Orb is a cancelled puzzle game that was in development by Blitz Games Studios for Playstation 2. Gameplay would have been similar to Kororinpa, Marble Madness, and the Super Monkey Ball series: you had to move a ball around strange mazes, while pressing switches to open doors and resolving other environmental hazards to reach the goal.
The team created a playable prototype but in the end Orb was never completed. We can speculate they did not find a publisher interested in funding the project so it had to be canned to switch resources to other PS2 titles such as Taz: Wanted, The Fairly OddParents!: Breakin’ da Rules and Bad Boys: Miami Takedown.
Inevitable Evolution was the name of a GeForce3 Tech Demo created by Inevitable Entertainment (AKA Midway Studios Austin) in 2001, to pitch their skills to publishers. At the time it was quite impressive, with detailed 3D models and light effects, and by today’s standard it still has that “early ‘00s 3D aesthetic” look that somehow makes it fascinating for us.
As wrote at the time by GeForce:
“Inevitable Evolution showcases the amazing power of the GeForce3, using the nfiniteFX Vertex and Pixel Shaders to achieve some of the most complex real-time character generation seen to date. The Vertex Shader provides skinning with up to 9 matrices per face, more than double the number previously available in hardware. The Vertex Shader also assists geometry and texture decompression. The Pixel Shader helps bring life to the character by providing multiple layers of per-pixel lighting effects, including: base, dot3, anisotropic and specular layers. The GeForce3 offloads all of these tasks from the CPU, leaving it free to run other tasks such as calculations necessary for the real-time self-shadowing seen in the demo.”
As far as we know this was just a tech demo and not a full video game, but we can speculate Inevitable Entertainment could have been pitching it as a possible project to publishers. In the end their first commercial game was “Tribes Aerial Assault” for Playstation 2, released in 2002. Two years later the team was acquired by Midway Games and developed such titles as Area 51 and BlackSite: Area 51, before being closed by their parent company in 2008.
This tech demo was also shown in real-time on the original Xbox at the Tokyo Game Show Spring 2001 (as seen in the second video below):
This is the four-minute Xbox graphics presentation that Microsoft Japan director Naoto Yoshioka presented at the Tokyo Game Show Spring 2001. First the original video from Inevitable Evolution is shown (actually developed for the NV20 hardware from Nvidia), after a short break you can see the smooth implementation on the Xbox graphics engine with effects and detail zooms.
Tribes Extreme is a cancelled Starsiege Tribes single + multiplayer expansion that was in development for PC by Dynamix, around 1999. It was meant to offer a proper single player experience, with 12 campaign missions and a new tribe featured in the storyline. As we can read on the Tribes Wiki:
“In the game’s campaign, the “Bone Ripper” tribe of Grievers has completely wiped out the player’s holdfast (a military/civilian homestead where tribes members live), killing almost everyone. In the Greater Tribes, this is completely taboo – battle is highly structured, even ceremonial – you never attack civilians. The player must first rid his holdfast and surrounding area of remaining Bone Rippers, then seek revenge.”
“The single-player campaign in Tribes Extreme will continue to lean heavily on teamwork. The player will be in command of up to 7 other warriors to achieve the campaign goals. While each AI warrior will be relied on to fulfil its role (sniper, assault, defender, etc), the player can give specific commands to any if they feel it necessary. This way, we can offer a lot of fun for those who like to micromanage as well as those who just want to get in there and blast away.”
“One last thing I should mention is that if you know someone who has been hesitant to get Tribes because of the online-only play (it is pretty scary for the newer user to go online with the experts), this is the game for them. By the time they complete the training missions and the campaign, they’ll be ready to face off against the best out there. At the same time, the AI can be turned up by the advanced user (via campaign difficulty settings) to provide a real challenge. There’s some great stuff for everyone in Extreme.”
“Other than the 24 offline missions (12 training, 12 campaign), we’re shooting for around 10 balanced competition maps and at least 10 general multiplayer maps (not including the Open Call submissions). The balanced maps I’ve described above. The general maps are pretty much the same style as what was released in Tribes, but many featuring new buildings. The nice thing is we’ve been able to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t over the past months and put that knowledge to work in the new maps.”
