Long title, short story. Chronicles of Eden Vol.I: Vangarde’s Tale was announced in 2004 by its developer Lightspire Studios as an upcoming Gameboy Advance title. The game was supposed to be a top down story driven action adventure/ role playing game. At the time of announcing the game no publisher was known yet and nor was a hint given on a final release date.
The game tells the story of Dyrvaine, an elite agent of the Elven Council of Tannale. The agent is sent out to investigate mysterious activities with a gate seal on a world called Elzian. The game was divided into four episodes and would give the player three characters to choose from, each wit an unique style of gameplay and each one with a different look on the storyline. A fourth character would become available after completing two of the four episodes. An interview with one of the makers of the game by Planet Gameboy can be read here.
After the announcement things became quiet on the game and it is assumed to be fully cancelled, most likely too hard to find a publisher for the game.
Extra – Artwork, possible Box Cover & Lightsphere logo:
(note: I only picked 3 recognizable pictures shown in the promotional video. more?)
Djinn is a cancelled action RPG planned initially for PC and later also for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The project was in development by Castaway Entertainment, a talented team founded in 2003 by former developers who left Blizzard North, some of which were previously working on the cancelled version of Diablo 3. Djinn was quite hyped at the time because of its connection with the Diablo series and many RPG fans were eager to see more from the game, promising hundreds of hours of adventure, exploration and rare loot. Unfortunately before its cancellation not much was ever revealed about Djinn, its gameplay mechanics or plot, but thanks to the finding of its pitch document we can now learn more about this ambitious project.
Castaway wanted to create an innovative role playing game with a story told in real time, while players were actively exploring its world and listening to the protagonist’s comrates. This team of characters following the protagonist could have been similar to the “pawn” system used many years later in Dragon’s Dogma, but with heavy interconnections with the main storyline:
“The idea of a next-generation, greatly upgraded Diablo II on console forms the basis of the concept and marketing strategy for our newest game, Djinn. Djinn is a real-time 3D action roleplaying game of heroic risks in an island world of ancient mythical beings and forbidden magic. With non-stop pacing unfettered by text dialog choices, and featuring larger than life ruins, temples, and legendary creatures, Djinn reveals a real time story told not by signpost NPCs but by your very traveling companions”
“Our unique twist on companions is the Crew concept. The crew members are intriguing, multi-purpose characters who are also lesser heroes in their own right, much like the Argonauts (the Greek heroes who made up the crew of Jason’s ship Argo). They can be added or removed at any time to the questing party, and each one has unique powers that the player will enjoy experimenting with. In combination, crew members may reveal additional abilities.”
Djinn’s gameplay would have been inspired by many more games other than the popular Diablo 2, adding physics-based combat and environment interaction, plus a series of “cards” that could change the game’s world and how players could interact and fight in this world. We could imagine it as an ambitious mix between Psi-Ops, Phantom Dust, Baten Kaitos and Hand of Fate:
“Djinn combines Diablo II quality, item collection, tactical equipment and skill choices, and dynamic, user-friendly combat; Phantom Dust playfield interaction and destruction; Psi-Ops physics-based combat; Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal’s varied attacks and situational awareness; and Magic: The Gathering’s highly addictive collectible and customizable booster packs.”
“We will be showing off our combat moves, interactive environments and highly vertical levels using advanced physics. Players will be able to do many things with our physics engine, including: Push victims off ledges or slam them into spikes; Drop objects onto targets far below; Knock over pillars and break platforms, in order to damage opponents; Knock back enemies who fall down with rag doll physics; Create “domino” effects where one object knocks into another.”
