News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Fang of Alnam (no Kiba) [Cancelled – SNES, Super Famicom]

Fang of Alnam (アルナムの牙~獣族十二神徒伝説~, Alnam no Kiba: Shouzoku Juunishin-to Densetsu) is a cancelled 16-bit RPG that was in development by forgotten japanese team Right Stuff, planned to be released in 1996 for Super Famicom (SNES). This project could have been a port of “Alnam no Kiba”, an obscure RPG released in 1994 for PC-Engine and later reworked as a Visual Novel for the original Playstation in 1996.

By comparing screenshots from the cancelled SNES version to images / videos from the PC-Engine version it looks like the game was changed a lot, with very different sprites. While it still looks like a traditional RPG (and not a Visual Novel like the PS1 edition), we could assume that this lost Super Famicom version would also have some differences compared to the PC Engine edition.

Celine found a screenshot of the SNES version in Famitsu magazine (issue 363) and some more details on the personal blog of a japanese collector / former developer (?) who owns an early prototype of the game (translated with Google translate):

“This time, I will introduce Arnam’s fang, which was developed by Right Stuff but has been discontinued. Since this ROM is a very early version, there is no opening, no conversation with NPC, and almost no menu is created.

There is only one MAP and you cannot leave this town. Although it is judged to be an obstacle for the time being, it is suspicious and you can dig into buildings and trees. NPC has several characters in the MAP but cannot speak at all. I can’t enter the building. You can just walk around the town.

Only the menu can be displayed with the Y button. The item is item equipment beast record record method break state setting. Beasting and breaks cannot be used, and will freeze when selected. Most of the items are left unimplemented and the equipment is displayed, but you can not change the equipment.

I don’t remember any magazines at that time, but I may have decided to cancel the development quite early. And the cart name of this ROM is “DEATH BRADE”. Often, the development ROM often uses the ROM name that was previously developed. SFC’s Death Brade is an IMAX and DECO game.

Did you get involved = Light Staff”

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Oliver Twist Video Game [PS3, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

Around 2006 – 2007 a video game based on the popular Oliver Twist novel by Charles Dickens was pitched by Electronic Arts for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but cancelled in the end. The project was never officially announced by EA, but some concept art was found online in 2010. As wrote by Kotaku, by reading the few notes available, EA’s Oliver Twist video game could have been somehow similar to Assassin’s Creed:

“Looks a bit like a kid’s version of Assassin’s Creed, but with one potentially interesting concept mentioned in the notes, Oliver’s hunger levels affecting his pose and animation and, I assume, his vitality. Dearsley’s concepts show off Fagin, multiple versions of Oliver and the Bowstreet Runners.”

As far as we know this Oliver Twister project was conceived by an internal team at EA, as one of many pitches for new projects to be considered by the studio. Other unreleased ideas were Gun Head, a Road Rash reboot and Hurikan.

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Stuntpigs [GameCube – Cancelled]

Stuntpigs is a cancelled arcade racing / adventure game that was in development by M4 Ltd (mostly known for Resident Evil Gaiden on GB) for Nintendo GameCube. Players would drive around the city to perform crazy stunts, collect bonuses and find the best way to show-off their stunt-driver skills. While the game was never officially announced, in 2014 some collectors found related documents in a M4 cd / dvd:

“Did you know stunts performed in Hollywood blockbuster movies are actually done by pigs? Of course you’ve never seen any Stuntpigs, but just occasionally if you look really closely you might just see a trotter or a curly tail pop into shot. Join the Stuntpigs and carve a stylish, precision timed path of mayhem and destruction through the most expensive movie sets ever built, establishing your crew as the top hogs of Hollywood. Your movie’s success is determined entirely through the extravagance of its stunts, the more stylish and closer your stunts are to near death experience the better the box office results.”

We can also read some details on Stuntpigs in an old article on the Hardcore Gaming 101 blog and in a page on NowGamer:

“Sadly no original M4 titles made it to the shelves. Bounty Hunter, Space Cadets and Stuntpigs were all games we really wanted to bring to market. The later two are still held by us in Stuntpigs Ltd a dormant company. Who knows maybe one day they will rise.”

“Bounty Hunter was in production when I joined M4 and it really was stunning. As for Stuntpigs – the best game never made. I think it was just ahead of its time… Space Cadets though, that was actually completed and it was a really good game. It was different though and it really worked best multi-player. It’s typical – generally publishers don’t like to risk money on original stuff, especially when there’s cartridges to pay for.”

“Kieron agrees: “Stuntpigs had frantic gameplay, some dark humour and loads of destruction. Way ahead of its time and beyond the scope of publishers  to realise. Shame!” Although the team disbanded it’s clear they had a lot of talent – Gaiden is testament to this – and it’s a shame M4 was never given a fair shot.”

As you can see from the available footage, the game somehow looked like a mix between Crazy Taxi and Simpsons’ Road Rage, with cartoony graphics and fun, arcadey gameplay. It could have been a nice addition to the GameCube library. We hope one day a former M4 developer could find a playable prototype from their lost game and share it online.

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Vietnam: The Tet Offensive [PS2, PC – Cancelled]

Vietnam: The Tet Offensive is a cancelled FPS that was in development around 2004 by Atomic Planet Entertainment, planned to be published by Oxygen Interactive on PlayStation 2 and PC. As you can assume by its title, players would take the role of an American soldier during the Vietnam war, throughout the historical Tet Offensive to be precise.

Not much else is known about the game, apart from the original press-release and old news from IGN:

“Due in September, Vietnam: The Tet Offensive will feature a range of action-packed missions and an innovative damage system, packed with accurate historical details.”

While some websites have listed this game as published in Europe, as far as we know it was never really released in there. While another Oxygen / Atomic Planet FPS collaboration titled “SAS: Against All Odds” was later released as “SAS Anti-Terror Force”, Vietnam: The Tet Offensive just vanished without traces.

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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