Beat ’em up

Satellite Man [SNES – Cancelled]

Satellite Man was a scrapped, albeit completely finished, game for the SNES by Japanese developer T&E Soft. The game was a comedic side-scrolling brawler akin to Final Fight that featured Satellite Man, a superhero who could harness the power of satellites, as he attempted to make his way to the moon to save it from an evil mastermind who claimed it for himself.

Details of the game are scarce as few people have seen it and it is unlikely that any of it remains to this day, but descriptions of the game by its developers reveal that the game had an absurd sense of humor, such as the fact that the titular hero is broke and has to hitch a ride to the moon on a NASA rocket ship.

The game’s bosses reflected this comedic style as well with “Baron Engine”, a man with a v8 engine for a body who chased the player around in a child’s toy car, a bee who carried explosives appropriately named “Dynamite Bee” and “Captain Go”, an Apollo Lunar Module with a dangling body and a face of a man from T&E’s sales department.

satellite-man-snes-super-famicom-cancelled

Unlike some of the other side-scrolling fighters at the time Satellite Man was single player only and had a button for punches, kicks, grabs and special attacks.  There were three special attacks, two of which were the ability to shoot down a damaging beam from a satellite and the ability to create two shadow versions of yourself to help fight.  These special moves were unlocked by filling a recharging “satellite bar” and the player could use three special attacks in a row if the bar was fully charged. In an attempt to make the game seem more like an American comic book the developers added text bubbles like “BOOM” and “POW” that would pop up when enemies were hit.

Despite being 100% finished after half a year of development the game never saw the light of day.  This was mostly due to the fact that one of the developers handed a copy of the game to company co-founder Eiji Yokoyama and promised him he would laugh every 30 seconds, to which Yokoyama responded by not laughing once throughout the entire game.

The developers also chalk it up to the fact that T&E had recently worked on the SNES version of Rise of the Robots, a critical and financial failure that is lauded as one of the worst fighting games of all time, and didn’t think they could sell another fighting game so soon afterwards. As many other lost SNES games, nothing remain from Satellite Man, only a sketch and a few memories in an interview by John Szczepaniak with former T&E Soft developers, published in “The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 2” book.

Article by Tristan Avery, thanks to John for the contribution! 

We Are the Mods (The Warriors 2) [PS2, Xbox 360 – Cancelled]

We Are The Mods is the cancelled spiritual sequel to The Warriors, the cult classic beat ’em up based on the 1979 movie of the same name. We Are The Mods was in development in 2006 by Rockstar Toronto, initially as a Playstation 2 project, but soon Rockstar decided to move it to the Xbox 360 as one of their first games for the 7th generation of consoles.

We Are The Mods would have not been a direct sequel, as it abandoned the movie setting to create its own one, set in 1960s England during the mods and rockers brawls. As we can read on Wikipedia:

“Mods and rockers were two conflicting British youth subcultures of the early/mid 1960s to early 1970s. Media coverage of mods and rockers fighting in 1964 sparked a moral panic about British youth, and the two groups became widely perceived as violent, unruly troublemakers.”

The game was never officially announced by Rockstar and it was unveiled only because of leaked assets in 2011. Some details were also found on the same developer’s website:

“The project had begun as a PlayStation 2 spiritual follow-up to the earlier hit ‘The Warriors‘, but part way through the development cycle Rockstar New York asked us to switch Mods from a Sixth Generation to a Seventh Generation development, changing from the PlayStation 2 to the Xbox 360 as the primary development platform. Much of the content here reflects that change, with Mods being the first Seventh Generation project the team had worked on. It was a learning experience for everyone involved. The game was similar in design and style to “The Warriors” but set in 1960’s England at the height of the “Mods” vs. “Rockers” era.”

After a while the project was canned, possible because Rockstar Toronto had to help with development on Manhunt 2, that was seen as a more profitable game for the company.

After We Are The Mods leaked on major gaming websites such as Kotaku and CVG, the original game page on the developer’s website was removed. We found a few more developers who worked on this cancelled sequel, but unfortunately it seems Rockstar don’t want them to unveil anything more on their lost project.

Only a few 3D models and early assets are preserved in the gallery below, to remember its existence. 

(b)Last (quantic dream) [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

Before to became a hugely popular studio among Playstation fans thanks to successful games such as Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream was a somewhat obscure French studio mostly known for their cult adventure games Omikron: The Nomad Soul and Fahrenheit.

In early ‘00s Quantic Dream was trying to expand their portfolio with many different projects for the 6th generation of consoles (Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, GameCube), announcing a few titles that never seen the light of day: Omikron 2, Quark and (b)Last.

(b)Last is for sure one of their most obscure and mysterious project, with only a few details and low-quality images to remember its existence. As far as we know it was meant to be an action game / beat ‘em up in a sci-fi / fantasy setting mixing together Lovecraft tales and the Matrix movies, with weird tentacle monsters, laser weapons, super powers and many different characters to interact with.

While Omikron 2 was probably Quantic Dream’s major focus at the time, only a small team of artists and developers were working on (b)Last: unfortunately the project was soon canned for unknown reasons, but we can speculate the studio fell into some issues while developing so many different games at the same time, making it hard to create a quality, fun game.

As we can read in an old interview with David Cage:

UL: Does QD canceled projects live in this new project? bLast, Quark… other?
DC: We usually start several projects at the same time. Over the last years, one of them get so much interest from publishers that we had to cancel or at least postpone the others. Each Quantic Dream’s project requires up to 80 people and all our attention. It is difficult to start several original project with the same ambition in matter of quality…

At the moment only a couple of images are preserved from (b)Last, we hope to be able to save many more artworks in the future with the help of former developers who worked on it. If you know someone who worked on (b)Last, please let us know!

Thanks to Maik for the contribution!

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Spellsinger [Arcade – Cancelled]

Spellsinger is a cancelled arcade brawler which was in development in 1992 at Art & Magic, a belgian software house. As we can see from the video below, the game was clearly inspired by beat’em up titles such as Golden Axe. Sadly, according to one of the programmers that worked on the coin-op, Franck Sauer, the project was shelved because after three years of delay it became technically obsolete:

Unfortunately, as the game was progessing slowly because of a series of unanticipated difficulties, we had to pause the development several times to work on alternative, commercial-friendly games to keep cash flowing into the company. Ultimately, the project was canned because all of our resources were canibalized by those smaller ‘side’ projects. In the end the game had so much delay that it was rendered obsolete after about three years in the making.

From what we know the game’s source code is also lost forever:

Spellsinger is the only project we’ve worked on for which (to this day) almost every source asset has been lost. There are a couple of backup tapes and floppies here and there, but for now I have not been able to restore the majority of the data. The full prototype Roms and Board seem to have disapeared when the remains of Art & Magic moved along with Deltatec to a new building around 1996.

For more info check Franck Sauer’s Website.

Images:

Videos:
 

The Scorpion King [PS2 – Prototype]

The Scorpion King is a prototype for a fighting game / beat ’em up that was created by Osiris Studios, based on the 2002 film with the same name (featuring Dwayne Johnson). It seems that the studio tried to pitch this demo to publishers that had the Scorpion King license (probably VU Games in North American and Universal Interactive in Europe), to get to develope it into a full game, but without luck.

In the end the publishers chose Point of View to work on their Scorpion King videogame, released in 2002 as The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian for the Playstation 2 and GameCube.

The Scorpion King demo by Osiris remained just a prototype and the studio closed sometime later (or did they evolved into an audio restoration agency?).

Thanks to Tork for the contribution!

Images:
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