While the game was received with average to low scores, NEC announced a sequel in early 2000 titled “Ninth Will”. Unfortunately it seems they never shown any image from the project (or maybe there are some forgotten in old Japanese gaming magazines?) and soon it was canned, probably for the low sales of the original title.
In the end Atypical Alchemists Associate and NEC keep working on other games for the Dreamcast, many visual novels and dating sims such as Sentimental Graffiti 2, Kanon, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and Pandora no Yume. We can assume this kind of low-budget projects was more profitable for the Dreamcast market after the discontinuation of the console in 2001.
If you ever find something more about this lost game in Japanese magazines, please let us know!
Team Buddies was an interesting merge of top-down shooting and real time strategy elements, developed for the original Playstation by Psygnosis Camden Studio (later SIE London Studio) and published in 2000 by Sony Computer Entertainment in Europe and Midway Games in North America.
As we can read on Wikipedia, its gameplay was quite fun and original for its time:
“The game is a mix ofWorms‘ humour and a typical real-time strategy game. Central to the game’s theme is the ability of a team of buddies to stack crates in a 2×2×2 pad located in their starting area. Stacking the crates in different ways make different items when the resulting larger crate is broken; for example, a single crate on a stacking pad produces a light weapon, four crates positioned horizontally makes a heavy weapon, and filling the pad creates a vehicle.”
This was the last game released under their Psygnosis name, before they were completely absorbed by SCEE. The same team was working on a new version of Team Buddies for PC, that was internally treated as a sequel because of how much more freedom they had when not constrained to the PS1 limitations.
Unfortunately Sony did not want to invest money into the PC market and all Psygnosis games in development at the time for Computers were either cancelled, moved to PlayStation consoles, or licensed to different publishers. This “Team Buddies 2” was then canned and the team was moved to other projects, such as Dropship: United Peace Force and World Tour Soccer 2003 for PlayStation 2.
A few years ago a small indie team started working on a fan-remake of Team Buddies and a former Psygnosis Camden developer got in contact with them, sharing a video of this lost sequel. You can watch the footage below:
LoveDeLic were one of the most interesting and creative Japanese developers active during the late ‘90s / early ‘00s. They developed cult-classic, peculiar adventures such as Moon: Remix RPG Adventure (PS1), UFO: a Day in the Life (PS1) and Lack of Love (Dreamcast). Unfortunately all of their games were too bizarre and unusual for their time, selling low number of copies and leading to the closure of the team in 2000.
Moon was their first project and after the game was published by ASCII Entertainment in 1997 for the original Playstation, LoveDeLic pitched a sequel titled MooN 2: Mansion Omnibus Occupant Nest. Concept art and a photo of the early design document were posted on Twitter by former LoveDeLic’s Character Designer Kazuyuki Kurashima in 2017.
In the end the project was changed from a sequel to MooN to a different, original adventure: it became “UFO: a Day in the Life”. UFO was later published in 1999 by ASCII, an interesting game that somehow mix together point & click adventures, characters and events which follow an internal clock (just like the original Moon, or Zelda: Majora’s mask) and a “photography simulation” somehow similar to Gekibo (PC Engine, 1992) or Pokèmon Snap (N64, 1999).
If you take a look at the concept art, you can see how it’s similar to the main idea behind UFO: a building divided into different rooms, inhibited by quirky characters. Instead than a cancelled “Moon 2” you could also see this as an early concept for UFO.
Cleric is a cancelled game that was in development for PC by Texas based studio Plutonium Games, and from what we have found, this could have been a quite unique and interesting project. It was a First Person Survival Horror (game) mixed with puzzle elements, action and role playing.
There were plans to release it around the month of December in 2003 but that didn’t happen. On April 14 in 2004 it was announced it was put on indefinite hiatus or cancelled altogether according to a post on the main website of Plutonium Games. There were hints that they had difficulties finding a publisher for their game:
“After a long trip, it looks as if Cleric may not be made for a long time to come, if ever. I want to thank everyone that has supported us over the years. This site will remain up as will the forums. I have recently (3 months ago) taken a job with another studio (Destineer Studios) as a 3D Artist on their tactical shooter project “Close Combat – Marines: First to Fight“. Who knows? Maybe a few years down the road, I’ll get the opportunity to start Plutonium Games back up again. Until then, I’ll be building up my portfolio & experience with Destineer. Thanks again for all the great support!”
