Sega

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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Dennin Aleste 2 [Cancelled – Mega Drive Sega CD]

Dennin Aleste 2 is the cancelled Sega Mega CD sequel to the cult shump developed by Compile also known in the west as Robo Aleste, the title they gave to the first game when it was published in USA and Europe in 1993. A few characters artwork was found by VGDensetsu in old japanese magazines Beep! Mega Drive (January and February 1993) and Mega Drive Fan (February 1993).

It seems Robo Aleste was poorly received by reviews and some fans, receiving a mid-low score of 24 / 40 by Famitsu. This could be the reason why Compile decided to cancel the sequel.

If you can read the details found in the japanese scans preserved in this page, please let us know if there’s some interesting info about the game!

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Dragon’s Heaven [SNES, Sega Saturn – Cancelled]

Dragon’s Heaven (ドラゴンズヘブン) is a cancelled JRPG that was in development by Digitalware in the late ’90s, planned to be published for the Super Famicom and later on the Sega Saturn by Data East (?). We found out about this unreleased RPG thanks to Video Games Densetsu, which found some images on old japanese gaming magazines, such as Sega Saturn Magazine (November 1996).

As you can see from artwork and screenshots, the game was heavily inspired by Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire and Akira Toriyama style. Turn-based combat were shown in a top-down isometric view, featuring at least 5 playable characters at the same time.

As noticed by Matthew Callis on Twitter, it seems the project was originally conceived as a SNES project, as seen in another japanese magazine he found. From what we were able to gather online the game was based on a roleplay novel (where readers could choose how to proceed with the story?) serialized in Maru-Katsu Super Nintendo gaming magazine, possibly as a parody of classic 16 bit JRPG.  Later the series was also used to create a tabletop RPG book series published by Kadokawa Shoten.

We can speculate Digitalware tried to use the popular roleplay novel conceived in Maru-Katsu magazine to create a new roleplay video game, first on the Super Famicom and later on the Sega Saturn. For some reasons, the project was canned on both occasions, and then forgotten by everyone.

If you could read the description in these japanese scans, please let us know if there are more details about this lost project! 

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Ushiwakamaru Saburota Monogatari: 24-Jikan Tatakaemasu Ka? [Mega Drive – Cancelled]

Ushiwakamaru Saburota Monogatari: 24-Jikan Tatakaemasu Ka? (牛若丸三郎太物語~24時間戦えますか?) is a cancelled adventure / RPG that was in production by Sega around 1991 for their Mega Drive. Some images were found on Beep! MegaDrive magazine (January 1991) and Mega Drive Fan magazine (April 1991) by VGDensetsu and GDRI. It seems the game was based on… “a businessman character portrayed by Saburo Tokito in commercials for Regain energy drink”?

C:\ARKIVE\UNSEEN64 (Da Spostare su HD Vecchio)\Mega Drive\Ushiwakamaru saburōta monogatari by VG Densetsu

We can bet this one would have never been published in USA / Europe if ever completed. It looks a bit like Rent a Hero, but probably the two games are not related in any way.

ushiwakamaru-saburota-monogatari-mega-drive-01

If you can find more images in old japanese magazines, please let us know

Apros: Tenku no Sho (WolfTeam) [Sega Mega CD – Cancelled]

The original “Apros: Daichi no Shou Kaze no Tankyuu Sha hen” was an adventure game based on a series of Japanese Sci-Fi Fantasy novels, developed by WolfTeam (now Namco Tales Studio, mostly known for their Tales Of series) and published in 1992 for PC-98. A few months later they were already working on a sequel for Sega Mega CD, titled “Apros – Tenkū no Shō” (アプロス天空の章), but in the end was quietly cancelled when the main developer / designer has left the team.

As noticed by Kid Fenris on the Lost Levels forums:

“The only screenshots I’ve found are in this vaguely worded capsule preview from the February 1993 issue of (Diehard) Gamefan.”

apros-wolfteam-sega-mega-cd-Gamefan-April-1993

“Apros was mentioned again in the June 1993 Gamefan, where the letters columnist informed a reader that the guy who was developing Apros has left Wolfteam (along with many others) and is starting his own company. He told Kei that he will continue development but is unsure of what format Apros will appear on. (It may be several.)”

apros-sega-mega-cd-Gamefan-June-1993

As noted by Zigfried these images from the Sega Mega CD version of Apros are completely different from their first PC-98 game, so we can assume it was really going to be some kind of sequel:

“It’s a fantasy adventure game with lots of (non-CG) animation. I’ve got the PC-98 game, and I’ve got a magazine that shows screens from *before* the Mega CD version was canned… and I’ve got to say, it looks nothing at all like those pics from the Gamefan mag.”

VGDensetsu also found more images in Beep! Mega Drive magazine (November 1992 + February 1993)

If you find out more about this lost game, please let us know