News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Mario Motors (Yoot Saito) [Nintendo DS – Cancelled]

Mario Motors is a cancelled racing / car engine simulation game that was in development by Yoot Saito (Seaman, Odama, SimTower) and Nintendo for their DS. While the game was never officially announced, Saito talked about it during his conference at Reboot Develop 2018. As we can read at Destructoid:

“”During one meeting, Iwata-san asked me a question: ‘Saito-san, what have you been interested in lately?’ I immediately understood what he was getting at, so I answered ‘sculpting chunk.’ Miyamoto-san said ‘huh?!'” (To help explain to the audience what he was referring to, Saito talked a bit about how things like watches, camera frames, and MacBooks are made. Sculpting objects out of metal chunks spoke to him and it was an idea he “really wanted” to make into a game.). […] This kind of sculpting is really appealing to a middle-aged guy like me […] I explained this crazy idea to them and they really listened to me very carefully in complete silence, and finally said ‘that sounds interesting, let’s give it a try. […] The concept eventually morphed into Mario Motors, “a game where you created engines.”

Saito summed it up as “shaving and sculpting out of a chunk of metal to make a cylinder [which then] decides the ability of your engines.” For part of the game he wanted to teach players how acceleration works in an interesting way and thought about having them blow into the DS microphone. “I scrapped this idea because this would cause children to get out of breath,” he explained.

As for why Mario Motors never moved ahead, Saito said “I can’t tell you why, but please guess.”

A few Mario Motors images were shared by Saito and we can see a “2008” date and a Nintendo DS Lite in there, but we don’t know when its original idea was conceived. A similar interactive concept was playable at E3 2004 when Nintendo had a “Carving tech demo” to showcase DS’ touch screen. As we can read in an old Kikizo E3 report:

“The Carving demo removed any doubts I had about DS’ touch screen sensitivity. The demo started by making your selection of a log, a steel cylinder, a watermelon, or a Mario wood sculpture. Whichever item you select is sent to the top of the screen and laid horizontally, then spun. At this point your touch pen becomes a razor sharp carving knife. Touching the object on the very edge only makes a skin deep incision, while moving in deeper cuts away an increasing amount of meat. Most impressive was the surgical precision of the carving on the DS touch screen.”

From the few Mario Motors images available, it looks like Mario would have been instructed on how engines work by an older version of him (?), with white mustache and air.

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Sports Immortal [N64 – Cancelled]

Sports Immortal is a cancelled over the top sport / action game that was pitched by Iguana Entertainment / Acclaim as a possible new Nintendo 64 project. A few pages from the design doc were shared on Twitter by its designer Jools Watsham

“Unearthed an old design doc I created 20 years ago! It was an extreme futuristic sports series for the Nintendo 64, called Sports Immortal. Good times!”

“It was never playable, sadly.”

Immortal Hockey came first (for coin-op). I then later incorporated it and expanded on the idea for N64 with Sports Immortal series.”

As we can read on the design doc:

“The aim of the game, score the most points. To do this most effectively, score as many goals as humanly, or non humanly, possible. Points rewarded for goal scoring are far higher than combat points. 1 Goal 10 points, 1 Hit 1 point.

Many scoring techniques and combos are possible to perform within the Immortal world. player can shoot straight for the goal by pressing A button once. Hold A button to build up power shot which can also be sot straight at goal with tremendous power.

Power shots are where the major “hooks” of Immortal Hockey will come into play. Each goal has a power zone surrounding it (like the 3 point zone in basketball). When a player performs a power shot in the power zone by using stick & button combos they will perform crazy, exaggerated twists and rainbow spirals, slamming the puck home in tremendous style & power. Stomp your opponent into the ground. Serious pay-off value like those found in NBA Jam – you’ll just wanna do it again, and again..”

In the end Iguana / Acclaim managers did not greenlight the game and the company worked on other titles such as Iggy’s Reckin’ Balls, Forsaken 64 and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil.

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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!

Towers II: Plight of the Stargazer [Game Boy Color – Cancelled]

Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit was a first-person RPG / dungeon crawler developed by JV Games (AKA JV Enterprises) and originally published on PC in 1993, with a Game Boy Color port  published by Vatical Entertainment in 2000. A sequel titled “Towers II: Plight of the Stargazer” was later released in 1995: JV planned to also port this one to the GBC, but unfortunately the project was cancelled.