As for more information pertaining to how the game would have turned out, here’s a brief story and design summary. Cleric’s story is set in 16th century Russia and the dead are walking again. Women are disappearing and it is up to Reverend Father Aronos Schuler (the main character of the game) to investigate this mystery and to put an end to the plight of the undead. What was interesting is regardless of his position, he was meant to be a character of little faith and the story would have developed around the mystery of the undead of course but also of the Reverend’s internal struggles. Multiple path scenarios were considered with multiple endings as well depending on the player’s actions throughout the game.
Players would have had 2 different holy symbols to use for their main weapons. These would have given a series of different abilities like flying, sensing danger, re-animating the dead, healing and summoning, to list a few. Some traditional weapons like swords, maces and old muskets would have also been weapons the Reverend could find during his travels. Fore more story and gameplay details, you can check an old Gamespot preview and their image gallery.
Judging from the video, you can tell the focus wasn’t exactly just about shooting since the musket would need reloading after every shot. You have a symbol that repels the undead used like a holy cross and if held long enough, they start to catch fire. It seems the mission was to escort a woman to a shelter whilst protecting her from the undead. Later in the video the reverend approaches a statue and acquires a miracle power that lets him summon lightning to strike the undead!
After the cancellation of Castlevania: Resurrection and the death of the Dreamcast, the same team at Konami of Americapitched a few other projects for different consoles. One of these unrealized games was a new 3D Contra with online multiplayer, planned to be developed for PS2, Xbox and PC.
They wanted to have classic single player and local coop story mode for old-school fans of the series, but at the same time testing online multiplayer for the first time.
Some details about this lost Contra game were found by fans, and preserved below to remember the existence of this cancelled concept.
“Contra’s HQ have intercepted SOS from the biggest Russian nuclear submarine that is sinking to the bottom of Barents Sea. While Contra’s HQ continues monitoring the unsuccessful rescue attempts, suddenly the submarine crews stop responding to the Russian Northern Fleet hails. Meanwhile, Contra’s spy satellite registers the beginning of nuclear missiles launch form the sub, and transmission to Russian Navy operations that Red Falcon is demanding to stop the rescue attempt otherwise there are will be a missile strike retaliation. After analyzing the spy satellite data, Contra intelligence realizes that Red Falcon is preparing its third attempt to conquer Earth by using Russian submarine as its base to assemble and power it’s robotic war machines in the safety of deep sea.
Members of Contra Forces are called in and ordered to stop the Red Falcon, and were successful in defeating evil alien entity and its forces. Or, at least they thought so. The “Red Falcon” had actually been merely wounded. It escapes the submarine blast to a secret retreat located in the mountains of Bosnia. Were alien forces lie dormant aviating for decoy Barents Sea invasion to begin, so they can start a real attack of the Earth forces? The Contra intelligence is learning that Red Falcon is not the brains behind an operation but just a pawn controlled by a mysteries alien only know as “Dark Queen”. Contra marines are called again for the final showdown.”
Story mode would have been divided into 3 worlds (Submarine, Mountain Trail and Underground Base): each one with several levels and Bosses. Past Contra protagonists could have been unlocked during the game, to be used as playable characters.
The team planned many different modes for online multiplayer. An idea was to have online coop up to 4 players, split in 2 teams that would fight through different missions before meeting again to kill the boss together. Online Versus mode was also planned, set in a virtual-reality world similar to VR missions in Metal Gear Solid. This could have been a third person or first person shooter, depending on the best prototype they could work on.
As this was only an early pitch they were still thinking about the best Konami IP to use for their first online game. If Contra could have been a risky series (because of its hardcore fans), other possibilities were open such as using the Project Overkill IP instead.
In the end disagreements between Konami of Japan and Konami America killed the american team. Many of their latest games were canned, such as Survivor: Day One for Nintendo 64.