Action Adventure

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”.

 

Wall-E 2 (Helixe) [Cancelled – Nintendo DS]

Wall-E 2 is the cancelled sequel to Helixe’s Nintendo DS game based on the eponymous Disney Pixar movie. The team was a division of THQ that focused on Nintendo’s portable consoles, and previously worked on other DS tie-ins such as Ratatouille, Cars, The Incredibles. This follow-up would feature local coop multiplayer using the DS wireless connection, with multiple playable characters from the movie. Helixe was shut down by THQ in November 2008 and Wall-E 2 was canned along with them.

A couple 3D models from the game levels are preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost DS game.

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Paparazzi (Widescreen Games) [PS2 – Cancelled]

Paparazzi is a cancelled photography adventure game that was in development in 2005 by Widescreen Games for Playstation 2. This project must not be confused with the European conversion of “Simple 2000 Series Vol. 53: The Camera Kozou”, which was renamed “Paparazzi” by 505 Game Street.

As far as we know Widescreen Games’ Paparazzi was never officially announced, and only a single image with a 3D model made for the game is preserved below, to remember the existence of this lost game. We can assume players would have to take photos of celebrities, then sell them to tabloids.

If you know someone who worked on this game and could help saving more details or screenshots, please let us know! 

Hab-12 (Ratloop) [Cancelled – PC]

Hab-12 is a cancelled, third-person action-adventure game in-development at Ratloop from 1998 to 1999. The company was founded by 5 people, one of which being Lucas Pope, who would go on to make Papers Please and Return of the Obra Dinn. Ratloop started out making the full-conversion Quake mod Malice while under the name Team Epochalypse, then moved on to something much more ambitious.

Hab-12 was to be their next game, a sci-fi adventure about surviving various hostile environments. A documentary about the game was released on Youtube by Massimiliano Camassa discussing many aspects of the game and it’s development. Camassa was given access to many development materials including the design document and 2 demos of the game, one from 1998 and the other from 1999

Hab-12’s gameplay would have been a mix of classic 2D adventure games, like the Monkey Island series, and a more traditional third person shooter. Camassa’s documentary also discusses how media and the public viewed the game:

Tomb Raider was the game most people thought of upon hearing that Hab-12 was an action adventure game. Yet, Hab-12 is a slower-paced, cinematic, puzzle-based adventure game experience. The demo is highly scripted and after playing the demo and studying the game design document the rest of the game would likely have a similar game structure.”

Like many adventure contemporary to Hab-12, puzzles were a major part of the demos, even starting with one. Miray, the game’s protagonist, would be stuck in a venus flytrap-like plant and would have to swing from side-to-side to escape. Other puzzles in the demos included having to distract monsters to sneak around and maneuvering around a giant slug alien’s breath to survive.

Cassan’s documentary reveals how Ratloop intended to make Hab-12’s plot stand out. To achieve this, the devs intended to focus the game’s story on the ever-changing relationship between the down-to-earth Miray and the outlandish biological A.I PAX. After a cataclysmic event occurs on board The Sentient, a research ship, Miray would have to make his way through all 12 habitats (or Habs) in order to escape. The documentary summarizes the game’s story with a quote:

“Hab-12 is all about man vs. wild, but also a remarkable story about a normal guy and an unhinged bio-computer.”

The games levels were intended to take place across the 12 habitations, with each hab featuring a different ecosystem for Miray to overcome. Revealed in screenshots and demos were an autumn-like red forest, an icy cave system, a swampy area with gigantic trees, a volcanic area, and more. The variety in level design was quite impressive for the era, and Miray was to have several costume changes to reflect the surroundings. These levels were also planned to be intensely detailed and impressive, the documentary even shows how amazed publications were with the red forest level, saying “Every leaf is rendered. Every damned one. That’s how good the graphics engine is.”

Despite the game impressing media outlets with its graphics and gameplay, the project failed to find any publishers. Hab-12’s ambition, along with Ratloop’s relative inexperience at the time, was what ultimately killed the project. The project was planned to have a sequel and a novel adaptation written by a member of the team. Ratloop now exists as 3 companies, Ratloop inc, Ratloop Asia, and Ratloop Games Canada. Ratloop Canada is currently working on the turn-based FPS shooter Lemnis Gate.

Article by Alex Cutler, thanks to Jackgrimm99  for the contribution

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