News on Beta & Cancelled Games

Gendai Dai-Senryaku: Ultimate War [64DD – Cancelled]


Officially presented at the Space World 1999, this title developed by SETA for the 64DD was a turn-based strategy game very similar to Advance Wars. The setting of Ultimate War was more realistic than the Nintendo title, but the clashes between the armies played out more or less the same. The user could move his troops on a two-dimensional map and, once came close enough to the enemy, attack with the weapons available. Then a real-time cutscene which showed the effect of the assault would start.

Ultimate War supported an online multiplayer mode for up to 4 players thanks to the Randnet network available for the 64DD. SETA postponed the release of the game several times and after the failure of the Disk Drive in 2000 UW was moved to cartridge. The change in format led to further problems for the development, like the removal of the online mode , and the end the game was cancelled.

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]

Presentato ufficialmente allo Space World del 1999, questo titolo sviluppato da SETA per 64DD era uno strategico a turni, dalla struttura molto simile alla serie Advanced Wars. L’ambientazione di Ultimate War era più realistica rispetto al titolo Nintendo ma gli scontri fra le armate subivano lo stesso svolgimento. Il giocatore poteva muovere le proprie truppe su di una cartina bidimensionale ed una volta arrivato abbastanza vicino al nemico, attaccare con le armi a disposizione. A questo punto la visuale del gioco cambiava e si poteva assistere ad un filmato tridimensionale, che mostrava gli effetti dell’attacco.


Ultimate War avrebbe supportato una modalità multiplayer online fino a 4 giocatori, grazie alla rete Randnet disponibile sul 64DD. Seta ha posticipato l’uscita del gioco più volte e dopo il fallimento del Disk Drive, nel 2000 è stato modificato per essere trasferito su normale cartuccia. Il cambiamento di formato ha comportato ulteriori problemi per lo sviluppo, difficoltà di programmazione e la rimozione della modalità Online. Il passaggio su cartuccia non è purtroppo servito a molto: Ultimate War non è mai stato rilasciato, scomparendo senza spiegazioni.[/spoiler]




Wave Race Ultra 64 [Prototype]

Wave race is one of the most interesting beta for the nintendo 64, because they changed completely the original concept. In fact,The Shoshinkai 95 build, that we can see in the screenshots in this page, featured motor boats instead of jet skies, unlike the original wave race for the gameboy. The track design is very early, even though we can see some resemblances with the final versions, such as the stage with the houses that looks like a beta of the secret track of Venice.

The number of competitors was greater, perhaps because the advanced physics of the sea had not yet been implemented in its entirety and thus the engine allowed more polygonal models on the screen at the same time. Of course, the main gameplay (pass on the side of the buoys) wasn’t created yet, but the motorbots were capable of real-time morphing, as you can see in the video linked in this page. At E3 1996 Nintendo finally presented the version of the game that we all played all these years

[English translation by yota]

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]

>Wave race 64 è una della beta più interessanti per gli appassionati, visto che si tratta uno dei titoli per Nintendo 64 che hanno subito più cambiamenti rispetto al concept originale. La versione presentata allo Shoshinkai 95, infatti, come potete vedere dagli screenshots presenti in questa pagina, utlizzava motoscafi piuttosto che jet-sky, a differenza dell’originale Wave Race per Game Boy. Il track design era inevitabilmente diverso, sebbene si possano notare elementi riutilizzati nel titolo definitivo, come il percorso con le case che sembra una beta del track segreto di Venezia.

Anche il numero di concorrenti era superiore, forse perchè l’avanzata fisica del mare non era ancora stata implementata nella sua totalità e permetteva un quantitativo di modelli poligonali maggiore. Non sono poi ovviamente ancora presenti le caratteristiche più interessanti di Wave race, come le boe da seguire, le varie evoluzioni con i personaggi, o anche solo l’intensa sponsorizzazione di diversi brand, che rappresenta qualcosa di decisamente inusuale per Nintendo 64. All’e3 1996, a poche settimane dal lancio del Nintendo 64, venne comunque presentata la versione definitiva, quella che abbiamo giocato e apprezzato in tutti questi anni[/spoiler]



Super Mario RPG 2 (Paper Mario) [Beta – N64]


Early beta screenshots of Paper Mario / Super Mario RPG 2 showed that Poochy was going to play some sort of role in the game. Another screenshot showed that Nep-Enuts were going to be in this game also. Also the early version of Forever Forest showed that it would be much smaller, with all the forest’s trees having sinister faces. Paper Mario was also originally going to be named Super Mario RPG 2, though due to complications involving Square Enix, the makers of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the name was changed to Super Mario Adventure and later Paper Mario. Also, it was originally in development for the failed Nintendo 64DD. However, it was released in cartridge. A screenshot had also shown a strange, beta Whale. [Info from Mariowiki]

Also, in an Iwata Asks interview, they shared a super early Mario RPG 64 concept:

Mario RPG 64 beta Paper Mario

Yeah, we really did. And most of all it was a Mario game! We couldn’t determine the route to take with visuals. At first, we broke into teams and worked in parallel on making about three sample models.

Oh, it’s from 15 years ago on March 5, 1997.

It’s made of 3D polygons, but I drew it to have an atmosphere like that of a picture book transplanted into a video game—with paper-thin 2D background and characters.

[Thanks to Henrique Resende for the contribute with some images!]




