World Reborn is a cancelled 2d shooter developed by Neopong. In a 2008 post at the now defunct workingdesignsmb board, one of the developers explained why the project was shelved:
[…]Basically because the first publisher contact liked our basic demo (and boy did it look primitive by comparison) and thought it had some promise, they got us officially licensed for the GBA. That publisher seemed to undergo some kind of massive corporate restructuring and our contact there vanished in the process. We were offered a pretty raw deal (less than 30% royalties down from 50% royalties on a completed game) and went our separate ways. As a result of that licensure, though, we were able to bid on GBA projects successfully and eventually netted our first real contracted work with another publisher. Also after the GBA licensure, we were somehow able to get immediately approved for all future Nintendo consoles (the people at Nintendo were great to work with). Several other publishers expressed interest in World Reborn, but none of them ever panned out in the end.[…]
Interestingly, he also talked about more unreleased games:
What I hate even more is that we never got to finish World Reborn 2 (DS game) or Project DA (which we have a very early town engine prototype for, I’ll be putting it up soon too).
At the end, Neopong decided to release the game on their website:
My partners and I have finally completely given up on the ability to get this game out in some form or fashion (DS/Wii remake, Cellphone version, etc…), so rather than let it never see the light of day or be played by anyone, we’ve decided to just make it freely available for download.[…]
Unfortunately, Neopong site doesn’t work anymore, but the rom can be still easily found through a google search. If you are a collector, you can also buy an official release cart of World Reborn for GBA thanks to Piko Interactive!
The book Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar revealed many of the game’s original settings and action that were cut down or removed entirely from the final game. Half-Life 2 was originally intended to be a far darker game where the Combine were more obviously draining the oceans for minerals and replacing the atmosphere with noxious, murky gases. Promotional shots and gameplay videos released before the game became available showed parts of these scenes, and also showed enemies that do not appear anywhere in the final game, such as the “Hydra,” a massive, gelatinous, translucent, neon-blue creature that lived in the sewers. It was planned as a massive bulk far below the city with tentacles that would reach up and spear through enemies, including Combine soldiers. The Hydra was apparently cut because its AI proved troublesome: while impressive when attacking NPCs, it was less interesting, and more frustrating for players to fight, and was also difficult to code.
Other enemies cut from the game included Combine assassins (their AI was salvaged to form the Fast Zombie; they were females, very similar in attitude to the Half-Life black ops; they are included in Half-Life 2: Survivor), a newly skinned bullsquid, houndeyes, various Synths and Combine soldiers. There was also a planned creature called the Cremator who would clean the streets of bodies after a skirmish with a massive acid gun called an Immolator, which would double as an offensive weapon when the Cremator would become an enemy. The Cremator’s head would eventually be featured in Eli’s lab in Black Mesa East, encased in a jar of formaldehyde, which Eli will make comments about when the player nears the jar and views it.
The game was originally intended to be much more diverse in settings (to the extent that the game felt almost overblown, and little time being spent on developing existing characters; one of the key reasons for it being cut). Parts of the book detail how Gordon would fight alongside characters such as Odessa Cubbage, albeit under a different name and in a different place, as well as fighting together with Colonel Vance – a character that was later merged with Eli to become Doctor Eli Vance – and Vance’s forces. Originally, Eli and Alyx Vance had no relation, and Eli’s lab was originally intended to resemble a form of scrapyard and town in a cave than a better equipped laboratory within a hydroelectric power station; the scrapyard area where the Gravity Gun tutorial takes place resembles the original concept; being an auxiliary area as opposed to the bulk of the lab. The Citadel also looked very different, it was more round than the bulky Citadel from the final version.
Other cuts from the game included a drivable jetski, which was eventually replaced by the airboat in the final game because it was too much like running around on foot. Another vehicle to be included was what looked like a large mining device, to be used in Ravenholm. Also, many weapons were cut.
The E3 video “Traptown” shows that at some point in the game’s development it was also possible to shoot any gun while using the HEV suit’s zoom function and that the player could discard weapons, indicating they could only carry a specified amount of firearms at a time. Traptown was to be a section of the Ravenholm chapter. It seems to share some similarities with a section from the Ravenholm chapter from the released version of Half-Life 2, mostly the setting of the section. The trailer also showed the ability of Combine enemies to try to break down doors, which did not make it in the final release.
This is thought to be a scripted sequence for the E³ video. At the end of the video, the player shoots an explosive barrel that was behind an old car, which made the car explode and jump into a nearby zombie. This wasn’t possible in the final version, although there is a roadblock in the Highway 17 chapter of the finished game where the player does something similar to a barrel-toting truck. Also, Ravenholm (or probably only the Traptown section) featured both Combine soldiers and zombies in its beta stage, as well as Father Grigori, which, according to Raising The Bar and the leaked sound files, was to be tougher and less humorous.
Initially a small mining town called Quarrytown, which was more of a puzzle solving section of Half-Life 2, with zombies added as the town’s pests, Valve liked the idea of having a town full of zombies, so Quarrytown eventually became a big town, which was full of traps, made by Father Grigori, the town’s priest and only remaining survivor. The E3 video, Traptown, featured both Combine Soldiers and zombies, the soldiers being added probably because Valve thought that the video wouldn’t have been as interesting only with the zombies, which are slow and easy to kill.
It remains unknown if most of the cut Half-Life 2 scenes will eventually be completed and released, or if they are lost forever. A removed section of the original Half-Life was eventually released as the Half-Life: Uplink demo; a similar situation was in place with the HDR technology demo, Lost Coast, which was based on a scene that was cut from the sequel. It is possible or even likely that more removed sections of HL2 will be seen in future expansion packs, as Half-Life 2: Episode One didn’t contain any of the aforementioned content. There’s a possibility that Kraken Base might be in the further episodes of Half-Life 2 because Doctor Judith Mossman is only seen in Episode One on a monitor in the Citadel reporting from an Arctic base. This might mean that Kraken Base (possibly under a different name) is being put back into the storyline.
