Ace Squadron is a cancelled flying shooter that was in development by Atomic Planet for the Playstation 2, GameCube and Xbox. The game was set in World War II and offered various arcade air-combat missions to play and as we can read from the official press release “gamers will be given the opportunity to shout ‘Tally Ho!’ and dive their trusty Spitfire into a dogfight with swarms of Nazi aircraft. There are scores of missions to play, from the heady days of the Battle of Britain to dangerous raids on secret weapons factories in the last days of the war, and dozens of different and powerful warplanes to fly, such as the majestic Spitfire, the nimble Mosquito and the sturdy Lancaster”. The project was never released for unknown reasons and we don’t even know if the game was finished or not as the few screenshots available look like target renders and not actual gameplay.
As we can read on Wikipedia, Elite is a space shooter / trading game written and developed by David Braben and Ian Bell, originally published by Acornsoft in 1984 for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers. The game’s title derives from one of the player’s goals of raising their combat rating to the exalted heights of “Elite”. Elite was one of the first home computer games to use wireframe 3D graphics with hidden line removal. Another novelty was the inclusion of The Dark Wheel, a novella by Robert Holdstock which influenced new players with insight into the moral and legal codes to which they might aspire.
Despite being ported to virtually every home computer of that time, there is just one version available for a console and that’s Imagineer NES port, released only in Europe in 1991 ( the NES port is considered the best 8-bit version by the authors). However there were various attempts in early nineties to bring this milestone title to other Sega and Nintendo systems.
In fact Nintendo Magazine System issue 9 revealed how Hybrid Technology (developer of the Archimedes version) was developing the ultimate version of Elite using the Super FX chip. However , as Stern correctly noticed, the screenshots in the article were probably taken from the Amiga version. In the next issue ( #10 ) NMS unveiled ( this time for real ) the first official pics for Super Nintendo. Contrary to what they wrote in the previous issue, Elite for SNES wouldn’t utilize the SFX chip and despite that the game was said to have smooth framerate and Mode 6 ( SNES hi-res mode ). Super NES Elite had additions compared to the original title like a “planet buster” bomb and a more console-friendly interface that use icons ( like the NES version ) .
Those two article made clear how Hybrid Technology had yet to found a publisher for their project at the time so that’s likely the reason why it never come out.
Later on , in 1994, Hybrid Technology created two small tech demos as a pitch to port Elite to Genesis / Mega Drive and Game Boy however nothing came out from them. The two tech demos are available on Ian Bell ( Elite co-author ) ‘s website (backup at elitehomepage.org). You can watch two short videos about them below.
Article writteb by Celine, thanks to Steven for the contribution!
Solo Flight is a cancelled flight simulator that was in development by Microprose for the Super Nintendo. The game was probably based on the original Solo Flight published in 1983 for the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit family. The mission of the game was to fly solo over several states, delivering bags of mail. The SNES version was going to use mode 7 graphic, similar to Pilotwings, but in the end the project was canned for unknown reasons.
Celine was able to find some screenshots of the game in Banzzai magazine #14 and Super Power #12.
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is a flight-shooter game developed from 2001 to 2003 by FASA Studio (part of Microsoft Game Studios) for the original Xbox. Series creator Jordan Weisman noted that the game had a “difficult development,” and went through many different creative directions.
When development of Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge was first assumed by FASA Studio, it was conceived that the game be made into an “interactive movie,” a concept that would have involved an elaborate storyline and a large number of cutscenes. This process would have needed a linear mission design, potentially restricting gameplay.
Consequently, developers pushed back the game’s release date by a year in favor of increased development time. At this point, both playtest feedback and inspiration from games that offered more gameplay options helped shape the game’s development. The game’s “interactive movie” concept was scrapped, the storyline simplified, and the original linear mission design was reworked to promote more choice-driven gameplay.
When the game was first announced in 2002, features for the game included destructible environments which could be used to eliminate enemies, hidden areas containing bonus weapons, and “danger zones” similar in function to those featured in the previous Crimson Skies for the PC. Sadly many of these features were scrapped from the final version of the game. [Info from Wikipedia]
As noticed by Xenomrph on the Something Awful Forum, in the original Crimson Skies trailer (embedded below) we can see some removed levels:
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge on the Xbox was going to have a bunch of other levels, and a completely different tutorial level that centered around robbing a flying casino over the ocean off the coast of Louisiana. You can see remnants of it (and other content) in the early trailer. It would have included destructible terrain, different cutscenes, and a bunch of other stuff…. but no online multiplayer.
Crimson Skies became a launch title for Xbox Live, and that involved totally overhauling the game to include Xbox Live multiplayer and cutting a lot of content to make room on the disc.
There’s still some remnants of the old content, though – the game’s dialogue includes references to the casino heist, the music from the above trailer was included on the game’s soundtrack CD (although the music never plays in the game itself), and the game’s tie-in novel ends at the casino heist (which, at the time of the book’s writing, wasn’t cut from the game yet).
In May 2009, Factor 5’s american studio was closed down, because (as we can read from the official F5’s website) “obstacles created by the sudden bankrupcy of Brash Entertainment for the continuation of operations have turned out too great to overcome in the current economic climate”. The projects that were still in development should have been moved to the german studio, but it’s currently unknow if they will be able to complete them or if those games are going to be cancelled.
2 unannounced Wii games were in development at Factor’s 5 as we can read from an interesting article over at GoneIsGone, one of which was a flight simulation game. From the few 3D models available from this “Flight Project” it seems that we would have been able to fly all over the world with different aeroplanes and space-crafts (probably an easter egg from previous F5’s Star Wars titles). We can speculate that this prototype was developed from the concept of the – never released – F5’s Pilotwings for the GameCube and created with the Wii Lair Engine.
On December 2009, ShockingAlberto from the NeoGAF forum, posted some more assets from this project. One of the images has a different graphic style from the other assets, with a more cartoony / stylized characters. We can speculate that at some point in the development, Factor 5 decided to change the style of the game to appeal more to casuals and families.
It would be really nice to play a new flight simulation developed by F5 and we really hope that they could be able to finish and release this project.