Untitled Wave Race: Blue Storm Sequel [Wii – Pitch / Cancelled]

In 2009, Nintendo Software Technology, some of the developers behind Gamecube launch title Wave Race: Blue Storm, were attempting to get a new entry in the Wave Race series into production for Nintendo’s Wii console.


The project began midway into the year, in the aftermath of their previous Wii title, best known as ‘Project H.A.M.M.E.R.‘, which was shut down after a tumultuous development of 5 and a half years. ‘H.A.M.M.E.R.’, which had evolved into the more casually oriented ‘Wii Crush‘ by the end, was a costly misstep for both NST and Nintendo at large. Not only was the financial toll reaching into multiple millions of dollars, the company lost over half of its entire workforce during a staff exodus as a result of it, due to reportedly poor working conditions, and accusations of nationalism levelled against the management; among other reasons.

Understandably, the ordeal left NCL with trepidations about entrusting NST with another large scale project, but a small team of developers at the company remained optimistic that the subsidiary could still see a resurgence. They proposed creating a new game in the Wave Race franchise for the Nintendo Wii, which would have taken the series to new territory with the introduction of motion control.

The project was lead by experienced NST engineer, Yoon Joon Lee, and designer, Rich Vorodi. The two were previously a part of the last Wave Race game, Blue Storm, which released in 2001 at the launch of the Gamecube. Vorodi, in particular, had been involved in a variety of ways: he had a hand in the both physics and level design, as well as voicing the character, Ricky Winterborn. Partnering with engineer/programmer, Jonathan Bryant, they began to develop a test prototype to present their ideas to Nintendo’s higher ups.

At the heart of the concept was an experimental, new control scheme, which revolved entirely around the motion sensing tech of the Wii remote. Users would hold the controller in a horizontal position with both hands over its face, emulating the handlebars of a jet ski. Tilting left and right steered the direction of the watercraft, while twisting it forward and backwards controlled acceleration. The device would vibrate when the virtual handlebars were tilted to their furthest limits. There was consideration for utilising the Wii remote’s speaker to blare out engine noises, too, but it is unknown whether or not this feature was implemented into the prototype build.

Control concept images:

By connecting a Wii balance board peripheral, it was possible to add an extra dimension of control to the game. Applying pressure to either side of the board would enable the player to perform sharper turns to help negotiate more trickier courses. An alternative system to the lone Wii remote was on the table also – in the form of the Wii remote & nunchuck combo. This worked by holding the two on their side, facing each other; similar to the controls of the ‘Power Cruisingmini-game seen in Wii Sports Resort:

Wave Race Wii Pitch Patent Concept - Wii Remote & Nunchuck

It was theorised that adding these new, more physical control elements with “real world turning” and tilting would lend themselves well to Wave Race – helping to mould a more “realistic” experience for the player.

On August 27 2009, Nintendo of America filed a patent to protect the new control scheme that NST’s developers had created. The filing covered not only controls for jet ski games, but all vehicles controlled by handlebars. In the patent’s documents, for example, we can see that motorcycles were used as a primary example:

After a brief development of no more than 3 months, work on the prototype concluded, and the group presented their pitch to NCL’s board. One source related to the studio claimed it had generated considerable interest among members of NoA and NCL alike, but it was ultimately shot down regardless. After the demo was tested by those present, complaints apparently were levelled at the game’s motion controls; specifically, that they simply “didn’t feel right“. Nintendo therefore declined funding to the project, and full development did not proceed, ending work on it as a result. 

Mario vs Donkey Kong 2 [DS – Beta]

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis is a Puzzle Game developed by NST as a sequel to the GBA MvsDK, a follow up to the Game Boy Donkey Kong game. A playable beta demo of MvsDk2 was available at various gaming conventions, from where it was saved on the DS and then shared online.

Upaluppa noticed many differences in this beta demo, as wrote in his videos on Youtube:

– The music sounds quite different

– There are hearts instead of big coins

– The small coins are rotating

– Mushroom Mayhem is called Mushroom Kingdom

– The status screen is completely different

– There’s a level map available by pressing Select

– The map looks VERY incomplete…

– The first level is completely different

– Later levels have some minor differences

– Some sound effects are different

– There is no time limit

Thanks to Hiccup for the contribution!



Mario vs. Donkey Kong [GBA – Beta / Unused]

Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a Game Boy Advance spiritual sequel to the first Donkey Kong game for Game Boy, developed by NTS in 2004. The game concept revolves around a combination of platform and puzzle elements, challenging Mario to find keys, reach a locked door, and rescue mini-Marios. [Info from Wikipedia]

Upaluppa and Kiiro found many unused stuff and beta levels still hidden in the final game’s code, as a a prototype version of the MvsDK e-card levels, Mini Marios trapped inside crystal balls as keys, some unused coins / stars and a working level editor. It’s possible that the Level Editor evolved from the unreleased Donkey Kong Plus.

Also, an unused Bomb-Ombs behavior. As wrote by upaluppa:

they start running around scared, just like Shy-Guys do, when Mario is equipped with the hammer! You’ll never see them running normally, because none of the levels with Bob-Ombs includes hammers…

Thanks to Hiccup for the contributions!



Wave Race [GC – Space World 2000 Tech Demo]


Wave Race: Blue Storm is a jet ski racing game released as a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube on November 18, 2001. It was a sequel to the 1996 Nintendo 64 game Wave Race 64 and was developed by Nintendo-owned development studio, NST. [Infos from Wikipedia]

When the new Wave Race project for the Gamecube was first shown at the Space World 2000, Nintendo presented a small tech demo with a different graphic style than the one used in the final game, more similar to the Nintendo 64 version. Probably this was just an early concept for the title and the final character design was still undecided.

Also, as noticed by Rusko Star, if you look in the booklet in the released game or in the old videos you can see that Serena had a ponytail in the beta version!