New Cancelled Games & Their Lost Media Added to the Archive

Boo Haunt (Retro Studios) [Nintendo DS – Cancelled Concept]

In May 2020 Shinesparkers published a series of links to the online portfolio of Sammy Hall, former Retro Studios contract artist who worked on concept art for a cancelled Boo game pitched by the company for Nintendo DS. Possibly known as the “Haunt” project, in this adventure players would take the role of a young Boo, freshly graduated in the Haunt university.

In these images you can see a Boo professor teaching his students about a magical cauldron and our Boo protagonist would have been chosen to be dipped into it for some reasons. We speculate that by being soaked in the cauldron, the young Boo would have somehow received new powers. Concept art shows this Boo in different poses, as if it could be stretched and moved around like in Kirby: Canvas Curse.

These drawings were noted as being used for Retro Studios’ Boo project between 2006 and 2007 (the same artist also worked on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Donkey Kong Country Returns), just a year after Nintendo released Canvas Curse. As we can read on their original page:

“Cancelled Boo project (2006 – 2007). Loads of Boo sketches in very very unfamiliar territory. Deep in debt at Haunt University. Powers & abilities. Broomies. Possession powers. Spiders spider boss variations. Tiny stuff for tiny handheld resolutions.”

We can also speculate the witches seen in these images are the “Broomies” (possibly the main enemies of the game, as seen in one of the drawings in which Boo fight against one of them like in a shoot ’em up) and Boo would had some kind of “Possession powers” to gather new powers & abilities.

After these images were found by fans and gaming journalists, the artist just deleted his whole ArtStation account. IGN was able to get in contact with him, asking about this Boo project and the cancelled Zelda – Sheik Wii game:

“Speaking to IGN, ex-Retro Studios concept artist Sammy Hall explained that both games were in pre-production when cancelled, and “I doubt many at Nintendo proper saw much of any of this stuff. I was mostly put into a room like Milton from Office Space and tasked to brainstorm between other projects.”

According to Hall, the ideas for both games came from ex-Retro leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Kynan Pearson, but were “cancelled the week they went to create their other studios.”

We’d like to preserve these fascinating Boo drawings in the gallery below, to remember the existence of this lost video game. If you saved more concept art from Retro Studios’ Boo project that are missing from this page, please let us know in the comments below or by email!

Thanks to AvenPlainstrider for the contribution!

Images:

High Heat Major League Baseball 2002 [Game Boy Color – Cancelled]

High Heat Major League Baseball 2002 is a cancelled sport game that would have been published by The 3DO Company for Game Boy Color. While other versions of the game were released in 2001 for PC, Game Boy Advance, Playstation and PS2, this GBC edition was announced but then never released by the company. As we can read in their old website:

“Bring the best Major League action to the road! Whether you prefer to play a single game, an entire season with playoffs, or just want to whack the ball out of the park in the Home Run Derby, this game’s got it!

  • All 30 Major League Baseball teams
  • Actual updated 2001 teams and player rosters
  • 5 different modes of play – Batting Practice, Exhibition, Season, Playoffs, and Home Run Derby
  • Strike out batters with multiple pitch types
  • Use the auto-fielding option for easy play

Maybe one day someone will leak a ROM of this canned port?

Thanks to Nemkell for the contribution!

Images:

Hostile Intent (Aware Entertainment) [PC – Cancelled]

Hostile Intent (Not to be confused with the Half-Life mod of the same name) was a First Person Shooter that was being developed by American company Aware Entertainment during 2002 and 2003. Aware Entertainment were based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and were founded in January 2001 by Andrew Roberto while he was still in Law School, with the studio born from a desire to create “truly interactive computer games”. This was their very first project.

With a fairly outlandish plot and a gritty look, the concept of Hostile Intent seemed to fall somewhere between Battlefield, Rainbow Six and even the James Bond series. It was described by Aware as an intense, fast-paced shooter while simultaneously offering an open-ended gameplay experience.

The backstory of the game would have offered us a little bit of alternate history as the setup:

“In 1945, just after the end of the second World War, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a covert organization called “Leviathan” to combat any perceived threats against the free world. Leviathan was cleared to use any means that governments could not publicly endorse, whether it be kidnapping, assassination, sabotage, arms-dealing, corporate espionage or even triggering war and, due to the nature of these methods, the organization was to be a secret to everyone with the exception of a single member of the executive branch of the US, who would then pass on the knowledge to a successor once he left office.

However, just a few months later, any knowledge of Leviathan dies with Roosevelt, who suffers a cerebral hemorrhage before he can disclose the existence of the organization to vice-president Harry S. Truman. With no one to keep it in check and its funding structure firmly secure, Leviathan goes on to attain massive influence over the world’s affairs, essentially becoming a shadowy world government with the power to deploy its forces anywhere it deems necessary.

Decades later, their reign is threatened by a prodigious and mentally-ill hacker known as “Xander”, who has plans of world domination. Using his computer skills to steal from the elite and big businesses, he funds a personal army that he dubs “Alliance Of Anarchy” to achieve his goal and while trying to send false orders to one of the world’s armies, he accidentally reveals himself to the Leviathan leadership, a former high ranking member of the CIA known only as “Spyder”. With both factions now aware of each other, a battle for supremacy begins as Xander escalates conflicts around the world and sends his mercenary army to hunt down his rival, hoping to take advantage of Spyder’s distraction and stretched resources in his efforts to bring the world back under Leviathan control.”

