Sega

Shojo R (少女R) [Dreamcast – Cancelled]

Shojo R (少女R) is a cancelled Dreamcast game that was in development by Compile in 1999. Unfortunately at the moment we don’t have any detail about the project and its gameplay, only some concept art were found by Videogamesdensetsu on Twitter.

By translating those Twitter messages it seems that Famitsu DreamCast magazine at the time published a short preview of the game (if you know someone who may own this issue, please let us know!). In the west Compile is mostly known for such games as Puyo Puyo (puzzle game) and Aleste (shoot ‘em up), during their lifespan they worked on many different games and it’s hard to say what kind of gameplay this Shojo R could have had.

By the look of the concept art available we can speculate it could have been a third person action / shooter game set in a sci-fi / military setting. In one of the scans we can also read “network game“, but we are not sure if it’s related to Shojo R or it was for something else.

As we can read on Wikipedia in 2003 Compile suffered from bankruptcy and as a result key staff moved to Compile Heart, the company’s spiritual successor, whereas shoot-’em-up staff moved to MileStone Inc.

Shojo R may remain forever as one of the many obscure, unseen cancelled Dreamcast games we’ll never know more about.

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Farnation (Sega) [Dreamcast, Xbox – Cancelled]

Farnation (sometime spelled Far Nation) is a cancelled online RPG that was going to be published by Sega, initially for their Dreamcast and later for Xbox. The game was somehow announced in mid 2000, when its title was found in a document released by Sega Enterprises discussing the company’s overall business strategy.

Some more details about the game were published in December 2000 by Gamespot:

“With its upcoming massively multiplayer network RPG, Farnation, Sega plans to take the first step in introducing the concept of persistent online worlds to the console market. Farnation gives a nod to such successful PC games as Ultima Online and – more recently – Everquest by letting players interact with other human players across a large universe.

Farnation contains five different terrains, and in these areas, you will have the ability to cooperate with other human players in building towns – complete with casinos, libraries, restaurants, hospitals, banks, and residences. Of course, you aren’t limited to these towns. You can build stations that house airships, boats, and stagecoaches so that you can travel around the entire Farnation world to advance the game’s story arcs and events. In fact, there are several special events that occur throughout the game for plot advancement and, according to Sega, to make the game easily navigable for beginning players.

However, Farnation’s emphasis is on human interaction. Communicating through the use of the game’s chat function, you can buy, sell, and trade items with others. You can also form parties and head out in search of battles and adventure. In total, the game’s play modes include party battles, simultaneous online battles, weapon and item creator, town development, and story elements.

Aside from its gameplay features, Farnation looks to be one of the most visually impressive massively multiplayer online RPGs on the market. After briefly seeing the game in action, we came away thoroughly impressed with the amount of detail in the characters and environments, particularly in the towns. In one scene, there were at least a dozen generously modeled polygonal characters onscreen at once, and the environments were cluttered with several building structures and residences. Graphically, Farnation is favorably comparable to the currently available online RPGs for the PC platform.”

While the Gamespot Staff was able to take a look at the game, unfortunately Sega never officially released any image or footage to the public. From what we can read in this preview, it sounds the game would have been an original mix between Sim City and a traditional MMORPG.

In February 2001 on Dreamcast Magazine Issue 19 Farnation was named again in a list of future Dreamcast games. On March 2001 Sega discontinued the Dreamcast, restructuring itself as a third-party publisher. Many Sega games in development were then moved to Xbox, GameCube and Playstation 2. In May 2001, Gamespot kinda confirmed that Farnation was then in development for Microsoft’s Xbox.

Still Sega did not shown anything from the game, not even officially announce its release. After a while Farnation vanished forever and the only proof we have of its existence is a prototype seen at the Sega of America office, in a photo they published on Flicker in July 2008.

farnation dreamcast sega of america prototype

Between many other Dreamcast games, released and unreleased, we can see a jewel case labeled “Farnation, PT-ROM 1/12/01”. This could have been an updated version of demo that Gamespot seen in December 2000.

We can only hope someone at Sega of America saved this Farnation prototype, to release it online in the future. If you know someone who worked at Sega in 2000 / 2001 and may have more details about Farnation, please let us know! 

RPG Densetsu Hepoi [Mega Drive (Genesis) – Cancelled]

The 16-bit era brought many new possibilities into design and artistic fields on gaming. Colorful sprites, rich and fluid animation, stereo sound and many new features graced a period that for a long time was considered the most important for the video game industry.

One of the biggest hook for consumers in the 80’s and 90’s was the extensive licensed material. These decades would change video games forever as companies were beginning to understand it as a communication channel, more than just an electronic toy. Soon, adaptations from cartoons, anime, movies, comic books, novels and pretty much everything began to pop through. It was the “make a game of that” philosophy.

This means that game designers worked day and night to figure out how to work with whichever hardware came around, in every way possible to make something popular, playable. Sometimes this meant that something great was coming, sometimes it was just excuse to make more profit with a famous brand.

A video game based on japanese anime RPG Densetsu Hepoi was in the makings for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis System.

