News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Warrior’s Lair (Ruin) [PS3, PSVita – Cancelled]

Warrior’s Lair (working title ‘’Ruin’’)  was an action role-playing game set in a medieval fantasy universe. Developed by Idol Minds (now known as Deck Nine), Ruin was supposed to feature gameplay similar to Diablo and Torchlight, which were pretty big in the early 2010s. 

The game was to be released on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita and sold as a single package, as then-confirmed by Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony Worldwide Studios, in a statement for Eurogamer

‘’Both games will be packaged together. You can play the game at home on PS3, save your data on our PSN server on the cloud, and you can continue playing the game on PS Vita by downloading the save from the PSN. And you can do vice versa. It’s a continuous experience, playing the same game on PS Vita and PS3.’’

The game was presented in June 2011 at E3. The seamless gameplay and cross-connectivity were arguably the biggest selling points of the game. Its isometric view and dungeon-crawling elements were reminiscent of games such as Diablo, confirming their main inspiration for the project. Ruin was also supposed to contain simulation of destructible environments and ragdoll physics. 

During the same E3 conference, Sony Entertainment demonstrated the ability to transfer active games between the two systems using cloud storage. Warrior’s Lair/Ruin was supposed to feature social media integration, allowing players to post their progress on Facebook and Twitter. Players could show up in each other’s games and either collaborate or compete. 

After 2 years of sitting in limbo, the game was officially canceled in July 2013, as stated by a Sony representative to IGN:

‘’Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm that Warrior’s Lair for PS Vita is no longer in development’’; We apologize to those who pre-ordered the title and ask that they contact their retailer directly to cancel their pre-sale.’’

We don’t exactly know why the game was canceled. All that we know is that Sony Entertainment San Diego was supposed to add the finishing touches back in 2012, and when the game didn’t show up at E3 2012, the future of the game was put into question. 

As we can read at PushSquare:

“Apparently, when the title was canned, Idol Minds had been working on the project for a full year. The game was supposedly just three months away from release, with Sony having already invested “millions of dollars” into it. But the plug was pulled nevertheless, even if the reasons behind its cancellation weren’t even clear to those that worked on it.

“First, I assume it had to do with the weakness of the Vita,” Floyd explained. “Sony internal studios, to me, looked like they never had much faith in it. As far as we were concerned, the game was primarily a PS3 game; we weren’t going to bank on the Vita.” Regardless, the title apparently looked and played great on the troubled handheld, with the cross-save feature working like a charm.”

Unfortunately, the chances of Warrior’s Lair eventually seeing the light of day are slim. After Reddit user u/nduval emailed the developers asking about the future of the title, they said:

It’s great to hear from you. Ruin was a passion project for the entire team and we were heartbroken when Sony ran out of funding to finish it.

Things are different over there now, with the success of the PS4, so building fan interest in the game and communicating that to Sony would be the only way forward.

We would love to return to that game and finish it.

Article by Marco Giuliani

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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! A playable prototype was found and shared online by Gaming Alexandria in January 2020.