PoPoLoCrois is a cult-following series of RPGs based on a ‘70s manga by Tamori Yohsuke, of which just a few games were translated and published outside of Japan. The first game was developed by Epics (G-Artists) in collaboration with Sugar & Rockets and released in 1996 in Japan for the original Playstation, but it was initially conceived as a SNES / Super Famicom CD System project. This 16-bit PoPoLoCrois game was cancelled when the console add-on was canned by Sony and Nintendo.
A few photos from the design document for this SNES version were found and shared online by fans of the series and former developers, so we can preserve some proof of the existence of this lost RPG. As far as we know only this design doc was completed for the SNES CD version of PoPoLoCrois before being cancelled, but it would be nice to know if a 16-bit prototype was already in the works. Afterall, even the released Playstation game had a graphic style very reminiscent of old-school SNES RPGs, more than its 32-bit contemporaries.
Some details and theories about this unreleased 16-bit PoPoLoCrois were shared by Japanese website popolo-crois.com, “translated” by Google translate:
“The plan for the Super Nintendo Popolo shown on the left side of this photo is drawn by Mr. Fukushima in 1989 for Popolo’s animation project, so naturally this plan was created. It was after that. And the notation “EPIC/SONY RECORDS” (all caps) in the lower right of the proposal came to be used after its predecessor EPIC/Sony was absorbed and merged with CBS/Sony in March 1988. However, since CBS Sony changed its trademark to Sony Music Entertainment (SME) in April 1991, it has been mixed with lower case letters such as “Epic/Sony Records”. Therefore, the use of all capital letters in this plan suggests that the plan was created before April 1991 when the notation changed, so that period from 1989 to 1991 I’m guessing it will be until the end of March.
*As far as the date drawn on the setting data of 2 is concerned, it is from September to November 1992. The date of the monster design drawn by Mr. Tamori was also in October 1992, so I wonder if it was probably in the process of becoming a game by this time. In this material, not only Popolo 1’s enemies such as the Ice Demon King and Shitenno, but also Barbara, Myra (also transformed into Sanya!), Zilva, Leona, and other characters that appear in Popolo 2 as well as pilot films will appear. The tango and the figure of Paul the Lion are very widespread, so I have no idea how much story was planned at this stage. However, in July 1992, Sony decided to enter the home-use game console, and since the production of the Playstation version Popolo started in January 1993, as described below, all of this material is for the Super Famicom version. It is unknown whether or not the PS version was also in view (some people say that Pietro’s hairstyle is shaved due to the memory of Super Famicom).
*3 The reason why the PS version of Popolo started to be produced around January 1993 was that Tetsuji Yamamoto said in a magazine interview (CONTINUE Vol.52) that it was three years from the start of Popolo’s production until release. It is said that it took a month, so I calculated backwards from the release date of Popolo. Also, Mr. Yamamoto seems to have been in charge of the PS business preparation room 10 months before the establishment of SCE, so it means that the production of PS version Popolo started at about the same time when the project of this PlayStation unit started. Right. If so, it is considered that Popolo’s production platform moved from Super NES to PlayStation between July 1992 and January 1993.
As I arranged the flow of production of the PS version of Popolo as described above, it is a question about “the circumstances have changed considerably since the pilot film and the design of the scenario and characters have changed”, but the circumstances have changed significantly Rather, it was before the pilot film was produced, and since then, I have not seen so much movement, including changes in the character design. As for the scenario, the essence of PS version Popolo is concentrated in the pilot film. By the way, what is the story behind the pilot film? At the stage of the pilot film, there was already a design image of the Ice Demon King, so was there any reason why I dared to bring in a Skinnag?”