In the middle of this mess, the player would assume the role of J.D. Knox, a former marine and Leviathan operative recruited by Spyder, as he is deployed in battlefields around the world. These would include some obvious choices for the time, such as Iraq and Chechnya, but places such as North Korea would also make an appearance.

Hostile Intent was quite ambitious in the gameplay department. Aware would claim in several interviews that the game would not only feature levels with infinitely generated landscapes, but also a fully destructible environment, complete with terrain deformation, made possible by Aware’s own custom made engine which they were also hoping to license out for other games.

With a scope this large, the player would have at his disposal a large amount of real-life weapons and vehicles to fight with and get around. In addition to over 20 guns that ranged from pistols to rocket launchers and laser target designators, Hostile Intent would allow us to get inside the M1A1 Abrams tank, the Humvee, the Bradley APC, Hokum, Apache and Comanche helicopters, and even several boats.

With this feature set, it should come as no surprise that Hostile Intent was being developed with multiplayer action in mind. In addition to all the modes one would expect, such as Deathmatch and objective-based missions like hostage rescue, the game would also feature modes that could take advantage of its capacity for environment destruction, with up to 32 players joining the mayhem at once.

However, it does not seem that the single player experience would suffer as a result of this online focus, as the open-endedness of the gameplay allowed for not only a large amount of replayability, but the levels themselves would have been populated by NPCs, both hostile and friendly, in addition to the main enemy force. The main campaign would have been team-based and, although Hostile Intent was not meant to be a pure tactical shooter, it would have offered some depth when it came to player movement, with the ability to lean around corners and to go prone, and even the possibility to employ stealth.

2003 saw Hostile Intent build up a little bit of hype among some of the smaller gaming websites. With a release date estimated for late 2004, Aware claimed in an interview that they had several publishers interested in their game, but no deal had been finalized at that point in time. The last update on their official website seems to have been on September 15 of 2003 and, by 2004, the website no longer existed. Hostile Intent, and by extension Aware, had seemingly died, and whether that was due to difficulties with publishing, overambition, or a combination of both, remains unknown.

Article by thecursebearer, thanks to Dan for the contribution!

Images:

 

Legend of Zelda: Sheik (Retro Studios) [Wii – Cancelled Concept]

In May 2020 Shinesparkers published a series of links to the online portfolio of Sammy Hall, former Retro Studios contract artist who worked on concept art for a cancelled Zelda game based on the Sheika tribe. This unreleased, darker view on the Zelda timeline would possibly explore what happened to the last male Sheik after Ocarina of Time’s “Bad Ending” in which Link does not succeed.

These drawings were noted as being used for pre-production of Retro Studios’ Sheik Zelda project between 2005 and 2008 (the same artist also worked on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Donkey Kong Country Returns), so we can assume it could have been planned to be released on Nintendo Wii or WiiU. As we can read on their original page:

“Old storage hard-drive diving! (2005 – 2008) More stuff from a long lost cancelled Zelda (Sheik) action/jrpg that never went beyond pre-production. Really want to return to these some day to finish a few. Zelda games have wacky weird stuff, and this game was setting out to be ten times weirder.”

“Fun pre-pre-pre-production origin story of the Master Sword. Within the bad ending of “Ocarina of Time” exploring the last male Sheik’s (after a genocidal ethnic-cleansing) journey transforming into the Master Sword. All while the Dark Gerudo are giving their 100 year birth to Gannon.”

After these images were found by fans and gaming journalists, the artist just deleted his whole ArtStation account. IGN was able to get in contact with him, asking about this Zelda project and another canned Nintendo DS Boo game:

“Speaking to IGN, ex-Retro Studios concept artist Sammy Hall explained that both games were in pre-production when cancelled, and “I doubt many at Nintendo proper saw much of any of this stuff. I was mostly put into a room like Milton from Office Space and tasked to brainstorm between other projects.”

According to Hall, the ideas for both games came from ex-Retro leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Kynan Pearson, but were “cancelled the week they went to create their other studios.”

Around 2008 – 2009 many video game websites published rumors about a Retro Studios Zelda game featuring Sheik, so it seems those rumors were true but the project was already cancelled at the time.

Unfortunately today some of these fascinating Zelda artworks seem to have been lost, as other websites did not save them all. We’d like to preserve them in the gallery below, to remember the existence of this lost video game. If you saved concept art from Retro Studios’ Zelda that are missing from this page, please let us know in the comments below or by email!

Thanks to AvenPlainstrider for the contribution!

Images:

Imperial Force (SystemSoft, Takeru) [PC Engine – Cancelled]

Imperial Force (インペリアルフォース) is a cancelled space-combat simulator / strategy adventure that was in development by SystemSoft around 1992 and it would have been published by Takeru (AKA Sur de Wave, mostly known for being the developers of Little Samson and Cocoron for the NES) for PC Engine. A short preview for the game was published in PC Engine Fan magazine (May 1992) and japanese collectors even found an early prototype of the game, that was sent to the gaming press at the time. In the end Imperial Force just vanished and we don’t know if it was ever completed before being canned.

If you can translate the most important details found in the japanese previews preserved in the gallery below, please let us know in the comments!

Images: