P.I.G. (Team 17) [Playstation, PC – Cancelled]

P.I.G. (Team 17) [Playstation, PC – Cancelled]

P.I.G. is an interesting 3D platform adventure game that was in development by Team 17 for Playstation and PC, with a planned release in spring 1999. The project was started around 1996, following Mario 64 and the 3D platform craze of the late ‘90, but even with some great premises PIG was cancelled after more than 2 years of development. The only proof of existence of this game seems to be its announcement in an old Team 17 special in Total Control magazine issue 1 (November 1998), where the studio shown many of the projects they were working on, along with Phoenix, Stunt Gran Prix, Project WM and Worms Armageddon.

P.I.G.’s gameplay would have followed similar style of popular games in the same genre as Banjo Kazooie, with the main character being a pig named George, working as a private investigator (this explain the title’s acronym: Private Investigator George) hired to solve the mysterious disappearance of a bunch of piglets, kidnapped by the evil Dr. Gotem in the strange and puzzle filled Fun Dazzle Magic Land theme park.

8 main themed areas (as Mars, the Arctic, Fairy Tales, a Volcano, etc.) were planned and each theme was subdivided into 3 or 4 sub-levels, filled with areas to explore, traps and puzzles, giving a total of around 40 different environments to play in. Lots of different minigames were also available to players, as arcade machines featuring PIG-style versions of some classic games and surreal sections where George was swallowed by a giant pumpkin lantern or shrunk to minute size. George would have used different outfits for each area climate, for example by wearing a sweater and wool hat in the snow level, and more than 60 NPCs (between enemies to fight and friends to help) would have moved around the world.

While this kind of gameplay could not be the most interesting one by today’s standard, back in the day when 3D platform-adventures were some of the most loved games, PIG could really have been a hit. After its reveal in Total Control Magazine, the project seems to have been vanished forever and there are no more info available on its features or why it was cancelled. In an interview by MCV with Team 17 Co-Founder & CEO Debbie Bestwick, she remember how in late ‘90 the huge success of Worms made them to lose sight of how to develop other great games, and they lost a lot of money on a series of unreleased projects:

“For around ten of the past 25 years, all of them ironically post-Worms launching, we came so close to losing the business numerous times due to game slippage, less than smart business decisions and publisher traumas. Worms changed everything about the company in 1995. Prior to that we were doing some very cool stuff – similar to what we are doing right now actually – with amazing games talent from around the world and I often wonder what else we would have done had Worms not landed. We should have stayed true to what we had been doing, but overnight nothing mattered but Worms. We really thought we were superstars and everything we touched would turn to gold, but the reality was that a lot of money was wasted on games that were never released. These included Rollcage, Allegiance, Witchwood, P.I.G, and so many more I won’t mention. I’d say, looking back now, that the Worms IP was as much a Godsend as a poison chalice.”

Thanks to Ross Sillifant for the contribution! If you know someone that worked on this game and could help to preserve more screens or videos, please let us know!


Frog Dude [Genesis / MegaDrive – Cancelled]

Frog Dude is a cancelled platformer that was in development by Twilight for Genesis / Mega Drive in 1993. The game was never officially announced but, in 2014, Gamesthatwerent contacted Andy Swann, the lead programmer of Frog Dude, which shared a short playable demo of the game.

The main character was a strange man who used a mace to attack and could transform himself into a long-tongued frog. There is nothing to interact with, no enemies to fight, and no sound effects or music. However, at least a nice cutscene welcomes players at the beginning of the prototype.

According to Gamesthatwerent, the project was shelved before it could even be touted at publishers:

Andy’s agent, John Cook, had come in and said that the Frog Dude title was “workman-like” and suggested they didn’t bother with finishing it.

Read more about this game and download the proto on Gamesthatwerent.




Peaky Blinder [MegaDrive / Genesis / SNES – Cancelled]

Peaky Blinder is a cancelled sidescrolling platform game that was in development in 1994 by Storm / Sales Curve Interactive (SCi Games) for SNES, MegaDrive / Genesis / Mega CD and GameGear. Our friend Ross Sillifant found a short article about this lost game in Mean Machines Sega Magazine Issue 15, while the title was also in a release list for SNES published in N-Force Magazine Issue 09. Not many info are available, here’s what Mean Machines wrote about the project:

A trashy terror of the raving underworld is making his debut on the Megadrive and Mega-CD pretty soon, courtesy of Storm. Peaky Blinder is apparently a cult hero on the rave scene and features on loads of t-shirts. Such is his popularity (although we’ve never heard of him) that Storm has built him an entire identity and a ritzy story line to accompany him.
Peaky was borne from a fusion of trash, mass media, toxic waste and dumped video carts – sounds pretty disgusting, which of course he is. But an inner Peaky yearns to break out of his foul exterior and live in a suburban house with frilly pink curtains and longs to be kind to animals. With this in mind, our whiffy hero sets out thought his dire world’s underground system and roams around the inner city slums where anything can happen – and usually does.
Peaky’s a bit unique in that he can change his physical form to suit and combat his hostile surroundings (there has to be some compensation for being a mutant scurf-ball from hell we guess). Not seen much on this yet but we’ll bring you the full gen in a future issue.

If you have more info about this lost game, please let us know in the comments below!


Peaky Blinder videogame cancelled 

Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Curse [GBC – Cancelled]

Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Curse is the cancelled Game Boy Color version of the Rare Ltd. project that would later become Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge, released on GBA in 2003 by publisher, THQ. Initially established midway through 1999, Grunty’s Curse represents the original vision for the title with an alternate storyline, and levels that never saw the light of day.


