets, but as far as we know screenshots were never shown in magazines at the time.

In 2015 users from the Sega-16 forum noticed some sprites / animations from this cancelled Lord of the Rings Genesis game in an article posted by former EA developer Ray Tobey, who created the Animax 2D editor used by the company.

The same team also worked on Budokan: The Martial Spirit and the cancelled Cybernauts, both fighting games for the Mega Drive / Genesis. Because of this, we can assume The Lord of the Rings would also have been a fighting game. It’s interesting to notice that an unlicensed The Lord of the Rings fighting game for Mega Drive was published by Glorysun many years later, but it’s not related to the cancelled EA project.

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Yohoden Hisuimaru: Bonten no Ken [Game Gear – Cancelled]

Yohoden Hisuimaru: Bonten no Ken (妖逢伝ひすい丸 梵天の剣) is a cancelled JRPG that was in development around 1992 – 1993 for Sega Game Gear. From screenshots and footage available we can see it was going to be a classic RPG set in feudal Japan, with the main protagonist being able to transform himself into a Tengu.

A brief description of the game was published in a Japanese website:

“A field-type RPG set in medieval Japan. The protagonist, Hasui Maru, suddenly struck by lightning and became a Tengu. Why was he transformed to this figure? Fate now waits for him. As you can see from these images, it seems that popular figures of Japanese folklore and real-life history would have appeared in the game, such as Momotaro, Kintaro, Ushiwakamaru and Benkei.”

Combat was turn-based and there was a nice-looking overworld map to explore. It seems the project was being produced by Sega and it could have been a great addition to Game Gear’s japanese library. Unfortunately even if Yohoden Hisuimaru: Bonten no Ken looked quite far in development, it was quietly cancelled and soon forgotten.

Some images were found by Romanovh and VGDensetsu in old japanese magazines.

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Trunski (Core Design) [Game Gear – Cancelled]

Trunski is a cancelled platformer that was in development by Core Design (Chuck Rock, Tomb Raider, Fighting Force) around 1993 – 1994 for Sega Game Gear. The game was shown at Winter CES 1993 and a single screenshot was published in Consoles+ magazine (issue 29, February 1994, found by Youloute):

“Trunski is an elephant. After a little tour away from his native jungle, he returns to realize that it is now populated by infamous rhinoceros. Under the leadership of Rhinus P.Itus, they plan to set up a mining installation in the middle of Trunski’s territory. In summary, this platform game is non-violent, humorous, ecological and politically correct.”

Not much is known about this cancelled project as most details about its existence are already forgotten and lost in time. If you know someone who worked at Core Design on Trunski and could help to preserve more screens, footage or details about the game, please let us know!

 

Spanish Blood (Scavenger) [Playstation, Sega Saturn – Cancelled]

Spanish Blood is a cancelled pirate-themed adventure game that was in development by Scavenger, planned to be released for Playstation and Sega Saturn. As noticed by Celine, the game was officially announced or at least talked about at E3 1996, when a few gaming magazines published a list of in-development games by Scavenger. 

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Some screenshots were published online by The King of Grabs, found in an old E3 Press Kit. By looking at these we can see Spanish Blood was going to be another impressive (for its time) 3D game by the team, which was composed of talented developers from the Amiga demoscene. While there are no details about Spanish Blood’s gameplay, we can speculate it would have been a seafaring adventure, with players exploring the sea on their boat, fighting against pirates and finding hidden treasures.

Unfortunately Scavenger probably had too many projects in development at the same time and with missing payments from their major publisher (GT Interactive), in the end the company had to close down. Most of their games were cancelled, such as Mudkicker, Angel, Spearhead, Aqua, Terminus, Heavy Machinery, X-Men, Into the Shadow and Tarantula.

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Zodiac (Ubisoft) [Sega Mega Drive – Cancelled]

Zodiac is a cancelled shoot ‘em up in development at Ubisoft around 1992 – 1993, by a team composed of  Frederic Houde (one of the designers behind the original Rayman and Tonic Trouble) and Laurent Cluzel (who worked on Starush, a 1992 Amiga shmup, and later on The City of Lost Children). Frederic talked about the game in an interview by Arcade Attack:

“How did you get the opportunity to work for Ubisoft?

My best friend Frederic Markus worked on a game called Starush for Amiga, Atari ST & PC while I was finishing my military obligation. Then, I tried an approach to join the team.  We had a strategy to show something big to Ubisoft to be able to make another (console) version, me as the main programmer. We decided to show a huge boss on the Amiga platform, something the current programmer for this game was not capable of… Ubisoft had no more than 50 employees at this time. I remember showing my Game Boss Demo to Yves (best Big Boss on earth), he told me “ok, I don’t know the project you will work on but here’s some money, consider yourself working for Ubisoft. It was the beginning of my career.

Tell us a bit more about the first game you worked on:

I ended up making ZODIAC (Starush inspired) on the Sega Mega Drive. It took me a year and a half, with Laurent Cluzel as graphic artist, making the engine, coding the tools, alone in my apartment… No internet at this time… The game was 100% finished, but Sega Mega Drive began to slow down at that time and unfortunately Ubisoft decided not to release the game. Only 2 roms exist at this time, Laurent’s and mine. Maybe someday I will give to the Mega Drive Emulator Scene a copy”

As posted by VGDensetsu on Twitter, a Zodiac prototype was shown by the Conservatoire National du Jeu Video (CNJV) at the Bibilothèque National de France (BNF). In there we can read Ubisoft decided to cancel the game because of the competition from Thunder Force IV and the high cost of cartridges, that would make hard to profit from its release. 

As far as we know, the game ROM is still not released to the public, but we hope Frederic could share it in the future.

Thanks to Dylan for the contribution!

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