“Djinn is designed to be a modular system that allows the player to make significant changes to their own game play experience. A player may alter their character’s skills, reconfigure their quests, select their companions, and even make changes to the world itself. These modifiers are contained in virtual “cards” that the player may collect, trade, buy, or sell with other players. “Cards” are currently being used as a metaphor for a system of tokens that can be applied within the game. The final game pieces will most likely take the form of artifacts or scrolls, not tarot or playing cards. Regardless of how the player wishes to manage their cards, everyone begins with a basic set (a virtual deck) that contains five types of cards: Skill Cards, Hero Cards, Quest Cards, World Cards, and Crew Cards. By playing combinations of these five types, the player is able to explore different locales over and over with very different experiences.”
Werewolf: The Apocalypse was a game planned for PC that was being produced by ASC Games and developed by Dreamforge Intertainment, both of which have worked together previously on the horror point and click game Sanitarium for PC. The game was based on the popular pen and paper tabletop series of the same name created by White Wolf Publishing and would have run on the Unreal engine by Epic Games. The game, along with other popular series such as Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension, took place in the “World of Darkness” universe wherein a secret battle for the fate of the Earth is waged by various factions of monsters, ghosts and demons behind the scenes of seemingly normal everyday life. Travis Williams, who was one of the original developers on the original tabletop version of the game, was the executive producer of the game and stated that he was there to make sure the game was as “authentic to the original” as possible. Because of this the game’s storyline incorporated the already extensive backstory associated with the series.
The protagonist was a teenager named Ryan Mcullough who discovers that he is a member of the Garou tribe of werewolves after being attacked by monsters who serve the Wyrm – a supernatural force of destruction that wants to warp reality by corrupting all living things with its sickness. Ryan comes to find that not only is he a werewolf but that he also carries the blood of the White Howlers – a powerful tribe who has been extinct for years after trying to stop the Wyrm and falling under its corruption. With his new found abilities Ryan goes on a globetrotting journey to save the heart of the Earth itself from the clutches of the grotesque Wyrm as well as finding out the truth behind his father’s disappearance when he was still a child. Along the way he makes allies with fellow werewolves and other mystical beings to help him battle the twisted agents of the Wyrm such as the Fomori, humans who have been possessed by evil spirits that serve the Wyrm, and the Black Spiral Dancers, werewolves that have been corrupted by the Wyrm. His travels take him to places such as Greece and the Pentex Corporation, which is a powerful conglomerate that serves as a front for the Wyrm.
Gameplay has been described by Williams in several interviews as being similar to the Jedi Knight series of games as there would have been both long range and close combat fighting options along with the ability to switch between 1st and 3rd person camera angles. The player would be given the choice to shapeshift on the fly between Ryan’s human form, his “Crinos” form – which is similar to the popular image of a werewolf, and his “Lupus” form – which is a regular wolf. In human form the player would utilize a series of guns ranging from pistols to machine guns to “experimental” weaponry while the Crinos form consisted of melee combat with claws and a large sword called the Klaive which can be imbued with powers such as fire or ice damage. To make melee combat easier the player would be able to lock on and strafe around enemies while in the Crinos form.
Another aspect about the game that was similar to Jedi Knight was the ability to unlock special abilities, known as “gifts” in the game, for all three of Ryan’s forms depending on the choices the player made throughout the game. There were over 20 available and they would have been divided into 3 categories- temporary, permanent, and Klaive effects. An example of an “evil” path gift was the Seed of Gaia, which was a seed you could shoot into enemies that would make spikes shoot out from their insides, and a “good” gift example was a mystical armor spell known as Luna’s Armor.
A multiplayer versus mode was also planned for the game in which the player would have been able to choose characters out of the 13 different tribes of werewolves to do battle with one another. It also featured “totems” that you could attach to your character to give them special abilities. Many standard multiplayer game modes would have been available such as Blood Moot (deathmatch) as well as King of the Hill and a Tag mode.