“We’ll also be including what we call Cooperative maps, where players will be able to fight an AI team, or both teams can have human players supplemented with AI bots, depending what the server has specified. The first (AI team vs. human team) is intended to sharpen the skills of organized tribes in preparation for match play. Usually, people have had to scrimmage or do some other less-than-desirable thing to practice their team skills.”
“Over the past several months, we’ve had two teams focused on two new Tribes entities–Tribes Extreme and Tribes 2. In the past few weeks we’ve been evaluating the status of both, and we’ve come to some conclusions. First, we’ve made the decision to cancel Tribes Extreme “The Retail Product.” We had two goals for Tribes Extreme: To deliver a compelling single player experience and produce new multiplayer content for tournaments, etc.
Meanwhile, the single player component has taken us much longer to wrap our heads around than we originally anticipated and we just don’t feel we have anything close to finished that would be worth charging for or releasing. However, we’ve learned a ton of stuff during the development of Tribes Extreme, and we feel that we have a insanely cool plan for the single player component in Tribes 2”
Human Nature is a prototype FPS in development around 2000 by Paulo Ferreira, a highschool teacher who wanted to create a 3D game all by himself. According to the author, the project was ignited by his curiosity in answering the question: “How does someone develop a full 3D game in C/C++?”
In his own words “The project was never finished for various reasons: programming games was never my main activity, my lack of knowledge in 3D modelling, the computer I had back then was very limited and didn’t allow me to work on more complex things. Still, the game had a simple particle system, lightmaps, doors, 3D sound, transparencies, collisions, raycasting and other things I learned and programmed at the time”.
For this prototype Ferreira used some 3D character models he found online (originally made for Quake), and others created by himself. Players would control Twain, a soldier hired by Shadow (a security agency working for powerful clients) for his combat skills. As a secret agent you would go on a mission to fight against an evil corporation, a classic story from your “typical ‘80 / ‘90s action movies”. Your first mission would have been held in New York, a simple tutorial-job to learn the basics of the game. Players would have to search for the building where a group of cyber-terrorists were hiding after having invaded a military server. Armed and well-trained enemies would wait for our arrival: it was our goal to kill them all.
As time passed Ferreira did not find any other dev who could help his project, while he was handed more responsibilities at school and had some changes in his family life. Gradually Paulo lost interest in developing Human Nature, until he decided to abandon the project.
Nowadays aside from his classes and the “videogame programming club” he manages at school, Ferreira makes games with Unity3D, publishing them on Google Play Store, Windows Store and Itch.io. His goals are still the same as back when he was working on Human Nature: enjoy new experience and inspire his students in making games.
Huge thanks to Paulo Ferreira for sharing with us his memories, information and screenshots from his lost game!
Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan (熱血くにおくん図鑑, translated by Google as “Enthusiastic Kunio-Kun Encyclopedia”) is a cancelled game / software in the Kunio-kun series by Technos Japan, planned for the Nintendo NES / Famicom console. In the main games of the series you take the role of Kunio, a japanese high-school delinquent (bancho) with a good heart, punching and kicking other gangs to free the streets of your city.
While in the west the series is mostly known for Renegade and River City Ransom on the NES, in Japan many more Kunio games were developed and published. In 1988 Super Dodge Ball (a sport-based Kunio-Kun spin off) was released on the Famicom and in 1993 this “Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan” seems to have been in the works too, but never officially announced.
Some footage from this cancelled Kunio-Kun “game” was shared on Twitter in March 2020 by Former Technos programmerOtake, as noticed by Heimao. By looking at it, Nekketsu Kunio-Kun Zukan seems like some kind of “school simulation” or as suggested by its translated title, an “Encyclopedia” to show off all the characters from the series and their bio, by moving around the school. A couple of weeks later Otake deleted the footage from Twitter, apparently because someone else from Technos asked to remove it. A copy of the footage is saved below, to preserve the existence of this lost project.
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