News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Uesugi Genjin (Bonk Strategy) [PC Engine – Cancelled Concept]

Uesugi Genjin (possibly related to Uesugi Kenshin, a japanese feudal lord lived in the Sengoku period of Japan) is an undeveloped war strategy RPG set in the Bonk (PC Genjin) series, that was proposed by Red Company / Hudson among many other joke / potential titles in Gekkan PC-Engine magazine. Bonk creators would often appear in the magazine to show their weird ideas for new games, but most of them were just funny gags that were never intended to be fully developed.

Only a few of them (as it happened with RPC Genjin) got more attention, some mockups were produced and even playable prototypes. Unfortunately we don’t know how much Uesugi Genjin was really developed into a war strategy game by Red Company, but at least they shared a single screenshot in the April / June 1991 issue of Gekkan PC-Engine magazine.

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Ghost Wars (Digital Reality) [PC – Cancelled]

Ghost Wars is a cancelled strategy shooter that was in development around 2004 by Digital Reality (mostly known for Imperium Galactica and Sine Mora), planned to be published in 2006 on PC by Hip Interactive. The game was quite ambitious for its genre, as you would have been able to play it as a traditional real-time strategy game or impersonate each soldier in your unit to play it as a first / third person shooter.

“Based on the Government Special Operations Group, “Ghost Wars” takes players into the clandestine and secret war against terrorism. Players take control of air, land and sea units of an Elite Special Forces group across multiple top secret missions. With the graphical quality of a first person shooter, “Ghost Wars” will offer gamers the most accurate depiction of modern day warfare to date.

Through Battlefield View, “Ghost Wars” brings the theatre of war to life. Gamers are not only tested on their strategic senses, but also on their ability to react quickly under enemy fire by directly controlling individual units. By setting up, equipping and planning troops’ activities, gamers will need to utilize state-of-the art weapons and technology to defeat terrorist networks.”

The game was also playable at E3 2005, GameSpot published some favorable comments on the demo:

“You’ll have the typical type of units, including soldiers, tanks, helicopters, and such. However, what makes Ghost Wars unique is how you control them. While you can just use the typical kind of point-and-click movement, you can also select a specific unit and zoom the camera in to take its viewpoint. If you choose a soldier, you’ll go into first person, and if you pick a vehicle, you’ll go to third person. From there, you can control that unit manually, attacking whatever you like. Soldiers can also get into parked vehicles on the field and drive them.”

“Units in the game will be upgradable in a number of ways, letting you specifically level up individual units to improve their performance on the battlefield. And you’ll need to level up, because Digital Reality is endeavoring to make the opponent AI in the game quite challenging. AI units will run for cover and hide inside buildings, meaning you’ll have to bring in your tanks and choppers to take those buildings down. And boy, can you. Though not all the deformable objects were in, the developers showed us quite a number of big-time building and vehicle explosions that looked pretty impressive.”

While Ghost Wars looked promising, Hip Interactive closed for bankruptcy in late 2005. The game was canned, with many more of their projects, such as “Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End” and “George Romero’s City of the Dead”.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

Burger Wars (Amped Labs) [PC – Cancelled]

Burgers Wars (AKA “Burger Warz” or “The Great Burger War”) is a canceled first person arena shooter that was in development around 2004 by Amped Labs, planned to be released on PC and Mac. Up to 128 players would have been able to play against each other in colorful arenas, to decide which fast-food burger brand would win the “Burgers Wars”. As we can read from their old website:

“Burger Wars is a fast action, multiplayer o­nline first person shooter.  In the year 2033 two competing burger franchises, McBozo and Burger Clown are in an all out global war as they battle for supremacy in o­ne of the worlds last free market enterprises.  Team based play tactics are involved and 3 game types, Team Death Match, Capture the Flag and Assassinate the Clown are supported. It runs o­n PC, Mac and Linux.  It can handle up to 128 players per server, and its spoof humor is a guarantee for some side splitting laughter.”

“In each game type a score point is made by “nutralizing” your opponents.  A point is awarded for each “nutralization.”  Several unique weapons are available to help you.  When an opponent is “nutralized” he or she will drop weapons ammo and a score burger. “The score burger is worth an additional 10 points.  As you gather score points your character has the ability to use more weapons.  Your character can grow over time and his or her score is maintained o­n the game server or cluster of game servers.  The objective is to obtain all the weapons and keep the highest score.  As new mod packs and weapons are available your player will be able to maintain his or her own inventory and trade weapons with other players.”

“In 2003 the first human was cloned.  Despite world wide pressure to ban cloning and genetic experiments o­n humans the fast food industry creates its very own human clown mascot. They altered his genes to have fiery red hair, bright red lips and very pale skin.  His genetic “fathers” included splices from a former actor who became a California Governor, an olympic athlete, an opera singer and a famous magician. He was put to work at an early age. He was very enthusiastic and worked very hard.

