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Barnyard [Beta – GameCube, PS2, PC]

Barnyard is an action game based on the movie of the same name, developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment and published by THQ for GameCube, Wii, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, and PC. Footage of beta gameplay has been uploaded to the IGN youtube channel as a video titled “Barnyard GameCube Video – Clip Compilation 2”.

The main differences in this beta footage are:

  • animals could freely walk around the map
  • there was a life-counter (was completely removed in the final version)
  • players had “happiness level
  • the map was completely different
  • The mobile phone had a music player, battery energy, and an integrated camera that could take photos.
  • There was also a multiplayer mode for some of the minigames such as chicken coop (this minigame was heavily changed in the final version).

Besides IGN’s gameplay on Youtube there’s an official trailer where the Beta version was shown for the first time. It’s still not known if the version in this trailer was different from the one IGN previewed.

In 2021 more beta gameplay footage was found with other differences from the final version:

  • The NPCs still had an AI
  • currency was different
  • the models of the trees and of the fences were different
  • map still had some difference, but it’s pretty close to the final appearance
  • minigames with up-to 4 players multiplayer were still there.

This gameplay was found on a Spanish website named 3DJuegos. The released Barnyard seems to have been built from a canceled, unannounced game in which all NPCs could interact with each other, build relationships and more. This is why the beta version of the game had more advanced NPC AI, but it’s still not known why it was later removed.

Article by InfiniteC0re and @longhorn#5853

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A Nightmare on Elm Street [NES – Beta]

In 1989 Rare and LJN released A Nightmare on Elm Street tie-in video game on the NES, but it was quite different from what it was originally announced. The main difference in this prototype / concept version of A Nightmare on Elm Street is that you could play as the iconic 80’s slasher icon. Screenshots of the game appeared in a few issues of Nintendo Power and other magazines, sharing some details on the gameplay:

“It’s your greatest dream and your worst nightmare. You are Freddy Krueger… the gruesome star of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies. Use all of your evil powers and special abilities to track down and destroy your pursuers before they bury your bones.” – Nintendo Power.

“You are Freddy Krueger. A horde of obnoxious teenagers are trying to get rid of you by finding your bones and burning them. Killing them is the only way to stop them. You can travel along elm street through various lines (electrical and plumbing) or by stepping into a mirror and entering another room. The kids have weapons and some of them possess “Dream Alter Egos”.. If you strike them before they wake up, they’ll trouble you no more. Sharpen up those finger razors and get ready to slash, ’cause Freddy’s here!”

In one of these screenshots you can see the dream killer as a snake and in another Freddy is normal but going after some random kids, not a character from the film. In 1989, another issue of Nintendo Power addressed the game in an article about the Nintendo Satellite. This one had two different screenshots, one where Freddy is seen with two enemies and a cool title card. The description was different and it described what we got in the final game:

“You may never go to sleep again once you enter the nightmare world. You and your crew, the elm street neighborhood gang, have the power of the satellite to get you through in this LJN horror PAK.”

Thanks to Roxas for the contribution!

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Boo Haunt (Retro Studios) [Nintendo DS – Cancelled Concept]

In May 2020 Shinesparkers published a series of links to the online portfolio of Sammy Hall, former Retro Studios contract artist who worked on concept art for a cancelled Boo game pitched by the company for Nintendo DS. Possibly known as the “Haunt” project, in this adventure players would take the role of a young Boo, freshly graduated in the Haunt university.

In these images you can see a Boo professor teaching his students about a magical cauldron and our Boo protagonist would have been chosen to be dipped into it for some reasons. We speculate that by being soaked in the cauldron, the young Boo would have somehow received new powers. Concept art shows this Boo in different poses, as if it could be stretched and moved around like in Kirby: Canvas Curse.

These drawings were noted as being used for Retro Studios’ Boo project between 2006 and 2007 (the same artist also worked on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Donkey Kong Country Returns), just a year after Nintendo released Canvas Curse. As we can read on their original page:

“Cancelled Boo project (2006 – 2007). Loads of Boo sketches in very very unfamiliar territory. Deep in debt at Haunt University. Powers & abilities. Broomies. Possession powers. Spiders spider boss variations. Tiny stuff for tiny handheld resolutions.”

We can also speculate the witches seen in these images are the “Broomies” (possibly the main enemies of the game, as seen in one of the drawings in which Boo fight against one of them like in a shoot ’em up) and Boo would had some kind of “Possession powers” to gather new powers & abilities.

After these images were found by fans and gaming journalists, the artist just deleted his whole ArtStation account. IGN was able to get in contact with him, asking about this Boo project and the cancelled Zelda – Sheik Wii game:

“Speaking to IGN, ex-Retro Studios concept artist Sammy Hall explained that both games were in pre-production when cancelled, and “I doubt many at Nintendo proper saw much of any of this stuff. I was mostly put into a room like Milton from Office Space and tasked to brainstorm between other projects.”

According to Hall, the ideas for both games came from ex-Retro leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Kynan Pearson, but were “cancelled the week they went to create their other studios.”

We’d like to preserve these fascinating Boo drawings in the gallery below, to remember the existence of this lost video game. If you saved more concept art from Retro Studios’ Boo project that are missing from this page, please let us know in the comments below or by email!

Thanks to AvenPlainstrider for the contribution!

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Pyross (American Sammy) [NES – Cancelled]

Pyross is a cancelled action platformer based on the original Wardner / Pyros arcade game, which would have been published by American Sammy Corporation for the NES. While a 8-Bit version of Wardner was released for the Famicom Disk System in Japan, it was a different game from this canned one. Pyross was shown a few times in gaming magazines previews (such as in EGM 13), its american box-art was already designed and they even had an advertisement flyer ready, but in the end the game just vanished forever:

Princess Pudding has been captured, and it’s up to the dashing prince to rescue her. But this is no mere walk in the woods! He must challenge hordes of vile creatures, avoid deadly traps, and master the weapons of fire before time runs out! Shall the beloved princess be crystalized by the forces of darkness, or will Ala Mode make things too hot for evil to handle?”

We can only hope one day a prototype of this canned NES version of Pyross could be found by someone and preserved online.

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Ghosts ‘n Goblins 3D [Playstation – Cancelled]

Ghosts ‘n Goblins 3D (AKA Makaimura 3D in Japan) is a cancelled chapter in the titular Capcom series that was planned in 1994 for the original Playstation, 3 years after the release of Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts for the Super Nintendo. As far as we know this canned PS1 game was never officially announced by Capcom (but they did announce Ghosts ‘n Goblins for Nintendo 64) even if rumors about a 32-bit Makaimura were around at the time. In September 2020 a former Capcom artist shared a few pieces of concept art on Twitter, but later removed their message: those drawings are preserved in the gallery below, to remember the existence of this lost game. By looking at one of the remaining drawings, we speculate the game may have had an isometric top-down view.

It seems Kouji Ogata (at the time a Capcom employee who worked on the opening of the SFC version of Super Street Fighter II) was originally in charge of Ghosts ‘n Goblins PS1 character design, but was later replaced by someone else (Pink Head?) before the project was just canned.

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