Racing

Space Race [Cancelled Pitch – MegaDrive / Genesis]

Space Race was a game being pitched by Warren Spector to Origin for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive either on cart form or for the Sega CD. According to pitch documents, Spector was looking for concept approval so they could then create the script. Space Race could have also been developed for PC as well and would have required 4 Megs of RAM and a 320 x 200 VGA. The PC version would have been based on Wing-3 technology and had the possibility of modem/network play.

The game is described as a 3D racing game with a difference and was likened to Road Rash and Super Monaco Grand Prix, but taking that intense racing action into outer space, with the player at the helm of a futuristic space-racing ship. The basic plot for the game would have been based in the distant future mankind has met a myriad of alien races in the solar system, and they together have created a championship of space racing that would pit the very best from each planet against each other.

Some of the design elements promised within the pitch document were that the ships would be customisable so depending on your race style or the course, you, the player would be able to make alterations to your ship to suit.

Some of the tracks are also described, there would be tracks that would have a road type surface, but more interestingly there were tracks that would be wide open and would have no horizontal or vertical constraints and as long as the player touched the appropriate checkpoints they would continue in the race. There would also be enclosed winding tunnels with walls made of energy that if the player touched them their ship would take damage but nothing is described as to what this would affect.

A few race types are mentioned, there could be straight up races where no contact between vehicles would be allowed, but there were also planned demolition derbies where it would be last vehicle standing. When the player wins or ranks in a race, they would earn points for their standing in the Space Race championship and money so they could upgrade their vehicle.

All of the items described may seem like it could be quite hard to implement on the Sega Genesis but Warren Spector said “Technologically, I don’t think there’s anything challenging in here, and the design would be a piece of cake, one of the simplest we’ve ever done.” The proposed budget for developing the game was $200,000 for the Sega Genesis but would have been higher for a PC version.

Also pitched was that the drivers and ships could be licensable allowing for more revenue to be made from the game if it was a success. Spector believed that the only game that was being developed at this time that was close to Space Race was CyberRace for the PC and that looked like it was going to be a hit. CyberRace can still be played using DOSBox emulation, but the game came out with middling reviews and was described as “Stylish but not very good”.

This could be one of the reasons that Space Race was not taken any further than this pitch, but as all of the information that can be found about this game is in this document, it is hard to obtain anymore details. If you do have any more details please feel free to contact us.

Many thanks to Joe Martin for the document.

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Ferrari 360 Challenge [PS2 – Cancelled]

Ferrari 360 Challenge is a cancelled racing game that was in development by Brain in a Jar Games and it would have been published by Acclaim for the Playstation 2. It was one of the first announced PS2 games from Acclaim and it promised an arcade racing engine with two main racing modes, eight different circuits, limited car deformation and two-player split-screen multiplayer. The project was officially cancelled in august 2000, because of high development costs and undisclosed troubles with the Ferrari license.

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!

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Full Auto (Inertia) [PC – Cancelled]

Full Auto, also know as Inertia, was one of the first prototypes in development  (in 1997) at Pseudo Interactive and it’s interesting to notice that it had the same name of a game developed by the same company and released in 2006 for the XBOX 360.  Inertia was a car combat game too and we can wonder if this proto influenced somehow FA 360. As we can read in one of developers’s site, the game “… suffered from problems such as feature creep, code bloat, and scheduling overruns, and was eventually cancelled shortly after being featured at Microsoft’s Gamestock ’99 press event. However, the publisher was impressed enough with the potential shown by the game to continue their working relationship with Pseudo Interactive, which is how PI came to be one of the first third party developers working on a title for the XBox console…the title that would in the end be known as Cel Damage.

Some more info can be found in an old press-release:

Players maneuver futuristic combat vehicles and battle their way through the rich, alien and interactive world of “Full Auto,” an advanced 3-D vehicular shooter game. As a car-warrior for hire, gamers custom-build their battle cars and prepare for intense combat missions and death-match battles. Players pit their skills against evil corporate mercenaries or sophisticated mechs in either single-player or Internet multiplayer mode via the MSN™ Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com/). Players succeed by increasing their wealth and improving their car in this intense, nonlinear action game.

Unrestrained gameplay. Players devise unique strategies on the fly, manage their resources carefully, and uncover hidden surprises in 27 interactive, unrestrained and highly replayable missions, battle arenas and racetracks.

Customizable vehicles. Players design their battle vehicles from a large selection of options — cars, weapons, engines and accessories — to meet the challenges of precision driving and intense shooting battles.

Huge interactive environments. Players delve deep into the secrets of a strange alien planet as they progress through 17 challenging missions, including exploration, assassination, demolition and high-speed chases. Skills are honed in one of 10 arenas as users compete in events such as races, death-match combat, “Capture the Flag” and more. While a special tutorial mission makes gameplay easy to learn, “Full Auto” is difficult to master.

Thanks to Hey Hey and Vicente for the contributions!

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Banjo-Kazoomie [Xbox – Cancelled]

Banjo-Kazoomie was a prototype for the original Xbox which was started at Rare Ltd. in 2004. Players were able to construct their karts out of different parts, therefore after it was cancelled the concept may have evolved into Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which was released on Xbox 360 four years later.

Brendan Gunn about this project:

“I’ve always wanted to do a racing game. I got to spend two weeks working on a prototype racing game for the Xbox. It was codenamed ‘Banjo-Kazoomie’, and it was a kind of kart racer, but you constructed the karts out of different parts, so I guess it was kind of a precursor to ‘Nuts & Bolts’. But for those two weeks I was doing the driving mechanics for it”

Special thanks to DKVine and RareMinion.com!

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Trail Blazer (Death Track) [GameBoy – Cancelled]

TrailBlazers, aka Death Track is a canceled and unreleased game being developed by Argonaut for the GameBoy. It’s currently unknown why this got canceled and unreleased. It was being licensed by Activision, but developed by the famous Argonaut Games, hence it being in wireframe 3D. This game takes a 3rd person approach to the track, and only offers one camera setting.  An interesting note is the combat elements in the game and the upgrade system before each race. You can purchase engine upgrades, homing missiles, oil slicks, mines, and the like. While in race, you can press select to rotate through your defenses, and press up on the D-Pad to deploy them. It feels like if the game had seen a release, it would have pushed the GB to it’s limits, as only Argonaut knew how to do.
If you are more questions, contact Digmac at obscuregamers.com or assemblergames.com

Thanks to Celine we can see a screenshot of Trail Blazer, found in Joypad magazine issue #8.

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