Information about the game was being steadily released from late 1998 all the way up until September 1999 when ASC announced that the game was put on hold indefinitely. However despite this announcement they assured IGN that the game would still be released in Q1 2000 even though there were reports at the time that ASC Games would be permanently closing their doors. The reports ended up being true and ASC games shut down on January 7th, 2000 with Dreamforge Entertainment following suit shortly thereafter. A majority of the cut scenes for the game have been released since as well as some screenshots and a brief gameplay video that shows Ryan running around a warehouse area and transforming between his 3 different forms. A 10 part prequel series written by White Wolf veteran Phil Bucato was also released on the ASC website as the game was leading up to its release, but all of the chapters seemed to have disappeared along with the ASC website. Another game Dreamforge Entertainment was working on, Myst IV, was taken over and finished by Ubisoft Montreal.
GUNNARr is a cancelled side-scrolling action RPG that was in development by BlossomSoft for Nintendo DS in late ‘00s. This was just one of the many games that the team was working on at the same time, along with Western Lords (GBA, PC), Sagrada Guardians (DS) and Mimic Book (DS), unfortunately neither of them was ever completed. GUNNARr was meant to have some kind of innovative gameplay mechanic, but not much was ever revealed about it.
A few general details were posted by Elder (the game producer) in 2007 on their old forum:
“Spelled ‘GUNNARr’, the particular meaning of this title is kept a mystery. The project is slowly coming into focus, intended to follow Mimic Book’s release. The game is an alternate for ‘Oracle Adventure’, a fantastic sidescroller adventure/RPG game intended for Nintendo DS. Furthermore the key-concept of this game also hides what I think is a fairly ingenious feature, but well, like Mimic Book, it’s preferable to wait before divulging anything. The story takes part in a post-apocalyptic and vacant fantasy world, vaguely inspired by some Norse legends. Here you can view some abstract mockups, therefore some aspects are subject to be modified later, and naturally, the innovative key-element of this game isn’t shown on these images. But, at least you know that a 2D adventure game is underway during spare time at this moment.”
In 2008 the GUNNARr was already put on hold, as we can read from an interview by RPG Land:
“Joseph: Judging from your forum posts, you’re working on five projects (Project Eden, Mimic Book, GUNNARr, Sagrada Guardians, and Western Lords). What can you tell us individually about each of these games? Elder: “During the recent years many game concepts crossed my mind, and I still aspire to complete each of them. I started with Western Lords/Sagrada Guardians in 2004, but I couldn’t complete it due to inexperience and tight budget. Besides, it was a GIGANTIC project. But it’s thanks to this project that I could develop various facets of my skills. Mimic Book and GUNNARr were two other game concepts I started to elaborate later. And both games were splendid even though they were less ambitious than Western Lords in term of development and budget, BUT I never expected that my determination would suddenly start to diminish considerably after many personal events in my life such deaths, love pain and aging. I started to realize that life wasn’t eternal, and time wasn’t infinite for me. Therefore I had to find realistic solutions to reach my goals, and finally, I started to work on Project Eden, which is 95% completed. I should note that Mimic Book and GUNNARr are both very special, and I will develop them once my budget get better. I have Nintendo platforms in mind for them.”
In December 2008 BlossomSoft released their first commercial game “Eternal Eden” on PC and the team is still making games, working on Eternal Eden 2 and a 3D reboot of the first title.
Terranigma, AKA Tenchi Sōzō in Japan, is an action RPG developed by Quintet and published by Enix / Nintendo for the Super Nintendo in 1995 / 1996. Unfortunately, the game was never released in the US, but managed to attain cult status in Japan and Europe, regarded by some RPG fans as one of the best role playing games on the system. Before the game was released, gaming magazines published some beta screenshots, in which we can see some interesting differences:
It was possible to climb towers using claws / bare hands, instead than chains (it’s possible to climb some walls with claws in the final game, but only much later in the game)
There was some sort of green plant around the HUD
Different rooms layouts
In the first tower, the second floor looked like the third floor from the final game
A video from the same beta version was also published in “brute press” (?) VHS Vol.24 July 1995 (【非売品】ブルートプレス Vol.24 1995年7月号). If you notice more differences, let us know in the comments below!