RoboCop, also known as RoboCop: The Future of Law Enforcement, is a cancelled side-scroller action game published by Titus Interactive and developed by Planet Interactive Development in 2002, exclusively for the GBA. It was based on the eponymous movie franchise.
Everything began in June 1999, when IGN revealed that Titus had acquired the licence in order to make a game:
Titus is on one hell of a license acquisition. Superman, Top Gun… and now put RoboCop on that list. That’s right, Titus now has the rights to bring the robotic cop of New Detroit to consoles. Currently, Titus will not announce officially which consoles its RoboCop game will be brought to, but the license includes all systems (…)
The Game Boy Advance version was first mentionned in July 2001 as we can read on French website Jeuxvideo.com:
While we recently announced the return of Alex Murphy for an adaptation of the famous film RoboCop on PS2, Virgin Interactive and Titus do not seem decided to make a one-shot but on the contrary, it is a real licence exploitation that we should attend. The title not only planned on PS2, it should also land on GBC and GBA. The games in question could be released by the end of the year (…)
Further details were again shared by Jeuxvideo.com in May 2002:
Titus has just announced the adaptation of the arcade game RoboCop on GBA in a title named RoboCop: The Future of Law Enforcement scheduled for October 2002. As you can imagine, it will be based on the famous science fiction film and on this occasion the players will get into the armor of police officer Murphy. On the gameplay side, we are told it will be a side-scrolling shoot’em up which should have no less than 7 levels and 14 sub-levels with 25 different types of enemies to face.
However, the game totally vanished after this announcement, was never mentionned again and, of course, wasn’t released in October 2002. No details to this day were shared about why it was canceled, but speculation can be made. Alongside this GBA version, it is worth mentionning that the other games planned for various systems had a lot of trouble. The GBC version was released somewhere in the end of 2001, only in Western Europe, and was met with negative reception.
The First-Person Shooter version went into a much more troubled development, it was first announced in 1999 when the licence was bought by Titus with apparently the implication of Xatrix Entertainment for the design:
Currently, Titus will not announce officially which consoles its RoboCop game will be brought to, but the license includes all systems, including PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Dreamcast, and Nintendo 64.
We have heard, however, that Xatrix, the developers of the upcoming PC first-person shooter Kingpin, will be handling the game’s design. What type of game will it be? A first person shooter, of course.
Don’t expect the game to be released until late 2000.
But the development dragged on and on, it was re-announced in April 2001, this time developed internally at Titus, and, first, only planned for the PS2 before also being developed for the Xbox and the GameCube. Then, Titus decided to cancel PS2 and GameCube versions and only focused on the Xbox. It is possible that the GBA version was dropped as well during this time of the development. After missing several scheduled dates, the game was released on Xbox somewhere in the second half of the 2003 year and was negatively panned by the critics. Oddly enough, the PS2 version was eventually released around 2003-2004 only in Europe, and the GameCube one released exclusively in Japan in 2004.
Another speculation about the cancellation of the GBA version was that its developer, Planet Interactive Development, disappeared somewhere in 2002-2003.
The whole source code of the game was finally leaked in January 2022.
After years of silence, the license returned briefly in 2014 with an adaptation of the reboot on iOS. It is finally for this year that the cybercop of Detroit should return in the world of video game with RoboCop: Rogue City, developed by Teyon and planned for September 2023.