Beat ’em up

(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.

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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:
scorpion-king-osiris 

Anarchy Reigns (Max Anarchy) [Beta – Xbox 360 / PS3]

Anarchy Reigns (aka Max Anarchy in Japan) is an online beat ’em up action game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Sega for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The developers shared some videos, showing the game in a near complete beta state on their Youtube Channel, in which we can see a different HUD and increased amounts of gore over the final version. Also, at PlatinumGames’ blog, there’s an interesting article about the development of the game (in Japanese).

According to the post, Anarchy Reigns started life as an online multiplayer sequel to Mad World An initial prototype, as seen in the images below, show that the game was once presented in a similar cell-shaded visual style in certain early test-rooms.

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Kunio-kun: The Claw of Kowloon [PSX – Cancelled / Concept]

Kunio-kun: The Claw of Kowloon is a cancelled sidescrolling beat ’em up game in the famous Kunio-Kun series, that was in development by Technos Japan for the Playstation. The project was probably still in early concept phase before being canned, but from what we can see in the images below, they planned to make the characters more “realistic” than the usual super-deformer style of the previous Kunio-kun titles.

A big thanks to Johnny Undaunted for the contribution and translation from japanese.

Images (Concept arts / documents):

  

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