Mobius Entertainment

High Heat Major League Baseball 2004 [GBA, Gamecube – Cancelled]

High Heat Major League Baseball was a series of baseball games published by the 3DO company. The game made its debut in 1999 and featuring the official licensed team and player names from all 30 MLB teams each year a new game was up for release. High Heat Baseball was acclaimed to be one of the best baseball games around; the game always had its focus more on genuine and realistic gameplay than on the quality of its graphics.

The 2004 edition however promised improved graphics and a new graphics engine, a new animation system and renewed motion captured player movements. The Gameboy Advance version was under development by Mobius Entertainment (later renamed Rockstar Leeds) and this edition would be the third version of the series on the handheld. For the Gamecube the game would make its first appearance and development was done by 3DO itself. 3DO announced the new installment of the game in December 2002 as they released the first images of the game and a release date was set for spring 2003, around the same date as the release of the Playstation 2, the Xbox and PC versions.

Both versions were finished and ready for release as things went wrong for 3DO in May 2003, the company faced big financial problems for quite a while now, mainly due to bad title sales, and the company now even had to file for bankruptcy and made the announcement that the team and it’s games were for sale and were finally acquired by Rockstar Games.

The Playstation 2, Xbox and PC versions just had had their release dates in March and would shortly after have been followed by the Gameboy Advance and Gamecube versions but with 3DO in serious trouble both titles were shelved for the time being and thus finally resulting into a non release for both platforms. At the 3DO bankruptcy auction in August of that year Microsoft bought all rights for the High Heat series from 3DO for an undisclosed sum. Microsoft however hasn’t developed a new title in the series so far and for now it’s even more questionable if they ever will with a baseball franchise of their own on the Xbox.

Below some screenshots of both titles; I could retrieve no promotional or gameplay footage of the cancelled versions.

-Lesur-

Screenshots and Box cover Gameboy Advance – 12-2002:

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Screenshots and Box cover Gamecube – 12-2002

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Necroscope [PS2, Xbox – Cancelled]

Necroscope is a cancelled psychological survival horror that was in development in 2002 / 2003 by Mobius Entertainment for Xbox and Playstation 2. The studio was mostly know for a series of ports and tie-in for GBA and Nescroscope would have been one of their first projects for home consoles. The game would have let players to investigate the world using extra-sensory perception and supernatural powers, as possessing other characters and monsters. It seems that gameplay would have been a mix between a detective adventure (L.A. Noire), horror sections against monsters (Silent Hill), while using special abilities to interact with the environment and resolve puzzles (Second Sight, Psi-Ops). As wrote by Edge Magazine (issue 117) in Necroscope we would have played as a “unique blend of a Jedi Knight and James Bond“.

The story and characters of the game were based on Brian Lumley’s series of sci-fi horror novels, a setting that would have offered a complex plot to unveil and an original way to interact with spirits:

“The term necroscope, as defined in the series, describes someone who can communicate with the dead (coined Deadspeak later in the series). Unlike necromancers, who here extract the knowledge they seek by brutal eviscerations of corpses, a necroscope can communicate with them as equals: peacefully and without any physical interference.”

In 2004 Mobius Entertainment was acquired by Rockstar Games (for which they already developed the GBA conversion of Max Payne in 2003) becoming Rockstar Leeds. After the buyout, home consoles games that were in development by Mobius (Necroscope and Titanium Angels) were canned and the studio focused their resources on creating portable games for PSP.  As we can read in an interview by Ross Sillifant with Dan Hunter (former Lead Artist and Game Designer at Mobius):

Ross: Talking of canned games, Necroscope,previewed in Edge for PS2 and Xbox, described as a cocktail of jedi mind tricks and sophisticated espionage, this was to be Mobius Entertainment’s 1st crack at a survival horror title. From the 4 screens shown, the game engine looked superb, very much inspired by Silent Hill, but it didn’t appear gameplay was as far along as the visuals at this point (Dec’2002). Game was set for a Q4 2003 release, so again, any insights as to what became of it, would be fantastic.

Dan: Necroscope suffered similar issues to Titanium Angels. You’re correct, the game was to be a survival horror game, set in late 70’s, early 80’s, London. Think Silent Hill mixed with the TV show ‘The Professionals’. I loved the concept and setting. I spent a huge amount of time “researching”, watching boxsets of The Professionals, The Sweeny, and films like ‘Who Dares Wins’ (‘The Final Option’ in the U.S). I’d say that actually the gameplay was further along than Titanium Angels ever was. Unfortunately the same pattern emerged, the play style changed over time. Where at one point there was to be little to no gun play or violence, with the vibe firmly set on exploration and playing detective, it slowing changing into shooting and snapping necks from behind cover. For me that was a real shame, I think it had the potential to be something different. There weren’t many people doing a spin on the horror genre, especially something set in the 70’s-80’s (this was pre Vice City). I still think about what it could have been, and I’m a little bummed to think it never happened. The other issue was that it was being developed without a publisher, so therefore wasn’t bringing in any money. Other games were, so naturally that was the focus. ‘Sound of Thunder’ was one, but the main one was ‘Max Payne’. Mobius was tasked with doing the Gameboy Advance version. As people may know, after that Rockstar bought Mobius Entertainment and renamed it Rockstar Leeds. I had left during the development of Necroscope and before the Rockstar buy out, so I can’t give the precise reason for its cancellation, but it’s clear to me that a small horror game set in 70’s London based on a series of books isn’t part of Rockstar’s bigger plans.

Thanks to Ross Sillifant for the contribution!

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Titanium Angels [PS2/PC – Cancelled]

Titanium Angels is a cancelled action adventure that was in development in 2000 by Mobius Entertainment (now known as Rockstar Leeds). As we can see in the screenshots and the video below (that show a 40% complete build), the player would have used a girl named “Carmen Blake”, a bounty hunter with an armored spider vehicle named Titan. Titanium Angels was cancelled after two years of development when Mobius was purchased by Take-Two Interactive. In april 2004 the studio was officially renamed Rockstar Leeds.

Thanks to Userdante for the contribution!

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