News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Joe VS. The Wall [SNES – Cancelled]

Joe VS. The Wall is a cancelled side scrolling action adventure in development / to be published by Ocean Software for the Super Nintendo, around 1992. It was listed by Nintendo Power (issue 34, March 1992) as one of the games shown by Ocean at the ‘92 Winter CES, with just a few details:

“Ocean was busy with several development projects: Radio Flyer, based on the upcoming movie, and Joe Vs. The Wall and Push Over— two unique puzzlers.”

Not much more was known about the game before its disappearance, but a single screenshot and its title screen were found by Video Game History Foundation on the Electronic Gaming Monthly 1992 Preview Guide:

“This side-scrolling action adventure title includes Mode 7 scaling and rotation. Amazing graphic and animation will thrill you, as you character with his hammer must make his way through a number of platforms and difficult situations.”

The game graphic has some kind of “Amiga feel“, maybe this lost SNES game was a port of another Amiga title?

Invasion [PS2 – Cancelled]

Invasion is a cancelled massive online multiplayer shooter in development by Turbine Inc (mostly known for other online games such as Asheron’s Call and Dungeons & Dragons Online) for Playstation 2 around 2003. The team worked on a single-player prototype to test gameplay using Driver-Inter‘s proprietary engines, but in the end the project was cancelled, probably because of difficulties in creating a proper MMO game on the 6th generation of consoles.

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As you can see from the prototype footage and screenshots preserved in this page, the game was quite impressive for its time, at least graphically. Some details about Invasion can still be found on Driver Inter’s website:

“Invasion is a third-person shooter where player searches an abandoned Martian colony for its secrets in order to prevent a menace of an alien invasion on Earth.

The game is a demo with several types of weapons, powerups, enemies, quest items, an NPC that requires protection from player and a boss at the end of the last episode. The demo contains three episodes in three different areas: abandoned outpost, canyon and underground lab.

This project was a first stage of development of a unique massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) “Invasion!” where players were expected to:

  • Explore and defend a Martian-invaded earth
  • Guide “smart actors” who experience the world as a personalized sci-fi epic
  • Fight creatures great and small in entertaining monster movie battles
  • Evolve new abilities, new body parts, and new ways to play the game

The MMOG project “Invasion!” was cancelled.

In 2010 Turbine was acquired by Warner Bros and renamed WB Games Boston, working on MOBA Infinite Crisis and smartphone versions of  Batman: Arkham Underworld and Game of Thrones: Conquest.

Thanks to Mihapsx for the contribution!

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Pest! (Rocket Science) [Playstation – Cancelled]

Pest! is a cancelled action game that was in development by Rocket Science Games around 19961997 for the original Playstation. As far as we can speculate from the short video preserved below players could take the control of “rat leader” or “pest-control guy”. When playing as the rat leader you had to collect cheese around the levels while setting up traps to stop your enemy. When playing as the pest-control guy, you had to find a way to stop the rats. You can imagine Pest! as some kind of “Tom & Jerry” type of action game, where you had to escape from your rival or trap them.

Rocket Science was quite active during the mid ‘90s and were working on many different prototypes for PS1 and Sega Saturn, but only some of them were released. Other projects such as Flying Aces, Rocket Boy, Dark Ride and Loadstar 2 were quietly cancelled. Unfortunately while some of their games were critically acclaimed, none of them did particularly well financially. Unable to secure additional funding, RSG was forced to close down in 1997. 

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Necessary Evil (Illusions Gaming) [PC – Cancelled]

Necessary Evil is a cancelled online adventure game that was in development around 1996 – 1997 by now forgotten developers Illusions Gaming Company (Blazing Dragons, Beavis and Butt-Head Do U), planned to be published by Segasoft for PC. Illusions Gaming was a video game company founded in Sausalito (California) in the early 90s,  mostly working on point & click games based on several licensed properties.

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Necessary Evil was an ambitious project for its time: it merged point & click adventure gameplay with RPG mechanics and an online multiplayer mode for up to 2 players. One player would take the role of a vampire, while the other would be the hunter who tries to kill them. To defeat your rival you had to manipulate and talk to NPCs to put them against the other player, changing the course of the story and the in-game factions.  

Unfortunately there’s not much more information about this lost game and the only proof of its existence is some footage shown on Electric Playground TV show (Season 1, episode 8, November 1997). If you know someone who worked on Necessary Evil and may know more about it, please let us know!

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L42 (Blue Planet) [GameCube, PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

L42 is a cancelled cyberpunk mission-based driving game that was in development around 1999 – 2000 by Blue Planet Software (the same company that today act as the exclusive agent for The Tetris Company) for “next gen consoles”: GameCube, Playstation 2 and Xbox. We can speculate it would somehow play as a sci-fi version of Driver, set a cyberpunk “open world”.

From the few images preserved in the gallery below it looks like L42 was still in its early concept phase, as these looks more like target renders than real-time prototype screens. While the game was officially shown in their old website, we cannot find any other detail or announcement about it online: it seems it was soon cancelled and forgotten by everyone. 

As L42 would feature art design by popular American designer and concept artist Syd Mead (Blade Runner, Tron, Short Circuit), it’s strange Blue Planet did not promote their concept in any way, but we can assume they were still pitching it to different publishers before it was finally canned. In the end, the company is more profitable just focusing on their Tetris license.

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