Episode Two includes areas of gameplay based around the “Antlion hive” areas cut from Half-Life 2, and the presence of the cut “Antlion King”, now renamed to be an ‘Antlion guardian’. Episode Two also makes references to the Borealis icebreaker that was cut from Half Life 2, a research vessel revealed to have been created by Aperture Science for some unknown purpose. It is likely that players will explore the Borealis and related arctic base in Episode Three.
Two very similar prototypes were leaked months before the game came out. Obscene amounts of Half Life 2 development data have slipped out of Valve’s grasp and can easily be found on the internet. This includes concept art, sound files, models and countless maps. Thanks to this we can see just about every change ever made to Half Life 2. To read about its original story and see pictures not featured here check out Half Life Wikia.
A mod for HL2, know as “Missing Informations” add some of the beta / unused stuff back in the game. You can download it in here. Some videos with unused models and beta stuff can be found at HL202 Youtube Channel!
Mini Racers is a cancelled 96Mbit multiplayer racing game that was in development by Looking Glass Studios for the Nintendo 64. The project was announced in 1998, but unfortunately it was delayed many times and in the end in was never released. Mini Racers was going to have a strong multiplayer mode, similar to Micromachines or RC PRO-AM, for up to four players, and it could have been an interesting addition to the already rich list of arcade racing games for the N64.
Mini Racers had several game modes in single and multiplayer, including a track editor to create your own course, and a random track generator. The radio-controlled cars could be given a turbo boost with a press of the Z button. N64 Magazine played an early version are voiced their frustration at the poor camera, though when they next played it at Spaceworld 1999 they noted the angle and viewing distance were now configurable and could even be played in a top-down view. Most likely the game was cancelled because it was shown in the final days of the Nintendo 64, when the new 128-bit consoles were almost out.
Dragon Sword, officially announced in early 1998, is another cancelled game for the Nintendo 64. More precisely, it was a coop action-adventure / hack & slash developed by Interactive Studios / Blitzgames (the creators of Glover) and set in a fantasy world called Avantaria, where a group of four heroes had to stop the evil plans of Xyrus the mage.
It seems that originally Dragon Sword had a strong emphasis on exploration and adventure elements, but in the latest builds (shown in the screenshots below) it became a frenetic action game, similar to many memorable arcades of the past, as Gauntlet or Golden Axe. In fact Dragon Sword was supposed to play a lot like Gauntlet Legends 64, with generators that must be destroyed in order to avoid the respawn of the enemies.
One or two players were able to play together and to chose from 4 different characters (Cutter, Kailan, Gouranga and Aisha)with which fight hundreds of soldiers. Each character had its own set of attacks and abilities.
Some features betrayed clearly a greater ambition than the usual hack & slash, such as the presence of different weather conditions, large and varied enviroments, a rpg-like experience system and many different magical weapons.
Other than the 2 players coop in the story mode, there was a fun 4 players deathmatch mode, that was more enjoyable than many of the standard fighting games released for the Nintendo 64. A “Time Trial” mode was also available!
Dragon Sword was basically finished, but unfortunately, like many other N64 titles, it was destined to never see the light of day: it seems that the game was cancelled because MGM Interactive (the publisher) though that it would have not sell enough to gain profit.
Supposedly the english 64 Magazine was able to play an almost-final build of Dragon Sword, which got 93% in their review. They liked the game so much that they tried to organize a petition in order to convince the MGM to release it, but sadly their effort didn’t work.
In the gallery below you can see many screens from the latest Dragon Sword build and some early target renders that look very different from the “final” game.
In April 2010, thanks to an anonymous collector, a playable beta of Dragon Sword was shared online: there are 7 levels available and even the deathmatch multiplayer mode is working! There are some bugs, but for an unfinished N64 game that was in development more than 12 years ago, the game is fun enough, especially if you can play it in coop mode with a friend.
From the internal HEX code, it seems that they planned to have 9 levels for Dragon Sword, but after you finish the 7th level in the beta, the game crashes. We still dont know how to load the 8th level or if it’s in the game at all. It’s possible that only level 1 to 7 are playable. A test-level could be hidden in the beta too.
You can see a lot of concept arts created for Dragon Sword in Ohnhai’s DA Gallery. In there, you can notice many scenes that were never developed into the “final” game, as a town filled with people, magic system and the possibility to ride a dragon to explore the world.
Edward Kirk was able to find some codes to access to all the playable levels and some test-areas, you can find more info at his website!
I looked at complete levels and found the following Gameshark code (after checking some fifty or so addresses): 801249B3 000X. X denotes the different level value. The Level Section Select code has been found. Gameshark code 801249B7 000X, where X is usually a value from 0 to 3, but this may depend upon the level. As you cannot progress beyond the first part of Level 8 if you use just the Level Select code, use this code to see the other parts of the level
Toon Panic was a multiplayer brawler / arcade fighting game for Nintendo 64, in development at Bottom Up. It was meant to be similar to Power Stone or Rakugaki ShowTime, but it was later cancelled because of bankruptcy of the studio. A proto was sold some years ago on a japanese auction, and finally leaked to the public on the 3 December 2008, thanks to Team Carrot / No-Intro. “Unfortunately the game is far from being complete. There is a nice intro with cool music, no main game, a multiplayer mode but without IA and some debug features.” The Final Fantasy 8 images in the characters select screen were just placeholders.. a weird choice from the developers.