Robert was able to get in contact with Vince Valenti of JV Games, who shared some details and screenshot from their cancelled game:

“We estimated it would take 3-4 months to convert.  It took about 6. We took the Towers I game code we wrote for the GBC and improved on it to lay out the Towers II game.  Came out nice, we thought. Too bad it never made it out to market.

Towers 2 – Plight of the Stargazer, picks up a couple of months after their initial landing.  The crew is discovering that there is something very strange in the land of Lamini. There is no outside trade or information, and the locals seem only interested in the current affairs of Lamini.

During this time repairs have been made to the ship, which is almost complete, and the crew is more then anxious to leave the island.  This is when the new sheriff requests our audience. Lord Daggan, one of Lamini’s highest council members appears to have gone mad. The council’s elite guards and mages were sent in to stop Daggan, but none have been heard from since.  

According to the sheriff, you are Lamini’s best chance.  It seems that the only people that have been able to enter the Towers and escape have been individual or small groups of thieves.  Several thieves were questioned, and their confessions were amazing. They spoke of large eyes with wings, men made out of metal, and living fire.  It is now up to you, with a companion if you choose, to enter Daggan’s towers, and unravel the mystery.

In this game, the mysteries of the island of Lamini start to unravel as well as the deceit of the council.  

New & Improved Features:

  • Approximately 6 minutes of vocal conversations.
  • Larger view screen.
  • changing dungeon graphics, by level.
  • Teleporters.
  • Visual graphic spell selection.
  • Improved AI, the intro of friendly characters.
  • Improved story line integration.
  • Spell effects
  • More puzzles
  • American-style, full featured RPG
  • 2 player linkable option (co-operative mode)
  • 15 levels to explore”

Thanks to Robert for the contribution!

Planetfall 2: Floyd’s Next Thing [PC – Cancelled]

The original Planetfall is sci-fi text-adventure written by Steve Meretzky, published by Infocom for DOS PCs in 1983. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“The game starts with the user assuming the role of a lowly Ensign Seventh Class on the S.P.S. Feinstein, a starship of the Stellar Patrol. Overbearing superior Ensign First Class Blather assigns the player to mop decks, not exactly the glorious adventures promised by the recruiters on Gallium. But a sudden series of explosions aboard the ship sends the player scrambling for an escape pod, which eventually crash-lands on a nearby planet. There are signs of civilization, but curiously no traces of the beings that once lived there. Eventually encountering a helpful but childlike robot named Floyd, the player must unravel the mysteries of the single deserted structure on the planet, Resida, and find a way to get back home.”

3 years later the company was bought by Activision and in the mid ‘90s they tried to create a sequel titled: Planetfall 2: Floyd’s Next Thing. The project was started at least a couple of times, but it was always cancelled in the end.

Two trailers were released promoting the two versions of the sequel: the first one looked a bit like Myst, with per-rendered graphics, while the second version of the game was in full, real-time 3D.

In 2012 Archive.org user Swizzley uploaded a playable demo of Planetfall 2 and another prototype was later uploaded in 2016 by Agustin Cordes. As we can read from the file description:

“Don’t get your hopes up: this is a very early prototype from the cancelled sequel to Infocom’s classic text adventure. It’s barely playable, though it does provide an interesting look at how the game would have played with a realtime 3D engine. The prototype does introduce a puzzle (at least the only one I could find) and features voice acting as well as a pretty cool soundtrack tune. Judging by the puzzle, you were able to give orders to your robot companions similarly to how Infocom’s classic text adventures worked.

[…] back in 2007, an alleged ex-employee from Activision was auctioning this CD on eBay. He couldn’t verify the contents of the disc, but many enthusiasts including myself still pledged hoping it was legit. My top bid was $40 (hey, it was a pretty decent sum at the time) but the CD was sold at a whooping $90. I wasn’t going to give up, so I contacted the seller who in turn put me in touch with the buyer. Turns out he was a nice guy who exchanged the same ISO I’m uploading right now for a physical soundtrack of Scratches and a signed copy of the game. It was a fairly good deal. This prototype brings back great memories.

It’s been almost ten years since that transaction happened, and I think the time has come to properly preserve this rare piece of software history. Enjoy!”

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