Action Adventure

Capucine (NoCulture) [Wii, PC – Prototype / Cancelled]

Capucine is a prototype for an action adventure that was created on PC (as a Far Cry mod) around 2007 by the NoCulture Team (composed of Supinfogame students), initially rumored to be released on Nintendo Wii. Players would have been able to use a ray of light to revive plants in a dead world, but when and object is lit up then a shadow enemy would appear behind it. This would create a gameplay loop in which your ability to generate life could also create enemies if you’re not careful.

As we can read in their old website:

“Capucine is an exploration / adventure game, formulated as a tale and based on shadow and light opposition. This game takes place in a fantastic universe where everything is dead. The player controls a child who holds a “capucine”. This flower enables her to survive in this desolated world. The little girl can hand on her own life to the surroundings thanks to a beam of light she can cast from her hand.

To maintain life, water will be vital. However, the player must be careful not to animate the shadows of the surrounding elements. Indeed, animated shadows will try to steal the flower in order to prevent the child from accomplishing her destiny: revive the World.

The main intention is to offer a quiet and disturbing gaming experience where the player explores the surroundings and solves riddles. During the adventure, we want the player to be fascinated by the world he discovers. We also want him to become attached to the main character. The gameplay and the interface must be easy to understand but not simplistic, in order to create an optimal immersion.”

Capucine was based on four fundamental principles:

  • Give life rather than take it.
  • A unique gameplay element: the beam of light.
  • Build your own path.
  • Players create their own enemies.

Some more details can be found in an old interview with Yohan Cazauk, lead designer of Capucine:

“My name is Yohan Cazaux and I’m 24. I’m a French student at Supinfogame ( a Game Design school). This is my last year of studies, and with 5 other classmates I’ve worked all year on Capucine, our final study project.

Capucine is an adventure game, but a quiet adventure. We favoured the exploration side rather than pure action. “Shadow and light” sum up the gameplay mechanics. Your only way to interact with the game is the lightbeam, and with it you’ve got to push back the shadow, but you also can create it : both notions are opposite but interdependent.

I was very inspired by the lyrics of a french song, “La fleur” for the original concept. It’s from this song that we came up with the flower concept; the “Capucine”. The team was also inspired by various movies, especially Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro and all traditional tales. And as far as video games are concerned, we were inspired by Ico – by its poetry and its amazing graphics.”

“First, the flower is a part of the character – it’s her life. Without the flower, the child’s life starts to decrease. That’s why the shadows are trying to steal the flower. They can’t hurt the character directly.

Secondly, in order to preserve life in the game, the player has to make water circulate in the world. Without water, nature will die. The flower can serve as a substitute for water. If the player puts it down near a tree for example, the tree won’t die. But by putting down the flower, the child’s life starts to decrease… It’s a dilemma for the player, and it’s very interesting.”

“Well, the flower helps you to keep the world alive, until you “unblock” water to it. The light beam is the way for the girl to transmit her life to the environment. I say “transmit” because when she’s using it, her life decreases. But she can retrieve life by soaking the flower in water. The beam is the only way to interact with the world. Everything in the universe of Capucine revolves around light.

There are 3 ways to use the beam : continuous lighting, rhythm lighting and movement lighting. But if the player uses too much time of the light beam on an element, the shadow of this element will come alive and attack them.

We don’t know if a “final game” will exist one day. Capucine is just a prototype, and so it will stay on the PC with Wiimote/Nunchuk controls available. A few days after the (school) presentation, the game will be downloadable for free as a Far Cry mod on our website. For the moment, we don’t plan to make money with Capucine.”

As promised by Yohan, the Capucine prototype was released online at the time. Probably many gaming websites announced the project as a real Wii game because it was labeled as such on their “promotional” website, but as far as we know it was always meant to be just a school project. In any case, Capucine is still a fascinating prototype from the Wii generation, along with such cancelled games as Sadness and Project H.A.M.M.E.R.

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Cold Blooded / Shark Boy (7th Level) [PC – Cancelled]

Cold Blooded (AKA Shark Boy) is a cancelled action adventure game set in a half-mutilated universe threatened by a tug-of-war between warring gods, that was in development by 7th Level around 1996 and was planned to be released on PC. Its most notable features were it’s comic-book graphic style, different gameplay for each level and the main protagonist voiced by Bruce Campbell (the actor from such cult-classic movies as the “Evil Dead” trilogy and Bubba Ho-Tep).

