Action Adventure

Geist DS [Nintendo DS – Cancelled]

The original Geist was a first person adventure developed by N-Space and published by Nintendo in 2005 for their GameCube. In the game you play as the spirit of the dead protagonist, who can interact with the physical world through possession of things, animals and human beings. The game had an interesting gameplay mechanic in which you had to scare NPCs before being able to possess them and many clever puzzles revolving around your possession ability.

A Nintendo DS port / sequel was in development at N-Space in mid – late ‘00s, but in the end the project was canned, possibly because of low sales and mixed reviews for the GameCube version. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“Nearing the end of development, a Nintendo DS port was rumored by an IGN tour to be in development. Although this port was never announced, and no information of it has ever been officially released, n-Space did have development kits for the DS at the time, and traces of the ports existence have been found within the ROM of the DS version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which was developed by n-Space, as two text documents for the credits of Geist DS are present”

You can read the Geist DS credits hidden in CoD4 DS at TCRF.

While the game was never officially announced and it was quietly cancelled with no media ever shown to the public, fans of the original game found some early footage of Geist DS, preserved below to remember its existence.

N-Space did a great job with their portable FPS (Call of Duty, GoldenEye), so it’s safe to say we missed another good one with the cancellation of Geist DS. We hope one day someone could share online a playable prototype, maybe along with their DS version of Halo

Flux (Eight Cylinder Studios) [GameCube, PC – Cancelled]

Flux is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by forgotten team Eight Cylinder Studios, planned to be published for Nintendo GameCube and PC (by Microsoft?). Eight Cylinder survived in the gaming market for just about 2 – 3 years, between 1998 and 2001.

As far as we know they never released any of their games. Few details about the existence of their Flux project can still be found online, on Mobygames’ profile for Franck De Girolami (Eight Cylinder founder) and in an old website for Dark Reigns 2, as Adam Marquis (now at Naugthy Dog) also worked at Eight Cylinder before joining Pandemic Studios. On Next Generation Magazine (issue 40, April 1998) they also published a short update about them:

“Eight  Cylinder Studios, remains hard at work on the tentatively titled  Flux, a 3D action / platform game, which according to one employee,  will be the first game to offer “varying planes of gravity.” As of press time, Eight Cylinder had not  announced a new publisher for Flux but was courting several larger, unnamed companies with strong distribution channels.”

next-generation-magazine-40-april-1998

We were also able to save a short description about the project and some concept tiny art from a (now offline) website of another former developer:

“FLUX Gamecube, Action Adventure, Eight Cylinder Studios / Microsoft (unreleased). A unique mechanic where the player rotates the world along 3-axis in order to move through it, and to control the action.  I envisioned architecture that was built at different orientations; out of it came irony, humor and contradiction: guard towers became bridges that spanned divides, water mills became waterfalls that caused floods, and slums turned sideways dumping all their ‘stuff’ into the world, into this I folded themed zones that carried the narrative, mechanic, and pacing of the game.  These are only the initial sketches – art bible and screendumps were destroyed

flux-gamecube-eight-cylinder-studio-cancelled

We can assume the team was not able to find a publisher to keep funding their project and had to close down. If you know someone who worked at Eight Cylinder Studios and could help us to know more about what happened to Flux, please let us know

TinTin [PS2 – Prototype]

Appeal is rather obscure studio formed in 1995 by Yves Grolet, Franck Sauer and Yann Robert, mostly known for their cult-following adventure game Outcast (1999) and its remake (2017). During their lifespan Appeal pitched and prototyped many different games that never seen the light of day: one of these was a “The Adventures of Tintin” tie-in for Playstation 2, based on the popular Belgian comic.

As we can read on Franck Sauer’s website:

“After the Outcast II debacle (see the related article here), we were offered a share buy-back option by our publisher (Infogrames) in exchange of a new pre-production contract around a Tintin game. As we had to keep our studio alive, we bought back the shares at a nominal price and got the contract started.

We had developed some nice technology for the Outcast II game and, although it was still far from being complete, we had enough to prototype a Tintin game.

The budget was tight and the timing was short, so we tried to reuse a number of resources from the Outcast II prototype and build on top of that. The game was to be fully 3D exploration with some action scenes and mini-games.

In the end, Infogrames did not manage to sign a license deal with Moulinsart (The company that holds the Tintin rights), and we finally got bankrupt the same year and closed the studio.”

Props to Franck for preserving and sharing these files from the lost game!

Video:

Images:

 

Redemption (Cranberry Source) [N64 – Cancelled]

Redemption is a cancelled action adventure in development by Cranberry Source, that may have been published by Philips Media Interactive for Nintendo 64. While it remains an obscure and forgotten project, from what we have gathered it could have been quite the original and revolutionary game for its time, merging many different genres and viewpoints together: FPS, third person isometric puzzle-platformer and open world exploration on vehicles.

Redemption was designed by Jon Ritman, founder of Cranberry Source and mostly known for his work on cult-classic 1980s computer games such as Head over Heels, plus Monster Max for Rare on the original Game Boy. Unfortunately the team never shown any screenshots from their unreleased N64 adventure, but few details are scattered around the web and in old magazines. On the Playstation Museum website we can read:

“Cranberry Source had a multi-product deal (three, in fact) with Philips Media Interactive. QAD was to be the first game released, Super Match Soccer (or Match Day 3 as it was known then) the second, and the third game had a provisional title of “Redemption”. QAD and SMS were developed at the London office, and Redemption was to be developed by staff at the Cranberry North office. Ultimately, Redemption never really got much further than the drawing board, but the initial designs focused around the kind of puzzle elements found in Jon Ritman’s previous games such as Head over Heels and Monster Max.”