The only source available about this unseen game is a scan from a japanese magazine called Beep Mega Drive, dated 1991, which show us two screenshots, revealing the use of top-down perspective. We can also deduce by the menu displacement that it had classic j-rpg gameplay, including text-based actions, dialogues and multiple characters to use.

The game was also being co-produced by Sega.

Unfortunately we don’t know much more about this cancelled Mega Drive RPG: it quietly vanished forever with no official explanation. It remains one of the many lost 16bit games which will forever be forgotten by the majority of gamers all around the world.

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Dwagons [SNES, Mega Drive – Cancelled]

The 16-bit era is often mentioned as the Golden Age of Gaming. A graced period that gave us hundreds of awesome classic games. It was a time when 2D game development was maturing and lots of ideas from the 8-bit generation would be revamped with new technology and graphics. Some old concepts and gameplay would still do pretty well in 16-bit, others had to be reworked and adapted, while still using similar and already successful mechanics. The latter is the case for Dwagons, our featured game.

Dwagons is a cancelled maze-puzzle game planned to be released on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive (Genesis). It was in development by UK based company Imagitec Design. As noted in a magazine preview found by the spanish board SEGASaturno, Dwagons shared similar ideas with Pengo (a 1982 arcade game by Sega) and Sokoban (a japanese puzzle game from the same time).

In Pengo the player must navigate through a maze and push ice blocks to defeat every enemy on screen in the shortest time possible. In Sokoban a more strategic approach is needed: the player have to move and fit blocks into specific areas to open the next level. Both had very simple but very successful formula for the 1980’s gaming market.

Dwagons would add a little more depth into the “static-screen block pushing” type of game in “a combination of adventure, strategy and arcade“.  It would feature multiple-themed levels, co-operative multiplayer, multi-layered puzzles and a lot of secrets to uncover, everything wrapped in a cartoon-like medieval fantasy theme.

Developers even thought about other gameplay elements like magic spells, teleporting blocks, rafts to move through water places and trap doors that could make the player backtrack. By that time, gameplay variety was a central idea among gamers and developers and core mechanics for puzzle games were evolving (see Capcom’s Goof Troop for the SNES for example).

We don’t know how close Dwagons was from completion or how much of the game had actually been made, but judging from screenshots and detailed previews it seems it was already in a pretty advanced stage. It even had a whole scenario and a plot of its own. Two dragons (Dwagons) named Snort and Snail set on a quest to retrieve the Magic Talisman of Power and rescue their brother, Snarf, captured by the evil Lord Flame.

Imagitec was responsible for a variety of  arcade game ports released mostly on Atari and Amiga platforms. They worked with other companies such as Atari Corporation, Gremlin Graphics, and Electronic Arts until early 1997 when Imagitec was purchased by Gremlin and renamed Gremlin Interactive Studios.”

Thanks to Marçal Mora Cantallops and Grzegorz for the scans!

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Morphs: Flashback 2 [Sega Mega CD – Cancelled]

Morphs: Flashback 2 is the cancelled sequel to the original game developed in 1992 by Delphine Software. As the first game Flashback 2 would have been a 2D sci-fi cinematic platformer and this new chapter was planned for the ill-fated Genesis / Mega Drive’s Sega Mega CD add-on. For some reasons Delphine were huge fans of the Sega Mega Drive, and as told by Paul Cussiet (Flashback’s creator) to Retro Gamer magazine (#118): “The best version for me is the Mega Drive version. The game was created for this platform“.

Flashback 2 was never officially announced by Delphine, but we were able to gather a few details about this lost sequel thanks to Thierry Levastre, a french developer who worked at Delphine as a 2D / 3D artist for many years. Thierry told us that the Flashback team did start working on Flashback 2 after the first one was released, but only an early draft of its story, game intro and a short animation of a mech were done before the project was cancelled.

Initially it seems Delphine decided to move away from sci-fi games and instead started working on a new medieval fantasy adventure titled “Dragon Blade” and a new racing game titled “Enduro Rider”, which later were picked up by BMG Interactive to be published for PC and Playstation in USA. After many years of development Dragon Blade evolved into Darkstone: Evil Reigns (finally published in 1999) and Enduro Rider probably became  Moto Racer (finally published in 1997).

We can speculate Delphine had some internal development problems with Dragon Blade and Enduro Rider, as they soon resurrected their Flashback sequel to work again on this idea. They scrapped their classic 2D graphic and rotoscoped animations, to invest their efforts in creating a fully 3D world. In the end the project evolved into “Fade to Black”, the official 3D sequel to Flashback released in 1995 for PC and Playstation. As far as we know, the initial story planned for Flashback 2 was adapted and reused for Fade to Black.

The short Flashback 2 mech animation created by Thierry was running on the Dpoly Editor on Amiga and presumably unreadable, but many years later Gregory Montoir was able to create some kind of web-player which reads DPoly files and this animation can now be seen again in motion (even if a little bugged – choose “mecha”).

It’s interesting to notice that Delphine also worked on the cancelled third chapter of Flashback, titled “Flashback Legends”, in development for GBA in early ‘00s. Unfortunately Delphine had to close down in 2002 for bankruptcy.

Thanks to Thierry for the contribution!

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