The Story

Unlike the game released, Grunty’s Revenge, the GBC game does not take place mere months after the events of the first Banjo. Instead, it begins “a few years” after it, according to design documents recovered by a former Rare employee. Whereas Revenge features a tale about time travel, in which the newly resurrected Mecha-Grunty escapes to the past in order to stop the titular duo from ever meeting, the plot of Curse tried another approach.

The title would have opened with Mecha-Grunty confronting Banjo and his friends, placing curses on each of them (with the convenient exception of Banjo himself), as her reign of terror resumes. She starts by morphing Kazooie into a “monster” version of herself; a larger blue bird with allegiances to Grunty. Then, she transforms Bottles into a “funny creature”, as the documents describe it, before manipulating Mumbo‘s mind into making him attack Banjo. While the two fight, she takes off with Kazooie in tow.

Page 31 - Story Treatment

The hero, however, is soon able to out-duel Mumbo, releasing him from the spell. A determined Mumbo then chases after the villainous witch, but to no avail. In a planned comedy set piece, the character inexplicably falls victim to all manner of bad luck: a black cat pounces on him, he runs under a ladder, before a mirror falls and smashes over his head. When Banjo catches up to him, he finds that Mumbo has been stricken with amnesia as a result of his injuries. His memory fails him, but he is able to recall that Banjo must collect several magical ingredients in order to relieve Bottles of his condition.

Banjo, however, comes to the realisation that he has forgotten his moves in the time since his last adventure. With Bottles incapacitated, he will need to seek out a new mentor to provide tutorials. Thus, he chases down Grampa Mole, the elderly father of Bottles. As development progressed, Grampa Mole would evolve into Bozzeye, the NPC that teaches Banjo in Grunty’s Revenge during his visit to the past.

Cut Levels

Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Curse featured two worlds that were ultimately dropped from the slate as time went on. These were dubbed ‘MohendraBanjo’, and ‘Fiery Furnace’ respectively.

MohendraBanjo was a stage set in and around the ruins of a jungle temple in the far East:

Fiery Furnace, on the other hand, is described as a ‘dark industrial’ themed level filled with machinery and fire hazards:

While MohendraBanjo appears to have been scrapped fairly early on in the project’s life span, Fiery Furnace would make it considerably further. It even appeared in a leaked early prototype build for the GBA game, albeit in a largely unfinished state. Due to time and storage limitations, the team reduced Fiery Furnace in size and adapted it into a small part of the Freezing Furnace level.

Fiery Furnace protoype video:

Lost Enemies

We have been able to ascertain that a plethora of enemies were explored during Grunty’s Curse, before being abandoned. In MohendraBanjo world, for example, the developers imagined enemies based around cobras and scorpions, in line with its far Eastern theme. You can see some illustrations of these lost baddies here:

 Deleted Transformations

According to the design plans from October 1999, Rare had originally intended to include the ‘Bee Banjo‘ transformation that first appeared in Banjo Kazooie. This would have allowed players to fire stingers in a straight line to attack foes, as well as the ability of flight for an unlimited period to traverse larger platforming gaps.

Early in development, the team was exploring the possibility of ‘useless transformations‘ too. These were power-ups that served no other purpose than comedic effect; a hidden extra in the game to amuse players. Only one of them was slated to be added due to storage restrictions, but a number of them were being looked into:

Unused Transformation Functions

There were considerations for a handful of secondary functions for transformations that were left on the cutting room floor:

  • Tank Banjo originally was going to allow players to directly control the crosshair for greater precision. Players would tap the ‘B’ button to switch from directional movement to manipulating the aim of the cannon. In the final game, tapping the ‘B’ button does nothing. In addition, the tank originally fired eggs. The Grunty’s Revenge tank, however, fires missiles.
  • Octopus Banjo originally was set to be able to swim faster by double tapping the D-pad in any direction.
  • Mouse Banjo was intended to have a ‘shrinking’ function mapped to the ‘B’ button. This would enable Banjo to manually reduce his size for a limited period to fit through smaller gaps in his environment.

Alternative Level Titles

The documents provided also reveal numerous stage names that were eventually changed over the course of development. Among these are ‘Cottage Farm’, which became ‘Cliff Farm’, ‘Soggy Bog Swamp’ was revised to ‘Bad Magic Bayou’, ‘Freezing Furnace’ was originally ‘Freezing Fjord.

Game Assets

Although a playable prototype of the game in its GBC form is not to have ever been made, we have learned that the team of artists assigned to the project at Rare produced a multitude of digital art assets intended for one in 1999. These included sprites of some of the main characters, as well as designs for UI screens, like a pause menu.


Tonic Adventure (Tonic Trouble 2) [Cancelled Concept]

Tonic Adventure is the cancelled sequel to Tonic Trouble, a 3D platform game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Montpellier, released in  mid 1999 for N64 and PC.  Tonic Adventure was being made from 1999 to 2000 (perhaps for Dreamcast or the soon-to-be-released PS2) by the same team that worked on the original game and Rayman 2, but it seems that the project was canned in early development, maybe because of low sales and mixed reviews of the first TONICT. Only a few concept arts were found in the portfolio of a former Ubisoft artist, preserved in the gallery below to remember this lost game. We can speculate that after Ubisoft found out that Tonic Trouble would have not been a popular IP as they planned, they switched resources from Tonic Adventure to more marketable games as Rayman M and Rayman 3.

If you know someone that worked on Tonic Trouble 2 and can help to preserve more info about this cancelled project, please let us know!

Thanks to Maxime for the contribution!


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