News on Beta & Cancelled Games

The Ravaging (Pukka Games) [PC – Cancelled]

The Ravaging is a cancelled action game that was in development by Pukka Games around 1998 – 1999, to be published by Telstar on PC. The team was co-founded in 1998 by Clive Townsend, Anatole and Damon Branch, but unfortunately never found much success and is mostly known for a couple of Thunderbirds tie-ins for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Most of their projects never saw the lights of day, titles such as Tracers, Life Force, Chaos and Chariot Racer.

The Ravaging would have been their first game, but Telstar closed down during development. As we can read from their old website:

“The ravaging is a tactical/action 3D game set on the planes of Hades, an enormous hierarchical structure ruled over by the Angel of the Abyss, Satan. The planes are divided into sections, called Sub-Planes, containing a horrendous assortment of demons, puzzles and traps, all of which stand in your way. As a newly qualified Demon Lord, your natural desire is to slash, burn, maim and deceive your way to the top, where on, completion of the game, you take Satan’s place on the ice-cold ebony altar of pain which is his throne.

To progress through the game you make challenges on the rulers of Sub-planes. If you are successful your Status will rise and you will gain in ‘experience’ which may be ‘spent’ on improving your abilities or that of your horde. You will also earn the right to demand demons from the loser to add to your own horde. Magic skills can be improved through learning, discovering or stealing artifacts. In this way as you progress through The Ravaging your magic powers and legion will grow ever stronger.

However, thousands of Pithounds and the ability to summon Demogorgon, the Lord of Chaos, do not a successful challenger make. All of The Ravaging’s characters are endowed with enough intelligence to make life very difficult indeed. Sneaky, tactically devious and incapable of mercy, the inhabitants of Hades have more than one way to fry an upstart baron. It is up to you to find their weaknesses, the one chink in their leathery hides that renders them vulnerable. (If a 110 foot, psychopathic lava-god could ever be considered vulnerable.)”

Today the project is mostly forgotten, but former Pukka Games developers talked about it in a few interviews. Clive Townsend was interviewed for Jogos 80:

J80: Did you think at the time about releasing a third installment? There are mentions of a third game on World of Spectrum that hasn’t been released.

CT: I’ve wanted to make a Saboteur 3 for many years, but never had the financial backing to make it happen. In 1998 I teamed up with some colleagues to form Pukka Games, and the plan was to complete The Ravaging then use the game engine to make Saboteur 3. Despite having an amazingly advanced 3D engine, the publisher (Telstar) closed down so the deal fell through and we had to resort to making Game Boy games to pay the bills”

On Retro Gamer (Issue 011-015) we can read another interview with Clive:

“After getting  permission from Robert White, I set up Bacchus Software  Projects and started work. The 3D revolution had hit but 3D  hardware was still a rarity, so I started creating a software 3D  engine. After working alone for 18 months I finally had everything working; all my  maps, models, bitmaps, textures, sound effects… At this point I joined up with two  friends – Anatole and Damon Branch – to form Pukka Games. Saboteur 3 was put on hold while we created The Ravaging  for Telstar.”

In September 2017 user 10ahu posted a playable The Ravaging prototype on the Assembler Games forum:

“The ravaging was a pc game developed by Pukka games back in 99 early 2000. It was a action game. You play an angel from hell…and…I don’t remember the story at all :D Based in Wells Uk Pukka games was a very tiny studios but full of great people. I ve worked here few months before joining bits studios. They mostly know for GB and GBA games. Sadly The company closed door in 2002.

I ve found this demo on one of my old rotting cd from back in the day (18 year old cheap cd don t age well). they was more assets on the disk. some video…but the files got corrupted. Fortunately the part of the disk with the demo was still working!! Don t expect a full game, this is a really early build…really rough…

From what i ve could figure out you play with the mouse and the arrows… the demo seem to only have one level. but on the cd i ve got the data s for a few more, so they maybe more I haven’t try all the menu…I remember 4 arms gorilla enemy that I haven’t seeing so far in the demo.

The Team was small but very dedicated to the game and it was still being worked on when I ve left the company so they maybe other demo with more gameplay.”

You can download The Ravaging proto from here (100 MB). We tried to run the game but without much luck. If you are able to play this and record some footage, please let us know!

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Rainbow Six, XIII, Brothers in Arms, Ghost Recon 2 Beta Builds

A few old beta / pre-release versions of the following games were found by Steve in an old (original) Xbox Development Kit:

  • Rainbow Six (late 2004)
  • XIII (dec 2002)
  • Brothers in Arms (Nov 2004)
  • Ghost Recon 2 (aug 2004)

The full XDK dump was shared online ad it’s available to be saved. Please, upload it on mirrors if you can, to be sure to preserve all the files. If you find any interesting differences / unused models hidden in the code, feel free to share your finds with the video games preservation community at:

Thanks for your help!

