New Cancelled Games & Their Lost Media Added to the Archive

Gun Runner [Cancelled – Xbox 360/PS3]

Gun Runner is the cancelled sequel to John Woo’s Stranglehold game from 2007; which was, in turn, a follow-up to the action movie, Hard Boiled. It was being developed by Midway’s Chicago studio and was slated to be released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in late 2009.

The title entered pre-production in May 2008, shortly after Stranglehold’s release in September 2007. It was planned to continue the ongoing story of Hard Boiled and Stranglehold. Chow Yun-fat was down to reprise the lead role of the gung-ho Inspector “Tequila”, lending again both his likeness and voice to the character.

A New Identity

Gun Runner was proposed as the start of a campaign to rebrand Stranglehold, in order to increase its mass appeal. Despite taking place after the first game, its story was going to be completely self-contained, one developer told us.

A key aspect of this new direction for the series was the introduction of Vin Diesel. The actor would have voiced another character, alongside Tequila. A former member of the team we got in touch with described Midway’s idea for the two as “a buddy cop story“. Full multiplayer co-operative support was planned for the story mode, wherein players would have each controlled of one of them. Read more

Gutherman Project: Toy Commander [Beta – Dreamcast]

Gutherman Project was the working title of Toy Commander, a Dreamcast action game developed by No Clichè and published by Sega, released in North America on September 1999.

Several magazines and online publications mentioned Gutherman as one of the launching titles (along with Agartha) for the Dreamcast. According to futuregamez.net:

No Cliché have released some details about 2 Dreamcast projects on their site. Firstly, they have an action game called Gutherman where “aim of the game is to drive vehicles through several breathtaking missions“. The second title is an horror-adventure game called Agartha which apparently will use “a new innovative character control”. Both titles will be launched with the Dreamcast in August.

The magazine Computer And Videogames (issue 212) mentioned (with the title Gutherman: Toy Commander) “some kind of Mario-style kids platforming game“:

gutherman-cvg212

Through the archived version of No Clichè’s website (everything is in the News archive 98/99) we can have a glimpse of the development process of Toy Commander:

Mercredi 30 Septembre 1998:
La photo mystere du projet Gutherman 
Lundi 1 Mars :
Les beta-tests du Projet Gutherman ont commencé
Mardi 27 Avril :
Le “Projet Gutherman” sortira sous le nom de “TOY COMMANDER”
Mercredi 12 Mai :
“TOY COMMANDER” sera présent à l’Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) sur le stand de Sega.

If you know where we can find the mysterious screenshot of Project Gutherman drop us an e-mail!.

Magazine Scans:

Computer_and_Video_Games_Issue_211_1999-06_EMAP_Images_GB_0068 Computer_and_Video_Games_Issue_212_1999-07_EMAP_Images_GB_0075

The Wonderful 101 [Beta / Concept – Wii U]

The Wonderful 101 is an action game for the Wii U, developed by Platinum Games in partnership with Nintendo and was directed by famed Japanese designer, Hideki Kamiya, of Okami and Devil May Cry notoriety. It was released in 2013 and has since developed a small cult following among Wii U owners.

The game follows the adventures of The Wonderful 100, a team of superheroes, as they fight to defend Earth from an alien menace known as the ‘GEATHJERK Federation‘. Despite being released almost a full year into the Wii U’s lifespan, the project had, in fact, been in the works for a few years prior. As revealed by the staff who worked on it over the course of its development, its direction underwent some considerable shifts along the way.

Video Game All Stars, Unite Up!

As disclosed by Hideki Kamiya at Gamescom 2013, The Wonderful 101 began life as an entirely different entity. Kamiya’s involvement with the project started a few years earlier, when the President and CEO of Platinum Games, Tatsuya Minami, tasked him with creating an action game with a cast of some of gaming’s biggest icons. It was set to feature Nintendo characters primarily, as well as guest stars from third party companies.

The project in this form dates all the way back to 2010, when it was planned to be developed not on Wii U, but on the Wii.