Footage from the game can still be found in an old 7th Level Press Kit, but there are also rumors about a playable beta version leaked online many years ago: if you have a copy of this canned game, please let us know!

Featuring:

  • More than a dozen graphic adventure and top-down games, puzzles and action videos
  • Constantly changing gameplay
  • Immersive story like and second to none animation
  • A dark, ’90s comic book on CD-ROM

Thanks to Valerio and ItsFact for the contribution!

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Venom Spirit [SNES – Cancelled]

Venom Spirit is a cancelled action adventure that was in development for Super Nintendo around 1994 by the Pickford Bros, while they were working at Software Creations and after publishing their cult-classic Plok. The game was planned to use pre-rendered 3D graphics on the 16-Bit console, somehow similar to what Rare also did with their Donkey Kong Country series. While Venom Spirit was never officially announced by the company, many details about the project were shared online by John and Ste Pickford:

“This was just after we’d licensed our concept / game design for Plok to our employers Software Creations, and directed the development of the game internally for the SNES. We felt flushed with success, and Venom Spirit was going to be our ‘follow up’. The game was completely unrelated to Plok, but it was a new character and an original game design for the SNES, which John and I worked on near constantly for about two years in our spare time.

We would have been ahead of our time if we’d been allowed to pursue John’s idea of creating all the graphics as 3D models, then using renders of these in the game. […] We also did a hell of a lot of work on the game design itself. We planned a real big, Capcom style action adventure, somewhere between Super Metroid, MegaMan and Strider. We had all the levels laid out, characters and bosses designed, set pieces planned.”

“Seeing Donkey Kong Country come out months later made us realise that we were on the right track. We had the ideas and we had the skills to make great video games, we just didn’t have the opportunity.

We did the deal with Software Creations, and the game ended up in development briefly (with some cool tech too), but, as is so often the case with jobbing development studios, being paid to do movie license games is a much more attractive proposition than risking money making original IP, so the game was dropped in favour of a Cutthroat Island game for Acclaim (with the cool tech being used in that game instead), and Venom Spirit never happened.”

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War Monster [Nintendo DS – Tech Demo, Cancelled]

Wicked Witch Software is a video game developer founded in 2001 which created a few original IPs for their projects. One of these IPs was “War Monster”, a medieval fantasy world similar to Warcraft that could have been used for many different kinds of games, such as RTS, platform, action adventure and even MMORPG. This Nintendo DS tech demo was created by the team to pitch their skills to different publishers, hoping to find someone who could be interested in supporting their ideas.

Details about this War Monster DS demo were shared by WWS on their old website:

“We would love to see an awesome multiplayer RPG on handheld. Imagine while traversing the open world you come across a dungeon: you could enter alone or connect to other players to explore the dungeon together. Each dungeon would increase in difficulty and adjust the challenges as more players join your team!

  • Deeply immersive 3d world and a varied cast of characters from tiny fairies to massive giants!
  • Unlimited random levels and scripted quests to complete and achieve!
  • Immersive RPG elements with customizable characters, weapons, abilities and attacks.
  • Unlock and explore worlds and seek out mystical items to aid in your adventure.”

As with their Game Boy Color version of War Monster, unfortunately the team was not able to get funds to work on this Nintendo DS project, so it had to be canned. The War Monster IP was later reused to create a RTS released (?) for Cell Phones.

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Wicked! (VIS Interactive) [Nintendo 64 – Cancelled]

Wicked! is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by VIS Interactive for Nintendo 64. The team also worked on “Earthworm Jim 3D” and “Tom and Jerry in Fists of Furry” for the N64, but Wicked would have been one of their few original IPs. It seems the game could have been an action adventure with magical settings, inspired by such TV series as “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”.

Images from a VIS Interactive pamphlet shown some of the characters designed for this canned game:

Huge thanks to Kirk Ewing and Iain Roberts for the contribution!

The project was never shown to the public, but a design doc was found by video game collectors some years ago (if you have a copy of this document, please let us know!). There’s also an updated concept art for Wicked!’s protagonist (Jenny), drawn by Paul Simms with the following note:

“Jenny’s not bad, she’s….. Wicked. An old, old N64 demo character brought up to date”.