Screenshots by MobCat99

Winterheart’s Guild (Sonata Arctica Video Game) [PC – Cancelled]

Winterheart’s Guild is a cancelled post-apocalyptic action-RPG that was in development by Zelian Games Studio around 2007. The project was mostly known for being a collaborative project between Zelian Games and the power metal band Sonata Arctica, as much as the game’s title was taken from the band’s 2003 album of the same name.

As we can read from their old website:

“Winterheart’s Guild is a post-apocalyptic action-RPG. The setting is a harsh, brutal Earth, after the destruction of civilization at its technological peak. In this world, resources are scarce, and the environment is as dangerous as the enemies that the player must face. The world is mostly covered in snow and ice. It’s not only the health of your character that matters, but also warmth and energy. Valuable items are hard to come by. In this world, you truly feel the value of finding a good weapon and a reasonable stash of ammunition.

The game draws from various genres. The gameplay is action based, with RPG elements that give the game depth. In terms of actual gameplay, we have several corner-stones that come together in the final experience: Combat (action), Travel (exploration), Trade (loot, buy/sell, trade), Conversation (info, receive items, other game state effects) and Character Management. All these things take place in a very physical world – we are using Ageia PhysX (with hardware support) to bring the world physically to life. Don’t have the key to open the wooden door? Just bash it in if you have the right weapon and enough strength.

The band members feature as the main characters in this alternate futuristic world. There is no connection between the in-game characters and the real-world band, other than looks and voice. We are also trying to bring across distinct characteristics for each main character that may or may not match their real-world personalities.

Sonata Arctica is also providing the instrumental music (in-game and other) for Winterheart’s Guild, as well as one or more bonus tracks (full songs). Furthermore, many of the story, character and other elements of the game subtly draw from Sonata Arctica song lyrics, including albums other than Winterheart’s Guild. Sonata Arctica also has some input in terms of gameplay ideas and features.”

In 2008 the game was officially put on-hold due to lack of interest and funding from publishers. Zelian Games tried switching their resources to a Bejewelled clone titled “xOrbic”, which saw a public alpha release but in the end it was also canned and the team vanished.

Thanks to AeonicButterfly and António for the contribution!

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My Neighbor Totoro [SNES – Cancelled]

Around 1992 Tokuma Shoten Intermedia planned to develop or publish a tie-in Super Nintendo video game for the popular Studio Ghibli anime My Neighbor Totoro. At the time Studio Ghibli was part of Tokuma Shoten and the company published a few anime-related games such as Yadamon: Wonderland Dream and Eternal Filena. As far as we know the game was never officially announced by the company, but in 2019 Itoh Shigeyuki (former artists at Tokuma) shared on Twitter a couple of images from the game pitch they showed to Miyazaki.

As translated by Nina Matsumoto on Twitter:

“About 27 years ago, I drew these from scratch pixel by pixel to pitch a My Neighbor Totoro Super Famicom game to Hayao Miyazaki. (*for Tokuma Shoten Intermedia. The game got shelved). There were no decent scanners back then, so I had to stare at an art book and draw these one pixel at a time”

And a few more details “translated” by Google Translate:

“At that time, I felt a good bleed out when I saw it with a CRT while working, and it was more anime-like. Tokuma Shoten proposed a plan because he wanted to put it out, but unfortunately the director’s ok did not appear.

I couldn’t tell you the details of the reason for the store, but as you pointed out, he didn’t seem to like the game.

I guess it was more like an adventure game. I want to ignore the project and put out a racing game on a cat bus (laughs)

I think that there was a certain amount of odds, and I think that I had a plan for Manager Miyazaki, but in terms of adventure-oriented content, it might not have been as meaningful to turn it into a game.

Because it was for planning purposes, I think that I use more than 16 colors. However, the number of colors is considerably reduced.”

In the end after this undeveloped Super Famicom pitch there has never been an official My Neighbor Totoro video game.

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Prototype 3 (Radical Entertainment) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

After releasing Prototype 2 in mid 2012, Radical Entertainment started working on the third chapter of their series, hopeful to quickly releasing it as one of their last games for the 7th generation of consoles or even better as a launch title for Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

Unfortunately Prototype 2 did not sell as expected: the team was already in financial difficulties and their parent company decided to layoff part of their staff, cancelling plans for Prototype 3. As we can read on Kotaku:

“Although we made a substantial investment in the Prototype IP, it did not find a broad commercial audience. Radical is a very talented team of developers, however, we have explored various options for the studio, including a potential sale of the business, and have made a difficult conclusion through the consultation process that the only remaining option is a significant reduction in staff. As such, some employees will remain working for Radical Entertainment supporting other existing Activision Publishing projects, but the studio will cease development of its own games going forward.”

While Prototype 3 was never officially announced by Activision nor Radical Entertainment, fans of the IP are still asking for it. In June 2019 a few screenshots from an early development version of Prototype 3 were found online. We saved these images in the gallery below, to preserve what remains of this cancelled project.

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