Freak Boy [N64 – Cancelled]

Officially presented at E3 1996, Freak Boy was certainly one of the most interesting and bizzarre games planned for the Nintendo 64, in development by Zono Incorporated / Burst Studio and to be publishe by Virgin. As a strange protagonist known as “Freak Boy”, players had to save the world Hedron from a horde of strange aliens in what at first glance seemed like a three-dimensional action/adventure with an abstract graphic style. The protagonist was able to interact with the environment in order to modify parts of its body (head, chest and feets) and thus acquire new skills to solve puzzles and to defeat various enemies, somehow like with the different heads in Dynamite headdy (Mega Drive / Genesis).

Unfortunately Freak Boy’s development was troubled and after the game’s publisher asked to remade it from scratch at least two times, they lost interest and the project was  dropped.

Here’s the original press release:

IRVINE, CALIF., May 16, 1996 — Enter the world of FREAK BOY in Virgin Interactive Entertainment’s (VIE) first NINTENDO 64 (N64) game. Three-dimensional graphics, addicting play mechanics and cutting-edge technology that uses morphing special effects define the world in which FREAK BOY lives – an alien world N64 players won’t ever want to leave. Created by Burst, VIE’s in-house development team, FREAK BOY is scheduled to be in stores in early 1997.

Created using SGI workstations, FREAK BOY utilizes the N64’s advanced 3-D technology, allowing all aspects of the game to be experienced in 3-D. Not only are the characters presented in realistic full 3-D, but their worlds and interactions with other beings are amazingly multi-dimensional. The 3-D power of the N64 also gives players the ability to experience gameplay from thousands of different points-of-view.

The result is a unique visual experience that intensifies the gameplay to such a degree that even the most experienced game player will be challenged. Players will be drawn into the intense 3-D action as they assume the role of FREAK BOY, the lone survivor of a massive alien invasion.

On New Year’s Day, when the planets are aligned with the sun, the ZoS, an alien race from a parallel dimension, take over the Hedron Universe, extinguishing the sun and transporting all of the Hedrons to the alien dimension. The only Hedron to evade capture is FREAK BOY, who is destined to become the hero of his people, provided he can rid his universe of the alien threat and return the captive Hedrons to their rightful dimension.

As FREAK BOY, players can absorb remnants of the destruction into their body and utilize them as weapons to destroy the alien invaders. What’s more, the variations

on these weapons are almost endless. Capable of holding three new artifacts at a time, each with a different capability when used as head, chest or feet, FREAK BOY is never the same character twice. FREAK BOY’S body is constantly morphing as new artifacts are assimilated and old ones are discarded. In managing the inventory of weapons as they enter and exit FREAK BOY’s body, the player gains new abilities in his fight to destroy the more than 50 enemies who have set out to conquer the Hedron universe.

On their quest for more powerful weapons and the alien enemy, players will explore more than 25 distinct worlds throughout five levels of difficulty. Each world is radically visual, arid and stark, yet with texture, mystery and entertainment that lure the player further into the world of FREAK BOY.

“FREAK BOY’s out-of-this-world graphics take the N64’s capabilities to the limits,” said Chris Yates, a vice president at Burst. “What is more, play mechanics such as Freak Boy’s have never been used before. When combined with these intense graphics, you have a level of gameplay that is altogether unprecedented.”

Burst, based in Irvine, California, is a division of Virgin Interactive Entertainment. The company is dedicated to high quality entertainment title development



Yoshi’s Island 64 (Yoshi’s Story) [N64 – Beta]


The beta version of Yoshi’s Island 64 (later called Yoshi’s Story) has some graphic differences, various minor changes in the level design and a removed “underground” level. This beta level had a black background, water and giant mushrooms, as well as some enemies that are bigger than the ones in the final game. The soil was covered with moss and we can notice huge flying bubbles that Yoshi was able to move.

Jose Felipe Riveros Navarro noticed that in the second beta video there are early Shy Guys that are smaller than the final ones, a beta version of the jungle hut stage at 0:06 – 0:07 and at 0.11 a “?” block is moving in a different way than the final version. In some images from the Yoshi’s Story japanese commercial there are some differences too: changed background, the colors of the “tall tower” and the sun, the heart is a little different from the final one.

Also in and old Japanese commercial about Yoshi’s Story, you’ll notice Yoshi had a different, more girlish voice (behind the 0:15 mark:). Of course, since this was the first game where Yoshi had an actual voice, he might have sounded a whole lot differently today. Thanks to Yosher for the contribution!

italian_flag.jpg [spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]La versione beta del secondo gioco di piattaforme dedicato a yoshi (yoshi’s island 64) rispetto alla versione finale (yoshi’s story) presenta alcune differenze soprattutto a livello grafico, niente di speciale, le immagini difatti si commentano da sole, oltre naturalmente ai due loghi ben diversi tra loro alcuni elementi grafici sono cambiati leggermente nella versione definitiva.

A livello strutturale, tralasciando piccoli cambiamenti nel design dei livelli inutili da menzionare, è ben più importante notare come un livello di gioco sia stato completamente cancellato, dai video e dalle immagini beta notiamo che il look di questo sia molto “underworld”, dando quindi un senso di irrealità e di fatato, lo sfondo è nero, a terra vi è dell’ acqua, vi sono funghi giganti, e anche alcuni nemici sono più grandi del normale, il terreno è composto da composizioni di terra dalla forma sferica ricoperte da muschio, sospese per aria troviamo delle bolle enormi, che yoshi può spostare.

Rilasciato nel ’98, yoshi’s story è stato ed è un gioco indimenticabile, irripetibile, purtroppo molti ai tempi lo snobbarono, forse aspettandosi un vero e proprio seguito di yoshi’s island per snes o un gioco più longevo e meno facile.[/spoiler]