Action RPG

Shining Sword [Playstation – Cancelled]

Shining Sword is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by American Laser Games for the original Playstation. The game was meant to be an ambitious projects, but after a while the team fell into various development issues and Shining Sword had to be canned. Some details were shared by a former ALG developer on Wikipedia:

Yes I worked for ALG – in fact I was the first artist ever hired at the company, in 1993. I worked on Shining Sword for about a year. We had switched from 3DO titles to developing for the not yet released Sony playstation. We had some of the first devkits in the US at the time. There was a really long drawn out story that was full of every dungeons and dragon style cliche you can imagine. We had concept art for most of the main characters and first pass 3d models of all of them. We were using stretchy meshes with internal bones, which was kind of ahead of its time a little bit. Some of the staff worked in 3D studio for DOS, some worked on Lightwave, and some actually worked on Silicon Graphics workstations. I had built several environments including an Aztec style Temple level.

Unfortunately, the owner’s wife had gotten heavily involved in the company and convinced him and other investors to switch over to making games for girls, so games like shining sword were on the chopping block. To be honest, I think the game was never really a game, it was a bunch of ideas kind of stuck together and it suffered through a lot of rehashings. It was extremely derivative of other games, and wholly unoriginal, but I don’t think there were any copyright worries.

Getting a working game engine and tools for the playstation was a daunting task in itself, not to mention trying to make a successful title. In my opinion, Shining sword was more style than substance, and really never developed much style either. Somebody may have saved the original code, but one would need an SDK for the original playstation – it would be a complete waste of time to try to get it running.

When the company was restructured into “Her Interactive”, I and some others were laid off. I moved on to California to Novalogic, making Comanche 4 and a few other military games before switching over the Neversoft as Lead Artist and eventually Environment Art Director, where I helped create the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, Gun, and Guitar Hero III before leaving the biz.

Thanks to Pachuka and Discworld for the contributions!


[Resolved!] Ernald: an unreleased SNES RPG? Not really.

This game was though to be unreleased, as it was not possible to find “Ernald” in the release list for SNES games, but after some researches by Pat & Robert Seddon (as you can read below the post, in the comment section) we have found out that this was just an early “translation” of the original japanese name (Elnard) for 7th Saga, released in 1993. Thanks to everyone! :)


Castlevania: Dawn Of Sorrow [DS – Beta / Unused]


Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is an action adventure developed and published by Konami for the Nintendo DS, in 2005. As we can read in Wikipedia, the production of Dawn of Sorrow was announced on January 6, 2005 as the first Castlevania game to be released on the Nintendo DS. The DS touch screen was a primary point of interest, and several functions, such as picking up items on the screen and moving them, were originally intended to be incorporated. However, scheduling problems forced the development team to abandon many of these ideas.

As noticed by argh4430, in the first two screenshots (the ones where Soma is fighting a manticore and skeleton archer in the Lost Village), those enemies are not there in the final version of the game. They are in the next area you visit, the Wizardry Lab).

Thanks to Xelba we have some more info about the beta differences in the early game. There was one screenshot that showed Soma fighting Gergoth at the beginning of the Lost Village stage. Also, an analysis of the game’s rom revealed some unused dialogue hinting about the piano room and Hammer wanting to help out Julius, Alucard and Yoko fight against Soma/Dracula.

While the piano room doesn’t do anything in the final version, there might have been a puzzle that rewarded you an item if done so correctly, but this is only speculation. As for Hammer, no action sprites were found other than his normal sprites. But the hidden unused dialogue between him and Julius as well as before the fight against Soma hints that Hammer was once planned to be playable in Julius mode only.


Dark Cloud [PS2 – Beta]


Dark Cloud is an Action RPG developed for the Playstation 2 by Level-5 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2000 and 2001 for Japan and American/PAL regions respectively. As we can read in Wikipedia, Dark Cloud was the first game of the Japanese developer Level-5, headed by designer Akihiro Hino. When the PlayStation 2 was announced on March 2, 1999, Sony president and CEO Ken Kutaragi used a demo of Dark Cloud to showcase the capabilities of the platform. However, many elements of the demo were not used in the release version of the game.

In 1999, Sony had an early playable version of Dark Cloud at the Tokyo Game Show. This version focused on a character who needed to return a floating piece of land back to where it originally came from but its location had been replaced with an evil kingdom. The world building parts where demonstrated in this version. At the Tokyo Game Show in 2000 a more complete demo was available far more similar to the final version.

CallingCard noticed various differences in the early video:

  • The main character, Toan, had a fair redesign between this demo and the final release.
  • The magic carpet never appears in game as far as I’m aware.
  • The ability to jump in and out of the water as seen around the 1:00 mark was removed.
  • The world map is pretty much the same, can’t see anything new aside from the floating island town area which I don’t recall being in the game. Given that it’s just a large blank area, it might’ve been used for demonstration purposes only.
  • Georama system looks almost identical in-game as it does in beta, though the volcanoes never made it in to the final product.



Code: Inferno [PS2 – Cancelled]

CODE:Inferno is a cancelled action RPG that was in development for the Playstation 2. In mid 2001 From Software announced its software lineup for all the major consoles of the time. Among the titles cited there were some that never seen a commercial release like Gold Star Mountain and Gaia Blade.

Another game that would be cancelled soon was CODE:Inferno for PS2, an action-RPG where players assume the role of a masked warrior named White Demon, who wields a giant cross called the Holy Key as his weapon. Little else is known about this mysterious project but you can see some artworks that appeared back then in a japanese magazine.

Thanks to Susumu for the translation of a Famitsu article.