In PC Zone magazine (Issue 41, August 1996) they published an interview with Cranberry Source, along with few details about Redemption:

PZ: What about Redemption?

JR: That’s our epic.. John then goes on to explain the basic concept behind Redemption. In summary, it’ll be a very large action-cum-puzzle-cum-exploration game, using several different viewpoints. Parts of it are Doom-like, parts of it hark back to the classic isometric platform/puzzle games of yore (such as Head Over Heels, another of John’s past glories), and parts of it take place outdoors. In vehicles. It’s quite ambitious, in other words.

JC: To rationalise how we’ve got all this different stuff in one game, we’ve come up with quite a weird scenario which involves a mad, serial killer surgeon who’s grafting bits onto you. All this stuff takes place in your own head, and each level is a different operation. It’s, er, a bit odd really.

JR: It is a bit odd, isn’t it?”

An interview with Ritman conducted by Blood in Autumn 1996 for Emulate! Magazine (issue 6) also mention Redemption:

What are Cranberry Source working on at the minute? Which machines are you concentrating on?

Three games each on PC, Playstation & Saturn –

Q.A.D. – A fly over a stunning landscape rescuing hostages game (2player)

The Net – A multiplayer soccer game

Redemption – An epic game, this would take me too long to describe!

[…] For HoH fans I suggest a look at Redemption (it won’t be released until the end of next year).”

It’s not clear if the game was originally conceived as a PC or Nintendo 64 project, but in N64 Magazine (Issue 12, February 1998) they mentioned Cranberry Source were developing it for Nintendo’s console:

“Our wrinklier readers will undoubtedly remember Head Over Heels, a 3D puzzly platform adventure that was one of the Spectrum’s best games back in the 1980s. Well bless our souls if it’s not about to rise again. Jon Ritman, the chap behind the Speccy original, set up a development company called Cranberry Source who, after a bit of PC-based action, have decided to turn their hands to the N64. And their first Nintendo game will be a 3D puzzly platformer adventure that incorporates the best elements of – yes – Head over Heels. Superb!”

A couple of months later, in April 1998 Jon Ritman and other developers of Cranberry Source were hired by Argonaut Games, possibly because the studio were really impressed by their work with Redemption for the N64. As we can read on IGN:

“The co-founder of Cranberry Source, Jon Ritman, and several other members have left the company to join the British independent developer Argonaut, best known for the original Star Fox and the Super FX chip.

According to IGN’s morning news service, GameAddict, Ritman and his team will be working on an action adventure due to release late next year. Prior to the switch, Ritman was working on an N64 semi-sequel to the classic Head Over Heels. It is not yet known how Cranberry Source will cope with the loss and what will happen to its projects in progress.

Argonaut’s Jez San commented on Ritman’s move: “Many of us at Argonaut have been long standing fans of Ritman’s work, especially of Batman, Match Day, and Head-Over-Heels. I feel he will develop some of his finest work at Argonaut and could help some of our existing games further refine their gameplay.” Although Argonaut has only announced one title so far (Buck Bumble), industry insiders have told IGN64.com that Argonaut is heavily investing in N64 development with numerous titles on the way.

It’s not clear if Argonaut also acquired the rights to develop Redemption, but in the end the project was never completed.

We hope one day to preserve more details or even images for this fascinating and unrealized project.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

 

Fate (Airtight Games) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PS3]

Airtight Games was a development studio founded in 2004, formed by former members of FASA Studio, Will Vinton Studios and Microsoft. Between 2010 and 2011 the team was working on a new, unannounced AAA action adventure project titled “Fate”, possibly to be published by Square Enix or another unknown japanese publisher.

Fate-Airtight-Games-Cancelled-AAA (3)

As we can read on Kotaku:

“Rather, this Square Enix game seems to be Airtight’s primary project – an “unannounced AAA title” it has been developing since the completion of work on Dark Void. The company’s website describes this project as “another ambitious AAA title in a genre that is both unique and refreshingly unexplored”.

Given the development timeline, Airtight’s current AAA effort is likely a continuation of a project called Fate, a post-Dark Void project for an unnamed Japanese publisher, which was temporarily placed on hold in April 2011 so that work on the game “could be reassessed”. That decision resulted in much of the team working on Fate being let go. Assets from the time of the developmental pause suggested an aesthetic influence from BioShock, but the game has likely changed considerably since then.”

Only a single logo for this cancelled project was shared by the team. As we can read on Engaged:

“Aside from a job listing popping up late in the year for “several AAA titles,” and the high-profile hire of Portal lead Kim Swift just before Dark Void‘s launch, the studio kept mum all the way until this past summer. […]

“There are currently two projects at Airtight: ours, and another unannounced project,” Swift told me during a pre-New York Comic Con preview for Square’s titles. “I can’t speak to what the game is,” she added (unsurprisingly).”

Fate-Airtight-Games-logo

Unfortunately there aren’t any more details about what kind of game Fate was. Some years later the project or at least the collaboration with Square Enix was restarted, with heavy changes on its original concept. Somehow the “Fate project” morphed into “Murdered: Soul Suspect”. As we can read on Kotaku:

“They used to call this game Fate (Studer even did by accident a couple of times during the demo). It’s the adventure of a detective named Ronan O’Connor. He’s been killed at the start of the game after poking his way through a house in the spooky American town of Salem. A mysterious figure throws him out of a three-story window onto the pavement below and then shoots him for good measure.”

We tried to get in contact with former Airtight Games developers to preserve more info on their lost game, but without luck. If you know someone who worked on Fate, please let us know!

Images: