Ralphadia is a cancelled JRPG that was planned by Taito for the Nintendo Famicom / NES, around 1992. This is another forgotten NES game with not much information online: Akamid83 found a small preview for the game in an old promotional leaflet for in-development Famicom and shared a photo on Twitter.
Heimao, who notified us about the photo, wrote “It is said that it was a novel mechanism in which the enemy was placed 360 degrees around the player in the battle”. By looking at these tiny screenshots it seems Ralphadia had a strange overworld map, with a top-down perspective on the bottom of the screen and a side-scrolling scenario at the top.
There are also 2 screenshots showing cities, were the game kept its side-scrolling view. Combat was “first-person turn-based”, similar to Dragon Quest, but you may have been able to rotate the “first person” camera around to see more enemies all around your protagonists.
That’s it all for now: will we ever see something else from this lost Famicom RPG? As it often happens with these obscure, unreleased Japanese games from the ’90s, probably not. If you can read Japanese and see more interesting details written in the leaflet photo, let us know in the comments below!
Even though it usually involves a large combination of skilled teams working together as fast as they can, developing a blockbuster-level videogame can take at least five years on average, according to a Quora response from a freelance video game programmer, Mike Prinke.
He states that creating the various textures and character interactions that you see during gameplay is an incredibly time-consuming process with a lot of trial and error. Debugging faulty code can also cause a giant domino effect, potentially stalling your eagerly anticipated game release, along with all the other complex factors involved.
Without further ado, here’s our list of games that have taken many years to develop:
Initially, it was in development for the PlayStation system when it was announced in 1999 but was eventually moved to the Nintendo GameCube system in 2000, then finally to the Xbox 360 in 2005. This lengthy release time is mostly attributed to changes in partnership agreements and the very controversial code theft from Epic Games by Silicon Knights. If you’re curious, it should still be available to download on the Xbox game store for free (as of July 2019), according to a Forbes article on ‘The Bizarre Story Behind ‘Too Human’ — The Game That Killed Silicon Knights’.
2. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – 7 years
StarCraft II is one of the games credited by the community to contribute to the prolific rise of esports. Why did this game take so long to develop despite the success of its predecessor? For one, an article by Variety on StarCraft II and the esports industry recalls how a 2009 interview reported that the game would no longer include local area network (LAN) support and operate on a new platform. This was met with uproar from many fans, with a survey reporting 83 percent of respondents planned to spam Amazon with one-star ratings until it was reinstalled. Eventually, the game was released in 2010 after spending seven long years in development, also due to the temporary reassignment of Blizzard’s resources to the World of Warcraft franchise.
At the height of its popularity, players on a GameFaqs message board couldn’t help but compare StarCraft II to Age of Empires III, the latest iteration of a series of critically acclaimed real-time strategy (RTS) video games that focus on several historical events. Both games are still being played to this day, but it looks like Blizzard has put StarCraft on the backburner, with no news on a potential StarCraft III. Meanwhile, HP reports that Age of Empires IV is already in the works, 13 years after the last game was released. It’s been over two years since Age of Empires IV was announced, so we’ll see how long it takes the devs to finish that one.
3. Final Fantasy XV – 10 years
A highly successful franchise, Final Fantasy’s fifteenth iteration, unfortunately, spent a decade in development. It was initially introduced in 2006, but after many years of silence, the lack of updates, a title change, a director change, and the platform change, one of the Final Fantasy XV designers blamed its lengthy release on the development team, according to an article on Inquisitr on why it took 10 years. The designer Roberto Ferrari (who has since left the development team) referred to the team as highly disorganized, with a staff of “200 suffering souls.” The game’s story changed every three months or so requiring constant changes in terms of its animation. The good news is that its 2016 release has been received relatively well by fans, currently being rated at 81 percent on Metacritic and ranking 8.2 out of 10 on IGN.
Although they’ve spent almost a decade (or a whole decade) in development, many fans would say that these releases are worth the wait. Anticipation can make the heart grow fonder, and in the world of video games, there’s always something new to play in the meantime to keep the wait from becoming too painful.
And as we know well, being release late it’s always better than being cancelled and lost forever.
Cloak: The Naked Mind is a cancelled adventure game that was in development by Sierra Entertainment around 1996 – 1997, to be published on Windows 95 PC. It was conceived as an ambitious (for its time) spy-fiction, sci-fi adventure, mixing thriller investigations with space-mind-travels.
You would have been able to project your consciousness into a robot on an alien planet to resolve many different situations at the same time, using its multitasking skills. Some more information can be found in old gaming magazines, such as Interaction Magazine (holiday 1996 and fall 1996 issues):
“Imagine an alien race with telepathic powers so strong that none of your secrets can remain hidden from their probing. You’ll find them in Cloak: The Naked Mind, a new kind of adventure game coming from Sierra in early 1997.”
“With Cloak, Sierra has taken its trademarked adventure game interface and revamped it from the ground up. Everything you see and do is completely new, seamless, and phenomenally lifelike. The point of view is first-person — through your character’s eyes — with breathtaking, animated sequences and cutaways. Game play and puz- zles are integrated into a seamless experience. And the story reaches beyond adven- ture into the realms of science fiction and spy thriller.”
“In Cloak, you take the role of a secret agent on the planet Altopia. You’ve been strapped into a telepres- ence pod — a kind of virtual reality environment — and linked to a highly developed, bipedal robot code- named Cloak. After you’ve bonding to the Cloak, the robot is transported to a trading world where humans and the mysteri- ous, alien Bulbs interact to trade human-manufactured robots for Bulb technology. There, you must find a way to the Bulb’s forbidden home planet, where no flesh-and-blood aliens are allowed. Your mission is to delve into their mysterious way of life and discov- er if they are building a secret weapon to use against humankind.”
“The Bulbs can read any biological mind. Fortunately, they cannot read your mental signature inside the Cloak robot. Because you will stay bonded to the Cloak until your mission is complete, you are safe as long as you stay undis- covered. Remember that if the robot is destroyed, there will be no way to retrieve your consciousness. You will be — in every sense of the word — dead.”
“The Cloak robot you occupy is an extraordinary device that not only conceals your consciousness, but contains tools that give you super- human abilities. Bipedal and roughly humanoid, this type of robot is highly valued by the Bulbs both for its versatility and for command over other robots. Operating its many sensors and attached devices allows you to do several things at once, such as monitoring a security camera you planted in an abandoned ore mine, while using your command influence to interrogate a robot bartender.”
“Cloak pioneers new game technolo- gy that takes advantage of the Windows 95 multi- threading technique Multi-threading is a clever 32-bit way to make a computer do many dif- ferent things at once, so you can play one aspect of the title while another loads. There is no waiting on game play. (Utah sports an exciting new triple- window interface that lets you engage in three distinct activities at once. You can, for instance, spy through a camera you’ve planted while explor- ing the abandoned mines of Baccos and consulting a map.”
Gameplay could have been quite interesting with these multitasking puzzles, and by reading previews it sounds like Sierra had at least a playable prototype in their hands. We hope one day someone could find a copy and share it online to be preserved by fans.
Seeker is a cancelled top-down action RPG somehow similar to a sci-fi Diablo, that was in development in 2014 – 2015 for PC and unannounced consoles (possibly PS4 and Xbox One) by Headstrong Games. The project was officially announced in February 2015 on their blog, but the game soon vanished with no explanations.
“We’re very proud to announce our new game, Seeker. It’s an action RPG set in space with lots of tech, aliens, plasma weapons and, of course, loot! It’s been a manic few weeks getting it ready to show at GDC but we’re finally there and it feels good to be heading out to the show with something we really believe in. There’s a video and some screen shots here to give you an idea of the game-play and setting. We’ll be updating the blog regularly with more info as the development progresses.
Choose the Class that suits your style. Customise your character, Drone and Starship as you progress. Each mission draws you further into unknown star systems. Fight your way through crystal caverns, alien hives, ruined starships and robotic planets. Every destination is an opportunity to salvage alien artefacts, precious minerals and weaponry. Swept up in an epic saga, you will be called upon to occupy a pivotal role in the fate of the galaxy.”
Headstrong were mostly known for their Art Academy series and Battalion Wars series published by Nintendo, but around 2017 Kuju Entertainment (their parent company) dissolved the team to incorporate their employees directly into Kuju.
Burnt Out Cop is a cancelled action game that was in development by Infinite Lives and HotGen Studios around 2002 – 2003, planned to be published by Sega for Playstation 2 (and the original Xbox). Infinite Lives spent a few months developing a playable demo and creating an extensive Game Design Document (that was later shared online on their official website). HotGen Studios was impressed by their work and offered them more funding and resources, while the game was proposed to Sega for publishing. Unfortunately internal issues between HotGen and Infinite Lives caused the latter to lose the IP and in the end the game was canned.
More details about Burnt Out Cop can still be found in the original Design Doc:
“Unorthodox methods and unnecessary force alienate this street-wise cop from his precinct. This adrenaline-fuelled, arcade style, third-person shooter is predominately viewed from a top-down position. The gameplay is heavily based on classic arcade games combining the art of Street Fighter with the frenetic frenzy of Smash TV and Powerstone. Rather than using standard rendered 3D models, the game employs a hand drawn look giving it an unconventional comic book edge. Exaggerated movement and animation, as opposed to life-like motion capture, emphasise the speed and power of the characters. In contrast to Burnt Out Cop’s fast gameplay and slick image, its action is often humorous. Taking a tongue-in -cheek approach, it features many cop movie clichés, including larger than life characters and recognisable locations and set pieces. The cop’s manoeuvres are heavily based on those found in many John Woo films (for example, Hard Boiled and Mission: Impossible II) combined with the slapstick nature of Jackie Chan fight sequences. A fictional Hong Kong environment containing eighties undertones provides the backdrop for the explosive showdowns.”
Advanced gunplay: Floor bad guys and catch their guns out of the air or grab an opponent and use him as a human shield.
Rapid Targeting: Aim and shoot at the press of a button. Hold two guns and simultaneously target multiple opponents.
Extensive Weapon Range: Contains plenty of slapstick action: use traditional ballistic weapons mixed with everything you can get your hands on, including frying pans, chickens and prosthetic limbs.
Humour: A true crowd pleasing game featuring a witty send-up of classic cop movies and other games.
Self-Improvement: On his path to redemption his mental state and physical abilities are regained and improved.
“Guns play a key role in the game, both in terms of how they are acquired and how they are used. Another important feature is the relative lack of ammunition available. Unlike games where this would result in more cautious and frugal play Burnt Out Cop creates a mad scramble for any guns left by dead guys. When shot, their gun would fly from their hand or skid across the floor, allowing the cop to quickly collect it or catch it out of the air – just like the movies.”
Check the footage below to see how the game would have been played, if only completed.
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