News on Beta & Cancelled Games

TinTin [PS2 – Prototype]

Appeal is rather obscure studio formed in 1995 by Yves Grolet, Franck Sauer and Yann Robert, mostly known for their cult-following adventure game Outcast (1999) and its remake (2017). During their lifespan Appeal pitched and prototyped many different games that never seen the light of day: one of these was a “The Adventures of Tintin” tie-in for Playstation 2, based on the popular Belgian comic.

As we can read on Franck Sauer’s website:

“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.

We had developed some nice technology for the Outcast II game and, although it was still far from being complete, we had enough to prototype a Tintin game.

The budget was tight and the timing was short, so we tried to reuse a number of resources 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.

In the end, Infogrames did not manage to sign a license deal with Moulinsart (The company that holds the Tintin rights), and we finally got bankrupt the same year and closed the studio.”

Props to Franck for preserving and sharing these files from the lost game!

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Insane Warrior (Core Design) [Playstation – Cancelled]

Insane Warrior is a cancelled game by Core Design, that was planned to be developed for the original Playstation. Assembler Games Forum user Decapicitated found a few screenshots from this lost project in the online portfolio of a former Core Design developer who worked on it. As we can read from Decapicitated’s posts:

“Insane Warrior was developed by Core Design and was unfortunately cancelled. It wasn’t exactly a playable game, more or less a tech demo. Part of the team which developed the game went onto developing Ninja: Shadow Of Darkness which was released September 1998. The game itself looked very similar in terms of the camera style, it was identical to Ninja. I also believe some of the ideas of this game were implemented into Ninja therefore, it could be quite possible to just call it an early tech demo of Ninja.”

“Yeah, it’s definitely a PSX exclusive. It was nothing more than a tech demo which was developed after Tomb Raider, but before Ninja as the team working on this was pushed on to making Ninja in 1997 to be released for 1998. This game got canned or the engine was probably re-used for Ninja. The game is very similar as I said before and these are the only screenshots in existence, I got these off a website which belonged to one of the devs a VERY long time ago; the website is now defunct”

At the moment there are no other details about this cancelled game. If you know someone who worked at Core Design between the original Tomb Raider and Ninja, please let us know!

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Outworld 2375 AD [Mega Drive / Genesis – Cancelled]

Outworld 2375 AD is a cancelled Sega Mega Drive / Genesis racing game that was in development around 1993. A single screenshot was published in Sega Visions magazine (Issue 15), where they wrote it was being developed as one of the games with Heartbeat Personal Trainer support.

Outworld-2375-AD-genesis-megadrive-cancelled

“Outworld 2375 AD enters you in a thrilling outer-space race for your freedom”

As we can read on Sega Retro, the Heartbeat Personal Trainer is a rare variation of the Sega Mega Drive, released in 1993:

“[…] came bundled with exercise software and motion sensors which are only compatible with this unit. A sensor can be connected to the unit which monitors the user’s heartbeat, which in turn controls the speed of an on-screen Kangaroo (Joey), the aim being to keep your heartbeat at a certain rate by exercising. Other sensors can detect movement, and past exercise history can be saved and compared with others […] Though not a requirement, the unit was designed to be used in conjunction with exercise equipment, e.g. treadmills, exercise bikes, etc.”

Using the Heartbeat Personal Trainer features they could implement motion controls and let people to exercise while playing. We can assume in Outworld 2375 AD you could have been able to run on your treadmill or exercise bike to move your vehicle in the game.

A trademark for “OUT WORLD 2375 AD” was filed in 1993 and abandoned in 1995:

“video game programs sold in the form of cartridges and cassettes. Games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees.”

A collector on Nintendo Age also found some promotional reversal films with more images from this lost game. By reading the same topic, it seems another collector may own a Outworld 2375 AD prototype, so we can hope to see more from it in the future.

Thanks to Youloute for the contribution!

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Zorro [SNES – Cancelled]

In the mid ’90s US Gold was developing a SNES action game in which you would play as Zorro, the popular hero created in 1919 by writer Johnston McCulley. Some screenshots were published in gaming magazines at the time, but in the end Zorro for the Super Nintendo was never released. As it often happens with these cancelled 16-bit tie-in projects, we can speculate its gameplay was not much fun or changed idea on the profitability of the Zorro IP.  US Gold halted development on the game and switched resources to something else.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Redemption (Cranberry Source) [N64 – Cancelled]

Redemption is a cancelled action adventure in development by Cranberry Source, that may have been published by Philips Media Interactive for Nintendo 64. While it remains an obscure and forgotten project, from what we have gathered it could have been quite the original and revolutionary game for its time, merging many different genres and viewpoints together: FPS, third person isometric puzzle-platformer and open world exploration on vehicles.

Head over Heels

Redemption was designed by Jon Ritman, founder of Cranberry Source and mostly known for his work on cult-classic 1980s computer games such as Head over Heels, plus Monster Max for Rare on the original Game Boy. Unfortunately the team never shown any screenshots from their unreleased N64 adventure, but few details are scattered around the web and in old magazines. On the Playstation Museum website we can read:

“Cranberry Source had a multi-product deal (three, in fact) with Philips Media Interactive. QAD was to be the first game released, Super Match Soccer (or Match Day 3 as it was known then) the second, and the third game had a provisional title of “Redemption”. QAD and SMS were developed at the London office, and Redemption was to be developed by staff at the Cranberry North office. Ultimately, Redemption never really got much further than the drawing board, but the initial designs focused around the kind of puzzle elements found in Jon Ritman’s previous games such as Head over Heels and Monster Max.”

In PC Zone magazine (Issue 41, August 1996) they published an interview with Cranberry Source, along with few details about Redemption:

PZ: What about Redemption?

JR: That’s our epic.. John then goes on to explain the basic concept behind Redemption. In summary, it’ll be a very large action-cum-puzzle-cum-exploration game, using several different viewpoints. Parts of it are Doom-like, parts of it hark back to the classic isometric platform/puzzle games of yore (such as Head Over Heels, another of John’s past glories), and parts of it take place outdoors. In vehicles. It’s quite ambitious, in other words.

JC: To rationalise how we’ve got all this different stuff in one game, we’ve come up with quite a weird scenario which involves a mad, serial killer surgeon who’s grafting bits onto you. All this stuff takes place in your own head, and each level is a different operation. It’s, er, a bit odd really.

JR: It is a bit odd, isn’t it?”

An interview with Ritman conducted by Blood in Autumn 1996 for Emulate! Magazine (issue 6) also mention Redemption:

What are Cranberry Source working on at the minute? Which machines are you concentrating on?

Three games each on PC, Playstation & Saturn –

Q.A.D. – A fly over a stunning landscape rescuing hostages game (2player)

The Net – A multiplayer soccer game

Redemption – An epic game, this would take me too long to describe!

[…] For HoH fans I suggest a look at Redemption (it won’t be released until the end of next year).”

It’s not clear if the game was originally conceived as a PC or Nintendo 64 project, but in N64 Magazine (Issue 12, February 1998) they mentioned Cranberry Source were developing it for Nintendo’s console:

“Our wrinklier readers will undoubtedly remember Head Over Heels, a 3D puzzly platform adventure that was one of the Spectrum’s best games back in the 1980s. Well bless our souls if it’s not about to rise again. Jon Ritman, the chap behind the Speccy original, set up a development company called Cranberry Source who, after a bit of PC-based action, have decided to turn their hands to the N64. And their first Nintendo game will be a 3D puzzly platformer adventure that incorporates the best elements of – yes – Head over Heels. Superb!”

A couple of months later, in April 1998 Jon Ritman and other developers of Cranberry Source were hired by Argonaut Games, possibly because the studio were really impressed by their work with Redemption for the N64. As we can read on IGN:

“The co-founder of Cranberry Source, Jon Ritman, and several other members have left the company to join the British independent developer Argonaut, best known for the original Star Fox and the Super FX chip.

According to IGN’s morning news service, GameAddict, Ritman and his team will be working on an action adventure due to release late next year. Prior to the switch, Ritman was working on an N64 semi-sequel to the classic Head Over Heels. It is not yet known how Cranberry Source will cope with the loss and what will happen to its projects in progress.

Argonaut’s Jez San commented on Ritman’s move: “Many of us at Argonaut have been long standing fans of Ritman’s work, especially of Batman, Match Day, and Head-Over-Heels. I feel he will develop some of his finest work at Argonaut and could help some of our existing games further refine their gameplay.” Although Argonaut has only announced one title so far (Buck Bumble), industry insiders have told IGN64.com that Argonaut is heavily investing in N64 development with numerous titles on the way.

It’s not clear if Argonaut also acquired the rights to develop Redemption, but in the end the project was never completed.

We hope one day to preserve more details or even images for this fascinating and unrealized project.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!