At that time it wasn’t necessarily based on any specific platform. But when we took it to Nintendo, the discussions went from there, and we decided to put it on Wii.” – Hideki Kamiya, on the first iteration of The Wonderful 101 project.

Although it has been never stated which characters from companies outside of Nintendo were planned, Kamiya did elaborate on the main cast of this original vision at 2013’s Penny Arcade Expo. During an interview with Siliconera, he mentioned that Link and Mario were among those featured. This suggests that the two might have been the basis for the ‘Unite Hand’ and ‘Unite Sword’ moves, based upon the traits of either character.

Initially, the idea was proposed by Mr. Minami, to create a game featuring Nintendo characters or other popular characters together in one game. With the idea of putting characters like Mario and Link into the same game, you end up with a situation where fans of Mario are forced to play as Link.

Moreover, during Platinum’s panel at the event, Kamiya described one piece of concept art for the project, involving other Mario characters. He gave the example of a portion where Peach, Luigi and Yoshi attempt to grab hold of one another to form a bridge, with Mario hopping across the top of them, allowing him to traverse a large bottomless pit. One artist, Kibbles, has put together a sketch for us to illustrate what this roughly might have looked like.

Wonderful 101 mario bridge concept

It appears that this idea might well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The director went on to to say that the people at Nintendo viewing this concept in particular was the point at which they decided the project could not be realised. Read more

Tintin [PS2 – Cancelled Prototype]

Before going bankrupt, Appeal, the same software house behind the unreleased Outcast II, developed a prototype for a new action game based on the Tintin comic books:

After the Outcast II debacle (see the related article here), we were offered a share buy-back option by our publisher (Infogrames) in exchange of a new pre-production contract around a Tintin game. As we had to keep our studio alive, we bought back the shares at a nominal price and got the contract started.

The budget was tight and the timing was short, so we tried to reuse a number of ressources from the Outcast II prototype and build on top of that. The game was to be fully 3D exploration with some action scenes and mini-games.

Unfortunately the publisher, Infogrames, couldn’t reach a deal with Moulinsart, the french foundation that manages the TinTin franchise, thus destroying Appeal’s last chance to recover.

For more informations check Franck Sauer’s Website.

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Jak & Daxter 4 [PS3 – Cancelled / Concept]

Before to fully work on  The Last of Us, Naughty Dog was planning to create a new, even more grittier Jak and Daxter game for the Playstation 3, but after the concept art team drawn some Jak and Daxter artworks to use in this “reboot” of the series, they thought that they would have more freedom to just create a new IP for the mature audience, and thus the project evolved to became The Last of Us. After Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak 2 and Jak 3, this project could have been the 4° title in the main Jak series (or even the 5th one if you consider Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier). In the end, Naughty Dog never released any new Jak & Daxter game for the PS3, only an HD collection with their first 3 PS2 games.

At the IGDA Toronto 2013 Keynote, Neil Druckmann (Creative Director & Writer from Naughty Dog) talked about this cancelled Jak & Daxter concept:

Our task was to reboot Jak & Daxter. We spent a lot of time exploring the world of Jak and Daxter and how we would reboot it; how we would bring these characters back, some story ideas that we were getting excited about.

As much as we like these concepts and exploring these fantastical worlds, we found the ideas that we were getting passionate about were getting away from Jak & Daxter. We were questioning ourselves, were we doing this for marketing reasons and naming something Jak & Daxter when it really isn’t Jak & Daxter, or were we really passionate about it?

As we can read at GameInformer:

Shelving the Jak and Daxter ideas meant the team could begin work on a fresh idea. Shedding the restrictions of an existing IP allowed directors Druckmann and Straley to let their creative juices flow and explore whatever they wished.

Some concept arts from this cancelled “Jak & Daxter 4” project were shown by Neil Druckmann at the IGDA Toronto, in the “A Tribute to Naughty Dog: 30th Anniversary” exhibition in september / october 2014 and in the “Naughty Dog’s 30th Anniversaryart book (you can buy it on Amazon UK for 20.39£, Amazon USA for 25$ or Amazon IT for 32 euro), as posted by Junkie Monkeys!

Thanks to Loïc Caria for the contribution!

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