Mc Bozo is a ruthless money hungry capitalist who is too cheap to hire a mascot so he does his own advertisements. He is fat, lazy and greedy. He started out as a police officer and was corrupted by smugglers when he began accepting bribes.  After serving time in prison for his crimes he was released o­n Parole and began selling hamburgers as a street vendor. “

“In 2031 o­nly two occupations still employed human workers.  The vast majority of the workforce had been laid off in the great depression of 2019.  Cheap automation, rapid inflation coupled with the devaluation of the new global currency, and the latest human occupation software upgrades for Japanese ASIMO humanoid robots were to blame.  Of the remaining two human occupations, o­ne was civil service, which required a minimum of 3 PHDs, the other was fast food.  When times were tough the application process for a fast food worker could require a two year wait.  Hours were long and competition between the fast food restaurants was fierce. Price wars reduced wages, and layoffs were rampant.  Finally the stress of modern life became too much to bare for the fast food workers and they began attacking each other.

At first it was simple… like a brick tossed through a window. Graffiti sprung up o­n the buildings such as “Die you scum sucking McBozo devil worshippers!” and “Rot in Hell you Burger Clown bastards!” Soon the attacks became more open and personal. O­ne McBozo worker was beaten by Burger Clown employees, dipped in a vat of McBozo sundae sauce and wrapped in toilet paper. The violence was captured and broadcast via infravision o­n all local neural network stations. Shortly after, o­n October 31st 2033, an angry mob of McBozo workers dragged a Burger Clown employee into the street, forced him to eat seven pounds of uncooked French fries and set fire to his head. That was the last straw! It was outright war!”

While the game was officially announced on many gaming websites and a playable demo was also released, Burger Wars and its developers just vanished sometime around 2005. We can assume Amped Labs were not able to complete their project without support from a publisher. They were also working on another game titled “Rise of Power” but it was also cancelled.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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Lunatik (Pure Entertainment) [Playstation, Saturn – Cancelled]

Lunatik is a cancelled shoot ‘em up that was in development around 1997 by Pure Entertainment, planned to be published by Eidos for Playstation, Sega Saturn and PC. The team wanted to develop something similar to a 3D Defender, while showcasing their gorgeous (at the time) 3D engine, featuring dozens of enemies on screens, high number of polygons and detailed textures.

Unfortunately gameplay was not as fun as they hoped for: the project needed more time to be improved, but Eidos did not want to invest any more money into it. In the end Pure Entertainment reworked Lunatik as some kind of ATI Graphic Cards tech demo, and this version was released in limited quantities in ATI bundles. We can assume this ATI Edition was much different from what the team had originally conceived for Lunatik. As we can read on Sega-Saturn.net:

“But ultimately the project failed because the original concept (3D Defender) was next to impossible to do really well. We tried many different gameplay mechanisms to make it work, and none were working. Ultimately we ran out of time to make it work and Eidos cancelled the project. The game did get a limited release for the PC. It was bundled with graphics cards as a graphics showcase, but the game itself was poor.”

We were also be able to gather some early PR text shared when Eidos were promoting the game to gaming magazines and websites:

“Little known London-based Pure Entertainment is the developer behind the project. They are striving to update the genre with a true 3D engine, giving the player full freedom of movement within Lunatik’s 3D world. LUNATIK is a 3D Shoot ‘Em Up, drawing on the addictive gameplay aspects of classics such as Defender and Zaxxon for inspiration, and merging them with a uniquely dramatic look and feel, the combination of which has never been seen before.

Drawn with strong Manga cartoon influences, the 3D real-time graphics have paved the way for an unusual ‘above and behind’ perspective, which will be backed by some in-house techno tunes.

Lunatik will sport eighteen levels, a barrage of Armageddon-like weaponry (including a heat seeker), power ups galore, shields, cloaking devices to collect and bosses that appear at designated times throughout the game.

One interesting touch is the boss timer. Each of the 18 levels features a construction area, where the enemies are busy building a boss monster. If you fail to complete the mission before the timer ticks down, the boss monster is built, and immediately comes looking for you. Gameplay is very much a case of fire or be fired upon, and if you do succeed then the nastier and smarter the AI of the bad guys gets.

The game itself has 8 large levels, each one being a man made ‘moon’ orbiting the decaying relic that was once Earth. All out war is occurring between 7 of the Corporation Dominated Moons and one other, Nu Earth 3, an indomitable civilization holding out against everything the Corporate armies can throw at them. Your mission? Quite simply, wipe the floor with the enemy.”

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Legion (Torus Games) [PSP – Cancelled]

Legion is a cancelled action adventure that was pitched by Torus Games for PSP around 2004. The team created this tech demo to show their ideas to potential publishers, but it seems they never found one interested in funding the project. The game was never officially announced and canned early in its development, so there are no details about how it would have been played. By looking at the only screenshots preserved, we may assume it would have been some kind of horror – Gothic adventure: for sure it looked great for a PSP game!

In the end the only released games by Torus on PSP were Monster Jam: Urban Assault and Shrek Smash n’ Crash Racing. Their other PSP projects such as Full Metal Alchemist and Parkour were never completed.

Thanks to Josuke for the contribution!

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